- Hip Berlin
- Non-stop Berlin
- Independent Berlin
- The Mole Diaries: An insider's guide to Berlin - Volume One and Volume Two
Why should I choose Berlin for my year abroad?
Whether your heart skips a beat when witnessing historical landmarks, you live for the sound of music, your passion lies in the arts or your idea of a fine day is digging into an even finer meal, Berlin will have it all waiting for you, at a tender price and with a winning smile. Having four globally-renowned universities to its name (of which the oldest university in Germany, Humboldt Universität), as well as an open-minded population, there’s a remarkably progressive and youthful spirit that pervades throughout the city.
Go for an alternative tour of Berlin, checking out the hippy and bohemian neighbourhoods in Friederichshain-Kreuzberg and Pankow for some exuberant street art and artists’ galleries. Make sure you pop into Loop gallery for a preview of what’s going to be big in terms of German contemporary art.
If culture is top on your list of things to do, then you’re in for a treat, as the capital is literally jam-packed with galleries, museums and distinguished monuments. Have a gander around the Museuminsel, an island populated with museums offering vast collections of Greek, Byzantine and Egyptian art. The Museum of European Cultures is the biggest of its kind in the whole of Europe, whilst the Ethnological Museum exhibits an awe-inspiring collection of pre-Colombian archaeology.
Music fans will take note of the Ramones Museum, entirely dedicated to the punk band, with some interesting memorabilia and anecdotes on show. Art lovers will easily spend a long weekend (or many) in the Art Center Berlin Friedrichstraße, a veritable mecca with 4 floors to explore and appreciate.
Berlin does not shy away from its past, offering its visitor a look into its troubled and agitated history. A visit to the Bradenburg Gate should be on the agenda; previously a symbol of a divided Germany, it now stands proudly as landmark for a reunified Berlin. Nearby, you can also take in the memorial to the murdered Jews of Europe, an epic abstract artwork with an underground museum covering a lot of Holocaust documentation and information. You’ll be shocked to find out that the Berlin Wall Memorial is not an obvious touristic spot, but it gives you a real sense of what could have been, had things panned out differently. You can peer through the holes and have a look into what was once no man’s land for many, and how they tried to overcome it not so long ago. Checkpoint Charlie is popular with many a tourist, being the dedicated crossing point for foreigners between East and West Berlin. Strut around the Kurfursterndamnn square and have a look at the towering Kaiser Wilhelm Gedachtniskirche, the symbolic church that barely withstood WWII bombing.
Many parks pepper the city, as do a couple of zoos, so you can be at one with nature in no time. For a patch of green grass and a view of the city to send your friends back home giddy with envy, take some time out in Viktoriapark. Berlin’s festivals and parades are something to stick about for, or even travel to, as do so many each year. Of note are the Karneval, Karneval der Kulturen, Oberbaumbrücke Festival and the Berlin Film Festival.
You’ll be spoilt for choice in terms of food across the capital, but if you’re looking for a student atmosphere, head to the Kastanienallee area. Going out might be slightly problematic—you just won’t know where to head to first, seeing as there are so many options out there! Have a few cocktails in Prenzlauer Berg or Schöneberg.
With more than 200 clubs in this city, you’re sure to find something to suit your taste. Opening hours are extended also, so make sure you knock back a Red Bull or two to keep up with ein Berliner! Whatever your tastes, passions or fortes, Berlin will not disappoint. With its low cost of living, it has attracted many and still does so, to this very day. Artists, students, politicians and everything in between, Berlin will keep you entertained morning, noon and night!