Berlin is the city of bears, dazzling personalities and Currywurst – and of course, it’s the home base of MyPostcard! In the capital city of Germany, there is a lot you can discover: a new restaurant every day, art exhibitions, readings, theatre performances… it’s easy to struggle with where to start.
If you are a tourist visiting Berlin, it doesn’t make it easier. In your tourist guides, you will definitely read about the Brandenburger Tor, the Checkpoint Charlie, the Alexanderplatz, and the Kurfürstendamm. But today we’re on the mission to show you some more secret places: We want to show you spots which show OUR Berlin. The ones that are less common. If you live here or just came to visit… we hope you haven’t yet heard of these 8 secret places you have to see before you are leaving Berlin again.
Berlin secret places #1Suicide Cemetery – Friedhof Grunewald-Forst
It’s already October and Halloween is right around the corner, a perfect occasion to start off our list with a little creep factor on the cemetery Grunewald Forst. Let’s start with the name – maybe you ask yourself why the cemetery is called Suicide Cemetery. It’s pretty easy to explain: The Havel river has a kink in the riverbed which is located nearby to the cemetery. Sadly the dead bodies of those, who ended their lives by jumping into the water of the Havel, were washed up in the little bay close to the cemetery. Unfortunately at this time suicide was a sin for the Catholic Church, which is why people who committed suicide were not allowed on cemeteries. So the dead bodies were buried in the nearby forest. Only in 1920, the Grunewald-Forst cemetery was made an official cemetery and also other dead bodies found their home here.
This cemetery is a very quiet and idyllic place, which makes you forget about time easily. The only grave that is a bit busier is number 82. It’s home to possibly the most famous person of this cemetery: Christa Päffgen, better known as Nico, singer of Velvet Underground, top model and muse of Andy Warhol in the 60s – an icon worldwide.
Especially on the 16th of October and the 18th of July, her birth date and death date, Nico fans go on the pilgrimage to her grave and often times leave little fan letters, self-made presents or wine bottles. A creepy cool place, that is definitely worth the trip.
Address: Grunewald Forst Cemetery, Schildhornweg 33, 14193 Berlin.
Berlin secret places #2Museum apartment Prenzlauer Berg from 1900
Most people know Prenzlauerberg because of its famous Mauerpark flea market, the latte macchiato Moms and the numerous vegetarian-vegan cafés and restaurants. But there is not only hip stuff, you can also discover quite a bit of history, for example in Dunckerstraße 77. Not too far from the bustling Helmhotzplatz, you can find a pretty special apartment – the museum apartment on the first floor, from 1900.
Everything is kept as it was in 1900. You can see just how people in the 1900s lived in their 1,5 room apartment. Cole heating, washboard for clothes, bed warmer and a washing tub included. This was the time when Berlin was rapidly growing: 1875 there was one million inhabitants in Berlin, in 1900 there were already two million. This lead to up to 10 people living in an apartment like this that was actually meant for one person only. Viewing this apartment is an authentic journey to a Berlin from the past!
The special thing about it: The viewings are held on a voluntary basis – by retired people that meet in the senior’s club next-door – “Herbstlaube”. They show the apartment to everyone who’s interested to prevent Prenzlauer Berg’s past from being forgotten.
Address: Dunckerstraße 77, 10437 Berlin. Opening hours: Monday & Tuesday, Thursday – Saturday: 11-4.30pm
Berlin secret places #3Pfaueninsel (Peacock Island) of Berlin
Ready for a little romance? Pfaueninsel (Peacock Island) is the place to be for romantic encounters and enjoying some fairytale charm. This beautiful island is located in Berlin Wannsee and is part of the UNESCO world heritage. It was originally named “Kaninchenwerder”, which is because king Friedrich Wilhelm I. bred rabbits here.
His successor Friedrich Wilhelm II. eventually brought peacocks to the island, which is why today it’s called peacock island. They are still allowed to walk around all over the island freely.
You can discover all kinds of special things on peacock island: after arriving here by ferry you can visit the Palace, which used to be the summer house of the Royal family. Furthermore, you can visit Luisentempel (Luise Temple), Kavaliershaus (the Gentlemen’s building), a greenhouse and even more. Our highlight definitely is the breathtaking nature! The path through the rose gardens, the view from the island on to the Havel river and the many peacocks immediately take you back in time and are the perfect backdrop for all photography lovers. To make the very best from your shots, you should check out these cool photo editing apps.
Getting there: Take the bus 218 from the train station Berlin-Wannsee to the pier of peacock island.
Berlin secret places #4Dong Xuan center
This is definitely a hidden Berlin gem: The Dong Xuan center is located in a hidden alley in Hertzberstraße in Berlin-Lichtenberg and is the cultural and economic trade center of Vietnamese people in Germany. If you want to, take the chance and get a few hours of little-Hanoi flair and try numerous Vietnamese curiosities. You can get tattooed for 30€, buy very cheap clothes or get your nails done.
Our tip: Try the countless supermarkets where you can find the real gems of the Asian cuisine. Try and buy goods and spices, that you can’t get in any other shop in town. And when you get hungry, you can try one of the eight authentic Vietnamese restaurants. We already know what we want to try, because it is rumored that you can get the best Pho Berlin’s here… off we go to have some yummy soup!
You’ve had enough shopping and eating and now want to learn even more about the life of Vietnamese people in Berlin? Then you should take a tour through the Dong Xuan Center.
Getting there: Take the tram M8 to direction Ahrensfelde, your stop: Herzbergstraße/ Industriegebiet
Berlin secret places #5Hansaviertel
Hansaviertel is a small district within the central borough of Berlin. It is an absolute Must-Visit for all architecture fans and a prime example for “Neues Bauen” (New building) after the Second World War. The Hansaviertel was once a chic district of West Berlin but was destroyed in 1945.
In the context of the International Architecture Exhibition 1957 called Interbau, national and international star architects realized their ideas of modern living in West Berlin. The houses that were created here by stars like Oscar Niemeyer, Walter Gropius, and Egon Eiermann are opposed to the Stalinallee in the Friedrichshain district, which was a monumental socialist boulevard and a prestige project of social East Berlin. On the border of the Hansaviertel, you can find the “Akademie der Künste” (Academy of Arts), which offers exhibitions and events and attracts people from all over the world, just like the popular Gripstheater, a well-respected youth theatre on Hansaplatz.
With its world-famous buildings of the post-war-modernist architecture, you can also easily make a little detour from the Hansaviertel to the nearby Ku’Damm – one of Berlin’s biggest shopping streets. Pssst..another exclusive tip for all city discoverers: If you’re not a fan of guided tours, you can find an address list of all buildings of the Interbau here.
Getting there: Take the U9 and get out at Hansaplatz or the S-train until Tiergarten.
For everyone who’s discovering Berlin: you are sure to find many corners, that you might want to photograph. To make the best out of your shots, we recommend you to read this article on 5 Tips for Urban Photography!
Berlin secret places #6Tadshikische Teestube (Tajik tearoom)
The Tajik tearoom looks like an original, authentic tearoom and was gifted by the Soviets to the East German government in 1974. After it was the star of the Leipzig fair it stayed in Berlin, a present symbolizing the German-Sovjet friendship. Here you are tucked in between colorful carpets and pillows, detailed wood-carved elements as well as the typical samovars – an enchanting Sovjet pavilion. The Tajik tearoom is located in “Kunsthof” on Oranienburger Straße. On the entrance, you leave your shoes behind and then get ready to be seduced by a setting of the fairytale of Arabian nights. Comfy cushions and little wooden tables let you forget the sometimes overwhelming ambiance of the city in the blink of an eye.
Treat yourself to hearty Russian blini (pancakes) or vareniki (dumplings) and also make sure to try the Russian tea ceremony: Alongside little far-Eastern delicacies, you will be handed vodka and typical tea – an original Tajik experience!
What’s even better is that they host a fairy-tale tea event every Monday from 7.30 pm on. Make yourself comfortable between oriental carpets, listen to enchanting stories and enjoy delicious hot drinks. What a magical place, perfect to dream away!
Address: Tadshikische Teestube, Oranienburger Straße 27, Mitte, Monday to Friday from 4 pm, Saturday and Sunday from noon.
Berlin secret places #7Tims Brownies Factory Sale
Every person who has ever gotten a little Tims Brownie with their hot drink in a café knows what’s up: these little thingies are simply addictive! Sine 1994 already, Tims has been supplying the Berlin hospitality industry with their homemade baked goods, that are made in a traditional Canadian way, in Berlin. Nowadays you can also find the unmistakeable desert in shopping centers like the KaDeWe or in other supermarkets and if you bring them to work like we sometimes do, you are sure to get a lot of love and big eyes from your coworkers with a sweet tooth.
But you know, what would be even better? To see with your own eyes, how those brownies, cookies, and muffins are produced. You could even try them fresh out of the oven and warm? If this sounds like something you would enjoy, you shouldn’t miss this: Every Saturday from 8 to 3 pm Tims bakery in Mariendorf is open for everyone and sells their products in a factory sale – nothing better for the cold season, don’t you think?
Address: Tim’s Brownies Factory Sale, Friedenstraße 26, 12107 Berlin
Berlin secret places #8Islands in Lake Tegel
In East Berlin, you find Weißensee, in the West you have Wannsee. For Berliners, lakes are the place to be, if you want to splash in Summer or go for a walk on a sunny Autumn Day. The Lake Tegel in Reinickendorf is the second biggest lake in Berlin, but it’s still the least discovered one. And all of this, even though there is so much to see at Lake Tegel!
Did you know that there are 7 islands? The biggest one of them – Scharfenberg – even is home to a school with an adjoint farm (since 1922 already!) and was a film set for the German TV Show “Unser Lehrer Doktorspricht”.
Another one to recommend is the idyllic Valentinswerder, where you can discover weekend houses, dreamy nature and garden allotments. You only pay 3 euros for the ferry ride from Tegel to Valentinswerder, that you can take daily until 3rd of November. The perfect little getaway for everyone who wants to have some holiday feeling in the North of the capital.
Getting there: From Tegel. Find more information for the ferry timetable here.
Which secret places in Berlin do YOU know?
That’s it – these are the most exciting 8 secret places we know in Berlin – and we hope, you could get a little inspiration from that. Perfect for your Sundays in Autumn, perfect for getting away from being a couch potato for once, or for your weekend trip to Berlin. And if you’ve discovered all of that already, then we have a list of some other cool places to visit right here.
Are you one of those people who always know what’s up and know the best, secret, new places around the city and you think we forgot a good spot? Just let us know about your favorite place that everyone should check out and leave a comment. 🙂