We were in need of a family holiday recently so took a short trip to Berlin at the end of May. What we discovered was a modern, fun, interesting city which was also baby-friendly (Kitty was just coming up to 15 months). Here’s a little guide for anyone looking for a city break to keep the adults and babes in your family happy.
First off, get the Like a Local app. Specifically designed to help you avoid the tourist traps, all the food/shopping/sightseeing tips are recommended by locals to the area. We’ve used this wonderful guide in Tallinn, Stockholm, Barcelona and Berlin, and it never fails. What’s more, you can download maps to use offline while wandering around!
We stayed at Leonardo Hotel, which was fantastic and well-situated between Alexanderplatz (central transport hub of the Mitte district) and the hip neighbourhood of Prenzlauer Berg.
We found the transport systems (trams, the underground and overground trains) reliable and easy to use. Kitty loves people-watching and spent all our journeys grinning at strangers!
We ate huge pizzas at I Due Forni, great fast burgers at O Der Burger and insanely delicious and inventive burgers at Bun Bao. (Mine was a tuna steak with sweet potato fries. YES) Berlin is rife with vegetarian, vegan and gluten free places to eat, especially in the Prenzlauer Berg area.
There are various supermarkets all over the city (including ALDI and LIDL), but as we were passing we picked up some groceries from hip organic store LPG Biomarkt.
We’re avid flea market fans, so were thrilled to discover the Mauerpark flea which was recommended to us by various friends. It’s an all-day event, and is ENORMOUS. Wear comfy shoes, you’ll spend all day there. Later in the day, neighbouring Mauerpark fills up with music and people relaxing, dancing and drinking in the sun. Wonderful festival atmosphere! There are lots of great places to eat nearby; O Der Burger is just across the road.
Another good flea/antiques market (which sells itself as the original) is the Trodel Markt, which takes place on Saturday mornings next to the Tiergarten underground station.
We also loved the Humana chain of secondhand and vintage clothes. We visited the Alexanderplatz branch and the huge store (five floors!) near Friedrichshain underground station.
Just wandering around Berlin you will stumble across interesting shops. Keep your eyes peeled!
I was really conscious that Kitty would be spending a lot of her time sitting in her pushchair, and luckily she is pretty happy observing the world around her. However, I wanted to make sure she had some time to play every day. This is where Berlin really comes into its own, with its wealth of child-friendly “kindercafés” spread across the city. Almost every café we went to for lunch had a sandpit!
Giraffe, in Tiergarten, has an expansive baby-friendly menu and great outdoor sandpit. Afterwards, take a stroll in beautiful Tiergarten, Berlin’s enormous city park.
There’s also a great sandpit and play area near the LPG supermarket, and playgrounds in every park we walked through. Another excellent café is Kiezkind, which has both outdoor and indoor sandpits!
We took Kitty on an open-top bus tour, and she lasted around an hour before she got bored and, ahem, demanded to get off. So instead spent an enjoyable hour climbing up the stairs of the concert hall in Gendarmenmarkt square. She also thoroughly enjoyed crawling around and looking at the animals in the small but very interesting Natural History museum.
Berlin also boasts several vintage photobooths, which have been restored to their former retro glory. For a mere €2 you can take home some adorable family snaps. We’ll treasure ours for years to come. You’ll probably spot them wandering around the city but you can also find a map of their whereabouts here.
We also visited the Berlin wall and went up the TV Tower for terrific views across the city. There were lots of things we didn’t do (the zoo, Ramones museum, Museum of Things) – but whatever you do, it will be great fun. For more recommendations check out the fantastic resource that is Berlin For All the Family – wish I’d seen it before we went!
Just wandering around Berlin you’ll see all sorts of lovely, colourful, interesting sights – the true mark of a great city. I think you’ll love it 0r whether you have kids or not!