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Top insider tips for Berlin

Known around the world as a place with a heart-wrenching history, with memories of World War II bombings, heavy artilery and street-by-street fighting, Berlin has come a long way and is now known as a vibey, artsy metropolis in Germany.

Since the wall came down, the city has also become a popular tourist destination and thus, if you don’t plan properly, you might not have such a great time – mostly spending your time waiting in queues.

Here are a couple of useful insider tips for your visit to Berlin:

1.For an incredible view of the city

For While the TV tower is a great – and certainly the most popular – place to get a view of Berlin, a visit to the top of this tower will put you back almost €20 (plus it will most probably require waiting in a queue). If you are however tight on time and perhaps budget, you can visit the rooftop terrace of the Park Inn by Radisson Hotel in Mitte, located a stone’s throw from the TV tower, instead. Though it’s not free, it’s substantially cheaper.

Another, more alternative option for getting an incredible view of the city, is heading toward Teufelsberg. Teufelsberg has an intriguing history: the old spy station – used during the Cold War by the Americans and British to learn what was going on in Russian-controlled East Germany – is eerie and dilapidated, but at the same time mesmerising. After the war, rubble from the devastated city was brought here with trucks and it soon become the highest point in West Berlin. The dumping stopped in 1972, after which they planted trees to make the man-made hill a bit easier on the eye, and in addition, a ski slope was built (complete with a ski lift, a ski jump and a toboggan run).

2. For street art

Berlin – scattered with skeletal buildings, forgotten theme parks and abandoned bunkers – is a street artist’s dream. It was actually one of the first cities to catch onto the street art boom. Post reunification, street artists and buskers flocked to the German capital to make their mark.

To appreciate Berlin’s street art, one needs only to walk the streets of the city and look around. At Mauerpark, you can enjoy a market-style breakfast whilst admiring the jugglers and slack-liners, magicians and talented live musicians among many other artists.

Though the East Side Gallery is a must-see for its murals and historical value, you can also see some super interesting graffiti art at abovementioned Teufelsberg.

3. For Greenery

For a major city, Berlin boasts a lot of greenery. You can easily find a spot with grass and trees, such as a park, a garden, or a forest. Some great spots to visit include Grunewald forest, Humboldthain park and Viktoriapark.

Berlin started introducing garden colonies (also known as Schrebergärten or Kleingarten) dates back to the period of strong industrialisation and urbanisation in the 19th century. For many families during World Wars I and II, the food produced in these allotment gardens became essential for survival. Most of the time these colonies are accessible to passers-by, however it also depends on each colony. Some, for example don’t allow cars to exit or enter (even if it’s owners) on weekends, which are reserved for quiet gardening time.

Join us on our next Eastern European trip to get a taste of the incredible city of Berlin! For more, email info@ctheworld.co.za