10 things nobody tells you about visiting Berlin – Berlin insider tips by Berliners

insider tips berlin

At Amstel, we’re all proud Berliners. Some of us grew up here, some of us have only been here for a few years. But we all know our way around town, consider ourselves ‘locals’ and together we know a whole lot of Berlin’s hidden gems. So if you’re a Berlin newby, let us help you with 10 of our Berlin insider tips. The things nobody tells you about visiting Berlin.

1. Nothing is weird
Berlin is full of weird stuff. There are professors that love to decorate their whole body with pretty tattoos and responsible parents have multiple piercings. There are punks coming home from parties at noon and little kids playing dress up on the streets. And we love that! So pick up your jaw from the floor and join in on a little weirdness or learn to appreciate it at the very least.

2. There’s more to Berlin than Kreuzberg and Prenzlauerberg
So most tourists only get to see a couple of neighbourhoods and put a little ‘check’ mark behind Berlin. But there’s so much more to Berlin! Find some inspiration on our blog, like these best parks in Berlin, or the best Berlin beaches. Other hoods like Wedding, Mitte, Schöneberg. Rent a bike and explore!

3. Public transport in Berlin is amazing
Public transport in general doesn’t have the best reputation, but in Berlin we often wonder why. The buses (generally…) arrive on time, the subway is amazing. Get a pass for the duration of your stay and you get to see so much more!

4. Bike baby!
Having said that, our favourite mode of transport in Berlin is by bike! It’s flexible, it gives your trip a sense of spontaneity to be able to stop whenever you see something worthwhile. And you actually see so much more. So except for the colder months maybe, but find us peddling from mid Feb until early November for shure! Rent your bike right here at Berlin’s friendliest hostel or get it at a nearby Bike rental. 

5. Give Berlin time
A lot of tourists and travellers we meet at Amstel race through our pretty city in 2-3 days. We would definitely recommend 4-5 days minimum to see, experience and let’s not forget ‘taste’ Berlin! We have so many great tips here on the blog for culture lovers, foodies, club lovers etc. Have a ball!

6. Come when no one else comes
Like every other city, Berlin is prettiest in spring, summer and early autumn. We’re not going to lie about that. But if you pack a warm coat (ok and an umbrella) and plan a trip for November until February you can eat in the same restaurants, dance in the same clubs and visit the same museums. Only with no waiting line and often your stay will be much cheaper. Check out our ‘Berlin in Winter tips and ask about our ‘Winter special.

7. Don’t obsess about the main tourist attractions
You cannot do and see everything on your first trip. Berlin was the centre of most of the 20th century history so there’s simply too many highlights to be seen. Instead, enjoy some of the smaller cultural gems and its contemporary art scene. Like Berlin’s coolest hidden museums or a guide a long Berlin’s best architecture.

8. Don’t pay for the view
This is one of our favourite Berlin insider tips that goes for pretty much every city in the world. So there are loads of nice tourist attractions that will take you high up and have you enjoy a great view of Berlin. Think TV Tower, The Reichstag Dome or even a hot air balloon ride. But what about a view double whammy? Go to one of these great Berlin roof top bars and enjoy the view with a sassy cocktail in your hand!

9. Leave your bottles below the bin
Berliners are cool about (responsibly) drinking your beers and lemonades outdoors. You’ll often see people walking the sidewalk with a craft beer in one hand. But real Berliners are serious about recycling and don’t throw their empty bottles in the bin. So plastic bottles go below the bin for people to collect them for a small pfand and glass bottles go in a special bin.  

10. We don’t shop at Ku’damm
Your guidebook probably suggests a little shopping extravaganza at Ku’damm, but most Berliners don’t even know what it looks like on the inside. Instead check out one of the cool concept stores like Voo Store or visit the Mauerpark vintage fair on Sundays.

Need more Berlin insider tips? Ask our super friendly Berlin savvy staff at reception and they will guide you every step of your trip!

xoxo Amstel House Hostel Berlin Staff