Where Should You Stay in Berlin?
As Germany’s most energetic city, Berlin has been attracting visitors from around the world ever since its iconic wall fell in 1989. More than 3.5 million people call Berlin home, and together they have turned the city into the nation’s capital of multiculturalism, history, entertainment and tolerance. Because the city is so large and diverse, it is essential that travelers thoroughly research their accommodation options and reserve a place that suits their travel style, budget and interests. These five neighborhoods all offer a variety of places to stay but have different atmospheres, unique attractions, and distinct advantages and disadvantages. Before you book your stay in Berlin, explore these five neighborhoods to find the one that best suits your travel style.
Once fully enclosed inside East Berlin, Friedrichshain today is a trendy, arts-focused district that also attracts expats and family travelers. The most famous attraction in this area is the East Side Gallery, which is the longest piece of the Berlin Wall to still be standing. This section of wall has been painted with more than 100 different murals, all painted by international artists to celebrate change, hope and freedom. In the evening, locals and visitors take to Friedrichshain’s streets to watch buskers and street musicians before heading to a hip bar or nightclub. Accommodation options in Friedrichshain include design-focused independent hotels and a small selection of international brands.
If visiting historical sites and wandering pensively through museums aren’t high on your to-do list, you might prefer a stay in Berlin’s original bohemian workers’ enclave: Kreuzberg. Cross-cultural interactions are this neighborhood’s claim to fame, as it is home most of the city’s Turkish immigrants and its best-known Middle Eastern restaurants. The graffiti-covered streets of Kreuzberg house countless second-hand shops, cafés, bars and nightclubs. Although this neighborhood is popular with tourists and generally safe, be forewarned that you may witness recreational drug use if you’re walking in isolated areas or after dark. Kreuzberg is packed with low-cost hostels, and there are countless street vendors who sell cheap food to the budget travelers who base themselves here.
Mitte is the German word for middle, so you can rest assured that if you choose a hotel in this area, you’ll be in the center of the city’s action. Mitte is home to many of the city’s most famous attractions, including Alexanderplatz, the Reichstag, the Brandenberg Gate, Checkpoint Charlie and Museum Island. You could easily spend an entire five-day vacation exclusively in Mitte, and you’d still leave the city feeling as though you’d only scratched the surface of this neighborhood. Mitte is also the middle of the city’s tourist district, so you’ll have more than three hundred different accommodation options ranging from international luxury hotels to “flashpack”- style boutique youth hostels.
Although Berlin is one of Europe’s most energetic and exciting cities, it is possible to enjoy a quieter, more relaxing stay in the German capital. Moabit is a central neighborhood surrounded by canals on every side. While most of the area is traditionally residential, there are many interesting art galleries (including the expansive Hamburger Banhhof contemporary art museum) and unique dining opportunities (like the cathedral-inspired Arminusmarkthalle, which now houses a collection of upscale food stalls). Moabit is the best neighborhood for families, as it has dozens of clean and comfortable apartments available for short-term rentals. Many of these rentals are close to picturesque parks with playgrounds and other child-friendly facilities.
If you’re traveling to Berlin because you want to see and be seen, base yourself in the uber-trendy Neukölln neighborhood. Berlin’s best street for nightlife, Weserstrasse, runs through Neukölln and is lined with up-and-coming live music venues, cocktail bars and craft beer bistros. There are also some fascinating tourist attractions in Neukölln, including the sprawling Tempelhofer Park (a former airport) and several architecturally noteworthy buildings in the Art Nouveau and Modernist styles. Hotels in Neukölln often see dramatic rate drops from Monday to Thursday, and the neighborhood’s apartment rentals offer a very affordable option for groups of two or more travelers.
Berlin’s highly efficient and affordable U-Bahn (subway) system makes traveling around the city easy, no matter where you choose to stay. Tickets can be purchased for a single voyage, one day of travel, or one week of travel, or visitors can purchase a BerlinWelcome card that offers unlimited travel on the U-Bahn system along with discounts at more than 200 attractions around the city. Another popular transportation option in Berlin is car rental. You can save considerable amount of money with a car rental weekend rate.
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