Berlin was founded in the 15th Century by Albrecht der Bär on the banks of the river Spree, it went on to become the capital of Prussia and a central player in the formation of the German Empire. Berlin was divided by a wall for 1961 to 1989 after WWII and upon reunification, the city started to flourish again.
In the 21st Century, it is the capital of Germany and one of the most interesting and beloved cities in Europe. Home to almost 4 million people, of which it is estimated 30% are ‘new Berliners’ from 190 different countries around the world. Berlin is a melting pot of people, culture, music and it is set in beautiful leafy streets and surrounded by forests and lakes.
Where you choose to live will depend on various factors, work, family, lifestyle and we hope to give you an overview of what the districts have to offer. Often ‘new Berliners’ have only heard of one or two districts but Berlin really has a lot to offer and as the city continues to grow it is often good to look outside just the usual choices.
This is an overview of some of the main districts in Berlin:
Mitte – this district is the centre of Berlin and home to some of the most iconic attractions like the Brandenburg Gate, Unter den Linden and the Reichstag. Home to many shops, restaurants and opportunities for nightlife. This area features mainly apartment living. Mitte is an area which is very popular with young professionals, the apartment prices are high and there is plenty of competition for rental properties but the lifestyle payoff is good.
Prenzlauer Berg – this area is located directly next to Mitte and is equally as popular for living, working and lifestyle. Prenzlauer Berg has been beautifully flourished since the fall of the wall, with many pre-war buildings restored to their former glory. It boasts great restaurants, cafes and boutique shops. It is hugely popular and this is reflected in the apartment prices and hardly any availability and huge competition for both potential renters and buyers. Apartment living is the mainstay here, occasionally if you are lucky, you can find apartments with a roof terrace or a small outdoor space
Kreuzberg – Kreuzberg an inner-city district, neighbouring Schöneberg and Mitte. It is home to young families students, artists and a very multi-cultural population. There are many restaurants around Kottbusser Tor. It is famous for the Bergmannkiez area, which is known for quirky shops and cafes. After the fall of the wall, it was a place in which counter-culture flourished but now it is trendy and a very popular place to live.
Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf – this is the former centre of West-Berlin and is often referred to as City-West. It is home to the famous Kurfürsten Damm, KaDeWe, Bahnhof Zoo and the stunning baroque Charlottenburg Palace with its stunning gardens and park. Traditionally this is a very elegant neighbourhood and it boasts beautiful buildings and tree-lined streets. There are plenty of excellent restaurants and cafes and extensive shopping too. This area is also good for family living, there is a selection of international Kindergartens and good schools.
Zehlendorf (Nikolassee, Schlachtensee, Wannsee) – this district is on the south-west edge of of the city. It has lakes, forests, cultural landmarks and is thought to be the most affluent of districts in Berlin. Zehlendorf is made up of neighbourhoods of mainly singular and terraced housing and occasional apartment blocks. Zehlendorf is well connected to the city centre by the AVUS autobahn, this is a huge advantage if you want to have a quieter lifestyle in a house with a garden but are working in the city. Wannsee is a popular destination on a beautiful day, for swimming, a cruise on a boat over the lake, walks in nature and cafes – it is also home to many important landmarks and boasts a high quality of living.
Steglitz – Steglitz combines proximity to the city centre with nice residential areas. The main attraction is the Botanical Garden, which houses 20,000 plants from all over the world. Schlossstrae is the districts main shopping street and a bustling local centre with all the high street shops, restaurants and cinemas. A beautiful quiet and green residential area called Friedenau also falls within Steglitz, while another sub-district called Lichterfelde to the south is characterised by 19th-century townhouses.
Templehof-Schöneberg – this district is nestled between Mitte & Friedrichshain in the north, Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf in the West and Zehlendorf in the South. Schöneberg is a bustling inner-city district with a very multi-cultural population. It has lovely little neighbourhood centres such as the Akazienkiez, trendy cafes and is home to the famous Rathaus where John F. Kennedy proclaimed ‘Ich bin ein Berliner’. It is known for its lively gay scene, which has historically been based around the Nollendorf Platz. Schöneberg is an area which has remained one of the more affordable inner-city districts. It is well connected to Mitte by the S1 train and the U7 with City-West and also Neuköln.
About the author
Hi there! I’m Juli, German roots but I grew up in New Zealand and have been living in Germany since 2004. I love sharing my passion for Berlin and all it has to offer with new ‚Berliners‘ and through my work as a freelance Relocation Consultant with IRC I have the opportunity to do so.