Where To Stay In Berlin: The Ultimate Neighborhood Guide
Berlin has become a must-see city, especially since the reunification of East and West. The city offers every type of accommodation the traveler could need, right through from cheap hotels for budget travelers, to the latest upmarket boutique hotel. Of course, your choice need not be made purely on the grounds of budget. Easy access to the sites you most want to visit is also going to play a critical part on your choice of where to stay in Berlin.
Every Berlin neighborhood is different and has a character all of its own. It is unique among European capitals in that it comes with such a complex history. Where else can you visit famous landmarks such as Checkpoint Charlie and the Berlin Wall Memorial in the morning, and then find yourself scanning boutique shops and amazing street art in the afternoon?
Although many of the tourist attractions are in walking distance of the city center and the public transport is efficient, choosing where to stay in Berlin is important. This city has a wide geographical spread and covers five times the area of Paris but our Berlin neighborhood guide will help point you in the right direction. Another important point to bear in mind is luggage storage. You don't want to find your visit dampened by having to drag large bags with you and our Berlin luggage storage services have some convenient options in this regard. And if you're wondering how to navigate the sprawling metropolis, check out our guide to how to get around Berlin.
There is no doubt that for the tourist, this has to be the most convenient option. Berlin Mitte is one of the oldest parts of the city and is situated right in central Berlin. You will be within walking distance of sites such as the Berlin Cathedral, Brandenburg Gate, Museum Island, East Berlin, and the DDR Museum. You will also have options as varied as paying your respects at the Memorial for Murdered Jews to shopping your heart out along Friedrichstrasse. Museum Island alone has enough cultural opportunities to keep you busy for days.
The area includes sites such as Checkpoint Charlie and the Television Tower that are in areas that were formerly part of East Berlin.
In addition to offering access to some of the best-known Berlin attractions, you will be spoiled for choice when it comes to accommodation. Whether you are after an Air B and B or a low-budget hostel you will find what you are looking for in Mitte. It doesn't end there, however. You will not have any trouble finding a mid-range hotel and if you feel like splashing out on a luxury hotel, the Grand Hyatt Berlin is located not far from the popular Potsdamer Platz and offers an excellent place to stay in Berlin.
There is a further incentive for considering Mitte if you are arriving via the train station. Berlin's central station is the city's main train station, is conveniently close, and connects with local buses, the U bahn and taxis.
Mitte is also an area comes alive at night. And if you come to Berlin to party, you've come to the right place. Check out our guide to unmissable things to do in Berlin at night.
Bordering on Mitte, but lying slightly to the southeast, is the Berlin district of Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg. Here you will get an altogether different vibe to the city center. Still close enough to allow access, Friedrichshain is an arty district with a far more edgy feel to it. It is sometimes referred to as alternative Berlin.
Its most famous gallery, and one you should definitely visit, is the East Side Gallery. In fact, this isn't really a gallery at all in the traditional sense of the word. Instead, it is a 1.3 kilometer section of the infamous Berlin Wall that once ran for a distance of 155 kilometers (96 miles). Less than two kilometers of the wall remains standing and that now provides the backdrop for some very interesting and thought-provoking art works by a number of international and local artists. It was first painted in 1990 and then again in 2009.
If you are looking for a good meal, then Simon-Dache Strasse is the street to head for. Here you will find a mouth-watering array of restaurants to consider and also have the opportunity to sample some of Berlin's favorite dishes that no stay in Berlin would be complete without.
Other visits to try to squeeze into your agenda include the Wall Museum, the Computer Games Museum, and the fascinating Stasi Museum, which will provide insights into the activities of the notorious Secret Police. The RAW Flohmarkt is a flea market where you will find antiques, collectibles, and some great food. It is open weekly.
Overall, this huge and diverse district that borders the River Spree is regarded as one of the coolest areas for young people, not only in Berlin, but in Europe. It is known for its alternative lifestyle, trendy bars, and for having the highest density of clubs in Berlin. If you're a night owl or party animal wondering where to stay in Berlin, you have your answer.
Accommodation, as one would expect in such a popular area, is bountiful and varied. There are youth hostels and boutique hotels as well as a wide range of B and Bs. One of the top-end hotels would be the Hampton by Hilton which is situated in Friedrichshain. The area is a little further out than Mitte but with all-night public transport and plenty on offer in the area itself, this doesn't need to be a problem.
Cruises along the Spree River are popular as are strolls across the breathtaking Oberbaumbrucke Bridge on which there are almost always live musicians performing and regular concerts. The pedestrian bridge once served as a Berlin border crossing before the wall was destroyed.
Also butting up against Mitte, but this time to the west, is the district of Prenzlauer Berg. Its position ensures easy city access, but with that little bit of extra distance that adds to the tranquility. This was once regarded as a very bohemian area, and although it has now been colonized by more middle-class residents, it still has that arty feel to it.
The area teems with coffee bars and art galleries and is also home to Berlin's largest flea market which is held in Mauern Park every Sunday. Even if you don't get there for the market, this is a huge park that offers the opportunity to both stretch your legs and people-watch at the same time. There are food stalls and a regular stream of performing street artists so you are assured of something for both adults and kids.
This quirky area is a fantastic place to eat, no matter what you like. If you're a fan of leisurely dining, check out our guide to the best brunch in Berlin.
You will have no trouble finding accommodation that coincides with your budget. There is a good hostel, a variety of boutiques hotels, Air B and B's, and the odd mid-range hotel. If you are after a more luxurious experience then the Oderberger offers luxury rooms and an indoor swimming pool.
For the ardent bibliophile, the place to head for is St. George's Bookshop where the rooms are stacked from floor to ceiling with a wide range of books covering every subject you care to imagine. If quietly paging through books is not for you, don't be alarmed. The area also hosts some serious night spots and great bars. This area has something to offer just about everyone looking for a place to stay in Berlin.
Once among the poorest neighborhoods in west Berlin, the area has changed dramatically and now offers visitors a very multicultural experience. It is traversed by the Landwehrkanal and this provides an attractive backdrop to an enormous variety of bars, cafes, and restaurants. It is also a great place to wander just to get a feel for the varied cultures living in the area.
Although Mitte is normally the Berlin district most associated with museums, Kreuzenberg has a few of its own to tempt you. The Berlin Jewish Museum is situated here, as is the St. Agnes art gallery. This converted church has an intimidating exterior but contains some great examples of modernist art. It is also another example of how Berliners have managed to combine some of their brutal past into a modern-day thriving attraction.
Food options abound and the large resident Turkish population means that there are some interesting exotic dishes available. If street food is on your must-try list during your stay in Berlin, Markthalle Neun is somewhere you might want to consider grabbing a bite. Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays it combines a fresh produce market with many different food stalls and eating experiences, while Sunday mornings provide an opportunity to indulge in a blowout breakfast that is not to be missed.
This more upmarket area was once a town in its own right but was gobbled up by its neighbor as Berlin expanded. It makes for a great place to stay in Berlin if you are travelling with kids as it is safe and affords easy access to Berlin Zoo. It may be a little further from the the city center but that doesn't need to be a problem due to the highly efficient tram system. Once you have toured the Berlin Zoo, take the family to the Berlin Wall for a visit they will remember forever.
To get to the Berlin Wall, jump on an underground train at the U-Bahn station and you will be there in just over twenty minutes. The cost is 3 to 6 Euros. The very popular and central Potsdamer Platz can also be reached using the tram and takes twenty two minutes. Another important factor when traveling with kids is the journey time to the airport. Here you are at a big advantage because Berlin Tegel Airport is just seven minutes bus ride away using the 109 bus.
In addition to the zoo, there is a huge park surrounding Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf Palace where the kids can let off steam, and the nearby Tiergarten is the oldest park in the city. For the adults, the shopping street to head for is Kurfurstendamm where you can get into some serious retail therapy. The Best Western Plus Hotel on that street offers large rooms and even has quadruple rooms and bike hire making for an ideal place if you are traveling as a large family and wondering where to stay in Berlin.
Further to the south east of the center lies Neukolln which was incorporated into Berlin in 1920 and was part of the American sector before reunification. Once a working-class suburb, it has seen massive transformation in recent years as it became a trendy alternative for students and artists looking for cheaper rentals.
Today Neukolln is home to many cool bars, restaurants and coffee shops. Its cobbled quiet side streets running parallel to more modern roads gives it an eclectic mix of new and old that blend comfortably together. It offers several parks including Korner Park which is regarded as one of the most beautiful in Berlin. The former Tempelhof Feld is an airfield that closed in 2008 and has since become a multi-use outdoor space that also plays host to the Berlin Music Festival.
In terms of accommodation, the weary traveler wondering where to stay in Berlin will find that there are many options to consider. In addition to the usual hotels and B and B's, there are also some great short term rental apartments that make self-catering easy and sometimes include a buffet breakfast. You can even find yourself a motel if you visit Berlin with a car.
Berlin is a city with such an unusual history that it is sometimes difficult to sum it up. When East Germany and West Germany were re-unified after decades of mutual distrust, nobody was sure what would happen. But the different aspects of Berlin have combined to make an enthralling city that's like nowhere else on earth.
Today, in one city you can visit the Holocaust Memorial , the Stasi Museum, the Brandenburg Gate, and Checkpoint Charlie in a few short hours, and all will have their stories to tell.
Somehow, Berlin has managed to amalgamate these vastly different stories and create a new one. One that is all its own. It is a vibrant city teeming with art galleries, boutique hotels, cool bars, and open-minded people. It has turned a ghastly past into a fascinating and creative present.
The many Berlin hotels, efficient public transport system, and good international links make this a European city destination that any traveler would do well to consider. Hopefully, we've pointed you towards a few options for where to stay in Berlin. And remember, Bounce luggage storage services will make your stay easier by relieving you of the burden of having to look after your bags, thus leaving you free to dive into your Berlin adventure.