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Discover alternative Berlin

Rough around the edges

A monster cabinet in an alley, a former spy station on a garbage dump and techno parties in a former industrial area: we take you to the coolest and most irreverent hotspots in Berlin.

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Wilfried Krecichwost / Getty Images
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Wilfried Krecichwost / Getty Images

Underground Berlin

Berlin is known around the world for its vibrant alternative scene. After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 many artists and musicians found their way to the deserted factories, abandoned power plants and concrete bunkers of East Berlin and transformed these into ateliers and night clubs. With this newfound freedom, Techno fans, the LGBTQ crowd and creative minds could truly be themselves. Berlin still represents huge cultural diversity and the next creative burst is always around the corner. From enormous murals to underground parties: fans of alternative will never be bored in Berlin.

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Hackesche Höfe

Hidden street art alley

In 1906, a run-down working class neighbourhood was levelled to make room for these eight Jugendstil courtyards, known as the Hackesche Höfe. The new constructions accommodated housing, shops, entertainment and edgy art. Expressionist poets founded the legendary Der Neue Club. Today, the arched entrance leads to design studios, art galleries, trendy restaurants and hip theatres. Although the courtyard buildings still look impeccable, an alternative paradise awaits just around the corner.

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adam eastland / Alamy Stock Photo
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Eden Breitz / Alamy Stock Photo

The walls of the so-called Dead Chicken Alley are completely covered with murals, stencils and stickers. On any given day you have a good chance of coming across an artist at work. Those looking for more extreme creations, head to the basement at the end of the alley and look for the Monsterkabinett: a bizarre display of monstrous art installations.

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    Teufelsberg

    Spying from the dump

    You can literally stand on top of history at Teufelsberg. After the Second World War all rubble from the city was hauled here and formed this mound that became the highest point in West Berlin. The American secret service quickly found a good use for this spot, setting up antennae, dishes and radar domes on top of the Teufelsberg to spy on East Germany. After the Cold War, the hill was transformed into an urban playground for mountain bikers, skaters and climbers.

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    At the top you can take a tour of the former wiretapping station, admire the graffiti designs on the radar domes or simply take in the sweeping views over Berlin.

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      Tempelhof

      Landing strip picnic

      In the twenties Tempelhof was one of the largest airports in Europe. The airport was deactivated in 2008 and transformed into a public area. This vast open space of 386 hectares (about the same size as Central Park in New York) now draws Berliners who come here to picnic, bike, skate or jog. On nice days, this is a popular kite flying destination. The hangars are regularly used for festivals and exhibits. The enormous 1.2-kilometre-long building has been left in its original state so visitors can stroll around the empty departure halls and baggage claim areas.

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        Eden Breitz / Alamy Stock Photo

        RAW-Gelände

        Squatted railway yard

        The RAW-Gelände in Friedrichshain is the apex of alternative Berlin. These former railway yards were squatted after the fall of the Berlin Wall and transformed into a cultural complex. Today, it is packed with patios, food trucks and art studios. You will also find a climbing wall and a skate park. The somewhat decrepit railway yards are decorated with cool street art, and techno parties and concerts are hosted in the clubs, Cassiopeia and Suicide Circus, for example. On hot summer days locals flock here to cool off in the Haubentaucher swimming pool.

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        Eden Breitz / Alamy Stock Photo
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