You know what you want to pay for a night's accommodation in the German capital, but where should you stay? Our Berlin listings will help you sort things out.
North of the Ku'Damm is the leafy, upper middle class hood of Charlottenburg. Residential and rich, Charlottenburg is full of relaxed little cafes. We love Charlottenburg for its friendly side streets, in particular those diagonal streets that host little mini-parks. We also like Charlottenburg's affordable little pensions and hotels, which are more prevalent than the neighborhood's well-heeled profile would suggest. While Charlottenburg is not as vibrant and exciting as the dynamic hoods to the east, it's reliable and safe, and at turns quite welcoming.
South of Prenzlauer Berg, Friedrichshain is young and edgy, with a good art scene. While Friedrichshain is not as densely hipstery as Prenzlauer Berg, it has a distinctly bohemian vibe. The neighborhood's culture is thrown into relief by the neighborhood's stark Soviet-reminiscent architecture. A few café- and boutique-lined streets help set a self-conscious scene. A Sunday flea market at Boxhagener Platz only reinforces the hood's hipster credentials. Friedrichshain is bisected by the mammoth Karl-Marx-Allee.
Funky Kreuzberg is split between two postcodes, a posh-leaning one and an immigrant/artist one. The posher part of Kreuzberg feels like stroller brigade central on the weekend, with boho dads and mums descending on the streets with little ones in tow. Before the fall of the Berlin Wall, Kreuzberg was the edgiest, coolest neighborhood in West Berlin. Nowadays, it retains a strongly alternative vibe, even if it has been challenged for pole position in the ultra-bohemian stakes by Friedrichshain and Prenzlauer Berg, both in the former East Berlin.
Near the Ku'damm
The Kufürstendamm, or Ku'Damm, is Berlin's major shopping boulevard, the commercial heart of the former West Berlin. It features the utterly massive KaDeWe department store and about three million other retail experiences. Ok, we exaggerate, but not by much. For our purposes here, we claim hotels within a block or two of the Ku'Damm as "near." To the north is Charlottenburg and to the south is Wilmersdorf.
Once the heart of East Berlin, Mitte was the former East Germany's showcase hood. With the grand Unter den Linden boulevard running right through it, Mitte's grand buildings, government offices (including the awe-inspiring Reichstag), major museums, embassies, and side streets are undeniably majestic. On the north side of Mitte, cool shops and night spots lure visitors both day and night.
One of Berlin's funkiest hoods, Prenzlauer Berg sits to the northeast of Mitte. Speckled with cute restaurants, cafés, and funky retail shops, PB's claims to bohemianism predate the post-reunification creep of gentrification. Prenzlauer Berg was a Jewish neighborhood before the rise of the Nazis and a somewhat arty area in the former East Germany. The weekly markets held on Kollwitzplatz and Helmholtzplatz provide additional draws.
Wilmersdorf is south of Charlottenburg. Quite central, it's not exactly a booming hood. Pockets of a lively café culture can be found in Wilmersdorf, but for the most part this is a quiet area. Wilmersdorf is a great neighborhood for those who seek a central location and wish not to run the risk of stumbling across noisy nighttime revelers.