Paris in the 30’s, London at the height of Brit Pop, and now it’s Berlin’s era! I’m proud to call Berlin my home town; a city that is open, vibrant, exciting and has forged it’s own unique place amongst Europe’s thriving capitals.
As a genuine Berliner, I feel lucky to have witnessed history: Communism in East Berlin, reunification, and the impressive resurrection and reinvention of city quarters. Whole new city centres have evolved: Potsdamer Platz, once the biggest building site in the world, or Mitte; home of Leo Di Caprio’s and Ben Stiller’s cool bar hangouts.
Berlin does not have industry as such but it is the hub for creative industries such as fashion, music, film and art; attracting artists from all over Europe to Berlin. Part of its appeal is the simple fact that Berlin is so inexpensive. Notoriously starving artists can rent an airy, modern loft for the price of a rat hole in London for example. You can eat the most exquisite food and pay the most reasonable prices in Europe; the standard of gastronomy is outstanding.
Here are my hotspots:
- Outdoor life is big in Berlin, so in summer, chill at one of the many “Strandbars” (beach bars along the river Spree) with a cocktail in your hand
- Franzoesische Strasse: As the name gives away, the street is located in the French Quarter which lures you with extravagant architecture, elegance, lots of cafes and culture. Browse in the iconic Galeries Lafayette’s, window-shop in the Quartier 206 for exclusive Designer brands, stroll around Gendarmenmarkt: The French cathedral, built in 1701 for the Huguenot community, boasts a viewing platform providing a panoramic view of Berlin. Make sure to also pop into nearby “Rausch” – a chocolatier known for the best hot (and cold!) chocolate in town!
- Dussman Haus: Best Address in town, on the corner of Friedrichstrasse and Unter den Linden. A so called “Cultural department store”, it offers books, music and calendars on 4 floors
- Camera work gallery in Kantstrasse: The Gallery presents not only photo icons such as Man Ray, Irving Penn, Horst P. Horst, Peter Lindbergh, Peter Beard, Richard Avedon, Diane Arbus and Helmut Newton but also exhibits young, up-and-coming artists who are just starting their careers
- Grilling – the most German of summer activities – head for “Mauerpark” in Prenzlberg and enjoy the cosmopolitan atmosphere while tucking into a freshly barbequed sausage
- Swimming: Berlin can get very hot in summer (up to 38 degrees!), so make sure to cool down and head dive into one of the many lakes surrounding Berlin, or public Lidos.