Where to Stay in Berlin: 6 Best Neighborhoods
Berlin promotes itself as “ugly, but sexy”, and I really can’t blame the city in that. I don’t find the city particularly beautiful. It is a so-called “rough pearl,” with frayed edges and few refined details. But what really appeals to me in Berlin is that the city is indeed “sexy.” A bit tough, with an atmosphere of “nothing is necessary, but everything is allowed.”
Berlin is a city where you really have to know where you have to be. It is huge, and not every neighborhood is equally nice. Today I’m sharing my best tips on where to stay in Berlin and which of the neighborhoods I think are the nicest of the 12!
What is the Center of Berlin?
As mentioned, Berlin has 12 neighborhoods, and unlike, for example, Paris, there is little logic in the numbering. However, everyone agrees that the “Mitte” district is the absolute center of the city, especially the area around Alexanderplatz. The district is in the heart of the city and is also classified as “1”. Moreover, it has the most important sights in Berlin.
Furthermore, Berlin does not really have a center, because it was originally created as all kinds of villages grew together, with their own centers. Then, of course, you had the World War II, and the city was split into two — East and West Berlin.
Where to Stay in Berlin
If you are wondering where to stay, I have made a list of the best neighborhoods in Berlin below. I think the best way to stay in Mitte is during your first visit, because you will be close to all the sights and very central. If you fancy a trendy neighborhood full of nice restaurants and places to go out, you can choose for example Friedrichshain or Kreuzberg.
The unofficial center of Berlin is Mitte. Although the neighborhood may look fairly centrally located, it used to be the center of East Berlin. You can also see that reflected in the architecture around Alexanderplatz.
But a little further back in time: Mitte dates from the 13th century. Then this area was called the Nikoliviertel. The charming neighborhood with its cobbled streets sat (just like now) on the river and spread around the old Nikolaikirche. The church still exists, but had to be considerably restored after it was badly damaged in World War II. This makes it the oldest building in Berlin. In 1920, Mitte became the first official district of Berlin.
Mitte is the place to be for sightseeing in Berlin. You will find classics such as the Brandenburg Gate, Reichstag, Unter der Linden, Alexanderplatz, and Fernsehturm, the Holocaust monument, and of course the beautiful Museum Island. The Scheunenviertel is also the old Jewish quarter of Berlin, but nowadays it is full of nice restaurants.
You might like Mitte if you like: stay close to all attractions. You can have fun here for days!
Where to stay in Mitte
- B&B Hotel Berlin Alexanderplatz: is a perfect option for travelers who want to stay centrally (right on Alexanderplatz!) But want to pay attention to budget.
- AMANO: this cool design hotel has a great rooftop, which is perfect in the summer. Moreover, you can walk to Hackescher Markt in five minutes.
- Hotel Berlin: this hotel with an original name (ha!) is perfect for lovers of design and luxury. If you like shopping, you’ll enjoy yourself here, because you’re staying close to KaDeWe.
Located in South Berlin and often seen as Kreuzberg’s little sister, Neukölln is one of the trendiest neighborhoods in the city. It is a true melting pot of cultures, with a large Turkish population for example. It is full of good restaurants, and you will not get hungry here.
The neighborhood is completely up and coming, but still very “local.” You will find few sights there, and the streets and buildings may be slightly less well maintained than in busy Mitte. It has its charm, I think. Yet this is the place where new restaurants, bars and art galleries are constantly opening.
One of the most important things to visit in the neighborhood is the Tempelhofer Feld. This is an old, abandoned airport, where you can walk, or have a picnic in the park. Last time I stayed in this neighborhood, on Hermannstrasse, and can highly recommend a breakfast at Isla Coffee!
You like Neukölln if you like: a multicultural neighborhood that is still completely up and coming, and where your vegan restaurants and kebab shops are next to each other.
Where to stay in Neukölln
- Hüttenpalast: How nice is this? You can stay here in a caravan or a cottage. Do you have to share a bathroom, yes. But still, very original.
- Leonardo Boutique Hotel Berlin City South: A little further from the center, not far from Schönefeld airport, but nice and quiet.
Although Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg is one district together, they are often seen as separate neighborhoods because of the river separation, so I also treat them separately. Friedrichshain was in East Berlin at the time of the Berlin Wall. Since the wall was knocked down, Friedrichshain has been a popular neighborhood with young people because of its hip atmosphere, great restaurants, and raw street art
You can also go out in this neighborhood as it’s home to some of the best clubs in Berlin. A favorite is RAW-Gelände in an old industrial complex from the GDR era, which now has hip clubs, terraces and street art.
But do not skip the sights: in this neighborhood you will find the East Side Gallery, the Oberbaumbrücke (which connects the district with Kreuzberg), and of course the Volkspark Friedrichshain to which the district owes its name.
You will enjoy Friedrichshain if you like: a rough and creative hipster neighborhood in Berlin
Where to stay in Friedrichshain
- Indigo Berlin: This hip hotel with urban design is just steps away from the East Side Gallery. What else do you want?
- nhow Berlin: This is the perfect hotel if you like music, since it even has two music studios. Borrow an electric guitar for free or enjoy the wellness facilities.
North of Friedrichshain you will find Prenzlauer Berg, a neighborhood that is very popular with families. The neighborhood has many green parks, nice squares, nice boutiques and restaurants that cook with organic products.
Once this area was a lot worse. During the war, it was severely destroyed, after which it actually became a dilapidated workers’ neighborhood. This low rent naturally attracted artists and students, who breathed new life into the area. These alternative residents are now adults, and now live in the refurbished neighborhood with their families.
Sights are not many as this is just a (cozy) residential area. Tip: in the Kulturbrauerei you will find Berlin on Bike, which offer a bike tour through Berlin. I did and it was lovely!
You will love Prenzlauerberg if you like: a relaxed and child-friendly atmosphere, nice restaurants and life among the locals
Where to stay in Prenzlauerberg
- Myer’s Hotel Berlin: This 4-star boutique hotel is located in a quiet and green part of Berlin, and with nice weather you can even sit in the garden.
- Victors Residenz Berlin: This 4-star hotel has classic rooms and a delightful garden. Just two metro stops from Alexanderplatz.
- Hotel Oderberger: This classic 4-star hotel offers absolute luxury, with a super good restaurant and a fantastic indoor swimming pool. The rooms themselves are surprisingly modern.
South of the River Spree, you’ll find cool Kreuzberg. Fun fact: did you know that Kreuzberg used to be in West Berlin, while Friedrichshain fell under East Berlin?
Kreuzberg is a varied neighborhood that consists of a more prosperous, chic part (61, in the southwest) and the anarchist, more creative part (36, in the southeast). This part was difficult to reach at the time of the Berlin Wall and had many buildings that fell into disrepair, which in turn attracted squatters.
The neighborhood is certainly a bit rough (especially in the area around Kottbusser Tor I felt unsafe as a woman), but it also has pieces that are very creative and full of nice bars and cafes. On Oranienstraße you will find restaurants with cuisines from all over the world. Don’t forget to visit Checkpoint Charlie, the most famous landmark in the neighborhood. The Jewish Museum was also recommended to me by one of my followers, but unfortunately I didn’t have time to visit.
You like Kreuzberg if you like: a mix of chic and squatters-Berlin. A mishmash of cultures with a rough edge.
Where to stay in Kreuzberg
- Hotel Sarotti-Höfe: Located in an old chocolate factory, surrounded by a lot of cafés and restaurants. This hotel is certainly striking, with its colorful 70s decor.
- Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten Berlin City: Located in a lively part of Kreuzberg, it offers comfortable rooms with a private kitchenette. You’re a stone’s throw from the metro stop.
- Grimm’s Hotel am Potsdamer Platz: Within walking distance of Potsdamer Platz and close to the metro. The rooms are light and comfortable and the breakfasts delicious.
Berlin is not only “rough” and “hip,” it also has parts that have a chic look. The stately Charlottenburg, located in the former West Berlin, is one of them.
The most famous landmark in the district is of course Charlottenburg Palace, the baroque summer palace that King Frederick I built for his wife, and was named after her after her death. I thought it was really a beautiful palace, and definitely worth a visit! In the summer, the palace gardens are also wonderful for strolling through.
Also visit the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche, the ruins of a church that was bombed during the Second World War and the Kurfürstendamm (most famous shopping street in the city) in this district.
You like Charlottenburg if you like: a quiet and chic residential area with good shopping opportunities and a beautiful palace.
Where to stay in Charlottenburg
- Hotel Elba am Kurfürstendamm: This hotel is located directly on Kurfürstendamm and has a delightful inner garden. Good option for budget travelers.
- Hollywood Media Hotel am Kurfürstendam: Neat, comfortable rooms with a Hollywood theme. Located near the famous shopping street. Excellent breakfast is included.
- Hotel Savoy Berlin: This 4-star hotel offers classic luxury, with large rooms and comfortable beds. Located in a quiet side street, a five-minute walk from Kurfürstendamm.
What are your best tips on where to stay in Berlin?
General Travel Tips
- For accommodation, I always check Airbnb or Booking.com for the best prices.
- If your insurance at home doesn’t cover travel, you may want to look into SafetyWing for an affordable option.
- I always recommend checking Get Your Guide for the best tours in Europe.