Berlin is my favorite city in Europe because of the special vibe the place has. After living there for a year, I still often think back about the vibes and I still miss the city. Berlin is an alternative city by itself, but with this article, I would like to provide you with an Alternative Guide to Berlin that focuses on the places to see and visit you might not think of straight away. The local and hipster guide is suitable for first-time visitors looking for more than the general sights or for returning visitors looking for something new and more alternative things to do, all written by someone who has lived in Berlin for over a year (me!).
When in Berlin and you want to put this alternative guide to Berlin in practice, Friedrichshain (read my F’hain guide) or Neukolln (check the guide) is the perfect neighborhoods to stay.
Great hotel options in Friedrichshain are The Michelberger Hotel (€100), Amano Eastside (€90) or Luxoise Apartments, (€200). Hotel options in Neukolln are Motel Plus (€80), Grand Hostel Berlin Urban (€40), Aeronaut Serviced Apartements (€180).
One of my favorite places in/around Berlin. Visiting the Teufelsberg is a great thing to do. We took a bike and biked all the way here, to experience a bit more of the area and make it a full day out. Don’t forget to bring something to eat and drink as you can have a picnic at the place. The Teufelsberg is a former spy station, now out of use, and a street art Walhalla. The easiest way to get there is by bike, or to take the S-Bahn (S7) to the station Grunewald and walk around 30 minutes from here. A while back, this was an abandoned place, illegal to enter. But since 2011, guided tours are organized and it became more of a sight. The entrance has to be paid for and will cost you €8 or €15 including a guided tour. I would recommend going on a bright way, so you can enjoy the views and take your time exploring all the street art in and around the building.
Well, let’s start with the fact that entering this place might not be fully legal, and don’t expect it to be in service. This Kinderkrankenhaus Weißensee is abandoned for a while now and the place is also referred to as “Zombie Hospital”. However, you still get a vibe from the colorful rooms throughout the whole hospital. Getting here is easiest with the M4 tram from Alexanderplatz and get off at the stop Buchsallee/Hansastrasse and walk a little from here. Getting in was in my opinion not too difficult. Online, I read many things about climbing a fence, however, we easily found a whole/way through the bushes to avoid the fence. When insight, be careful as you might be surprised by other visitors/homeless people. Always use your good sense, as of course, it is an abandoned building which causes it not to be the safest place.
Not Berlin, but a small village near Berlin that is called Potsdam. Potsdam is known for its beautiful palace and gardens. Thereby, there is also a little Dutch Quarter – that’s where you have me of course. First of all, you can easily reach Potsdam with the S-Bahn (S7) from Alexanderplatz to Potsdam (don’t forget to buy a ticket that is also valid for zone C). The main sight is called Schloss Sanssouci and is worth a visit. Don’t forget to have a drink on a terrace in the Holländisches Viertel (Dutch Neighborhood). Something I liked about Potsdam is the neat atmosphere and the terraces with a vibe you don’t find that easily in Berlin.
A culinary experience in Berlin. Be surprised by the colorful umbrellas all over the place all representing a little food or drink stall. From April to October, you’ll find this spectacle from Friday to Sunday in the “Preußenpark” in Berlin Wilmersdorf.
If you are into history and want to experience more of the history of Berlin, mainly related to the war periods, I would highly recommend taking an Unterwelten Tour. I did like the tour where they are highlighting some U-Bahn stations. The tour is called Bunkers, Subways, and the Cold War. Check out and book all the different tours here.
Tempelhofer Feld is an airport not in function. Therefore, it is a unique place where you can enter the runways. Tempelhofer Feld is popular for biking, longboarding, and just for a relaxed afternoon. If you are interested to know more about the airport, definitely book a tour through the airport. A tour takes two hours and costs €15 for adults. The English tour departs from Wednesday to Sunday at 1:30 pm.
Generally, I do like Neukolln as a neighborhood to discover the alternative side of Berlin. I’ve already written a full Neukolln Neighbourhood Guide, check it out!
I have to admit that I’m not that into musea. However, I do love a good photography museum! In Berlin, I would definitely recommend visiting C/O Berlin with great exhibitions changing regularly.
If there is one thing I miss about Berlin, it will probably be spätis on almost every corner and being able to legally drink on the streets and enjoy a beer on the way. Spätis are little shops especially used for buying beer and little snacks. Most of them are open all day and night. You can of course host a crawl yourself, or arrange one through AirBnB experience. The link can be found here.