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Therese Iknoian

Traveler | Photographer at HI Travel Tales
Little did her parents know that a short trip to Europe in high school would launch a lifetime love of travel, languages and cultures. Trained as a news journalist, Therese Iknoian spent a decade as a daily newspaper journalist before launching a freelance writing career specializing in outdoor, fitness and training. All the while trotting the globe, her focus finally turned to travel. Fluent in German, Therese runs a translation business (www.ThereseTranslates.com) working primarily with companies in the outdoor/sports/retail industry. Also a French speaker, she loves to learn a bit of the language wherever she goes -- gdje je kupaonica? Мне нужна помощь! -- often embarrassing herself in the quest for cross-cultural communication and the search for great travel discoveries.
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When visiting Berlin, live like a local … with an apartment in the trendy “Mitte” area on the edge of the rather cool, somewhat gritty, but fascinating “Prenzlauer Berg” area (former East). The Designer Wohnung (www.vrbo.com/760375ha) is a large studio with a full kitchen partitioned from the bedroom, plus a small deck where you can sit and watch the kids who live in the building play, nod a congenial hello to neighbors also enjoying their decks, or sip a glass of wine before heading out for the evening.

The beauty of this place is its inner courtyard that is supremely quiet, allowing you to sleep like an angel, yet its proximity to an array of restaurants, stores, bars, as well as quick and easy transport to anywhere via the U8 line at the Rosenthaler Platz U-Bahn station. HI Travel Tales says three cheers for a fantastic abode in a city that bustles with cool charm and alluring international flavor.

Luxury Apartment Mitte Berlin VRBO perfect for visiting Berlin

View from the deck looking into the  trendy Mitte Designer Wohnung apartment, as shown on the VRBO website. This is a great place to base out of when visiting Berlin.

HITT Tip: Yumcha Heroes dumpling house with Asian dim sum, soups, salads and noodles for a refreshing break from German meats and cabbage; Süsse Sünde (Sweet Sins) walk-up ice cream counter across the street for desert (try “Schoko-Chili-Sauerkirsch” aka Chocolate Chili Sour Cherry, “Pfirsich-Lavendula” aka Peach-Lavender, etc…); Cafe Fleury is a wonderful place for people-watching on the patio with quiche or salads; or Café Anna Blum a mere 1.1 miles away (a very pleasant 25 minute stroll) on the happening Kollwitzplatz (Kollwitz Square) where you can easily while away several hours, as we did where this quick sketch and watercolor was created.

Yumcha Heroes Dinner

Dinner at Yumcha Heroes is a perfect way to dine when in Berlin.

Süsse Sünde (Sweet Sins) walk-up ice cream counter

Süsse Sünde (Sweet Sins) walk-up ice cream counter is a can’t miss opportunity when visiting Berlin.

Read More Berlin Travel Tips

Long Night of Museums: all-night festivities in Berlin museums

Whoever thought we would stay up all night to go to museums? When the Long Night of Museums in Berlin rolled around this year, however, we were there – along with many thousands of our best friends for the night. This year, the 20th birthday of the museum...

5 great Berlin street food markets

As the burgeoning and bustling capital of Germany, Berlin offers an addicting restaurant scene with any international or trendy cuisine you may desire. But in keeping with its gritty, artistic ways, Berlin has a superior street food market scene too. Let’s explore 5...

Thai Park Berlin a feast for eyes and tummies seeking yum Thai food

Germany’s capital of Berlin offers every international food imaginable, in restaurants, street markets or, in the case of the most authentic Thai food in the city, spread across a park. Thai Wiese (Thai Park) comes alive on weekends ready to satisfy eyes and tummies...

Battle for Berlin memorial at Museum Seelower Höhen

Just 1 hour and 30 minutes east of central Berlin by car, near the Polish border and the Oder River is the site of the biggest battle of WWII fought on German soil. Memorializing this battle at at Seelower Höhen (Seelow Heights) and located at the highest point...

The Schiffshebewerk Niederfinow near Berlin, Germany, is an engineering marvel

The Schiffshebewerk Niederfinow was completed in 1934 and is part of the Haavel-Oder waterway connecting the Elbe and Oder river basins. The waterway begins in Berlin at the Spandau lock and opens into the West Oder at the border area between Poland and Germany.. The...

Q110 Bank of the Future in Berlin by Deutsche Bank gets revamp

Earlier in 2016, HI Travel Tales wrote about a new kind of banking experience by Deutsche Bank called “Q110 Bank” or “Bank of the Future.” We were quite enthralled by the casual and friendly, yet efficient and hard-working experience. Granted, it can be a little...

Haunting history on Berlin Underground tours

Underground city tours always seemed to be a tourist come-on to me, but then I discovered Berlin Underground tours. Not a for-profit business, not a tour that drops you off in a gift shop, not a tour that starts in a bar and highlights raucous partying, this is the...

Quick Prenzlauer Berg travel guide to a Berlin hotspot

One of our favorite areas in Berlin is the artsy cool Prenzlauer Berg, so our Prenzlauer Berg travel guide can be your personal map to just a few of the not-to-miss things in the neighborhoods there. There are so many wonderful places it is hard to pick a few to...

What to do in Berlin planning map

In the map below, pins mark the exact location of the sites and places to see mentioned in our articles and travel tips on Berlin, Germany. Zoom in or out on the map using the controls. Switch easily from map to satellite view. Click on each pin to pull up a tooltip with the name of the destination or location as well as any additional information, including links to stories and articles. This map is the perfect place to begin planning what to do in Berlin for one, two, three or more days.

Turkish Market - Neukölln

Along the street next to a canal, the Turkish Market has a true street market feel. It is not groomed! Turkish women mix with tourists and locals. You see serious shoppers and tourists with cameras. To learn more, read our story 5 Great Berlin Street Food Markets as well as Berlin Turkish Market: Flavors, Food, Deals In Oriental Bazaar Setting.

Markthalle Neun - Kreuzberg

Mind-boggling, really, the types of food, drink and true culinary delights, many of which are really pushing the envelope a bit. Burritos, oysters, burgers, grilled cheese, French cheeses, Sushi, Asian noodles, and much more. Fine wines, frothy international beers, even a Berlin-area whiskey distillery! To learn more, read our story 5 Great Berlin Street Food Markets.

Winterfeldplatz Markt - Schöneberg

German, all the way, but with a nouveau feel. Locals are out shopping for the week, others are dropping in for a little saunter and snack. To learn more, read our story 5 Great Berlin Street Food Markets.

Kulturbrauerei - Prenzlauer Berg

The “Culture Brewery” is a former brewery that has been transformed into a hot spot with stores, a museum, a grocery store, movie theater and a nice courtyard, where of course the food trucks pull in on Sundays. A much more mellow scene, with young families, couples, groups of friends, but not so many tourists. Tables and benches are set up but seating goes fast in nice weather. To learn more, read our story 5 Great Berlin Street Food Markets as well as Quick Prenzlauer Berg Travel Guide To A Berlin Hotspot.

Thai Wiese - Wilmersdorf

Noodles, salads, dumplings, satays, you name it! There is Thai food here you will likely not find in any restaurant in Berlin or in most other cities. Get a Thai massage even if you are so inclined. To learn more, read our story 5 Great Berlin Street Food Markets as well as Thai Park Berlin A Feast For Eyes And Tummies Seeking Yum Thai Food.

Q110 Bank of the Future

Earlier in 2016, HI Travel Tales wrote about a new kind of banking experience by Deutsche Bank called “Q110 Bank” or “Bank of the Future.” We were quite enthralled by the casual and friendly, yet efficient and hard-working experience. Granted, it can be a little alarming at first to search for a bank on the web and walk over to the front door, only to be stopped dead in your tracks, starting into a wide-open space that leaves you cocking your head and furrowing your brow: Is this really a bank? Or a coffee shop? Or a boutique??? Am I in the right place? Where are the counters? The offices?  Learn more in our story, Q110 Bank of the Future In Berlin By Deutsche Bank Gets Revamp.

Jewish Cemetery at Schönhauser Allee

Recognized as Berlin’s second Jewish cemetery and opened in 1827, the setting of the “Jüdischer Friedhof” is as beautiful as it is somber. This is where you will find the grave sites of many famous Jewish people, including the artist Max Liebermann.  To learn more, be sure to read our story, Quick Prenzlauer Berg Travel Guide To A Berlin Hotspot.

Artist's War Memorial Bethlehemkirchplatz

The memorial on the Berlin Bethlehemkirchplatz (Bethlehem Church Square) is actually the work of Spanish artist Juan Garaizabel to commemorate the Bohemian Bethlehem Church. This small church was built for Bohemian evangelical refugees in about 1735 and was a center of the community. It was destroyed by bombing in 1943. Read more in our Photographer's Diary, Artist's War Memorial At Berlin Bethlehemkirchplatz.

Cafe Anna Blume

One of our favorite coffee and cake destinations is Café Anna Blume with an incredible outside patio, perfect as a place to kick-back and enjoy any time of day. To learn more, be sure to read our story, Quick Prenzlauer Berg Travel Guide To A Berlin Hotspot.

Museum at Pankow

To learn more, be sure to read our story, Quick Prenzlauer Berg Travel Guide To A Berlin Hotspot.

Museum in the Kulturbrauerie (Alltag in Der DDR)

And an absolute must-visit is the Museum in the Kulturbrauerie – “Alltag in Der DDR.” (Free admission). Open since 2014, this relatively new, very lively, interactive, permanent exhibit is stunningly well created, showing visitors what everyday life was really like in the DDR (former East Germany, a.k.a. GDR). To learn more, be sure to read our story, Quick Prenzlauer Berg Travel Guide To A Berlin Hotspot.

Oderberger Strasse Fire Station

This, the oldest fire station still on duty today in Germany, was opened on Nov. 26, 1883. Don’t stand in the driveway as emergency vehicles still come and go … with urgency. To learn more, be sure to read our story, Quick Prenzlauer Berg Travel Guide To A Berlin Hotspot.

Judengang (Jewish Walkway)

Literally translated, the name means the “Jewish Walkway” and runs from Knaackstrasse to Senefelderplatz in the Kollwitz area, providing access to the rear entrance to the Jewish cemetery on Schönhauser Allee.  To learn more, be sure to read our story, Quick Prenzlauer Berg Travel Guide To A Berlin Hotspot.

Hotel Oderberger

Built in 1902 as a public bathhouse for Berlin and constructed in German Renaissance style, this magnificent building and pool fell into disrepair and went out of service in the mid 1990’s. The building was purchased by the neighboring GLS Language School and is now part of that campus, renamed the Hotel Oderberger and open only since January 2016. To learn more, be sure to read our story, Quick Prenzlauer Berg Travel Guide To A Berlin Hotspot.

Berlin Underground Tours - Gesundbrunnen station

Underground city tours always seemed to be a tourist come-on to me, but then we discovered Berlin Underground tours. Not a for-profit business, not a tour that drops you off in a gift shop, not a tour that starts in a bar and highlights raucous partying, this is the real deal in Berlin’s Underground. Learn more in our story, Haunting History on Berlin Underground Tours.

Gedenkstaette Mauer

Yumcha Heros

Yumcha Heroes dumpling house with Asian dim sum, soups, salads and noodles for a refreshing break from German meats and cabbage. Learn more by reading our story, Dine, Wine, Dawdle and Doze When Visiting Berlin.

Süsse Sünde

Süsse Sünde (Sweet Sins) walk-up ice cream counter across the street for desert (try “Schoko-Chili-Sauerkirsch” aka Chocolate Chili Sour Cherry, “Pfirsich-Lavendula” aka Peach-Lavender, etc…). Learn more by reading our story, Dine, Wine, Dawdle and Doze When Visiting Berlin.

Cafe Fleury

Cafe Fleury is a wonderful place for people-watching on the patio with quiche or salads. Learn more by reading our story, Dine, Wine, Dawdle and Doze When Visiting Berlin.

Sowohl Als Auch Restaurant and Coffee House

Another wonderful place to sit and while away time is at a sister location to Café Anna Blume, the “SowohlAlsAuch” restaurant and coffee house, diagonally across the street.  To learn more, be sure to read our story, Quick Prenzlauer Berg Travel Guide To A Berlin Hotspot.

Potsdamer Platz

Potsdamer Platz is an important public square and traffic intersection in the center of Berlin, Germany, lying about 1 km south of the Brandenburg Gate and the Reichstag, and close to the southeast corner of the Tiergarten park. Learn more in our Discover Berlin Walking Tour: Shortlist of Top Sites.

Hackescher Markt

Checkpoint Charlie

Topography of Terror Museum

Museumsinsel (Museum Island)

Gendarmenmarkt

Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe

Reichstag Parliament Building

Brandenburger Tor

Berlin Tourist Information - Europa Center

The Europa Center at Breitscheidplatz is not just one of the most famous shopping centres in the city. It also distinguished by its location in the heart of West Berlin. The legendary Kaufhaus des Westens (KaDeWe), the Kurfürstendamm shopping street, the Berlin Zoo, and the historic Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, are only a few steps away from here. The Berlin Tourist Information Centre here is also open on Sundays.

Berlin Tourist Information - Tegel Airport

Perfect for Berlin visitors arriving at Tegel airport. The Berlin Tourist Info Centre is located near the Gate 1 in Terminal A. It is open daily from 8 am to 9 pm.

Berlin Tourist Information - Berlin Central Station

In the shopping area at the new Berlin Central Station in a good position opposite the DB Information at the entrance Europaplatz you find the Berlin Tourist Info Centre. As soon as you arrive in the city, you can come here to make hotel bookings, get information and buy tickets. The new Berlin Central Station is a fascinating example of contemporary architecture, greeting travellers to the city with a bright and friendly atmosphere and a fantastic choice of shops. Centrally located, it is very close to the government quarter.

Berlin Tourist Information - Brandenburg Gate

Brandenburg Gate is Berlin's signature attraction. A visit to Brandenburg Gate and the Berlin Tourist Info Centre in its south wing can be easily combined with a leisurely stroll along the Unter den Linden boulevard with its numerous places of interest. The Reichstag with its striking glass dome is also just a few minutes' walk from Brandenburg Gate.

Heads up! This information on visiting Berlin was accurate when we published it on HI Travel Tales, but, as we know, traveling is all about changes (and inflation, sadly). Please be sure to confirm prices, transportation schedules, hours of operation, safety and health considerations, request for perfect weather during your entire visit, and any other important details before your adventure.