Since leaving New Zealand in July 2016, Bryn and I have been to some epic European cities, seen some beautiful old buildings, learnt about ancient history & past wars and visited some incredible sites, but wow…nothing quite compares to the city of Berlin. Full of so much history, culture, nightlife & more, to say I was excited when 6 of our friends booked a 5 day trip is a gigantic understatement. I was bouncing off the walls.
With a shit ton of our travels being done on our own, just Bryn and I, it was epic to have a crew of friends so we could get a little wild & experience the madness of Berlin. I mean…when you mix together a city that never sleeps, a group of crazy ass friends & a list of about a million things to do, you can’t help but have a cracker of a time – here’s what to expect.
THE GENERATOR HOSTEL:
Coming in hot, we arrived at the airport, looked at a map and sort of figured out where we needed to go to find our way to The Generator Hostel – Mitte. First mistake & advice number 1: don’t sort of figure out where your hostel is, EXACTLY find out where it is. 3 hours into our Berlin getaway, we’re still bloody trying to find the damn hostel. Turns out there are 3 Generator Hostels in Berlin and we we’re heading for the wrong one. LOL. The 6 blind mice I called us as we wandered around following each other until we eventually found our home for the next 5 days.
The Generator Hostel is rad – they’re a huge chain of, I’d say, more high end hostels (yes this means they’re a little pricier than the others), but for a group of friends they’re perfect. With a cool outdoor area, beer pong, ping pong and places to sit & chill, not to mention the bar too, even the hostel is cool spot to chill at & spend the arvo drinking.
I would totally suggest staying here – especially if you’re going with a group of friends. We booked through Hostelworld.com (the easiest place to find & book hostels in my opinion) and they were more than accommodating when we added another person to the trip and extended one more night. Alternatively, for something more private booking.com & Airbnb.com are our top 2 favs!
Check out this rad vid to see what our hostel was like! (Credit to the Generator Hostels with epic filming by Fotan Productions)
Near the hostel and somewhere you need to visit if staying in the area is “Strandbar Mitte”. A sort of beach bar meets salsa bar and the perfect spot for those late arvo drinks. With a cool outdoor beergarden vibe and located right along the River Spree, we got a little rowdy here twice during our stay in Berlin. The salsa d-floor that comes alive at sundown was hands down the best part and yes I got involved cha cha chaing around the place.
HOFBRAU HOUSE BERLIN:
Right…now time to get amoungst the German spirit. By now we’d been drinking for a wee while so we we’re ready for a big feed and a stein of beer to match. Where better than Hofbrau Berlin. A huge interior full of of wooden benches, an outdoor beergarden, Baravian style food & beer, waitresses in traditional dresses, a band and a whole lot of merriness.
Now I don’t really dig beer, but I just couldn’t help myself so I ordered a stein with everyone else. “BRUTE” (cheers in German) we all yelled as we all clinked our massive steins together and drank like German men.
The food here was next level and if you visit the Hofbrau House, make sure you go with a hungry tummy! Embracing the German culture, we all ordered a pork knuckle and got stuck in. I couldn’t believe how massive this dish was…a gigantic pork knuckle, 2 potato dumplings and coleslaw. Of course Bryn licked his plate clean – I didn’t even come close.
Waking up, craving a good coffee and an epic breaky, we headed for SILO Cafe, the place to go if you love a cool cafe with good vibes, food and coffee. The standard smashed avo for me…YUM, the lingering traces of a hangover are officially gone and we’re ready for the day.
EAST SIDE GALLERY:
A short tram ride from SILO cafe and you’re at the incredible East Side Gallery. Basically the longest still standing part of the Berlin Wall, the 1.3km section now stands as an international memorial for freedom. As soon as the wall came down in 1989, artists from all over the world came to Berlin and started painting on what was the East side of the wall. I’m sure you’ve seen this famous Fraternal Kiss by Dmitri Vrubel…
With epic paintings that represent the hope for change and a better future, the East Side Gallery is the largest open aired gallery in the world, consisting of 105 paintings. A pretty amazing memorial to see, knowing the history of the Berlin Wall and what happened during the years 1961-1989.
YAAM BEACH CLUB:
At the end of the East Side Gallery, you have the rad and chill YAAM beach club. A pretty unexpected little oasis to find, the reggae vibes here will have you feeling like you’re in Jamaica and definitely not in the city of Berlin. A sandy floor full of trees, hammocks, and sun loungers, a football/basketball court, beach bar & epic street art, we spent the afternoon here drinking beers and chilling in the sun. Think block party meets Bob Marley – this is a dope communal space where all walks of life are welcome.
Time to take off to a new location, we jumped on the train and headed back down to the other side of the wall (we could have walked but we were a little tipsy and a little exhausted) and this time checked out URBAN SPREE. This is a huge industrial space for creatives, my kinda place for sure! With a beergarden, art gallery, thrift shops, clubs, a huge indoor skate bowl, the worlds smallest disco, a climbing wall, food and a shit ton of street art, this communal space had something quirky and unique about it everywhere you looked. We probably arrived a bit early, I can imagine it swings into life around sundown, but still at 5pm it was epic to take a look around.
While you’re there check out the club “Cassiopeia” – the space has a climbing wall + an insane indoor skatepark where you can hire boards for 7Euro. The boys we’re begging to go but we were all a little too drunk to be dropping into Europes largest halfpipe. The place also transforms into an epic club at night so you can get lost spending an entire day & night here.
Also check out the worlds smallest disco. Literally a little disco inside an old phone booth – I know…WTF. But for 2Euro you can pick your song, go inside and rave for a few minutes with smoke machines, lights and a full sound system!
After wandering around the area we sat drinking in the beergarden, listening to indie-style live music and eating an African meal. This place has honestly so many cultures rolled into one and with its grungy but cool vibe it was the perfect afternoon.
PARTY TIME & THE CLUBS:
Hearing a lot about Berlin & its crazy nightlife, we decided to put it to the test. With 6 of your friends its relatively easy to get on the piss and head out for a good night…or in our case a good 24 hours. We partied well through the night and into the next day, an epic night is truly an understatement.
We spent most of our night at a club called Chalet. A chill outdoor vibe with bon fires, hammocks a few bars and a dance floor, then a mental inside with your heavy music, smoke machines, buzzy rooms and trippy people. Totally recommend this place…we we’re still here when the sun came up.
At about 6am we headed for Watergate – another club favourite in Berlin. Situated right along the river in the morning sun, we continued to drink, talk shit and dance. Its crazy that the clubs stay open all weekend long, you can literally come to Berlin and party straight from Thursday night through till Monday morning, I’ve never been anywhere like it.
Other cool clubs you can hit up are: the famous Bergainhein (we didn’t even bother trying to get in here, the strict dress code & long lines just weren’t our thing), Suicide Circus, Sisphos (apparently like mini festival thats freekin amazing), Cassiopeia, Club de Visionare, Wilden Renate & the list goes on!
We didn’t leave the hostel until 2pm this day…we needed at least a few hours sleep to be in some sort of a sober state to set off exploring. Just Bryn and I we’re the only ones up, in fact the rest of the crew had only just walked in the door from parting! We set off for an afternnoon visiting the memorials dedicated to Berlin History.
Something worth looking at & although we only checked this out for 5 minutes (not a fan of huge crowds, especially while hungover), the Brandenburg Gate is a symbol of Berlin and worth a look. The huuuuuuge gate is monstrous in size & pretty impressive so check it out on your way to the Holocaust Memorial.
THE HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL:
The Holocaust was truly a horrific event. The sheer loss of innocent lives is something so overwhelming you can’t even begin to imagine what the Jewish people went through. Visiting the Holocaust Memorial in the centre of Berlin was an extremely heartbreaking and powerful experience. When you arrive you see thousands of grey square blocks or “stelae” filling the huge space in a grid like pattern and it’s important to wander right through the blocks, remembering the lives of those who were so wrongly murdered. Remember to be respectful here team, I’m sure I don’t have to remind you, but it was unfortunate to see so many adults jumping on top of the blocks, taking selfies, pulling faces and hanging off the stelae to get the perfect photo, this is a memorial, not a playground.
THE TYPOGRAPHY OF TERROR:
After spending time at the Holocaust Memorial, we headed towards the Typography Of Terror. The grounds (which were once the Nazi leader’s main offices – so creepy) is now filled with information on the Nazi regime and how they implemented terror. In a city heaving with reminders of its past, this is interesting, heartbreaking and a must while you’re visiting Berlin.
HANGS IN THE PARK:
There are so many parks around Berlin, so once the hangover became unbearable in the 30 degree heat, we headed to a park near our hostel. Much to our surprise, the crew we’re already up and having a few beers in the afternoon sun, so we grabbed some ciders and joined them. The parks in Berlin are full of all sorts of people, families, buskers, mates, the homeless, the trippers and the list goes on. People watching is especially fun – the diversity of people is what makes this city stand out amoungst the rest.
CHECK POINT CHARLIE:
Check point Charlie is another monument of Berlin’s history that’s worth visiting. After hearing how Bryn’s mum passed through Checkpoint Charlie in her VW Camper back in the day, we knew we had to check it out. To think that it was only a short time ago that the Berlin Wall was still up and to know that Check point Charlie was the best known Berlin Wall crossing point between East Berlin and West Berlin was pretty interesting. A huge tourist spot now, due to the fact that they’ve kept the little checkpoint booth in perfect condition, with the addition of sand bags and 2 soldiers standing guard, it still, through the masses of people bears some resemblance of what life would have been like during the years 1961-1989.
TIERGARTEN PARK & MONKEY BAR:
While the rest of our crew continued on to visit the sites we went to yesterday, Bryn and I wandered through the Tiergarten Park & grabbed a coffee at the gorgeous Monkey Bar. Situated on the 10th floor of the Bikini Hotel, facing the zoo (hence the name), you can enjoy your coffee, cocktail or whatever else you fancy, while watching the monkeys down below.
The Tiergarten itself is HUUUUUGE, so we only saw a fraction of it and somehow, in classic Bryn & Leah style, we wandered straight through the nudie part. If you’re keen for a beergarden here, “Café am Neuen See” is situated in the park and is a great little spot.
BERLIN WALL MEMORIAL & DOCUMENTATION CENTRE:
Meeting back up with the gang, we hopped on the tram towards Mauerpark & got off a few stops earlier to visit the Berlin Wall Memorial & Documentation Centre. Here you see photos of the 136 people who lost their lives trying to climb over the wall and desperately run towards a better future. An old section of wall still stands as it would have during the years 1961-1989 and you can even catch a glimpse of the “dead man zone” – a 100 yard stretch filled with landmines, nails, watch towers & more to catch out anyone trying to flee.
MAUERPARK & KAREOKE:
Arriving at the Mauerpark markets, we were hungry, hot and pretty exhausted. We walked through the stalls and as impressive as they were, it was hard to sift through everything under the blazing hot sun. My advice is to go early in the morning, before the crowds and before the heat – you’ll find yourself some epic jewels. The park itself, like most parks in Berlin, are filled with all sorts of people. We saw a dude playing the drums he’d attached to his bicycle, a guy doing palm readings, some hula hoopers and a whole lot of other fun shit.
If you’re there on a Sunday, make sure you don’t miss out on the karaoke! With thousands of spectators sitting in the amphitheatre, brave (or drunk) people hit the stage and sing loud and proud. Trying my best to get Tim up there to sing with me was unsuccessful but it was still fun to watch everyone else breaking it down.
Right, too hot, too tired and need to sit down for a beer, we walked from Mauerpark to Prater Beergarden and chilled the f*ck out. Ordering “the sweetest beer you have please” because I don’t actually like beer yet – I found myself with a funny pink fizzy drink with a hint of beer and a little pink straw…god I looked lame amongst all the other cool cats with a pint in hand. Prater beergarden is the actually the OG of beer gardens, popping up in Berlin back in 1837!!!
The next morn (our last day) we jumped on the tram towards Kreuzberg and wondered around the district. A little confused and disorientated because we got off the tram too early (are we still drunk?!) – we didn’t actually come across much of hippy/trendy vibe Krezberg is so well known for #FAIL. Think we were in the wrong spots whoops. We did however find a hipster donut cafe – filled with trendy this and hipster that, we grabbed a coffee, a donut & joined the hipster vibe for a minute or 10. Take note: Brammibal’s Donuts if you wanna check it out!
The crew split up again, Bryn and I headed for Klunkerkranich (a rad rooftop bar) and the rest of the crew to do some shopping in Alexander Plats (the main shopping square). During your stay in Berlin, you HAVE to hit up Klunkerkranic – this super strange, but funky junkyard bar/cafe, has totally got the vibes. We got there a little too early with not a lot of people and not a lot going on, but for a late afternoon beer or 5, this place would be absolutely kranking *excuse the pun.*
Check out some rad pics of the Klunkerkranich here & you’ll be fizzing to go: http://www.martin-peterdamm.com/blog/klunkerkranich
Back to this fun little bar for our last night in Berlin, we (or I if we’re being honest) got a bit more pissed than anticipated and really got involved with the salsa. The perfect spot, super close to our hostel and our “one more no more” attitude gave us a great last night in Berlin.
OTHER WILD & WONDERFUL THINGS TO DO NEXT TIME:
Unfortunately while travelling…you just can’t do everything and this is something I need to come to terms with. I feel like a was a mad women running around Berlin (sorry team), but with so much to do, I just wanted to squeeze it all in. Here’s some spots for next time:
– Go to Templehof airport (an old abandon airport now turned into a public park, apparently sick!)
– Eat at Markethalle Neun on a Thursday night (huge street food market)
– Swim in one of the hundred lakes surrounding Berlin
– Check out the abandon nazi spy tower
– Try jump the fence into Spree Park (old abandoned amusement park)
– Visit the Jewish museum
– Spend a good 2 days clubbing
– Eat more German foods (currywursts, donuts etc)
Got anything else to add to the itinerary?! Let us know in the comments below!!!
Leah | FREE & ADDICTED
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