Most Berlin visitors tend to spend their time near the historic sights of Mitte or the clubs and bars of Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain. But the 891 sq km city has many more fascinating neighbourhoods and an excellent public transport system. Leave the beaten track and venture out – you won’t be disappointed.
The sprawling former blue-collar area seems no-frills upon first glance, but in the past few years, it has become somewhat of a trendy district with a plethora of bars and restaurants, many of them along the picturesque Malplaquetstrasse. These include American cafe Tassenkuchen which offers homemade pastries, the cosy gastropub Schraders (above), and the Italian deli-restaurant Parma di Vini Beneditti which serves delicious pizzas. Have a full-bodied beer at crowd-funded brewery Vagabund , or, for a caffeine fix, there’s no better place than Coffee Star, a tiny coffee shop with its own roastery.
Bordering Wedding to the west, Moabit has so far been less affected by gentrification, but also offers fantastic insights into the history of Berlin. For a respite from the city’s crowds, head to the Moabit Prison Historical Park, where a penitentiary for political prisoners once stood. To the east lies the impressive Arminiushalle, a market hall from 1891 that houses an artisan food market, craft stalls and cafes. Near the Spree river, on the southern border of Moabit, lies the Buchkantine (above), a relaxed cafe cum bookshop with plenty of seating and brunch options.
Wannsee district, which is rich in rustic charm, is named after the Grosser and Kleiner Wannsee. These actually make up one large lake that’s a favourite weekend getaway for Berliners. The most famous leisure spot is Strandbad Wannsee, an open-air lido, but if you want some quiet time, it’s also possible to take a ferry to the small village of Kladow and walk along the shore. Romantics should visit the grave of German poet Heinrich von Kleist and his lover Henriette Vogel at Bismarckstrasse.
And if all that outdoor exploration makes you hungry, you can always pop into Loretta am Wannsee (above), a traditional German restaurant and beer garden by the lake. Order some bratwursts with a pint and drink in the lovely views.