CITY OF DESIRE
Since moving to Berlin I have had a lot of friends and family over for visits. Thanks to them I have played tourist in my own city pretty much every second weekend for the past 6 months - and while you find yourself going to the same places over and over (I've been up the Siegessäule more times than I can count), I do try to make it a little bit different every time. Seeing as though Berlin has somewhat become the place to be, I thought it was time I delved into quite familiar territory – being a Berlin tour guide. Inspired by Aida, who did a food tour through London and Anna who wrote about her hometown Brighton, I thought I would share some of my favourite spots around the city.
As Berlin is a rather vast place and I have never liked narrowing things down too much, I have split my selections into areas. Today, I'll be going West - while this area was once the vibrant heart of the city, it has recently become rather overlooked.
Finding a good breakfast place in Berlin is actually trickier than I ever imagined. But fret not, I'm about to share my favourite places with you. Some might already have heard of the shop Manufactum on Hardenbergstraße 4. It's built around the value of simple, good quality items, their motto being 'the good things in life still exist'. Here you can find anything from hand painted porcelain and kitchenware to clothes and stationery. Their adjoined café Brot & Butter doesn't only serve some of the best scrambled eggs I've come across, they also make their own bread.
Not far from Manufactum, you can also find another good café/restaurant, the Jules Verne on Schlüterstraße 61. Their meals are all named after Verne's famous stories and the restaurant is also renowned for the best French wines in the area. For breakfast I recommend their 'Journey to the Centre of the Earth', and if you're there with a loved one, why not enjoy a glass of champagne?
Now you have filled your stomach with delicious food, the day is off to a good start. Strolling around the area, you can find the Paper & Tea shop on Bleibtreustraße 4. As its title suggests it is centred around all things tea. If you want to have a peek at some designer interiors, make sure to visit Stilwerk on Kantstraße 17. While all items come with a hefty price tag, it is a good place to gather ideas for future interior projects.
My absolute favourite shop in the area however is A.P.C. on Fasanenstr.22, which has only been open for about a year. Bigger than its counterpart in the East, it's a great place to spend time browsing the clothing rails.
A standard tourist destination is, of course, the Kadewe. Although I do like going there every once in a while (if only to glare at their disappointing beauty department), it is just another luxury department store. Their food floor is worth checking out, though, as well as their Céline concession - my favourite window shopping place (a girl can dream).
Another place on every tourist's to do list is the Siegessäule. Situated in the middle of a busy roundabout in Tiergarten, it is not only a cheap way of getting a glimpse of the Berlin skyline, its narrow stairwell to the top also offers a bit of a workout.
Now, if all the walking has got you thirsty, why not stop by one of the many cafés and bars in the area. Some of my favourites include the legendary Paris Bar, the 24-hour breakfast destination Schwarzes Café, the classy Café im Literaturhaus and Berlin's oldest cocktail bar, the Rum Trader.
When you're all shopped out - and if it's still light - I suggest heading to Schloss Charlottenburg. The old palace was built in 1699 and is the largest palace in Berlin. Its gardens are beautiful and perfect to have an afternoon stroll in. It is a train ride away, but looking up its beautiful, restored facade (it was partly destroyed in World War II) is a nice and grounding experience.
Do you know any places in West Berlin which are worth visiting?