How To Turn Your Berlin Break From Blah Into Fantastic
Everyone that visits Berlin knows that it’s full of important historical sites. But that’s not all it’s famous for. If you’re looking for some fun as well as culture, then hold onto your hat because we are about to take you there.
Like many European cities, Berlin has a well-established tradition of outdoor activities including swimming. This is a perfect thing to do to relax or keep the little one entertained. The jewel in the crown has to be The Badeschiff. This crazy invention was once a heavy duty shipping container. It is now floating in the river Spree and is a popular hangout in the day for families. At night they light the pool, and it becomes an uber cool backdrop for the party scene.
There are lots of other pools, lidos and lakes around Berlin too. They tend to replicate the beach life that you get on the coast, so expect cafes, home brought BBQ’s, beers and DJ parties at night. Try Strandbad Plötzenseem, a Lake, half an hour train ride from Alexanderplatz. Or Haubentaucher a new, purpose built Lido with a swimming pool, street food and a climbing wall. Careful though it’s not heated! If you would like to do a tour of Berlin’s pools, check here for a useful guide.
As a major European country, you would expect Germany to host some of the best festivals. Well, if you visit Germany and you won’t be disappointed. In particular there is a huge range in Berlin that you can choose from. Lollapalooza is the big music festival, running in September each year. Headlines for 2016 include New Order and the ever popular Radiohead. If music’s your thing, but you prefer something on a more classical note, try the Musikfest Berlin. Also running during September. The Musikfest in held in concert hall across the city,. It provides residents and visitors alike, the chance to watch live performances by some of the best orchestras in the world.
If you love the visual arts, then maybe Neon Chocolate is more your style? A two-day festival in July, Neon Chocolate is located in the Berliner Postbahnhof. Expect street food, concerts, kids activities and of course the trendy artists of Berlin selling their wares.
If you happen to be lucky enough to be in Berlin in October, then check out the Sultan’s festival in the Gärten der Welt. Make the most of the exotic atmosphere by watching the camels and belly-dancing. Or just listen to the music and soak up the beautiful Asian-style garden.
Berlin also has some fantastic places to fill your belly. Most famous of all its culinary treats are pretzels, currywurst and schnitzel.
Pretzels are a traditional German snack made from dough and formed into a twisted knot. They are usually boiled, then baked and then traditionally dusted with rock salt. Although other popular toppings include cheese, poppy and pumpkin seeds. In Berlin, you will find the giant soft pretzels which are a perfect snack to accompany beer or when walking around an attraction. Will you also find cafes devoted to the art of pretzel making and eating the organic Weichardt Brot.
CurryWurst is a meal famous all over the world. Consisting of a German pork sausage (wurst) topped with curry sauce and usually served with fries, this is a hearty feast. Usually bought from wurst stands and eaten on the go, the currywurst is very popular with visitors to Berlin. Go to Witty’s, Konnopke’s Imbiss, or Curry 36 for the best sausages in town. Strangely, I have it on good authority though that the natives prefer the authentic Turkish kebab houses for a post-booze up snack.
Finally, don’t miss the-the old German favourite that is schnitzel. Schnitzel, if you have never had it before is is a slice of meat tenderised, then coated in flour, egg and breadcrumbs and fried. It is popular all over the world but is said to originate in Germany with the world schnitzel coming from the German word for slice. It can be made from pork, chicken, turkey, or veal. If it is made from veal, it will be called Wiener Schnitzel. `it is also possible to get it with a layer of cheese and ham in between the meat and the breadcrumbs, which is very tasty. A great place in Berlin to get some Schnitzel is Alpenstück in Berlin- Mitte. A modern restaurant with a simple menu, Alpenstock specialises in making all their German-Austrian foods. So why not try a few other things off the menu while you’re there? The cheese noodles served with a green salad or the apple strudel with vanilla sauce sound particularly tempting?
Talking of booze, the nightlife in Berlin is legendary. Whatever you’re into there is probably something for you here. First of all, you have to try some delicious German beer. Test out the theory that German brewed beer is so pure that it doesn’t give you a hangover by heading to one of the craft pubs. The Vagabund Brauerei is popular, as is Herman Belgian Ales, who have a selection of over 100 beers in bottles and four on tap at anyone time.
Once, you’ve had a few beers, and remember that a stein is pretty big, you might want to get your dancing shoes on. Luckily, Berlin is packed full of clubs in which to do this. Germany is famed for its techno music, and you need to visit Berghain/Panorama Bar if that is your thing. Working a more Burlesque, hipster angle is White Trash. Or you could choose between clubs built in old power stations or swimming pools like Tresor or The Prince Charles.
If you need a quiet day out after all that partying, why not check out some of the amazing museums and galleries Berlin has to offer. Start with the Bauhaus Archives, where you can see some brutalist architecture in the flesh. You should check out the Gallery of Contemporary Fine Arts, with plenty of exhibits to puzzle over. Also don’t miss the currywurst museum either, just in case you are feeling peckish again!