Discover Berlin's coolest neighbourhoods

Tamara Hinson

Tamara Hinson

First things first: Berlin* is big, with a somewhat complicated layout, which means it might take a little longer to get your bearings here.

The Reichstag in spring sunshine
The Reichstag in spring sunshine © Magnus Hagdorn - Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

The good news? We've come to the rescue with the ultimate guide to the hotspots which should be on your radar if you're planning a visit to Germany's fabulously cool capital.

Getting to Berlin: check out current deals on breaks, including flights and accommodation, with Jet2CityBreaks*.


This is about as close to Berlin's city centre as it gets. Mitte (meaning middle) is a cosmopolitan neighbourhood, which is regarded by many as the city's birthplace.

It's an incredibly diverse area, one where historic buildings such as the Neo-Renaissance Reichstag nudge up against some of Germany's best galleries and museums, such as the Neues Museum (part of Berlin's Museum Island) and the Boros Collection, where you'll find masterpieces by artists such as Ai Weiwei in a WWII underground bunker.

Museum Island in Mitte
Museum Island in Mitte © Modernmovie - Adobe Stock Image

There are some fantastic shops too; Mitte has some of Berlin's best independent stores, many of which are clustered around the Hackescher Markt. One of my favourite areas here is Hackesche Höfe, a listed, soaring courtyard complex now home to some of Berlin's best boutiques.


Pankow stretches from Prenzlauer Berg, which is next to Mitte, to Berlin's northeastern outskirts.

It's a cosmopolitan neighbourhood which has more than its fair share of cultural hotspots including the Prussian Schönhausen Palace (head to its sprawling gardens when you need some time out) and the Jewish Cemetery, which is the largest in Europe and is best explored with the help of a digital guide.

Autumn in the gardens of Schönhausen Palace
Autumn in the gardens of Schönhausen Palace © Max - Adobe Stock Image

If you're planning to visit, bear in mind that male visitors can't go bare-headed, and will have to borrow a Kippot at the entrance.

Fuel your explorations of this laidback neighbourhood with a coffee. Pankow has some of the best cafés in Berlin. Favourite places for caffeine fixed include Bonanza Coffee Heroes; try the melon-flavoured Kahete coffee from Kenya. Sounds weird, but it works.


One of Berlin's most family-friendly areas, Lichtenberg is where you'll find Tierpark Berlin, which is Europe's largest animal park, alongside the brilliant Theater an der Parkaue, a three-stage theatre created with children in mind.

Tucked into a listed building, it's a great destination for kids of all ages, and it provides a brilliant introduction to performing arts, too.

Lichtenberg is another neighbourhood which displays its history proudly; come here to admire Berlin's only remaining row of loam-and-brick houses, and the Friedrichsfelde Palace, which dates back to the 1600s when it was built by Dutchman Benjamin Raule, who built the palace in the style of a Dutch manor house.


A thriving, buzzing neighbourhood which has something for everyone, Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg is achingly cool and famous for its club culture.

It's also wonderfully bohemian; stroll over the Oberbaumbrücke to listen to Berlin's future music stars busking, or take in the mind-blowingly diverse public art, whether it's the dazzlingly bright murals daubed onto hipster-friendly fashion stores or the ones breathing new life into once-glum back streets.

The striking Oberbaum Bridge
The striking Oberbaum Bridge © KH-Pictures - Alamy Stock Photo

There's a huge sense of creativity here, ranging from the start-ups which have popped up near Moritzplatz to the urban gardening experiments you'll see at Prinzessinnengärten (Princess Gardens). And then there are the museums, several of which provide an insight into often-overlooked aspects of Germany*.

Start with the Deutsche Technikmuseum (German Museum of Technology) or the Jewish Museum, then enjoy an art fix at the Berlinische Galerie, famous for its exhibitions by up-and-coming German artists.


Neukölln, in southern Berlin, is a wonderful mish-mash of old and new. This area, which pushes up against Kreuzberg, is fabulously vibrant and has a great mix of cultures, something which is reflected in the food you'll find in Neukölln, where you'll be able to find dishes from all over the world.

Berlin's famous Kurfürstendamm
Berlin's famous Kurfürstendamm © visitberlin - foto Philip Koschel

Its architecture is as diverse as its people; come here to gawp at the beautiful brickwork of the former Kindl Brewery, which now houses the Centre for Contemporary Art, and at the Neo-Renaissance Schloss Britz, which was built in the late 1600s and now doubles as a venue for concerts and plays.

However, street food from around the world will always be the biggest magnet for many visitors, although this culinary diversity comes in more sophisticated forms, too. One example is Eins 44 restaurant, a fine dining restaurant famous for its German-French fusion cuisine.


A greenery-filled neighbourhood, Marzahn-Hellersdorf is a great retreat for some quiet time. For the best views of both the city and the neighbourhood, clamber up the Kienberg to soak up the views of the Wuhletal Valley and the Brandenburg countryside.

Follow up your ascent with a trip on the cable car which whizzes you over to Gardens of the World, a vast green space opened by the East Berlin city government in 1987 to commemorate the city's 750th anniversary.

It's also incredibly accessible and was the first park in Germany to receive the Signet Accessibility Award.

Japenese garden at Gardens of the World
Japenese garden at Gardens of the World © Francesco Valenti - Adobe Stock Image

Marzahn-Hellersdorf is popular with photographers, who come to snap its colourful buildings. In the late 1970s, several enormous housing developments were built here, and in recent years, artists have given these concrete structures colourful makeovers, using murals and sculptures to transform once-bleak areas.

One of my favourites is the so-called Flower Tower; this concrete tower block, near the Erholungspark botanical gardens, has been covered with bright images depicting rainbow-hued plant life.

Weather in Berlin

  Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Maximum daytime temperature °C
Hours of sunshine (daily)
Days with some rainfall

The above guide shows the weather in Berlin. Find out more about conditions across the country in our complete guide to the weather in Germany.

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Tamara Hinson

Tamara Hinson

Tamara Hinson is a freelance travel writer who loves getting off the beaten path. Specialising in adventure travel, she often covers outdoor activities such as snowboarding, mountain biking and scuba diving. Tamara's work features regularly in newspapers such as The Telegraph and The Independent along with numerous travel websites.

Posted on Friday 14th July 2023 in: City Culture Europe

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