Category Archives: What to see and do in Berlin

Christmas Markets

Alexanderplatz – three christmas markets at one spot

Alexanderplatz Christmas Market
11/21/2016 to 12/26/2016
10a.m.-10p.m. (24.12.: 10a.m.-2p.m.)
U/S: Alexanderplatz
 
Winterdream at Alexa
11/21/2016 to 12/23/2016
Mon-Fri 1p.m.-10p.m.
Sat-Sun 12(noon).-10p.m.
Alexanderstraße 1
U/S: Alexanderplatz
 
Berliner Weihnachstzeit/Christmas time by Roter Rathaus
11/21/2016 to 12/29/2016
Mon-Fri 12(noon)-10p.m.
Sat-Sun 11a.m.-10p.m.
12/24/2016: closed
25+26+29/12/2016: 11a.m.-9p.m.
Rathausstraße 15
U/S: Alexanderplatz

Here you have don’t only one but three christmas markets in one – more or less. On the actual Alexanderplatz there is the Alexanderplatz Christmas Market where you can find anything and everything between handicrafts, souvenirs, traditional german food and drinks. Right by the shopping mall Alexa you can visit the Winterdream at Alexa market where there is usually german Wurst (sausage), a singing moose and a ride or two. If you continue alongside Alexa on Alexanderstraße you will see the big ferris wheel, and this is where the Berliner Weihnachtszeit is. If you go for a ride in the wheel you have a marvellous sight of the city. This market also has a 600 square meter ice rink and you can even rent skates for 4€.

Nostalgic Christmas Market, Opernpalais

11/24/2016 to 12/29/2016
Every day: 12(noon)-9.30p.m.
12/24/2016: closed
Schlossplatz 1
S: Hackescher Markt or Alexanderplatz or Friedrichstraße
U: Märkisches Museum

The Nostalgic Christmas Market at Opernpalais consists out of 150 small wooden houses where handicrafts, food and drinks are sold. It is also the closes one from the Heart of Gold Hostel, just walk down Tucholskystraße until you hit Unter den Linden and you are there. The market also hosts a ferries wheel which is more than 100 years old. This is a very charming market that lives up to its name.

 

Christmas Market at Potsdamer Platz

11/21/2016 to 12/26/2016
daily 10 a.m.-10 p.m.
24th until 2.p.m.
Alte Potsdamer Straße 1
S/U: Potsdamer Platz

What is probably most special about this market is the Winter World. There is an ice rink and a 12 meter high, 70 meter long toboggan run – or Rodelbahn in German. You can also try the austrian cuisine in a wooden hut that seats more than 200 people and gives a genuine après-ski ambient. On the weekends you can also enjoy some live music here. There is also a handicraft part of the market where you can also watch the items being made.

Christmas Market at Gendarmenmarkt

11/21/2016 to 12/31/2016
daily 11a.m.-10p.m.
24th and 31st until 6p.m.
Gendarmenmarkt 1
U: Hausvogteiplatz
S: Brandenburger Tor
1€ admission

This christmas market walks the extra mile for you, but asks for one euro in return. Besides from the standard stands where you can find more or less anything your heart desires there is also art-exhibitions, a stage where preformances take place and of course unlimited amounts of mulled wine a.k.a. Glühwein.

Christmas Market at Charlottenburg Castle

11/21/2016 to 12/26/2016
Mo-Thu 2 a.m.-10 p.m.
Fr-Su 12-10p.m.,
Christmas holidays: 12-8p.m.
12/24/2016 closed
Spandauer Damm 10
S: Westend

In 2008 this market got chosen for the title “most beloved christmas market” and is really worthy of it’s royal location. There are about 250 international vendors here and it is truly a beautiful place to be. One of the highlights are the light installations on the castle that casts a romantic glow and feeling over the market. You can enjoy traditional german christmas food and there is a special part of the market for children.

Lucia Christmas Market in the Kulturbrauerei

11/21/2016 to 12/22/2016
Mo-Thu 3 p.m.-10 p.m.
Sa&Su 1p.m.-10p.m.
Schönhauser Allee 36
U: Eberswalder Straße

The Kulturbrauerei is an old brewery in Prenzlauer Berg. Nowadays the only thing brewed here is culture – and an authentic scandinavian christmas atmosphere. There are 60 scandi-style red and white stands. On the 13th of December Lucia is celebrated in Sweden. She is a bringer of light and so is this christmas market. An art-installation stands for heating and you will also find scandinavian delicacies to snack on.

The Green Market Christmas Edition

12/17/2016 & 12/18/2016
12(noon) – 10p.m.

Agora Rollberg (indoor & outdoor)
Am Sudhaus 2 (old Kindl Brauerei)
12053 Berlin-Neukölln

U7- Rathaus Neukölln
U8 – Boddinstraße
Bus 195 + 104 – Alfred-Scholz Platz

Berlin is truly the Vegan capital of Europe and this is good news for all animal-friendly plant-munchers in Berlin; The first vegan Christmas market in Berlin. It takes place in in the old Kindl Brewery and costs 2€. Besides stands with different stuff there will also be creative workshops for children and adults.

Ice Cream in Berlin

Ice cream

We barbecue almost every day during the summer at the Heart of Gold Hostel Berlin. The only thing we don’t offer is dessert. Luckily, there are many wonderful places to get ice cream in Berlin. These are just a stone’s throw from the hostel:

Eismanufaktur Berlin

Auguststr. 63, 10117 Berlin
 

Der Eisladen

 Luisenstr. 14, 10117 Berlin
 

Yoli Frozen Yogurt

Invalidenstr. 112, 10115 Berlin
 

These are a bit further away, but worth a trip:

Fräulein Frost

Friedelstr. 39, 12047 Berlin
U Schönleinstr. / U Hermannplatz

Inka Eis

Belziger Str. 44, 10823 Berlin
U Eisenacher Str.
 

Caramello

Wühlischstr. 31, 10245 Berlin
S Warschauer Str.
 

Restaurants in Berlin

There are innumerable restaurants in Berlin. Just as pretty much every culture in the world is represented here, so is just about every cuisine. But you should not pass up the chance to try some of the local specialities. Here are some recommendable eateries near the Heart of Gold Hostel in Berlin-Mitte.

Restauration Tucholsky

Torstr. 189, 10115 Berlin
S Oranienburger Str.

Typical food from Berlin and other parts of Germany, ’20s-style design, plenty of outside seating. Just a couple of minutes walk from the Heart of Gold Hostel.

Aufsturz

Oranienburger Str. 67, 10117 Berlin
S Oranienburger Str.

Seats about 200 inside and another 100 outside, so this is a good place to go in a big group. The food is on the simple side, but they serve over 100 different kinds of beer and more than 40 brands of whisk(e)y. Right around the corner from the Heart of Gold Hostel.

Curry Mitte

Torstr. 122, 10119 Berlin
U Rosenthaler Platz

You can’t not have a currywurst while in Berlin. We’re talking about THE Berlin fast food here: grilled sausage smothered in a curry-ketchup sauce, usually served with fries. This is just one of many places to go for a currywurst. The one at the Friedrichstr. train station is good, too.

All in One

Rosenthaler Str. 43, 10178 Berlin
S Hackescher Markt / U Weinmeisterstr.

Did we say currywurst was THE fast food in Berlin? Well, let’s amend that to say that it shares that distinction with the döner kebab. It’s Turkish, but legend has it that it was invented in Germany by one of the millions of Turkish immigrants here. You can’t walk two minutes in any direction in Berlin without seeing a rotating mound of meat on a spit.

Kopps

Linienstr. 94, 10115 Berlin
U Rosenthaler Platz

German food is all about meat, right? This vegan restaurant dispels that myth with ease.

White Trash Fast Food

Schönhauser Allee 6-7, 10119 Berlin
U Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz

Kind of an American diner with a multicultural rock ‘n roll twist. You can get a good burger here, as well as Thai BBQ shrimp, burritos, schnitzel …

Swimming in Berlin

Badeschiff

Summer is now officially upon us, and it has arrived with a vengeance. If your schedule is not already jam-packed with sightseeing, or you find yourself curling up in shady corners gasping for air, you might want to find a way to cool off. Luckily, there are plenty of places to go swimming in Berlin. None of the following are very far from the Heart of Gold Hostel.

Sommerbad Humboldthain

Wiesenstr. 1, 13357 Berlin
S Humboldthain / U Gesundbrunnen
Admission: 4.50€

An outdoor swimming pool in a park just two stops by S-Bahn (local train) from the Heart of Gold Hostel.

Sommerbad Pankow

Wolfshagener Str. 91-93, 13187 Berlin
S/U Pankow – Tram Stiftsweg
Admission: 4.50€

Another outdoor swimming pool in a park. A bit further away than Humboldthain, but this one has water slides, water cannons and diving platforms.

Strandbad Plötzensee

Nordufer 26, 13351 Berlin
Bus Sylter Str.
Admission: 4€

A lake with a sand beach, including a nudist section, beach chairs, beach volleyball … beach everything.

Strandbad am Weißen See

Berliner Allee 155, 13088 Berlin
Tram/Bus Berliner Allee / Indira-Gandhi-Str.
Admission: 4€

Another lake with a sand beach. This one has palm trees, a bar and occasional parties.

Badeschiff

Eichenstr. 4, 12435 Berlin
S Treptower Park / U Schlesisches Tor
Admission: 5€

A swimming pool in the middle of the Spree river, next to a beach bar. It’s always very full and the atmosphere is ripe with hipness.

 

Live Music in Berlin

There is no arguing the fact that, in terms of sheer quantity, Berlin’s music scene is dominated by electronic fare. But that doesn’t mean that there is no room for those of us who like our tunes the old-fashioned way: played on real instruments by real people. Several members of our staff here at the Heart of Gold Hostel are musicians, and occasionally they will get up on the little stage in our bar and treat our guests to some rock ‘n roll. There are, of course, many other great venues for live music in Berlin. Here are a few of them:

Quasimodo

www.quasimodo.de
Kantstr. 12A, 10623 Berlin
S & U Zoologischer Garten

Berlin’s oldest and most venerable jazz club. Dizzy Gilespie, Art Blakey and Chet Baker, among others, have played here. Not purely a jazz affair nowadays; funk, soul, blues, bossa nova etc. are also on the menu.

SO36

www.so36.de
Oranienstr. 190, 10999 Berlin
U Görlitzer Bahnhof

A punk rock institution right in the thick of things in Kreuzberg, though other genres are also represented, sometimes by big-name bands.

White Trash Fast Food

www.whitetrashfastfood.com
Schönhauser Allee 6-7, 10119 Berlin
U Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz

Not just a burger joint, tattoo parlor and club, but also frequent host to rock ‘n roll bands of all kinds. There is a “Diamond Lounge” downstairs for concerts, but many of the shows take place in the restaurant.

Yaam

www.yaam.de
Stralauer Platz 35, 10243 Berlin
S Ostbahnhof

The home of Berlin’s reggae scene. Kind of a little commune, with African and Caribbean food, a beach bar, a half-pipe, a basketball court, workshops for kids… Will probably have to move soon to make way for the construction of office buildings.

Wild at Heart

www.wildatheartberlin.de
Wiener Str. 20, 10999 Berlin
U Görlitzer Bahnhof

Several concerts per week, mostly punk, mostly lesser-known bands.

Karneval der Kulturen

Berlin is once again staging a giant street festival this weekend: the annual Karneval der Kulturen (“Carnival of Cultures”), which takes place over four days in the neighborhood of Kreuzberg.

The main event is the parade on Sunday, where more than a million people are expected to show up to cheer on about 4000 parade participants on 75 floats. It’s kind of like the carnival in Rio, but a little less humid.

As the name suggests, most of the world’s cultures are represented, not only in the parade, but also in the form of countless food stalls as well as four stages, each with live music from a different part of the world.

We at the Heart of Gold Hostel, probably the most musician-friendly hostel in Berlin, are once again accommodating several Latin American bands that are playing on the Latinauta stage at the carnival.

Museums in Berlin

Amid all the talk about Berlin’s nightlife, it is not mentioned nearly often enough how much Germany’s capital has to offer during the day. Here is a list of just a few of the many great museums in Berlin.

Pergamon Museum

www.smb.museum/smb/standorte/index.php?p=2&objID=27&n=15
Bodestr., 10178 Berlin
S & U Friedrichstr.

World-renowned for its reconstructed monumental buildings from Greek and Roman antiquity. Just one of five excellent museums that make up Museum Island, a UNESCO World Heritag site.

Jewish Museum

www.jmberlin.de
Lindenstr. 9-14, 10969 Berlin
U Hallesches Tor

Two millennia of Jewish German history in an architecturally spectacular building. It’ll take you at least one whole day to see everything.

Topography of Terror

www.topographie.de
Niederkirchnerstr. 8, 10963 Berlin
S Anhalter Bahnhof

An outdoor museum on the former site of the Gestapo and SS headquarters. Features a “documentation center” of Nazi crimes.

Berlin Wall Memorial

www.berliner-mauer-gedenkstaette.de
Bernauer Str. 111, 13355 Berlin
U Bernauer Str. / S Nordbahnhof

A fully preserved piece of the wall, including the “death strip,” as well as another documentation center.

Neue Nationalgalerie

www.smb.museum/smb/standorte/index.php?p=2&objID=31&n=16
Potsdamer Str. 50, 10785 Berlin
S & U Potsdamer Platz

A museum for 20th-century European art, with works by the likes of Picasso, Miró, Kandinsky…

Museum für Naturkunde

www.naturkundemuseum-berlin.de
Invalidenstr. 43, 10115 Berlin
U Naturkundemuseum

The natural history museum with the world’s biggest dinosaur skeleton is in … New York, right? Nope, right here.

Ramones Museum

www.ramonesmuseum.com
Krausnickstr. 23, 10115 Berlin
S Oranienburger Str.

Gabba gabba hey!

Tours of Berlin

There is a lot to see in Berlin, but how to go about taking it all in? We at the Heart of Gold Hostel are always happy to provide information and recommendations, but we can only take you as far as the front door. So here is a list of tours of Berlin:

Brewer’s

www.brewersberlintours.com

The best way to really get to know a city is by walking around. The best way to learn about what you’re seeing while walking around is by going on a walking tour. And the best walking tours in Berlin, in our humble opinion, are the ones offered by Brewer’s Berlin. They feature a core group of knowledgeable and experienced young people, each with a unique background and perspective on the city. Brewer’s has a free 3.5-hour tour (keep in mind, though, that the guides work for tips) and a 6-hour “Best of Berlin” tour for 15€ (12 for students) every day. And the best part: they pick you up at the Heart of Gold Hostel!

Fat Tire Bike Tours

www.fattirebiketours.com/berlin

Berlin is a bike-friendly city and a pretty expansive one at that, so if you want to cover more ground in less time, these guys can help you out. We also rent out their bicycles directly at the hostel, for you independent-spirited types.

Mosaic Tours

www.mosaictours.org

There was a concentration camp called Sachsenhausen just outside Berlin, which has been preserved as a memorial. You can go there on your own, but you might want to consider the tours offered by this non-profit. The tour lasts about six hours. It’s 15€ (12 for students), not including the train ticket. Net proceeds are donated to three charities, including Amnesty International.

Berliner Unterwelten

www.berliner-unterwelten.de

There’s more to Berlin than meets the eye. Discover Berlin’s underground (by which we mean neither the subway, nor the techno scene), including some World War II bunkers, by going on one of the many different tours offered by this company.

Trabi Safari

www.trabisafari.de

Maybe the most fun sightseeing tour by driving through Berlin in a Trabi – the famous East German Car – also called “Pappe”. You can also rent a Trabi.

Stern und Kreisschiffahrt

www.sternundkreis.de

Berlin’s waterways include not only the Spree river, but also a series of canals. This company offers boat tours with several different stops where you can get on, including one just a short walk from the hostel. The city sure is pretty when you look at it from a boat on a nice day.

Clubs in Berlin

One of Berlin’s biggest attractions is its plethora of underground and/or fashionable clubs, where many of the world’s most famous DJs feed the frenzied, sweaty masses until well past the wee hours of the morning with mostly electronic music. At the Heart of Gold Hostel, we are constantly asked about the best places to go clubbing, but of course tastes differ, so it’s best to do a little research before going out. Here is a short list of a few of the most popular clubs in Berlin.

Berghain

www.berghain.de
Am Wriezener Bahnhof, 10243 Berlin
S Ostbahnhof

The superstar of Berlin’s club scene. Where people happily stand in line in the cold for two hours, just to be denied entrance by a famous bouncer. And where Sunday afternoons are anything but wholesome.

Watergate

www.water-gate.de
Falckensteinstr. 49, 10997 Berlin
U Schlesisches Tor

Consistently named among the top three clubs in Berlin. Features a superb view from its terrace of the river and the beautiful Oberbaumbrücke, the bridge that connects the Friedrichshain and Kreuzberg districts. Open on Wednesdays.

Tresor

www.tresorberlin.com
Köpenicker Str. 70, 10179 Berlin
U Heinrich-Heine-Str.

One of the oldest and most influential institutions of Berlin’s techno scene and another good choice (among few options) on Wednesdays.

Weekend

www.week-end-berlin.de
Alexanderstr. 7, 10178 Berlin
S & U Alexanderplatz

Located on the 12th and 15th floors of a Soviet-style building right next to the TV tower at Alexanderplatz. Touristy and pricy, but the view from the rooftop bar at dawn is hard to beat.

Kater Holzig

www.katerholzig.de
Michaelkirchstr. 23, 10179 Berlin
S & U Jannowitzbrücke

Walking into this labyrinthine compound is kind of like going down the rabbit hole. A monument to the weird and a hipster favorite. Moving across the river in August.

Club der Visionäre

www.clubdervisionaere.com
Am Flutgraben 1, 12435 Berlin
S Schlesisches Tor / S Treptower Park

A pleasant canal-side destination for mellow party-goers that opens every day at 2pm (noon on weekends).

Matrix

www.matrix-berlin.de
Warschauer Platz 18, 10245 Berlin
S & U Warschauer Str.

Open every night and to just about anybody.

Sights in Berlin

Here is a list of some of the most popular and interesting sights in Berlin, many of which are just a short walk from the Heart of Gold Hostel.

Brandenburg Gate

Pariser Platz 1, 10117 Berlin
S & U Brandenburger Tor

A former city gate, rebuilt in the late 18th century. Later caught in no-man’s land between East and West Berlin. (In Reagan’s famous 1987 speech, the line right before “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” was “Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate!”). Now the most recognizable landmark in Germany, as evidenced by the country’s  10, 20 and 50 cent coins.

Holocaust Memorial

Cora-Berliner-Str. 1, 10117 Berlin
S & U Brandenburger Tor

Full name: Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. This enormous work of outdoor abstract art with its concrete slabs and sloping ground may seem like a nice place to have a picnic or play hide and seek, but please keep in mind what it represents.

Checkpoint Charlie

Friedrichstr. 43, 10969 Berlin
U6 Kochstr.

A former Cold War checkpoint, made famous by numerous spy novels. Now a giant tourist magnet, complete with a museum and actors (who may or may not be strippers) dressed up as Soviet and American soldiers, who charge you to have your picture taken with them.

Museum Island

Am Kupfergraben, 10117 Berlin
S & U Friedrichstr.

The name says it all. There are five large museums, most built in the 19th century, on this small island in the Spree river. Perhaps the most impressive and internationally renowned of the five is the Pergamon Museum, with its reconstructed monumental buildings from Greek and Roman antiquity, as well as a large collection of Islamic art.

Reichstag Building

Platz der Republik 1, 10557 Berlin
U Bundestag

The building that housed the parliament of the German empire from 1894 until 1933, when it was damaged in a fire that the Nazis instrumentalized to terrorize opponents and consolidate power. It again became Germany’s parliament building (Bundestag) when the reunified country’s government moved back to Berlin in 1999. To visit the dome, you have to book in advance: https://visite.bundestag.de/BAPWeb/pages/createBookingRequest.jsf?lang=en

East Side Gallery

Mühlenstr., 10243 Berlin
S Ostbahnhof / S & U Warschauer Str.

Painted by artists from all over the world right after the fall of the Berlin Wall as a monument to freedom, it is by far the longest stretch of the Wall still standing, as well as the largest permanent outdoor art exhibit in the world. The East Side Gallery is currently under threat of partial demolition to create access routes to new apartment buildings. Insert your own sarcastic comment here:

TV Tower

Panoramastr. 1a, 10178 Berlin
S & U Alexanderplatz

This is Germany’s tallest structure. It is visible from almost everywhere in the city, so conveniently you don’t have to go to the eyesore that is Alexanderplatz to see it. If you do anyway, you can go up to the top, but be prepared for a long wait in line.

Kunsthaus Tacheles

Oranienburger Str. 54-56a, 10117 Berlin
U Oranienburger Tor

Just around the corner from the hostel, this building covered in giant graffiti murals was home to an artists collective, as well as a series of galleries and a sculpture park. Then everyone was evicted in late 2012. We are not pleased.