Kreuzberg (or X-berg) is one of Berlin’s hippest neighbourhoods. After World War II, primarily immigrant guest workers lived in Kreuzberg after the district had suffered heavily from the bombings during the war. This is why today, X-berg, as the locals often call it, is one an equally multicultural and trendy district in the German capital.
This makes Kreuzberg the perfect spot to discover the true spirit of the city and what makes it so unique, even as it is becoming increasingly gentrified. Besides that, Kreuzberg is also the home of Berlin’s alternative and punk rock scene, a vivid art scene as well the LGBTQ community.
Where to sleep
Hotels in Berlin are just as diverse as the city and there’s something for every taste and budget. If you like to stay right in the heart of the district, The Grimm’s Hotel, named after Brothers Grimm, is an ideal choice. Directly located on the Potsdamer Platz, all of Kreuzberg and Berlin can be easily reached from here, while the experience at the hotel is further enriched by a Finnish sauna and a rooftop terrace with a magnificent view over the city.
Are you looking for something more unique? The Hotel Sarotti-Höfe is located in a former chocolate factory of Sarotti, uniting tradition with modern features and with a quite location right in the heart of the city. The hotel amazes with individually decorated rooms facing a courtyard and is neatly located to a large number of brunch spots and cafes.
Taste Berlin’s best coffee
Kreuzberg developed rapidly over the last few decades into the cultural heart of Berlin, so it is no wonder that here you can find some of the coffeeshops in the city. At Five Elephant for example, you can find coffee beans from all over the world. This specialty coffee roastery and artisan bakery follows a very passionate approach while operating their small business as environmentally and socially responsible as possible.
Another fan favourite is Bonanza Coffee. This café follows a process called ‘retro innovation’, a combination of both new and old techniques. Here, you can buy coffee beans and blends from all over the world with different aromas and sip your coffee while the beans are roasting in impressive machines in the background.
Kreuzberg food culture
The food culture in Kreuzberg is just as multicultural as the district’s history. Visiting the Markthalle Neun is an event for foodies: this modern street food hall hosts several food stalls with plenty of options to choose from. Every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday you can find a weekly local market here where you can buy the best foods to tickle your taste buds, ranging from fresh homemade pasta to craft beer to traditional Italian baked goods.
Other iconic foods spots are just around the corner. Kreuzberg is especially popular for its Turkish cuisine, so no wonder you can find the best doner here as well. Make sure to come either very early or later when going to Mustafa’s Gemüse Kebab, to avoid queues and long waiting time when you try to get your hands on the best doner in town.
Checkpoint Charlie is one of the most famous attractions in Kreuzberg. The former border checkpoint used to be the most famous crossing point between East and West Berlin, connecting the sector of the USA and the Soviet Union. Everything around the checkpoint is just as it was before the Berlin Wall fell, including the barrier, flag, sandbags and the checkpoint booth.
Today, it is both a symbol of Germany’s unity and division. It is not only an important site of the Cold War but also commemorates those who tried to spectacularly tried to flee the GDR and failed or succeeded as well as the numerous confrontations of the blocs that took place here.
Close by lies the Mauermuseum – Museum Haus am Checkpoint Charlie. The museum walks its visitors through the chronology of events surrounding the checkpoint and the experiences of GDR citizens who fled, often through innovative hiding places and escape routes. It was founded shortly after the Wall by resistance fighter Dr. Rainer Hildebrandt and has not documented its impact ever since but also documented and supported flight plans.
Explore the local museums
While most museums can be found in Mitte, Kreuzberg is still home to some of Berlin’s best museums! The Jewish Museum for example is the biggest of its kind in Europe, exploring the Germany’s history and Jewish culture through thousands of objects and their stories. Designed by the architect Daniel Libeskind, it long since has become a Berlin landmark.
The Berlinische Galerie is a one of a kind museum that collects and preserves modern contemporary art, photography and architecture made in Berlin, truly showing how the German capital is a city of artists. Also the Gropis Bau is one the most important exhibition venues with its unique program consisting of archaeological exhibitions, photography, cultural history and large-scale contemporary art.
Bar hopping at Kottbusser Tor
The many bars around Kottbusser Tor, or Kotti how the locals call it, promise a good time and innovative drinks in a comfy atmosphere. Go to the Paloma Bar for a nostalgic 1970s German style experience with smoky vibes. The small club frequently hosts music nights and invites indie DJs over, making it the perfect club to hang out with your friends in a cosy atmosphere.
Another hidden gem (literally) is the Fahimi Bar. Well hidden from outside, you can only access the bar over a hidden staircase. Inside you’ll find a stunning panorama view over the Kiez accompanied by a industrial, rustic yet charming interior design. The club is especially famous for its innovative cocktails and drinks of the week, for example the Fleur d’ Orange, a mix of Roku Gin with Bergamot, Earl Grey Tea as well as Citrus and Orange Blossoms.