Last week after a fairly impromptu booking of trains, I found myself in Berlin for the weekend. It was the first time that I had visited the German capital, so wanted to get my fair share of exploring in, as well as discovering the vibrant health scene that I had been hearing about. The first thing to realise about Berlin is that it is huge -something like seven times the size of London despite having a similar population. However, you will likely find yourself in Mitte, located north of the Spree river, which is more than busy enough to entertain you for the whole weekend. Based on my experience, plus a few tips from my friend, the seasoned Berlin visitor Maddy, I have complied a quick guide to a healthy weekend away in Berlin that doesn’t skip on the cultural exploration.
By far, I was most excited to dine at all the healthy restaurants and cafes I had heard about. First up is the unbelievably cool Store Kitchen at Soho House. It is within walking distance from Rosa Luxemburg Platz and Alexander Platz, making it a very convenient stopping point. The Store Kitchen is a multi purpose concept space, where young professionals work and eat at large sharing tables surrounded by display stands from independent clothing, accessories and home gifts designers. There’s even an in-house DJ by the vinyl shop playing mood-setting music. The chefs have a real flair for flavour, and tucking into a dish of brown rice, perfectly fermented vegetables and cashew cream, served with turmeric kefir, was just what I needed after a long train journey. Soho House also hosts a boutique hotel and Cowshed spare, so if you have the budget for it, this is the place to be.
Go for: lunch, out-of-office working and to take in the amazing store.
Next is Daluma, where I ended up visiting twice. This restaurant offers customisable breakfasts, salads and mains, with a selection of juices and healthy take out options. Another majorly instagramable space, with multi level seating and a little outside area, I felt completely at home at Daluma.
Go for: Acai bowls and homemade coconut yoghurt for brunch with friends, or for a speedy meal.
Just opposite Daluma is Superfoods and Organic Liquids. Everything here is gluten free and mostly dairy-free and vegan, so is great for anyone with intolerances. They have lots of grab-and-go foods including salads, making it the perfect pitstop for a busy day. Every recipe has at least one superfood, so if you are looking to maximise your nutritional intake, this is the place to go.
Go for: Avoiding the Daluma crowds, healthy food on the go, people watching.
I was so disappointed not to be able to go to The Bowl, known for it’s delicious 100% plant based menu. It is located just into Friedrichshain, so plan to go there when you are in that area of Berlin. As the first clean eating cafe The Bowl is appropriately surrounded by vegan-friendly shopping and food spaces, including Veganz, the vegan supermarket.
Go for: amazing plant based shopping and gastronomy experience.
One of the first things that I did in Berlin was to head to BeCycle, conveniently located close to Daluma. This studio is best know for it’s spin classes, but also offers barre and power yoga. The spin class really was incredible, with top of the range spin bikes, weighted arm exercises built in, and a club atmosphere thanks to Eliana’s playlist, enthusiasm and pulsing lights. I’ve really missed spin classes so BeCycle was a complete endorphin high. The changing rooms are second to none, and free towels and spin shoes are included in the price -the first class is just 10€. You can preorder smoothies before the class so that you can refuel straightaway.
Run by Maria, Holy Moly Yoga is a vinyasa and pranayama-based yoga class. I headed over to Your Superfoods for a class lead by Maria and to enjoy an acai bowl. The class was so enjoyable, and the pranayama work running the class was new to me, but felt amazing. Maria kindly used English for me, which I greatly appreciated. Holy Moly Yoga runs several classes per week at the “Holy Moly Base” but if you can time your visit with a Your Superfoods workshop, then even better.
Either by foot or public transport, get yourself to the Reichstag Building and from there you are close to the Tiergarten (housing Berlin’s Zoo), Brandenburg Gate and Holocaust Memorial. Or, head to museum island and take your pick of galleries and museums, such as the Pergamon museum, which houses artefacts sourced and rebuilt from all over the world, such as a turquoise coloured gate from Babylon.
The best way to explore the city is to find a cycling tour -just ask at the reception of where you are staying and they will recommend you a tour provider. Its the best way to get a high milage of Berlin, and be given some interesting facts from a local.
In the far north of Mitte is Bauer Park, located on part of the Berlin Wall remains. It’s an amazing market, with moorish Moroccan food, artisan craft makers, vintage clothing and more. I was gutted to have to pass by a selection of old jars, ceramic plates and fruit crates that would have been great for my room and photography props!