Unfortunately, my trip to Berlin was on my stag do so I did not get to see as much of the city as I would have liked (unless you’re interested in flame throwing techno clubs!?).
For this post I’ve turned to my friend Niklas Li over at Worriless Wanderer who has kindly helped me put this article together. With his knowledge of the sights and mine of the bars and clubs we have done a pretty decent job!
I’m hoping some point in the future I can get back to Berlin and add to Niklas’ writing with some experiences of my own. And this time hopefully I’ll be able to remember them!
The Brandenburg Gate
Today the Brandenburg Gate is seen as a symbol of unification in Germany. East and West Berlin restored it after the war in a joint effort. Around the location are the US, French, and British Embassys. Its a wonderful stop for some history while heading over to see other monuments like the Reichstag Building and the Holocaust Memorial that are very close by.
The Reichstag building has a long history in Germany and has been redesigned a number of times because of events such as a fire, and the dome which was once blown up. This place is highly recommended but is also high in demand. If you’re planning on going you need to book online before hand here.
Unfortunately its hard to think of the history of Germany without talking about the Nazi era. The Holocaust memorial is a remembrance who all that suffered during that time. Below the memorial is a museum containing the names of about 3 million victims and many of their recovered letters and diary entires that are hard to read.
Checkpoint Charlie was the name Western Allies gave the best known crossing point between East and West Berlin during the Cold War. Today when go there are guards on duty you can take pictures with and some cool museums around the area.
Clubbing in Berlin is world famous and can be traced back to the fall of the Berlin Wall. Two groups of people came together and in the abandoned buildings and warehouses of East Berlin they were united in their love of music.
This history is now brought together in the many clubs in the city where almost anything goes. Dull, old, blocky, graffiti strewn buildings transform at the weekend into colourful, lively hubs of loud music. The doormen are famous for their heavy handed nature but as long as you don’t look too drunk, too touristy or too dressed up you should be fine. Just look like you enjoy a bit of techno and they’ll wave you in! This typifies the kind of experiences we had though I also distinctly remember a club with flamethrowers above the bar!
A rooftop bar with views across the city. Great on a dry day with live music and a small club inside.
A small bar with a much more relaxed feel than many in Berlin. Decked out in an old fashioned style serving beer and amazing cocktails.
A club set across three floors playing a variety of different dance music. Famous for it’s incredibly long sets it’s said Saturday nights often finish sometime around lunchtime on Monday! It has a notorious and mysterious door policy that regularly sees hundreds of people getting turned away. Ugly building, but beautiful music.
Located in part of a disused power plant Ohm is a less famous and smaller club so perfect if you’re not having much luck with the bouncers at the bigger places. It is right by the much more well known Tresor but has not yet appeared on the tourist map so a great electronic experience with the locals!
Another one of Berlin’s more famous, or should I say infamous clubs. Originally the site of illegal raves it now hosts mostly house and techno across two main dance floors with an outdoor club set up in the summer. Make sure you check the set list first as the bouncers will often ask you who you’ve come to see and will turn you away if you aren’t clued up.
Useful Tools for Booking Your Sabbatical
I always use Skyscanner or Agoda alongside Google Flights to make sure I’ve got the best price. I use Google Flights to save a route and monitor price changes and a combination of Skyscanner and Agoda to get the cheapest tickets.
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Travel insurance might seem like an unnecessary cost, but when a flight gets cancelled, injury occurs or you damage a piece of gear you’ll regret not paying in advance. I’ve used World Nomads for two sabbaticals and (after badly damaging a hire car in Laos!) found the claim process to be simple and transparent.
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