A local’s guide to Berlin
- By Rick Noack
- Photos by Verena Brüning
Berlin can be puzzling to first-time visitors: As one of Europe’s most geographically spread-out cities, the streets here seem relatively empty even on weekdays. That’s not just because of geography, though; locals also behave as if it’s already the weekend.
What distinguishes Berliners is how seriously we take work-life balance. The city is a haven for outdoors enthusiasts, whether they’re biking along the River Spree or kayaking on one of the countless lakes around which Germany’s capital is built.
Everywhere you go, landmarks greet you, even when you’re not deliberately looking for monuments. In a place where East and West once met and where history took a fortunate turn, you’ll still find ominous Nazi-era architecture next to modern high-rises erected where the Communist-era Berlin Wall once stood. And in between exploring, have a drink in the beer gardens and check out the city’s first-class Middle Eastern or Vietnamese food selection. Welcome to the capital in the heart of Europe that, compared with its other major cities, takes things a bit easier.
Meet Rick Noack
Rick Noack is a Paris-based correspondent covering France for The Washington Post. Previously, he was a foreign affairs reporter for The Post based in Berlin. He also worked for The Post from Washington, Britain, Australia and New Zealand.
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Explore more of Berlin
- Many places in Berlin don’t accept credit or debit cards. Yes, even expensive restaurants may only take cash. Head to the ATM as soon as you get here.
- Apropos of getting here: You’ll probably arrive at one of the two very, very old Berlin airports. Don’t let their outdated look taint your view of Berlin.
- Berliners become different people when it finally gets warm after our infamously long winters. If you plan a trip when it’s cold, try to be here before New Year’s Eve.