As one of Berlin’s newest English teachers, you’ll probably find that you have a lot of free time on your hands for the first couple of months. Finding enough work to make a living often takes 6-8 weeks of CV writing, cover letter emailing and going to interviews. However, that gives you the enviable chance to really get to know your new surroundings unlike those fancy engineers, accountants and IT programmers.
The main attraction of Berlin is the bohemian atmosphere to be found in areas like Kreuzberg and Prenzlauer Berg. The city doesn’t have the same quantity of major tourism sights as say, London, but there is enough to keep you busy. Although museums and the like normally charge, there are several places you can check out with spending your precious lunch money.
Here are 5 of the best (free) attractions:
Platz der Republik 1
U bahn Bundestag or S Bahn Brandenberger Tor
Angela Merkel’s house tops the must see list, offering the chance to see where the German state (and Greece) is run from, as well as nice views from the rooftop dome. Entry is free, but you have to register in advance. Check out the website for details.
2. Gedenkenstätte Berliner Mauer
Bernauer Str. 111
U bahn Bernauer Straße or S bahn Nordbahnhof
Fascinating memorial site to those who died trying to cross the Berlin wall located along a former section of the wall. Most of the site is outdoors and accessible all the time, there is a visitor centre with films about the wall and a reconstruction of a short section viewable from an adjacent tower.
3. Unter den Linden and Alexanderplatz
U Bahn Alexanderplatz or Friedrichstraße or S bahn Brandenberger Tor or Alexanderplatz
Walk along Mitte’s central boulevard from the Brandenberger Tor towards Alexanderplatz and be rewarded with historic buildings and attractive parks, including the Lustgarten and the Marienkirche. The centre of the former East Berlin, Alexanderplatz is worth a visit especially for those with an affinity for Soviet architecture.
4. Wannsee (or other Berlin lake)
S bahn Wannsee
Berlin is a city surrounded by water and a trip to the lake to swim on those rare, hot days is a great way to cool off for those of us without air conditioning or a swimming pool. Wannsee is one option towards the south west of Berlin, but there are loads of other lakes to choose from.
5. Mauer park on Sunday
Bernauer Str. 63-64
U bahn Eberswalder Straße
As the name suggests, Mauer park is located on the site of part of the Berlin wall. On Sundays, the park is packed with bands, BBQ parties and a market, giving a kind of music festival atmosphere. Mauer park also hosts the excellent and insanely popular Bearpit Karaoke. You have to go.