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Berlin, Germany

Unlocking Berlin's Wunderkammer

Join Atlas Obscura to explore the fringes of Berlin—immersing yourself in the sometimes verboten, often quirky, and always dumbfounding magic of this unique capital.

Berlin remains one of the most popular and eclectic metropolises in the Atlas Obscura community—a much-deserved position for one of the funkiest cities on the globe. A visual and cultural mishmash, Berlin defies definition.

This carefully concocted five-day trip features highlights discovered by our travelers over the last several years, combined with a wide array of encounters with those who call Berlin home. With its edgy contemporary art scenes, a complex history, and seemingly endless beer options, this investigation will leave you in awe of this shape-shifting city in the heart of Europe. Our trip will also coincide with the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther's "95 Theses," which sparked the Protestant Reformation in 1517. With local events taking place all over Berlin in celebration, there will be a festive air throughout the whole city.

This trip caps off at 20 travelers. The itinerary includes:

  • Art scene dynamism: Berlin boasts cutting-edge architecture and an increasingly celebrated international art scene. From national theaters to underground art galleries to the Monsterkabinett, discover why UNESCO has named Berlin the “City of Design.”
  • Curious collections: Slip into some of Europe's most eclectic museums, paying homage to medical history and anatomy as well as technology and the abstract.
  • Urban exploration: Wander some abandoned sites and ruins in a city that breathes both the old and the new.
  • Underground nightlife: Experience the legendary nightlife along the underbelly of German society, from hidden bars and nightclubs to street performances and art installations.

Though the tour will include use of a bus, it also allows for significant walking, in addition to taking advantage of occasional public transportation. Additionally, if this will be your first trip to Berlin, we recommend staying a couple extra days before or after our tour to spend time at the more traditional tourist sites. These include the Jewish Museum, the Berlin Cathedral, Kurfürstendamm, Charlottenburg Palace, Potsdamer Platz, Pergamon Museum, Grunewald forest, Soviet Memorial, Brandenburg Gate, Checkpoint Charlie, Alexanderplatz, the old Reichstag building, and the Gendarmenmarkt.

$250 nonrefundable deposit is required to secure your spot, as we have a very limited capacity, and we expect the trip to fill extremely quickly. The trip will cost $2,499—the $250 deposit plus the $2,249 final balance payment—and will cover all fixed costs including all hotel accommodations, all meals (not including alcohol), and all the activities listed in the itinerary below. 

Itinerary
Day 1
Arrive and Dive into History
  • Arrive at Berlin’s Tegel airport on Ascension Day, a national holiday. Find your way to our Berlin home—an art-centric hotel in the middle of the city.
  • Take some time to relax from your flight, before seizing the opportunity to explore the neighborhood on your own and getting your bearings. We'll share careful recommendations based around the Himmelfahrt religious festival.
  • Enjoy a welcome dinner and meet your fellow travelers at one of Berlin's funkiest restaurants.
Day 2
Art, Medicine, and Design
  • Start the day visiting two of Atlas Obscura's most beloved Berlin sites: the Museum of Medical History and the Anatomical Theater. You’ll be able to view up to 10,000 medical specimens—of the animal and human variety.
  • We'll take our first lunch together at a local bistro, joined by a musician/photographer who lives in an eco-house, who will give us all a glimpse into life in the city. Throughout our time in Berlin, we'll have opportunities to chat with guests with backgrounds in the arts, journalism, history, politics, and more.
  • Delight at Design Panoptikum, a "Surreal Museum for Industrial Objects," whose tagline is “test for logic, labor for fantasy.” We'll get a glimpse into the inspiration behind the project by the establishment's creator and owner Vlad, who hosted an event for Obscura Day 2015.
  • Help uncover more locations for the Atlas as we invite you to explore as-yet-uncovered locations across the city.
  • After freshening up, we’ll enjoy dinner in small groups at some of Berlin’s funkiest hole-in-the wall restaurants such as the Burgermeister, a burger joint inside a former train station public bathroom (it’s been cleaned, we swear!).
  • After dinner, we'll check out one of the many enticing events on the local Berlin arts calendar. Each evening, we'll wander a different neighborhood for new late-night encounters and discoveries.
Day 3
Street Art, (More) Beer, and the Bizarre
  • For our third day, we'll split into small groups to discover street art, graffiti and murals across the city.  The art changes often, so you may even have the chance to meet an artist who is in the middle of creating a masterpiece.
  • After enjoying lunch at a local bistro, we’ll explore Monsterkabinett. Part art gallery, part haunted house, you’ll be greeted by skittering arachnoid robots, malformed sculptures, and aggressive actors straight out of a haunted house.
  • Take some time on your own to continue exploring the uncharted Atlas, before joining a welcome reception for local Atlas Obscura fans and attendees of Obscura Day 2017, taking place earlier in the month. From there, we’ll enjoy dinner and a discussion on beer culture with some of Berlin’s best brewmasters.
  • After dinner, we'll go on a stroll and continue to explore Berlin's famous nightlife.
Day 4
Strolling Through a Fantasy
  • After a breakfast, we’ll head to Mauerpark, a massive outdoor flea market unlike any mall on the continent. Wander through the hundreds of booths that sell DDR relics, handmade jewelry, and modern, offbeat clothes.
  • After eating in a local restaurant (or street food if you prefer!), we’ll head to the Puppet Museum, which houses more than 300 marionettes, from devils to dragons. Then, we’ll plan to swap dragons for dinosaurs at Spreepark, an abandoned amusement park just outside of the city. Originally constructed by the communist government in 1969, and though officially closed, it's still a favorite for intrepid explorers. 
  • After freshening up at the hotel, we’ll head to the home of a local artist for a private tour of his studios. We’ll enjoy dinner, catered by some of Berlin’s most creative chefs, with our artistic hosts.
  • We'll provide some more inside tips for those headed out on the town for a lively final night in the city.
Day 5
The Devil's Mountain & Departure
  • Enjoy the morning in our neighborhood, using the final hours to explore, shop, or scout another site in the Atlas.
  • On our way back to the airport, we’ll try to sneak a peek of the abandoned NSA listening post on Berlin's "Devil's Mountain." Officially closed (and illegal to visit), the station was abandoned after the fall of the Berlin Wall, with wild boars now roaming the property. 
  • Fly home in the early afternoon, landing that same evening back in the United States (or other origins).
The Fine Print

This Atlas Obscura trip to Berlin is conducted in partnership with Insider Expeditions, a travel company with extensive experience designing and leading trips to Germany and elsewhere. Please email us at journeys@atlasobscura.com with any questions about the itinerary, logistics, and payment.

ARRIVAL & DEPARTURE

Travelers are advised to arrive to Berlin Tegel Airport by 5pm on May 25, and to depart after 1pm on May 29 in order to participate in the full program. A group flight block has been reserved on direct flights from New York and will be an available option for you. Information will be shared on the group flight block after you submit your deposit.

NOTE

Itineraries and pricing are subject to change. This particular tour has been designed with specific events in mind, and schedules and availabilities may change in coming months. If any activity or person that is advertised is missed or not available, it will be replaced with an activity or person of equal interest and value. A final itinerary and briefing packet will be ready prior to the trip. 

PAYMENT

You will be charged a non-refundable $250 deposit to hold your space. The final payment of $2,249 will be due on May 10, 2017. All reservations will be final after this date, and subject to our cancellation policy. By submitting your deposit, you agree to the Terms & Conditions. For travelers wishing to have single accommodations during the trip, an additional $399 will be included in the final payment.

Travelers are responsible for:

  • Transportation and flights to and from Berlin.
  • Baggage charges.
  • Additional meals and drinks outside of Atlas Obscura offerings.