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Wanderlusting in Berlin – 48 Hours in the Capital and How To Not Be a Tourist

Known around the world for its turbulent past, Germany is typically the place to visit if you want to be overwhelmed by history and attend numerous museums, however, the capital city has so much more to offer. So, we’ve rounded up the best spots to visit if you find yourself wanderlusting for Berlin…

The city is a vibrant hub of artsy people with an extremely chilled out attitude. For a capital, Berlin is very laid back and slow. It seems like half of the population gets around by bike, whilst the other half lounges in parks or by the river.

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If you’re thinking of heading to Berlin, after taking in the sights make sure you venture away from the centre and experience a different side of the city. Our personal favourite area can be found between Mitte and Kreuzberg, surrounding Engelbecken Park. The atmosphere is so calm and the park itself is beautiful. It is essentially a huge lake surrounded by pastel-coloured houses and patches of grass to sit down on and watch the world go by. There is also a lovely cafe that sits at the head of the lake that serves up incredible pizzas and salads. If you can, visit this spot at sunset, the colours in the sky that reflect of the water create a pinky, muted light; perfect for a beautiful evening photoshoot.

Just beyond the lake is an area called Kreuzberg. This is the place to go if you’re looking for somewhere a little more lively. The sprawling, quirky borough is home to students, artists and a large Turkish population and has many bars and restaurants to choose from.

If you’re feeling peckish, Berlin does burgers very very well, so if you’re stuck on where to eat, opt for a burger!  The ‘best burger in Berlin’, is apparently served at Burgermeister in Friedrichshain. Kreuzberg is also known for its thrift shops and Landwehr canal; another place to head if you’re looking for a laid-back cafe or bar.

A little more central and ideal for the inner shopaholic in you is an area called Spandauer Vorstadt. If you look beyond the main road of shops and wander down one of the side streets, you’ll find that there is so much more to see. Quaint, independent shops and cafes are dotted on every corner, with little parks surrounded by pretty pink and pastel coloured buildings. It’s the perfect place to head to get some air after a day in the city.

Of course, you can’t go to Berlin and not see any of its sights! So here is our round up of the top touristy, but not too touristy, spots of the city. The TV tower is impossible to miss, you can see it from every direction; peeping above the tops of buildings or down the middle of the street.

But, if you want to view it without any obstruction, head to Inselstraße bridge for the best view. The East Side gallery is also a must see. Stretching 1.3km along the side of the river, the open-air gallery is a collection of murals displayed on the remnants of the Berlin Wall. It is such a lovely concept, turning what used to be a bleak, grey reminder of the past, into a symbol of liberation and freedom. Lastly, Gendarmenmarkt Square, a stunning public space dotted with cafes and the site of two breathtaking identical churches and a grand concert hall. Grab a coffee, pull up a seat and take in the view. Another quirky, fun thing to do if you’re out and about in the city is to look out for the vintage photo booths or photoautomat as they’re called in Germany. A great opportunity to create a sentimental memory of your trip; much better than buying an overpriced keyring. And of course, don’t miss the gorgeous Christmas markets!

It’s very rare these days that you go to a country and don’t get sucked in to all of the commercialised tourist hot spots. If you’re looking to see more and experience the full culture, look further afield; check out the location of where you’re going on Instagram and see what photos people have posted, search for the top 10 ‘local’ or ‘non-touristy’ spots in the city you’re visiting and we’re sure you’ll come across someone’s personal blog rather than relying on mainstream travel guides. Berlin is perfect for anyone whos looking for a toned down, chilled out city break.

Words by Holly Harris.

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