Underrated experiences in Berlin

23 February 2021

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Editor’s Note: We urge you to check local government restrictions, rules, and safety measures related to COVID-19 and take personal comfort levels and health conditions into consideration before you travel.

 

Berlin has something for everyone. While nightclubs of all shapes, sizes and genres, are always the rage, and museums and memorials dot the city, there is plenty more that this iconic city has to offer. From third-wave cafes to unusual spas to help you hit the reset button. After you’ve ticked off the marvellous main sights from your list, here are some places and experiences that are bound to make your time in Berlin an immersive one.

Panoramapunkt

Ride the fastest elevator in Europe. Climb to a height of 100m in just 20 seconds and get ready to gasp at the spectacular views. The Panoramapunkt offers a unique combination of cafes, exhibitions and views of the city’s most famous landmarks and historic sites. The Brandenburg Gate, the Victory Column and other important sights are just a stone’s throw away. We recommend getting a lay of the land from this vantage point before you dive into the bottomless depths of Berlin experiences.

 

Address: Potsdamer Platz 1
Phone: +49 30 2593 7080
Website: www.panoramapunkt.de

By Daniel Brosch
By Daniel Brosch

Flea market and karaoke at Mauer Park

Take the tube to Gesundbrunnen on a Sunday, and make your way to MauerPark, the venue for one of Berlin’s most cherished flea markets. The market runs right along the erstwhile Berlin Wall. Bargain hunt, eat, drink and be entertained. Browse the various stalls that carry retro brands, locally designed clothes, vintage vinyl and other curios. When you’ve had your fill of retail therapy, and the clock strikes 3, head over to the Bearpit Karaoke, held every Sunday afternoon. Enjoy (and if you fancy, join!) performances from various people who let their vocal cords free!

 

Unravelog tip: For #iconicberlin and #instagrammable shots head to the huge graffiti-covered swings that are installed upon the top of the hill next to the remains of the Berlin wall 

By katatonia82/ Motionelements
By katatonia82/ Motionelements

Explore the historic Hackesche Höfe

Catch that ‘Berlin feeling’ and understand what makes it tick, by exploring the parallel universes of the Berlin courtyards. Berlin is full of hidden gems, but these beautifully restored eight connected courtyards of Hackesche Höfe in Mitte (the closest tube station is S-Bahnhof Hackescher Markt) are worlds away from the bustling streets. Get a lesson in nouveau décor, shop in the funky local boutiques dotted around, or sit, get a cup of coffee in one of the many cafes, and watch local life go by. And don’t forget to catch an evening contemporary circus show at the Chamäleon Variety Theatre.

 

Some of the other streets that offer interesting courtyards include:

  • Mitte: Rosenthalerstrasse, Sophienstrasse/Gipstrasse, Torstrasse, Augustrasse, Linienstrasse, Hanoverschestrasse/Luisentrassee, Oranienburgerstrasse
  • Kreuzberg: Bergmannstrasse, Oranienstrasse, Paul-Lincke Uffer, Glogauer Strasse, Böckstrasse, Urbanstrasse, Schlesische Strasse

Go on an ‘Urban Spree’

Urban Spree is the independent art centre, dedicated to showcasing urban culture through exhibitions, workshops, artist residencies, concerts and an art store. They even have a Biergarten on the venue. Since this grassroots gallery is located in the RAW compound, a thriving offbeat sociocultural centre, you might want to check out the house clubs, bars, the indoor skate park, and even their bunker-turned-rock-climbing-wall.

The Berlin Zoo

A haven for endangered animals, the Berlin Zoological Garden is the oldest zoo in Germany. Go and say hello to over 19,400 animals the zoo is home to. The zoo is also known for the reintroduction programs it runs for endangered species. Don’t miss the giant pandas that live in the approximately 33 hectare large park. A treat for animal lovers of all ages, but mandatory if you have children in tow! The zoo is at the western end of the city’s largest and oldest park, the Tiergarten. It also offers many interesting experiences and tours, you can find information and plan your visit on their website.

Coffee in Kreuzberg

Make your way to one of the hippest neighbourhoods in Berlin to savour some third-wave coffee.  In the popular area of Kreuzberg, a local favourite, the Nest has been around since 1972. Nest serves a variety of international dishes, tasty brunch items, coffee and freshly infused teas. Take a stroll around the neighbouring Gortizer Park, when you’re done! Five Elephant, an artisanal bakery, speciality coffee-roastery  brings home beans sourced from all around the world. Their apple pies and cheesecakes are hot favourites. If it’s slow coffee you’re after, head over to Chapter One, where the process of making coffee is turned into an art form. They have various brew methods, from pour-overs to Chemex-style filter coffee, amongst others.

Berlin: Kreuzberg

Musical spa

If otherworldly experiences are your thing, then the music-infused waters of The Liquidrom is where you should be floating. This Berlin spa takes Berlin’s legendary music scene to the next level and the futuristic design of the Liquidrom is inspired by a circus tent. The Liquidrom combines electronic or classical music with a luxurious spa experience. It also offers four nude saunas to help spa-goers detox good and proper.

Berlin’s subterranean blues

Get below the surface and explore Berlin’s former hidden life. Take a tour of the  Berliner Unterwelten (Subterranean Berlin)that takes you through WWII air raid shelters and tunnels used to smuggle people out of East Germany. The museum offers tours of some of Berlin’s most important underground structures, such as bunkers, abandoned subway stations, air raid shelters dating back to World War II. The headquarters of Berliner Unterwelten and the start of the most popular bunker tour is near the transportation hub “Gesundbrunnen”. The tickets have to be bought on the day the tour is offered. Tours get booked out fast. If you’d like a tour, be at their ticket office an hour before they open and get in line. They accept only cash. 

 

Unravelog tip: They also have a free app with guided tours and information on the underground bunkers, including on  The “Führerbunker” – Adolf Hitler’s last refuge.

So you must have had a good idea by now about how exciting Berlin can be, in throwing some fun and unusual experiences your way. To know about more offbeat things to see and do in the city, check our detailed itinerary for 3 days in Berlin.

Unravelled by: Mridula Pai

Mridula is a dolce vita junkie and editor-in-chief at Unravelog. Having steered away from the grand narratives of cause, she approaches life in terms of patterns, to open herself up to a kaleidoscope of unforgettable experiences.  A traveller by design, she loves exploring the newness of  being: through smells, tastes, sounds, design, cultures… all in pursuit of the sweet life.

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