Berlin's streets carry the echoes of resilience and renewal, from the remnants of the Berlin Wall to the iconic Brandenburg Gate, while its museums and galleries are abundant. Berlin-based curator, Vanessa Boni, shares tips for art and design lovers planning a trip to the German capital.



Tiger Bar, Berlin: a cozy little bar with earthy interiors © Vanessa Boni


Amid its historical backdrop, Berlin has always had a thriving cultural scene with numerous theaters, nightclubs, and concert halls. For art and design lovers in particular, there is an abundance of museums and galleries to get lost in.

From the ancient to the modern, you can encounter the Bust of Nefertiti in the Neues Museum, or Renaissance masterpieces at the Gemäldegalerie, to contemporary art inhabiting a former war-time bunker. Here are my favorite places and spaces in Berlin.

Where to Stay

Chateaux Royal: In the heart of Mitte, Château Royal was crafted by people with a long history of working at the intersections of art, design, and gastronomy in Berlin. This quiet, stylish hotel is home to artworks by many leading contemporary artists with over 100 works inhabiting the rooms, corridors, stairways, and the restaurant. The Bar is the perfect place to enjoy a dirty martini at the end of a long day!

Wilmina: A 120-year-old former women’s prison on Charlottenburg's busy Kantstraße has undergone a remarkable transformation into a tranquil and sophisticated boutique hotel. It has a secret garden and spa, and serves contemporary German cuisine in a distinctive 19th-century courtyard. Nearby Suarezstraße is home to many antique dealers - a must for historic treasure seekers.

Telegraphenamt: Housed within a beautifully restored historic building that once served as the city's central telegraph office, this boutique hotel blends old-world charm with modern luxury. Being located in the heart of Berlin, the hotel is an ideal base for exploring the city's iconic landmarks and cultural venues.

25hours Hotel Bikini Berlin: Atop a listed shopping centre off Kufürstendamm, this urban hotel is vibrant and eclectic. From its jungle-inspired sauna or rooftop bar you can enjoy panoramic views of Berlin Zoo. Embracing the jungle theme, the hotel features BLESS-designed hammocks in the lobby and bathrobes for sauna visits.

Where to Eat

Jolesch: Known for some of the best Wiener schnitzel in Berlin, as well as classic Viennese desserts like apple strudel, this low-lit, wood-panelled restaurant in Kreuzberg is a great spot to enjoy traditional and contemporary Austrian cooking.

Tiger Bar: Tucked away in a beautifully renovated courtyard off Kurfurstenstraße, this cozy little bar with a laid-back atmosphere and a dark, earthy interior offers delicious cocktails and elegant wines. It is well-situated, nearby the Mies van der Rohe-designed Neue Nationalgalerie and Potsdamer Platz.

Paris Bar: One of Berlin’s historic artist hangouts, Paris Bar serves French classics. Established in 1962, it remains in its original Charlottenburg location. A hub during the Cold War, it hosted artists and celebrities, with Martin Kippenberger notoriously settling his bill with artworks. Despite changes over time, it retains cozy and charming, with every inch of the walls covered in artworks. A truly adored spot.

Coccodrillo: I love restaurants that create truly indulgent atmospheres, transporting you to another realm where the outside world seems to fade away. That's precisely the experience offered by the extravagant and irreverent Coccodrillo situated in Mitte’s Weinbergspark. They serve authentic Italian cuisine, including delicious homemade pasta and pizza, on rustic Bassano-esque tableware. The ice cream profiterole with chocolate sauce is particularly divine.

Where to Shop

BLESS: More like an all-encompassing system for everyday life than your average fashion label, the BLESS store operates out of a private apartment on the third floor of a building in a typical residential street in Berlin’s former East. Their products - ranging from clothing, to furniture, blankets, and accessories, displayed in every corner of the apartment - are a total marvel. Check their website for opening hours.

Garments Vintage: Berlin is known for its vintage shopping. This chic store specialises in second hand designer clothing, accessories, and shoes. Jewellery collections range from costume to African heritage. Ideal for lovers of bohemian or whimsical styles.

Antiques and Book Market at the Bode Museum: Berlin has many flea markets to explore in different neighbourhoods, but this one, set against the backdrop of Museum Island (see below), is definitely worth a visit. The wares on offer include books, records, antique jewellery, former GDR crockery, cutlery, and glassware.

Kollwitz Market: This cute market on Kollwitzplatz takes place every Saturday in the charming neighbourhood of Prenzlauer Berg. Mostly natural, ecological, and handmade products can be found here such as natural soaps, clothing, handcrafts, accessories, toys, plants, breads, cheese, and sausage.


BLESS store operates out of a private apartment in Berlin © Vanessa Boni

What to See & Do

Käthe Kollwitz Museum: This museum is home to one of the largest collections of works by the renowned 20th-century German artist, Käthe Kollwitz. Delving into themes of war, poverty, love, and loss, Kollwitz's poignant etchings and sculptures offer profound insights into her oeuvre and her enduring relevance. This museum is located next to the baroque Charlottenburg Palace and gardens.

The Feuerle Collection: Located in a former WWII telecommunications bunker, this institution encourages a conversation between different periods and cultures. On display, ancient Chinese furniture spanning from 200 BC to the 17th century, early Khmer sculptures from the 7th to the 13th century, and modern art by artists including Anish Kapoor, Cristina Iglesias, and Adam Fuss.

Brücke Museum: In Dahlem, on the edge of the Grunewald Forest, is the largest displayed collection of German Expressionism by the art group, Die Brücke (The Bridge). The museum organises temporary exhibitions which often place the collection in dialogue with the work of modern and contemporary painters.

Georg Kolbe Museum: The former studio and garden of 20th-century German artist, Georg Kolbe, now serves as a museum in the serene surroundings of Berlin-Westend suburb. Known for his sculptures depicting the human body in motion, Kolbe's collection is showcased here. The museum not only honors Kolbe's legacy but also fosters connections to contemporary sculpture and dance.

Museum Island: An ensemble of five world-class museums on Spreeinsel (Spree Island) in central Berlin, built by the Prussian rulers and awarded UNESCO World Heritage status. Museuminsel (Museum Island) includes: Altes Museum (Old Museum); Neues Museum (New Museum); Alte Nationalgalerie; Bode Museum and Pergamon Museum. The quintet have a fascinating history and each holds a significant art collection; Neues Museum famously holds the Nefertiti Bust.  

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