A Guide to the Best Place to Stay in Berlin for Tourists
Find the ideal base for your break in the German capital.
Known for its cosmopolitan feel, Berlin is a patchwork of diverse neighbourhoods, each with a distinctive character. Find the ideal base for your break in the German capital.
Three decades on from the reunification of the city (and Germany as a whole), forget any preconceived ideas you might have about West and East Berlin – the diversity on offer in the German capital stretches far beyond this antiquated dichotomy. From history-rich yet stylish Mitte to leafy Prenzlauer Berg and the creative haven that is Kreuzberg, the eclectic nature of Berlin’s districts underlies the buzz and dynamism for which the city is famed. Though getting around the city is a cinch, choosing the right Kiez (neighbourhood) to pitch your (metaphorical) tent will undoubtedly make your Berlin break that bit more relaxing.
Mitte literally (and fittingly) translates as the “middle”. It’s no exaggeration to say that, staying here, you are truly in the beating heart of the city. This is doubtless the best place to stay in Berlin for tourists if you're only in town for a fleeting visit – the city’s most renowned art galleries and cultural institutions are at your feet. UNESCO-listed Museum Island with its ensemble of five museums is an essential stop for anyone interested in artefacts from antiquity, Neoclassical paintings or Islamic art. With your base in Mitte, you’ll be strolling distance from the Reichstag building with its trademark glass dome, along with the unparalleled contemporary art offering of Auguststraße. When it comes to choosing accommodation, it doesn’t get more central than Plum Guide's compact but pristine Versus studio apartment.
If Charlottenburg were a person, you know she’d be well dressed. Indeed, this western Berlin neighbourhood is elegance personified, and a top choice for any Berlin visitor with a penchant for the finer things in life. Its reputation as an upscale spot stems not least from the opulent Charlottenburg Palace, with its baroque and rococo interiors and perfectly preened gardens. A sense of luxury radiates far beyond the former royal residence, however, in the form of swanky shopping boulevard Kurfürstendamm (affectionately known locally as “Ku’damm”) and plentiful fine dining options. Cultural highlights here include the Gemäldegalerie, home to masterpieces by Rembrandt and Vermeer. For a home away from home that echoes Charlottenburg’s old-world glamour, Plum Guide’s Joie de Vivre ticks all the boxes.
For the discerning traveller who wants to be at the heart of the action but, frankly, appreciates a good sit down after a day exploring, Tiergarten may just be the answer. The neighbourhood’s focal point is its namesake: the German capital’s answer to New York’s Central Park. Berlin’s green lung spans over 500 acres and is home to a host of monuments, spacious lawns, tree-lined avenues, and the English Garden with its very own tea house (but, of course). Bordering the park are some of Berlin’s most iconic landmarks: Brandenburg Gate, the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, and Potsdamer Platz. A stay at select local properties Leafy Life or Cherry on Top provides easy access to the park and its surrounding sights.
Contrast is the watchword in Neukölln. Here, independent galleries, vintage stores and arthouse cinemas stand cheek by jowl with Berlin at its quaintest. A day in the neighbourhood can take in contemporary culture at Heimathafen Neukölln, an old converted ballroom-turned-theatre, and strolling the landscaped gardens of Britzer Garten or the grounds of the 19th-century Schloss Britz manor house. Richardplatz, an idyllic village square in the midst of buzzing Berlin, offers a taste of medieval Neukölln. Often billed as the very definition of multikulti (multicultural), the neighbourhood is a foodie mecca where dining ranges from elegant French and German plates at Eins44 to Vietnamese street food. To be in the thick of the gastronomic excitement, you’d be hard pressed to find a property better situated than Family Time.
Once a centre of counterculture, Friedrichshain combines an artistic vibe with timeless chic, epitomised by the stylish boutiques and cafes that now line the streets. Visitors to the area are initially drawn by intriguing traces of the GDR era – think the East Side Gallery (the longest remaining stretch of the Berlin Wall) and Karl-Marx-Allee – but are equally mesmerised by the art and music on offer at the neighbourhood’s RAW complex. Looking to slow down in Berlin? Stroll or picnic in the inviting, lush parklands of the city’s oldest park, Volkspark Friedrichshain. Or, if you’d rather not leave the house to reach a green oasis, Plum Guide’s The Plant Shop apartment brings the great outdoors to you.
If you’re looking for a slower pace of Berlin life, look no further than leafy, family-oriented Prenzlauer Berg. What was once a neglected East Berlin neighbourhood could now be accurately described as “yuppie central”, with organic food stores and kindercafes (child-friendly cafes) on seemingly every street. Prenzlauer Berg afternoons were made for settling in with a coffee at the laidback cafes of Oderberger Straße, while Sundays should be spent scouting for antiques at the popular Mauerpark flea market. For families, Prenzlauer Berg is the best option when it comes to places to stay in Berlin for tourists and boasts a range of accommodation to match. The spacious Bluebells & Sunflowers apartment, for example, embodies the family feel for which the area is so beloved.
Creative souls and coffee snobs should make a beeline for Kreuzberg. Probably Berlin’s “coolest” kiez (though this is admittedly a hotly contested title in a city like Berlin), Kreuzberg is about as cosmopolitan as it gets. Come for the third-wave coffee and authentic Turkish eateries, and stay for the open-air concerts by local musicians who set up shop on Admiralbrücke. While Mitte is undoubtedly the poster child of Berlin’s museum offering, Kreuzberg more than holds its own with cultural venues including the Jewish Museum – the largest of its kind in Europe. Looking for accommodation that channels the neighbourhood’s cosmopolitan vibe? You’ll adore the travel-inspired decorative details of the Stilleben apartment.
For a taste of “real” Berlin, head to Wedding. Fear not, neither nuptials nor torturous speeches are on the cards in this northwestern district. Instead, expect unpretentious craft breweries (they really do exist), local markets (like the one at Leopoldplatz) and plentiful green space, including the 70-hectare Rehberge Park. Long dubbed the “next big thing”, Wedding may not be famed for its architectural prowess, but the area’s Weimar-era minimalist architecture and neo-gothic Brunnenplatz castle are certainly worth a peek. Plum Guide’s Future History lives up to its name, offering a roomy base from which to explore historically fascinating yet up-and-coming Wedding.
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