Berlin is widely regarded as one of the most diverse, interesting and cultural cities in the world. Here are five of the most unusual places to visit in Germany’s capital city…
Famously divided into East and West during the cold war, there are a host of important historical sites to visit in Berlin.
From the very wall that fragmented the city, to the Brandenburg Gate that symbolises reunification – significant landmarks are plentiful.
But while these sites do make interesting sightseeing trips, Berlin is now the culture capital of Europe.
It is celebrated for its nightlife, arts and ‘underground’ scene as opposed to its recent history.
Here are five unusual things to do in Berlin.
1. Dr Pong, Eberswalderstraße
If you are looking to wonder off the beaten track, there is plenty of opportunity to do so in the brilliantly named Eberswalderstraße.
The options are aplenty but behind one grey, graffiti-covered metal door sits a dingy, low-ceilinged room with a long wooden bar and a single table.
The table is made for ping-pong, the bar is called Dr Pong and the atmosphere is something to savour. The locals may even become your personal drinking guides if you hold your own on the table or, more importantly, at the bar.
Tellingly, the floor around the table is worn into an oval – evidence of a seemingly eternal game of ‘around the world’.
2. The Flea Market, Marheinekeplazen
Berlin’s flea markets or ‘Flohmärkte’ are some of the very best in Europe with trinkets, books, rugs, paintings, sketches and lamps. Lots and lots of lamps.
After hanging out in places like Dr Pong, the chances of a groggy head in the morning are quite high. I suggest wondering to a flea market, grabbing a coffee and watching the world go by.
That hangover doesn’t stand a change when you’re meandering around leafy Marheinekeplazen, which provides something of a country escape within the Grey City.
3. The Bears of Kollnischer Park.
Much to the dismay of animal rights activists – and to the delight of children too young to care – three bears are still housed in a small open-air pit in the middle of Kollnischer Park.
Bears have been on Berlin’s seal since 1280 and on the city’s 700th birthday in 1937, the first four were brought to the park. A tradition that has continued ever since.
The bears now live a pleasant existence, largely thanks to the Barenzwinger Berlin (Friends of the Bears in Berlin); the group is dedicated to their history and well-being.
4. From East to West Via Tunnels
For over 15 years, The Berlin Underworlds Association have been offering regular tours of the city below ground level.
During the divide, many attempts were made to tunnel into West Berlin from the liberal East.
As well as the physical and mental expertise required, there were severe consequences if found by the East German Secret Police (the Stasi).
Allegedly, the first tunnel was dug in December 1961 and the last tunnel was completed in 1985 – four years before the fall of the Berlin Wall.
5. The Berghain, Kreuzberg
No list of underground Berlin would be complete without the most famously subversive nightclub in the world, the Berghain.
This gargantuan old energy plant is a sight to behold: Dominating the skyline between Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain it is industrial Germany at its finest.
Speculation on how to get past the huge Viking-like doorman is endless. Looking smart isn’t going to cut the mustard here, but neither is looking scruffy (or something in-between) for that matter.
Half of the fun comes from whether or not, after 3 hours of waiting, you’re actually going to get through the front door.
Nothing could be more unusually appealing than that…