Your Finnair Guide: Berlin highlights for the urban explorer
Let your Berlin adventure begin by following the recommendations of Finnair Cabin Crew Member Dorothea. Satisfy your appetite in multiple ways, get your culture and history fix and find the most special places to relax – just like locals do.
Berlin is a city in which you can find everything! If you’re in the mood for stand-up paddling, you can find a place, or if you’d like to see a world-famous show that has been playing in New York or Paris, you’ll be sure to catch it on a stage in Berlin shortly afterwards. You could be there for a week and still not have enough time to visit all its intriguing museums. And if you’re in the mood for a specific dish, there will undoubtedly be a place for that.
Authentic delicacies from around the world to every taste
When in Berlin, you’ll be sure to find whatever food you can imagine. On a Thursday evening, stop by Markthalle Neun’s Street food Thursdays from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. For the event, Germany’s best street food vendors gather under one roof to serve delicious dishes to thousands of hungry visitors. There is no entrance fee; you’ll just pay for whatever you decide to buy. Try different small bites and be sure to taste the famous German curry sausage from Kumpel & Keule. During the day, you can shop for your fresh veggies and fruits from the same market hall.
If Thai food is your jam, you’ll love the Thaipark, where the food is cheap, and you’ll be sure to find the best pad thai in town. This unique place started in the 1990s when Germany invited Thai people to come to Germany because of a worker shortage. The Thai women started meeting up in the park, bringing their food and drawing the attention of locals. Nowadays, you can visit the park on Saturdays and Sundays from April to October. On Saturdays, there’s also a flea market next to it, and kids can bounce around the playground next to the park. The park might get crowded and food be sold out, so make sure to go early. Bring a blanket to sit on and some sunscreen if it’s a hot summer’s day.
A famous place to try a real traditional German sausage is CURRY 36 which has been in business since 1981. Go to their original and first location (Mehringdamm 36) and try their currywurst, which also happens to be Tom Hank’s favourite. However, be prepared to stand in line, as this place is popular.
Berlin is also the perfect place for those with a sweet tooth. You cannot come to Germany and not have a Berliner, the famous doughnut filled with jam, cream or another type of filling. A great place for that is Sammy’s doughnuts, where they fry the doughnuts themselves and offer creative and delicious options, many of which are vegan. Zeit für Brot is another bakery you don’t want to miss out on. They are famous for their special type of cinnamon swirl that comes in different flavours. Take a seat in one of their five locations with outside seating and enjoy some people-watching.
Sights that bring together cultural heritage, architecture and innovation
In search of the best view in Berlin? Pay a visit to the Reichstag building where you get a beautiful 360-degree view of the city, as the round building is made of glass. The government has its meetings downstairs, but you can enter upstairs free of charge. However, you do need to register for your visit in advance and bring your passport, as you will have to go through security gates to access the building.
Right next to the Reichstag building you can find the iconic Brandenburg Gate, a must-visit in Berlin. This symbol of German unity was originally built in the 18th century but has since then been restored multiple times as it has been damaged in World War II and even from the annual New Year’s Eve fireworks. The architecturally stunning masterpiece of neo-classicism might just be the most popular place in Berlin to snap a selfie as a memento of your trip. The area itself and the Pariser Platz square are beautiful with countless other famous buildings, cafés and restaurants.
Nearby is also Berlin’s Holocaust Memorial, “the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe”, which you can access for free during its opening hours from Tuesday to Sunday. This site of remembrance is an essential embodiment of Berlin’s history and one of the most popular tourist attractions for a good reason.
Catch a totally different yet interesting vibe in the Holzmarkt area’s unique urban village and creative space. This intriguing place was born as the result of Berlin’s largest and most sustainable urban development project. You can find food, live music, art galleries, dance schools and interesting architectural solutions there.
If you come to Berlin in October, you’re in for a treat: Berlin Festival of Lights, held during 6-15 October in 2023. All the city’s important buildings are lit up during the night, and there are free buses you can catch to get around. As the event is popular, the buses might get crowded. There are new and creative ideas for the light show each year, and some are specifically designed for the youngest ones of the families. Don’t forget to dress warmly, as it might get cold!
Exotic and cool options for the perfect relaxation
When you wish to unwind during your city break, head to Liquidrom. They offer a swimming pool so that you can float your worries away as well as saunas and massages to relax. The stunning architecture and high ceiling will certainly give you the peace of mind you’re looking for. Twice a week, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, there are DJs that fill the space with music, and you can also enjoy some beverages and small bites to eat. If there is a popular DJ playing, make sure to purchase your admission well in advance. Towels will be provided, but you do have to bring your own bathing suit.
If you’re travelling with kids, your go-to-place is Berlin’s indoor water park Tropical Islands. Built in a repurposed airship hangar, this place is enormous and offers entertainment for the whole family for the whole day. Real palm trees, the world’s longest Double Racer, a paradise-like atmosphere and different themed restaurants guarantee that you’ll have a good time. The place is easily accessible by public transport but also offers tons of accommodation options if you would rather stay the night.
Easy ways to get around
The public transportation in Berlin is awesome: it runs 24/7, it’s cheap, safe and reliable, and you can truly get anywhere with it. If you’re planning to visit museums and other tourist attractions, you can buy the Berlin WelcomeCard which gives you discounts along with free public transportation. During the hottest summer days, you might also want to take advantage of the city bikes and scooters. This way you can enjoy a nice breeze during your commute as the other forms of public transport do not have A/C.
It's good to note that lots of places will be closed on Sundays, so you might want to plan a relaxing picnic in the park or a long walk for your Berlin Sunday. Cash is also still popularly used in the city, so make sure to put some euros in your pocket as they may come in handy in small stores and when making small purchases.
Your Finnair Guide series showcases different Finnair destinations through the eyes of Finnairians. Join us to discover unique and not-so-obvious areas, places, sights and experiences that are worth a visit – those that locals also enjoy.