Sasha Arms, author and editor of Carl Goes Berlin — the new city guide for curious and creative people — gives her top tips for living like a local in Berlin.

Modern day Berlin is a haven for artists and entrepreneurs, hipsters and start-up visionaries. Against the cultural backdrop of a city steeped in unexampled history, Berliners live their lives with a famous focus on work-life balance and imbuing themselves in an array of alternative and unusual pastimes.

Cycling Hipster (Sasha Arms)

Cycling Hipster (Sasha Arms)

Each neighborhood in Berlin has a different vibe, and competition can be fierce among residents of each locality about which is more hip, whether it’s the trendsetting scenesters in Mitte and Kreuzberg, the grungier locales of Friedrichshain and Neukölln or the leafier and more residential areas of Charlottenburg and Prenzlauer Berg. Regardless of the exact locality, each neighbourhood has tiny bars and restaurants pocking its streets and original ways to spend time, meaning you never have to travel far to slot into a local way of life in Berlin.

Where to go

Stasi Museum (Sasha Arms)

Stasi Museum (Sasha Arms)

A trip to Berlin can be whatever you want it to be, but it’s a great idea to blend history, culture and modern-day cool into the agenda. While getting off the beaten track helps embed you in the city, there are some well-trodden spots that are widely visited for a reason. The likes of Checkpoint Charlie, the Stasi Museum (inside the former Stasi HQ) and the still-standing stretch of the Berlin Wall at the East Side Gallery all give a valuable insight into the relatively recent history of the east-west divide. On the other hand, Museumswohnung is a truly hidden-away museum, in the form of an un-renovated apartment in an old GDR apartment block, giving a convincing flavor of life in East Germany.

Green spaces are a common feature of Berlin, and Berliners love nothing more than a picnic in the park or drink a beer on the banks of the river during the summer. Tempelhofer Flughafen is an abandoned airport that has been transformed into a much-loved park, with the airstrip forming the ideal spot for roller-bladers and cyclists. Mauerpark used to be part of the Berlin Wall’s ‘death strip’ and is now the location of a flea market and open air karaoke on Sundays, attracting people from all walks of life intent on expressing themselves on the weekends. A little further out of town is Landschaftspark, abandoned wasteland slowly being transformed into agricultural and parkland.

Berlin Wall East Side Gallery (Sasha Arms)

Berlin Wall East Side Gallery (Sasha Arms)

Where to eat and drink

Street Food Thursday (Sasha Arms)

Street Food Thursday (Sasha Arms)

Eating out in Berlin is cheaper than many other European cities and many Berliners find it as cost effective to eat in or out. While there is of course staple German cuisine on offer, the city has an eclectic international offering when it comes to food. Il Ritrovo, complete with its scribbles and graffiti on the wall, is one of the most popular restaurants with locals for Italian food, while IXTHYS in leafy Schöneberg is a Korean street food haven. Sauvage is apparently the world’s first Paleo restaurant and has an innovative menu, while Cookies Cream is a vegetarian restaurant hidden away in an industrial building. And of course, the humble sausage reigns supreme in the German city, and Konnopke’s Imbiss is popularly hailed as the best currywurst purveyor in town. For more street food, regular events such as Street Food Thursday and Village Market are the places to hang out.

Café culture is rife in Berlin. Tadschikische Teestube is a Tajik tearoom found in a room in an old palace, making an intimate spot for tea and Russian food. Café Niesen, in a popular family neighborhood in Berlin, has separate entrances for families and adult-only groups, while the cinnamon rolls accompanying the coffee in Zeit für Brot are especially adored.

Berlin nightlife, of course, has an international reputation and there is certainly no shortage of bars or nightclubs. For quiet drinks, the Prater Garten beer garden is a cheerful place to be, as is the basement brewery Eschenbräu. For partying all night, techno legend Dimitri Hegemann’s club, Tresor, housed inside the impressive Kraftwerk building, is the place to be, while Berghain is popular with the in-crowd too, if you’re prepared to queue for a while.

Where to stay

Accommodation in Berlin ranges from the luxurious to the downright quirky. For high-end options, try Soho House, where you can become a member of the club for the duration of your stay, or The Mandala, complete with its two Michelin starred restaurant, FACIL. The fairly new 25hours Bikini Berlin combines hipster-cool with comfort, with many rooms overlooking the animals in the zoo next door.

Landschaftspark (Sasha Arms)

Landschaftspark (Sasha Arms)

For a quirky stay, Hüttenpalast has rooms in the form of caravans and huts inside an old vacuum cleaner factory, while Das DDR Hostel is decked out with interiors straight from the days of communist Germany.

Carl Goes Berlin is a city guide for those who want to become part of the fabric of the Berlin for the duration of their stay, whether it’s for three days, three weeks or three months. Complete with six interviews with Berliners about how they live in the city, and recommendations on where to find co-working spaces and networking opportunities for those who need to work while they travel, Carl Goes Berlin offers travellers true and local insights into the city.

Find out more about Sasha Arms at: www.sashaarms.com

Follow Sasha on Twitter: @sashaarms


Fly.com Expert Tips


How To Get There: Berlin Tegel Airport (TXL) is located about 5 miles north of downtown Berlin, and is served by numerous airlines, including United Airlines (offering nonstops from Newark), British Airways and SWISS, along with regional airlines like Germanwings.
To get to the city, a taxi will cost about €25. While the U-Bahn and S-Bahn trains don’t have service to/from the airport, there are several bus options, including the TXL JetExpressBus, which is the only one that stops at Hauptbahnhof, the main train station, and from there you can take a local train to anywhere in the city. The bus ride takes about 30 minutes, and costs €2.70 each way. More information about local transportation is available here.
Best Time To Visit: The best time to visit is between May and September when the average daytime high ranges from the mid-60s to the mid-70s, and low in the low to mid-50s. Late fall to spring is also ideal, albeit colder when the temperatures range from the low 30s to the low 50s, with January being the coldest month.

Sample Fares: Calendars display lowest roundtrip fares over the next 90 days to Berlin from:

* All fares are roundtrip including all taxes and are accurate at time of publication. For updated pricing, conduct a new search on Fly.com.



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Fly.com regularly posts guest contributions from travel experts around the world. These articles are written by journalists, bloggers, travel enthusiasts, and specialists from within various segments of the travel industry. Each has an undeniable passion for travel that enables them to share a unique and valuable point of view. We hope you enjoy their stories and advice!

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