How To Meet Locals In Berlin

How To Meet Locals In Berlin

Germans are often stereotyped to be cold and stern and the natives of Berlin may seem to be no exception. However you should not allow such preconceived notions to deter you from meeting and interacting with the locals during your visit to Berlin.

In fact, you may find them to be friendly and helpful people so keep an open mind and be proactive! Here are some tips to consider if you wish to meet locals in Berlin.

1. Explore Berlin with a local

Keen to meet locals and avoid the usual tourist hotspots? Make a booking with a Local on My Plus One, an online platform that helps to connect travellers with like-minded locals in a city. By exploring with a Local in Berlin, you will gain insight into the everyday lives of locals, their favourite haunts as well as the city’s hidden gems. The Local you book may even bring you to meet their friends, giving you the opportunity to meet and interact with more locals!

The My Plus One team has met every Local on their platform so you can be assured that the Local will offer an authentic Berlin experience.

2. Stay with the locals

Complement your exploration of Berlin with a Local by staying in the home of a local. This will give you a direct opportunity to meet the natives of Berlin as opposed to a hotel-stay and experience life as a local. Your host may also share with you insights on Berlin and offer recommendations on places to visit, dine and meet other locals.

Book a stay in the home of a local in Berlin through online platforms such as Airbnb or Couchsurfing.

3. Learn conversational German

You do not have to be proficient at speaking German in order to meet locals in Berlin but it will certainly be helpful if you know some conversational German. The locals you encounter during your visit to Berlin, not to mention your host family or Local guide, will appreciate that you are making the effort to communicate with them in their native language and be more inclined to interact with you.

Online resources such as Duolingo and deutsch-lernen offer guidance on the basics of language at no cost.

4. Travel at off-peak periods

The off-peak travel season, at least for Berlin, is typically between January and February, which comes after the festive season and where daylight hours are considerably shorter as compared to summer. With fewer tourists around, you will be more likely to meet locals at the cafeterias or on public transport.

The locals are generally more welcoming of visitors when they are not surrounded by hoards of them, which also makes meeting and interacting with them easier too.

5. Hang out at cafes frequented by locals

A place that is frequented by the locals will give you plenty of opportunities to meet them during your visit to Berlin. In order to meet locals at their favourite haunts, it is perhaps ideal to pick cafes which have a relaxed and carefree ambience, such as Barcomi’s Deli and Cuccuma, for it is likely that local patrons are also in a leisurely mood and thus more willing to interact with you. You just need to be confident and make the first step!

6. Dine with the locals at their homes

Besides exploring the city and staying with locals, dining in their homes presents another opportunity to meet them! Why not book a BonAppetour dining experience with one of our hosts in Berlin? They will be happy to share with you more about the cuisine they have to offer and should you have any dietary needs or preferences, feel free to mention them when booking and our hosts can customise the menu accordingly to ensure you have an enjoyable dining experience.

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How to Eat Like a Local in Berlin

How to Eat Like a Local in Berlin

You may think that eating like a local in Berlin will see you having endless servings of currywurst. The ubiquitous street food dish is indeed a staple in Berlin but that is not all that Berliners eat. In fact, the locals also enjoy food that originated beyond the borders of Germany. With a great variety of cuisine available in Berlin, eating like a local presents an opportunity for you to sample different types of cuisine. 

You could even go one better and not only eat LIKE a local in Berlin, but also dine WITH locals. Check out our chefs in Berlin who cannot wait to cook local cuisine for you in their homes. 

1. Curry 61 

The currywurst is undoubtedly one of the dishes that one must try in Berlin and you will have no problem finding a street food vendor selling this delicacy. However, if you are keen to have your fix of currywurst at a place frequented by Berliners, head to Curry 61. You can choose to have your currywurst on its own or accompanied with fries or bread roll. Note that stall is small and its standing tables are usually occupied so you are almost certain to be having this delicacy on the go. 

2. Rosenthaler Grill und Schlemmerbuffet

When it comes to popular street food in Berlin, the doner is perhaps the closest rival. This delicacy was introduced by Turkish immigrants in Germany following WWII and soon became a favourite among locals. Today, the doner is as widely found in the streets of Berlin as the currywurst and one of the places the locals frequent to get their fix of this treat is Rosenthaler Grill und Schlemmerbuffet. This eatery is open 24 hours and serves generous portions at affordable prices – it is little wonder why the locals like this place. 

3. Burgermeister

This eatery is situated under a bridge and was formerly a public toilet, but that does not deter locals from patronising. In fact, Burgermeister is immensely popular with Berliners as it serves up delectable burgers at economical prices in an unconventional atmosphere. The queues may be long but it is proof that this no-frills eatery is a favourite with the locals. Seating is limited at this eatery so you may have to share a dining space with other patrons or opt for a takeout.    

4. Monsieur Vuong

Berlin is home to a large Vietnamese community and it is perhaps no surprise that there are plenty of eateries serving delicacies from this South-East Asian country. Monsieur Vuong is one of the most popular Vietnamese eateries with the locals in Berlin, serving quality and tasty dishes at reasonable prices. There is a constant stream of patrons at this eatery and locals are not put off because service is quick and the staff are friendly. This eatery is not vegetarian but can accommodate non-meat eaters and prepare vegetarian versions of dishes on request. 

5. Cafe Krone

With a cosy ambience and tasty food, Cafe Krone is a favourite for breakfast or brunch with locals. The coffee and cakes served at this cafe are also popular with the locals and there are vegetarian and vegan options available on the menu. Beyond its food, service at this cafe is attentive and friendly, which keeps locals returning and both indoor and outdoor seating so as to accommodate more patrons. 

6. Home-based dining experience

There is perhaps no better to eat like a local than to enjoy a home-cooked meal prepared by a local at their homes. At BonAppetour, we have friendly hosts in Berlin who are happy to share their delicacies with guests and are able to cater to different dietary needs or preferences. With our hosts, you can enjoy fusion cuisine or even have a cooking class with them! 

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Off the beaten path experiences in Berlin

Off the beaten path experiences in Berlin

Given Berlin's momentous past, visits to iconic attractions such as the Berlin Wall, Reischtag Building and Brandenburg Gate will undeniably be part of any itinerary for those visiting the German capital. But this city has got so much more to offer and if you wish to be away from the crowds during your stay, check out these hidden gems.   

1. Hohenschönhausen

The main prison during the Cold War to detain political prisoners, Hohenschönhausen is now a museum and memorial. Here, you may join a guided tour led by a historian or even a former inmate, who will share with you the tales of detainees and take you through the repressive hallways, cells and interrogation rooms of the former prison. While the museum-cum-memorial is located out of central Berlin, it bears reminder of the city's eventful past and the torment that detainees were subject to during the Cold War.

Location: Genslerstrasse 66

2.  Flea Market Mauerpark 

This flea market, though relatively new for it was established in 2004, is much loved by Berlin's residents. Here, you can find a host of items on bargain such as shoes, bicycle parts, vintage clothing, books and accessories. There are also food stalls available so you will never go hungry even if you were to spend a couple of hours searching for decent bargains. Note that the flea market is next to Mauerpark itself, a public park that was once a site of the Berlin Wall and the Death Strip. It is open only on Sundays from 9am to 6pm so plan your visit accordingly and head down early to catch the best bargains!

Location: Bernauer Str. 63-64

3. Künstlerhaus Bethanien

Once a medical institution, Künstlerhaus Bethanien today is home to exhibits of contemporary art as well as that by artists from around the world. When the hospital closed in 1970, there were plans to demolish this building but this was successfully campaigned against by conservationists, citizens intiative groups and squatters. It is free to view to many of the exhibits on display and apart from art exhibitions, you may also have the opportunity to watch theatre and dance performances.  

Location: Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg

4. Join a tour organised by Alternative Berlin

If you prefer to go on a guided tour, join one organised by Alternative Berlin. They will bring you to some of the places in Berlin which you are less likely to discover on your own and expose you to the quirky and artistic side of the city as well as Berlin's undergroud subcultures. Each tour will last 3 hours and do not cost a cent. Tipping is optional though recommended given the expertise of the guides. The meeting point of Alternative Berlin tours is Alexanderplatz TV Tower and tours commence at 11am, 1pm and 3pm. 

5. Tempelhofer Feld 

The Tempelhofer Feld today is a recreational space and is the largest urban park in Berlin today. Between the 1920s to 2008, this site housed the Tempelhof Airport, which was used as a landing site for planes carrying supplies such as food and coal. Following the closure of the airport in 2008, authorties reclaimed the land and transformed the site into a recreational space where families can bring their children and pets to roam about freely and have picnics. This space is also utilised by skaters, cyclists and joggers. 

Location: Tempelhof

6. Viktoriapark

Located in the Kreuzberg area of Berlin, the Viktoriapark is situated on a small hill and houses an artificial waterfall as well as a national monument commemorating the Wars of Liberation. Ascent to the summit of the hill and you will be rewarded with a panoramic view of Berlin. During the summer months, this park is ideal for picnics as well as for leisurely afternoons away from the bustle of the city. Ideal for families as well as travellers hoping to be closer to nature whilst in a primarily urban landscape. 

Location: Kreuzberg Street

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Food That You Can’t Miss in Berlin

Food That You Can't Miss in Berlin

1. Hoppelpopple

This is a signature dish of Berlin. It makes use of leftover meats and is scrambled together with eggs, potatoes and onions. Next time when you at home and has nothing to eat, try this german dish. .

2. Blutwurst

Besides the currywurst, the blutwurst is also worth a try. The blutwurst, also known as blood sausage, is made with pig's blood, barley, minced pork and seasonings. Many people have aversion to this delicacy because of the blood. Give it a try, its irony taste with the pork and seasoning will give you a whole new gastronomical experience.

3. Himmel und Erde

This dish has a fancy name of Heaven and Earth. It sure has the taste of heaven and earth from it's combination of ingredients used. It is made with potatoes, apple sauce and bacon. These ingredients, when cooked together, give you a both sweet and savoury taste that leaves you craving for more.

4. Senfeier

This dish of eggs in mustard sauce is a common on tables in German households. This is one of the dishes that your Grandmother would make and is sold in most canteens. Soft, hard boiled eggs are drenched in a creamy mustard sauce and sometimes served with potatoes.

5. Doner Kebab

Of Turkish origin, this street food has become popular is many regions such as Europe, America and Asia. The meat is placed on a vertical skewer and rotates while it is been roasted. The vendor will shave the meat into a bread or pita and serve it with generous amounts of sweet onion, cucumbers and sauce. Yums.

6. Pete's Home Restaurant

What is better than tasting German food? It is making them yourselves. Join Pete for a fun filled afternoon where you'll get to be a personal chef for the day. You can start the day by visiting the local Berlin markets where you guys can decide on a menu together. He will show you how to select the best ingredients and how to haggle and bargain with the vendors just like a local. While walking back to his apartment, you can also try some of the local delicacies that are sold along the river. Sounds good eh, what are you waiting for, check out Pete's Home Restaurant now!

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