Hallo, Berlin! Tips For Travellers

Brimming with lush green expanses, lively plazas, and vibrant street art, this world-renowned party city has much more to offer than a diverse and energetic nightlife—although it has that, too. Berlin has managed to bloom into beauty out of a history saturated with destruction. Abandoned buildings serve as canvases for graffiti, or are recycled into […]

Brimming with lush green expanses, lively plazas, and vibrant street art, this world-renowned party city has much more to offer than a diverse and energetic nightlife—although it has that, too. Berlin has managed to bloom into beauty out of a history saturated with destruction. Abandoned buildings serve as canvases for graffiti, or are recycled into underground clubs for people to still be partying at 7am. Open air festivals overtake the summers, and Berlin’s bohemian culture thrives despite, or perhaps due to, its recent dark history, during which propaganda and censorship forced creativity into secrecy. Literary coffee-houses and book-shops are in abundance, and if aspiring writers and artists can’t find inspiration in the limitless museums and galleries, no doubt they will at poetry readings found in dimly-lit bars. Liberal, diverse Berlin is a far cry from the oppressed Cold War hotbed it was only forty years ago.

This artistic, literary city has produced many innovative thinkers, once being home to the sociologist Georg Simmel, actress Marlene Dietrich, and writer Jacob Grimm. The visiting writer Fyodor Dostoevsky, a pioneer in Russian literature, was inspired by the city too, and its most photographed building is as alternative as the city itself: the infamous balcony Michael Jackson hung his baby over.
Flights, trains, and buses are infamously inexpensive to and from Berlin, as are living costs, making it ideal for backpackers. Berlin’s primary industry is the high-tech sector, with Turkish kebabs also drawing in a high profit margin. Although thousands of tourists enjoy taking in the sights, visitors aren’t hemmed into claustrophobic areas. This is because the population only amounts to three and a half million people, in a city built for five million. Quiet spots are easy to find amongst the most busy of squares, such as the river-bank of Alexanderplatz, which enjoys a temperate climate all year.

From the scrawled-upon Berlin Wall to the more prestigious, informative courtyards of Museum Island, Berlin’s streets breathe creativity. The city’s coat of arms of a bear dancing freely can be seen everywhere, amongst the classic and contemporary architecture. As nostalgic as it is artistic, historical monuments such as the saddening Holocaust Memorial and the Memorial to the Persecution of Homosexuals warn of Berlin’s bloody past. However, by admitting, recognizing, and repenting its history, Berlin remains staunchly against ever repeating it. This guide will take you on a journey to Berlin’s iconic monuments, allow you to discover its hidden gems, and probe you to enjoy its notorious nightlife. Ready to explore? Let’s go!

Team CTR Berlin 2014
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