Berlin - The Hippest City In Europe?

December 9, 2013 Germany 4 Comments 12,802 Views

Berlin – Hip, Hipper, The Hippest City In Europe?

After being off line for what seemed like a lifetime (actually we’re talking about a month or so) due to work, I decided it was time to get out of this place for a while. But then again, time is limited and Christmas is coming up. So I caught up with a couple of friends all over Europe and Berlin became my desired destination for a long weekend trip. It’s simply been far too long since I was here last and after all, I never got the full-on hip Berlin experience yet. So I was ready to see for myself if Berlin really deserves the title “Hippest City in Europe”.

… And Then Came “Xaver”.

Nothing seemed to stop us from exploring Berlin and its top sights … except wind storm “Xaver”; streets have been blocked, flights & trains cancelled and winds of up to 225km/h lashed across North-Germany. In Berlin, this meant snow-storm to the max! Looking out of our hotel room window in the morning was like a nightmare come true. But, the clock was ticking, so even the “Big Room” at the Soho House Berlin couldn’t keep us from staying in.

TV Tower on Alexanderplatz in Berlin, Germany.
Wind storm “Xaver” made the first day in Berlin a bit … uncomfy. But, we kept up the spirit and simply drank lots of “Glühwein” to keep warm.
East Side Gallery – hip, but definitely too cold to get the full on experience.

A little cold, wind or snow never kept us from exploring, after all we’re Austrians! So we were off to explore hip Berlin. Starting point was the East Side Gallery along the Berlin Wall.

Street art along the Berlin Wall - East Side Gallery.
Street art along the Berlin Wall – East Side Gallery | “My God, Help Me to Survive This Deadly Love”
Street art along the Berlin Wall - East Side Gallery.
Street art along the Berlin Wall – East Side Gallery.
East Side Gallery in Berlin.
Did I already mention that is was freezing!?! And I take everything back with “a little snow can’t get us down … it can!”
Berlin Mitte & Kreuzberg – Hipper.

We’re getting there; Kreuzberg was a bit disappointing to be honest. Maybe because we went there at the wrong time of the day – during the day. My friend Aurelia told me that this part of Berlin becomes famous after dark. For my kind of taste, Kreuzberg was rundown and dirty with weird looking peeps. I’m Viennese so maybe I’m just too conservative for this kind of hippness?! Possibly. Still, we found two lovely cafés is which we spent a fair amount of time (not only because of the lovely weather outside). Berlin-Mitte on the contrary was a super spot. Lovely shops, cute cafés, endless dwelling along the streets.

Graffiti in Kreuzberg, Berlin.
Kreuzberg is supposed to be one of the hippest areas in Berlin. Maybe I went there at the wrong time (?), because there was nothing that hip about it…
"Made in Berlin" is one of the hippest second hand shops in Berlin.
“Made in Berlin” is one of the hippest second hand shops in Berlin. I agree.
Urban Spree – The Hippest.

Sunken at the forefront of the RAW maze-like compound, Urban Spree is a graffiti-laden brick and concrete self-proclaimed “(re)creative space”—but don’t let that put you off. Pretentious parentheses in the description aside, if you walk on by you’re missing out. Upstairs, an artist’s laboratory and workshop rings with buzz-words of Berlin’s urbanization: engage, interact, collaborate, fuck off Media Spree etc. With the multifaceted city itself as an inspirational source, the program of events is fittingly schizophrenic. Previous times have seen the space give a temporary home to a Flohmarkt, a short film festival, Berlin fashion week, even a Korean food night, plus all the usuals – so keep your eyes on their schedule as there’s no telling what’ll come next.

We were lucky to come at the right time. The “Voodoo X-Mas Market” was the right place to find cool and extraordinary presents. I didn’t find any presents but treated myself to two super sweet ponchos. Urban Spree is a pretty hip place with exactly those hip kind of people I missed in other parts of Berlin.

 "Urban Spree" in Berlin-Friedrichshain.
And then we cam to “Urban Spree” in Berlin-Friedrichshain … pretty hip place.
Urban Spree in Berlin-Friedrichshain.
We were lucky to be there at the right time of the year since there was an artsy “Voodoo X-Mas Market” happening.
Urban Spree in Berlin-Friedrichshain.
Cool graffiti can be found outside and inside at Urban Spree.
Urban Spree in Berlin-Friedrichshain.
Shoes, cloths, jewellery … cool and extraordinary presents to be found at the “Voodoo Market” (happening only once every 4 months).
Urban Spree in Berlin-Friedrichshain.
And I bought some super sweet ponchos…
Urban Spree in Berlin-Friedrichshain.
The “Voodoo Market” at Urban Spree was definitely a highlight during our Berlin trip.
So, is Berlin as hip as everyone thinks?

Well, in my opinion, Berlin has done a great job promoting itself as the hippest city in Europe. But is it really the hippest? I personally don’t think so (please don’t hate me my Berlin friends). I really enjoyed the days in the German capital and had great experiences with brilliant photo opportunities, but I missed the flair & charm that other European cities offer. Maybe I’m spoiled with Vienna on this, but I think if you want more than just partying (which I have to admit is pretty darn awesome!), Berlin is just as ordinary as any other city. And then again, I’ll be back in summer, when I’m not affected by minus degrees and layers of cloths, to give it another go.

What do you think?

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4 Comments

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“Berlin – Hip, Hipper, The Hippest City In Europe?”

  1. You’ve really captured the lively, hip flavors of Berlin. I’m not a fan of calling any destination ‘est’ (hippest, biggest, coolest..etc.)

  2. Thanks Sonya. And yes, I’d agree with you on the ‘est’ calling. There’s definitely no such thing as the hippest, biggest, coolest, liveliest, etc. city anywhere…

  3. I like Berlin a lot. I don’t know if it is so hippest, but it has some really interesting atmosphere

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