Discover Berlin's hidden gems and fascinating stories! From iconic snacks like currywurst and Döner to the city's three UNESCO World Heritage Sites, there's so much to discover in this amazing city. We'll share some of our favourite fun facts about Berlin—some you might know and others that could surprise you.
1. Largest open-air gallery in the world
Berlin proudly hosts the East Side Gallery, an extraordinary testament to artistic expression and historical significance. Spanning an impressive 1,316 meters, it stands as the longest open-air gallery globally and preserves the longest remaining section of the Berlin Wall. Painted in 1990 by 118 artists from 21 countries, the gallery features 106 unique pieces of art. Notably, the 'Fraternal Kiss' mural, depicting former Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev and the GDR's Erich Honecker, remains the most photographed. The East Side Gallery attracts up to 3 million visitors annually, offering a vibrant and immersive experience in the heart of Friedrichshain.
2. Berlin has more museums than rainy days
Berlin, a city full of culture, is home to around 190 museums and non-commercial galleries. Regardless of the annual rainfall, which ranges from 106 to 170 days, Berlin's commitment to the preservation and presentation of its history and artistic creativity is continuous. The city's cultural richness is reflected in its diverse range of museums, making it a paradise for art and history enthusiasts.
3. Berlin is almost 9-times bigger than Paris
With an area of 892 square kilometres, Berlin is nearly nine times the size of Paris. Despite its enormous size, Berlin does not feel overwhelmingly large, which is due to its population density. With 4,000 inhabitants per square kilometre, the German capital offers a more open atmosphere than Paris, where the density is much higher at 21,000 inhabitants per square kilometre. This makes the city feel more spacious, especially compared to the busy streets of Paris.
4. Berlin has more waterways than Venice or Amsterdam
While Venice and Amsterdam are renowned for their canals, Berlin surpasses them with a network of 180 kilometres of waterways. The city’s vastness contributes to this aquatic wonder. Although Amsterdam boasts more bridges with over 2000, Berlin's 1700 bridges add a distinctive architectural charm to its water-filled landscape.
5. The TV Tower is the tallest building in Germany
The TV tower, which dominates the skyline of Alexanderplatz, is the tallest building in Germany at a height of 368 metres. With its viewing platform at 203 metres and the revolving restaurant at 207 metres, the TV tower offers a breathtaking panoramic view of Berlin. It is a must-visit attraction for anyone who wants to get a bird's eye view of the city or enjoy a good meal overlooking the city.
6. It has the largest department store in continental Europe
Founded in 1907, Berlin's Kaufhaus des Westens, or KaDeWe, is the largest department store in continental Europe. With a sales area of over 60,000 square metres - the equivalent of eight football pitches - KaDeWe is a popular shopping destination. Renowned for its gourmet offerings and providing a delightful blend of fashion, food, beauty, and lifestyle, this shopping paradise attracts approximately 50,000 visitors daily.
7. Berlin has more than 1.000 Spätis (late night stores)
Kiosks in Berlin are known as "Späti", and with over 1,000 kiosks spread around the city, they have become an indispensable part of Berliners' lives. Originally established in East Germany to cater for the needs of night workers, Spätis have developed into a cultural phenomenon. Open around the clock, Spätis offer Berliners a convenient way to stock up on food, snacks or drinks at any time, reflecting the city's vibrant and dynamic lifestyle.
8. Home to 3 UNESCO World heritage sites
There are three UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Berlin: Museum Island, the magnificent Prussian palaces and gardens and the modernist housing estates. Additionally, the city holds the title of "UNESCO City of Design," solidifying its status as a creative hub within the UNESCO network of Creative Cities.
9. Unique traffic light: The beloved Ampelmännchen
Berlin has an interesting connection with traffic lights. Europe’s first traffic light was installed in Potsdamer Platz in 1924. During the division of the country, each side featured its distinct traffic light figure. After reunification, there was an attempt to replace the iconic Ampelmännchen with its West German counterpart. However, this move faced strong opposition from Berliners, leading to widespread protests. This led to the inclusion of the cheerful traffic light figure in the city's guidelines, preserving its cult status as a symbol of Berlin's identity.
10. Fastest lift in Europe
While the TV tower is the tallest building, the Panoramapunkt at Potsdamer Platz has the fastest lift in Europe. It travels to the 24th floor in just 20 seconds and offers a 360° panoramic view of the city. For tourists, this is a fast and exciting journey to the top.
11. Berlin’s relationship status: Single and Proud
A 2015 study found that one in two Berliners is single or unmarried, making Berlin the singles capital of Germany. The city's aversion to conventionality and strong desire for freedom, especially among the younger generation, is reflected in their reluctance to commit. With almost a third of the population living solo, Berlin embraces an open-minded approach to relationships, embodying a spirit of independence.
12. The city has its own beer specialty
Berliner Weiße, a slightly sour beer crafted from wheat and barley malt, is a local beer specialty that captures the essence of Berlin's culinary scene. Served with raspberry or woodruff syrup, this fizzy and refreshing beverage, known as "Weiße mit Schuss," is a popular choice, especially during the warmer months.
13. Around 950 Döner spits are eaten daily
The Döner kebab, a culinary delight synonymous with Berlin, holds a special place in the city's gastronomic landscape. Introduced in 1972, this beloved fast food has become an integral part of Berliners' lives. While the Berlin Döner draws inspiration from Turkish kebabs, legend has it that the Döner Kebab originated in Berlin. The distinctions lie in the use of pita bread, spiced meats, and sauces.
On an average day, a Döner spit, carrying approximately 63 kg of meat, contributes to the whopping daily consumption of 60 tons of meat in Berlin. The popularity of Döner kebabs in Berlin remains unmatched, with an average of 950 Döner spits consumed daily. Whether it's lunch, dinner, or a post-party snack at 2 AM, the local kebab shop is the go-to spot for satisfying hunger cravings throughout the day.
The upscale Hotel Adlon even offers an elegant Döner Kebab for just under 30 euros, featuring veal loin strips, lettuce, cabbage, tomatoes, red onions, and a special truffle cream in flatbread.
14. Capital of dog lovers
Berlin has a special reputation, not just for its residents but also for being a fantastic city for dogs. The people here really love their four-legged friends, and you can tell because there are lots of places that welcome dogs. Back in 2011, Berlin was voted as the most dog-friendly city in Germany. The dog population is around 200.000 and counting meaning that you can practically take your dog everywhere with you.
15. There is a restaurant on the roof of the German Bundestag
On the roof of the German Bundestag, the parliament building, there's a unique restaurant. It's the only one in the world on top of a parliament building and open to the public. You need to book in advance, but this distinctive dining spot offers fantastic views of the city. It blends tasty food with a touch of politics, creating a memorable experience.
In conclusion, Berlin is a charming city that blends history, culture, and uniqueness into one. Every part of the city tells an interesting story, making it an exciting place that amazes both people who live there and those who visit.