Berlin’s Best Spots for Photo Ops
January 1, 1970
by Marguerite Bravay
Where are the best places for taking photos in Berlin, Germany?
As a mobile photography enthusiast (read: Instagram addict!), I tend to live like I travel. That is, I’m always on the lookout for photo inspiration, even when I’m in my home-base of Berlin. Over the last few months, I have been roaming the city’s streets on a mission. I’ve been looking for the best places to take photos in Berlin. Read on to discover the best spots for taking photos in the German capital. These include rooftop bars, parks and gardens, as well as famous monuments from a different perspective.
Photogenic parks and reserves in Berlin
Last weekend, I joined a photography walking tour, organized by the Instagram group, Official Fan of Berlin. For the first time, I went for a stroll through frost-covered Treptower Park, which runs along the Spree. I snapped (many!) shots of snowy islands, frozen lakes, swan families, ivy-clad bridges and dense forests.
As I wandered down Treptower Park’s winding paths, I had the impression of being a million miles away from Germany’s urban capital. As a fellow tour participant said, it was as though we had unwittingly stepped into a fairytale.
Getting to Treptower Park is easy, as there is an S-Bahn (or urban train) station right at the entrance.
If you find yourself in Schöneberg, venture over to Volkspark Wilmersdorf-Schöneberg, a few steps away from the city hall where JFK made his famous “Ich bin ein Berliner” speech. This park is divided by an imposing bridge, from which you can snap shots of the lake and green spaces below. While you’re in Schöneberg, you can also grab a coffee at the acclaimed DoubleEye, if you don’t mind waiting in line!
Discovering Berlin’s rooftop scene
If you’re like me and you have a thing for rooftops, you’re in luck. Berlin has several sky-high terraces and bars, great for snapping shots of the city, cocktail in hand. For a funky rooftop experience, head to Klunkerkranich in Neukölln, with its eclectic décor, sandbox-side seats and very strong espresso martinis.
When it comes to a slightly less casual scene, House of Weekend awaits. This lounge/club is known for 16th floor parties. Show up before sunset and dance till well past sunrise. Set high above Alexanderplatz, the terrace affords views of the famous TV Tower and network of trams below.
Berlin’s West also has its fair share of photo worthy rooftops. Watch day fade into night at Monkey Bar, named as such for it towers over the Berlin Zoo. A terrace wraps around the four sides of this top floor bar, with plenty of indoor and outdoor seating. Sights from the rooftop include the Memorial Church, Kurfürstendamm, Tiergarten and the zoo. For dinner and views, consider making reservations at Neni, Monkey Bar’s sister restaurant which is located right next door.
For coffee with views over Ku’Damm, Berlin’s designer shopping street, make your way to the newly opened sister café to The Barn, a third-wave roaster that has now taken over the top floor of historic Café Kranzler. Sip a latte, grab a slice of cake (vegan or gluten free options exist), and whip out your smartphone. The red and white striped awning will make your pics pop.
Capturing iconic Berlin
Sometimes I like to think of myself as a traveler and not a tourist (yes, I’m one of those people) but touristy spots are touristy for a reason. One of these spots is the Victory Column, at the heart of Tiergarten, often referred to as Berlin’s Central Park. While you can climb up the statue for park panoramas, I find the column itself to be interesting to capture, especially at sunset.
The grounds that surround the Charlottenburg Palace also offer ample picture taking opportunities. Once a playground for Prussian royalty, the estate’s riverside gardens sprawl on for as far as the eye can see. While the palace itself may be under renovation at the moment, you can still wander behind the main buildings to get some pictures without cranes or scaffoldings ruining the landscape.
Recently, I stumbled upon Gendarmenmarkt, completely by accident. The square, dating back to the 17th century, is home to larger-than-life churches, as well as Berlin’s Konzerthaus. Many of the buildings here were destroyed during Word War II, but have now been restored to their former glory.
Street scenes and architecture in Berlin
Of course, one of the best ways to get great photos of Berlin is simply to wander the streets. From stately mansions that grace Dahlem’s boulevards to rows of colourful homes in Prenzlauer Berg, there is no lack of inspiration as you get your daily exercise in Berlin.
One of my favourite avenues to wander down is Rykerstrasse in Prenzlauer Berg, with its charming townhouses and apartment buildings. On the ground floor of many of these, you will find cafés and restaurants, including Allan’s Breakfast Club and Wine Bar. This venue does brunch like nowhere else in the city – that I’ve discovered so far. Run by Sydney natives, you get Australian breakfast fare and coffee that is second to none in Berlin.
Across town, the properties on the tree-lined street of Kurfürstendamm in Charlottenburg have more of a Victorian look. At times, you might as well be looking at castles! Some of the most beautiful buildings, such as the Commerzbank pictured below, can be found at the Leibnizstrasse level.
The properties surrounding Viktoria Luise Platz in Schöneberg have a similar feel. On Saturdays, the square comes to life with an eco-friendly market, where you can purchase a selection of snacks and drinks. In the warmer months, relax on the grass as you listen to the constant rush of the fountain. Ice cream parlours and even one of Berlin’s oldest restaurants – where Marlene Dietrich once was a regular patron – are just half a block away.
Final thoughts on where to take great photos in Berlin
This list of Berlin photo ops is hardly comprehensive. That’s what’s exciting about discovering a new city! There are always other neighbourhoods, parks and streets to wander around. If you have any suggestions on where to take pictures in Berlin, or if you would like to know exactly where some of these spots are, contact me on social media or visit my blog (link below).