Berlin boasts many exciting and intriguing neighbourhoods, from elegant Charlottenburg, with its leafy Schlosspark gardens and the upmarket boutiques of Kurfürstendamm, to the Kreuzberg district, with its abundance of open-all-hours bars and nightclubs. One of the most up-and-coming areas is Prenzlauer Berg, a former bohemian quarter which is now filled with quirky boutiques, busy markets, independent eateries and watering holes galore.
Begin your Prenzlauer Berg adventure by exploring the area’s shopping options. First, seek out a quirky bag at Tausche. The name is a play on the German words for change – tauschen – and bag – tasche – and the brand offers messenger-style shoulder bags with changeable front panels. The walls of Tausche’s Prenzlauer Berg store are lined with the various options available, showcasing patterned and illustrated panels, some featuring popular Berlin landmarks, as well as textured versions. ‘We opened our shop more than 11 years ago,’ explains Heiko Braun, Tausche’s co-founder. ‘Back then, it was a very vivid area. A bohemian lifestyle could be found and there were a lot of hipsters. We were among the first to have a fashion store in Helmholtzplatz. The area has changed a lot. Many families now live here, some hipsters have stayed and there are tourists from all over the world. The area is full of historic flair and you can still sense the past, even though everything is very renovated now.’
Stores with more
Kastanienallee shopping street is the next port of call, for the Flagshipstore fashion emporium and the Above and Dost streetwear boutiques. Flagshipstore offers Berlin-made eco-friendly fashion and clothing from European designers who are less known than they deserve to be. Johanna van den Haak decided to open a boutique here because she spotted a gap in the market. ‘It’s a nice and hip area, but there was one thing missing – a store like ours, which offers real Berlin fashion design and handmade, special accessories for men and women. Especially during summer, we have many customers from overseas. They like the individual things we offer which they won’t find anywhere else.’
Concept stores Above and Dost, opened by long-term friends Mike Gülal and Michael Müller, better known as Mike and Micha, offer a spectacularly curated selection of trainers, accessories, interior design items and clothing from brands such as Huf, Wood Wood, New Balance and Herschel. When Mike and Micha were looking for somewhere to start their retail journey, Prenzlauer Berg was the obvious choice. ‘We always knew about its potential to become a great shopping destination,’ they explain. ‘Prenzlauer Berg is the gentrified, arty neighbourhood that everyone loves to hate because it is so nice. It’s full of bohemian couples, hipsters, cafés, organic food stores and yoga studios. In summer this area is the best. It’s all happening outside.’
On the market
To enjoy some of the best outdoor activities in the district, look no further than the weekend markets. On Saturday morning, visit the Kollwitzplatz area to soak up its relaxed atmosphere and enjoy the delicious food at the weekly farmers market. Sample a Thüringer rostbratwurst – spicy sausage – with sauerkraut in a bun or opt for a slice of cake from one of the many bakery stalls. From fresh produce to cheese and sweet treats, there are plenty of edible gifts on offer to bring back for friends and family. On Sunday, the flea market at Mauerpark is a must-visit.
Local eats and treats
As you stroll around looking for the best bargains, you can listen to a variety of musicians performing for the crowds. Traditional German food and beers are also on offer, so you can refuel once you’ve picked out some purchases.
Foodies will also be spoilt for choice in Prenzlauer Berg. The Michelin-starred Skykitchen offers German dishes with a modern twist, created by chef Alexander Koppe. Opt for the eight-course Voyage Culinaire menu to experience the best this stunning restaurant has to offer.
At your leisure
If it’s a traditional Berlin breakfast you’re looking for, head to Café Anna Blume. This café-cum-flower shop is named after a poem by German artist Kurt Schwitters and offers a three-tier breakfast complete with fruit, eggs, meat, cheese and bread. For a departure from German cuisine, visit the Bird for delicious burgers and craft beers – try the house burger for a truly memorable meal.
Round off your tour of Prenzlauer Berg with a glass of wine at Baden im Wein. This charming little bar offers over 90 hand-selected wines from German and European producers, all chosen by the dedicated owners who are also happy to recommend wines based on customers’ personal tastes.
From independent boutiques to bustling markets and Michelin-starred eateries, Prenzlauer Berg has a lot to shout about. And it seems the world is listening.