Nudist parks, Russian war memorials, reinvented airport terminals and a currywurst museum… there are plenty of bizarre places and attractions to discover in Berlin.
1. The Ramones Museum
The Ramones are from New York, but who’s to say there shouldn’t be a museum for them in Berlin? That’s what super fan Flo Hayler decided when his girlfriend demanded he have a clear out. Expect everything from iconic band photos to a signed leather jacket and (used) sneakers.
Krausnickstraße 23, 10115 Berlin
2. The Currywurst Museum
A shrine to the nation’s best-loved sausage snack, the interactive Deutsches Currywurst Museum Berlin allows you to immerse yourself in the world of wurst, with spices to sniff, wurst-inspired music to dine to and the chance to create your very own virtual currywurst. There’s a shop, too.
Schützenstraße 70, 10117 Berlin
3. The Book Forest
The Bücherwald (book forest) on Prenzlauer Berg Street may look like a tree; it’s actually five logs bolted together to make a free library, or book exchange. With bookshelves built into every branch, passers-by are invited to discover a new read and leave their old books for others to discover in the bark.
Prenzlauer Berg Street, Berlin
4. Monster Kabinett
Every Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening the Dead Pigeon collective’s futuristic robotic sculptures come to life. If you’re brave enough you can embark on a guided tour of this unusual art gallery – but be warned, this is the stuff of futuristic nightmares.
Rosenthaler Str. 39, 10178 Berlin
5. Tempelhofer Freiheit
In the 1930s Tempelhofer was Europe’s biggest airport. In 2010 it was renamed Tempelhofer Freedom and turned into one of Berlin’s biggest parks. There are cycling, skating and jogging trails around the former runway, but you’ll also find locals doing everything from picnicking to unicycling.
Platz der Luftbrücke 5, 12101 Berlin
6. The Soviet War Memorial, Treptow Park
One of the conditions of reunification was the maintenance of Russian War memorials, and the awe-inspiring monument at Treptow Park is a fitting reminder of the Soviet commitment to eradicating fascism. The centrepiece is a 12-metre statue of a Russian soldier holding a German child, his sword resting on a broken Swastika, and was said to have been modelled on Sergeant of Guards Nikolai Masalov, who risked enemy fire to save a three-year-old child. This is also the final resting place of 5,000 of the 80,000 Russian soldiers that died in the Battle of Berlin (1945).
Puschkinallee, 12435 Berlin
7. Nudist parks and beaches
Freikoerperkultur, or Free Body Culture, AKA Nudism, is alive and well in Berlin. From the Tiergarten to Wansee, many of the capital’s parks and lakeside beaches permit nudism – just look out for the sign FKK before you strip.
8. Berliner Unterwelten
160 years ago the Berliners started digging beneath the capital to create the underground – but they didn’t stop there. Berliner Unterwelten EW, the society for exploration and documentation of underground culture, takes you on tours underground to discover a Second World War fortress, a bunker used for mothers and children (and now an exhibition space), Cold War nuclear bunkers and the tunnels East Berliners built to escape to the West. Not for the claustrophobic.
Brunnenstraße 105, 13355 Berlin
9. The DDR Museum
Step back in time at the DDR Museum. With a database of over 200,000 objects from the former East Germany, this is your opportunity to immerse yourself in what East Berlin would have been like before reunification. Watch East German TV, drink Vita Cola and Rotkaeppchen (the only kind of wine you could drink in the DDR), vote in a rigged election – and spend some time in an interrogation cell.
Karl-Liebknecht-Str. 1, 10178 Berlin
10. The Tajik Tearoom
Originally a pavilion at the Leipzig Trade Fair in the 1970s, the décor for what was to become the Tajik Tearoom was then gifted to the East German people. Lushly decorated in the traditional Persian style, come for Asian teas served alongside Russian dishes.
Oranienburger Str. 27, 10117 Berlin