17 Dec 7 tips when solo tripping to Berlin
It was September 2nd. This year, I didn’t allow myself to go on a holiday – I wanted to work work work & save money to buy a new catchy camera. So there I was on my holiday job, staring at a computer screen and counting down hours, minutes and even seconds before I could go home. I was already planning what was on my agenda for that night; oh yessss, working on my new book. That was the only thing I had been doing for the past months, not a single day excluded. Don’t get me wrong; writing a book is 100% fun, but on these days I was suffering from a writer’s block – not in the literary, poet way, but more in the i got tons of recipes but i have no f*cking idea of what the overall atmosphere in the book is going to be like!!!. Then I realised that the only thing I needed, was a fresh load of inspiration. Ka-ching, that same night, my cheapass Rayanair ticket to Berlin was booked. I could not crawl back anymore: this was going to be my first solo trip ever, just my backpack, my camera and me.
If you’re reading this article because you’re doubting if solo tripping is worth the deal: just go with the flow. Don’t ruminate for days on whether you’re going to like it or not, you’ll only know this if you’ve done it. The coolest thing about travelling alone is your independency. Not in a social mood? Then just stroll around the streets by yourself; observing people, the neighborhood or any weird stuff you like – you’re a complete stranger anyway, so why bother about what you’re doing. Here are my 10 tips to keep in mind when you’re solo travelling to Berlin:
1. Book a stay at Riverside Lodge Hostel
Since this was my first solo trip, I had spent nights of endless hostel hunting on the web. I wasn’t looking for a party hostel, neither for one without a common room. The hostel had to be cheap, but decent. It had to be located in a safe area. (you’re traveling alone, so look for a safe haven where you can feel at home) Riverside Lodge literally suited all my needs. The owner is very, very, very helpful – he gives you a complete city map and even tells you where to eat cheap, party like the locals and how to avoid tourist traps. Bathroom facilities, kitchen and dorms were clean and quiet. Above all, almost 90% of all guests were solo travelers, so it was quite easy to hook up with them and meet people from all over the world.
2. Rent a bike at RentABike44
Renting a bike in a cosmopolitan city is not always a good idea. Either there are barely any bike routes, or renting a bike is too expensive. Luckily, Berlin is a true bikers’ paradise. I intentionally didn’t buy a metro pass, which was one of the best decisions of the entire trip. You get to see so much more when discovering the city above ground, especially in Berlin where every single streetcorner has something catchy to offer. Make sure to rent your bike at RentABike44, since you can get a decent one for a cheapass price (4 euro / day or 25 euro / week, which is lower than the public transportation tickets). The bikes are not advertised, so you’re less likely to give the intention that you’re just another stupid tourist doing an expensive city tour. Bike like them localzzzz!
3. Eat a cheap currywurst at Fleischerei Neuling
Located in the former communist part of Berlin, you can enjoy the static architecture while eating a hot currywurst bun with ketchup and mustard. Divine simplicity for only 1,5 euro!
4. Discover Mitte, stroll around in Kreuzberg, Neukölln & Friedrichshain
By saying ‘discover’ Mitte, I really mean just discover. Mitte has many lovely tourist attractions to offer, but is one hell of an expensive area when it comes to eating or drinking. Just hop on your bike and look for a cosy salad bar or coffeeshop in Kreuzberg – they’re EVERYWHERE.
5. Visit Tempelhof Airport
This former Nazi-built airport has been closed in 2008. You might think: okay, nothing cool out there to see anymore. But hey, the Berliners turned this enormous tarmac into a public space. People can walk, ride their bicycles, rollerskate, or even kite across the tarmac. ISN’T THIS F*CKING FANTASTIC?
6. Go to the coolest rooftop bar, Klunkerkranich
If you’re looking for for a typical edgy berlin-ish atmosphere on a rooftop, Klunkerkranich is the way to go. It’s located on the rooftop of a shopping mall and gives a great view on Berlin’s skyline. The atmosphere is cosy, it attracts a young crowd and it’s a great place great to hook up with fellow travelers. Downside: drinks are quite expensive (5 euro for a beer) + 1 euro for entrance