Berlin may not be an obvious literary city when compared to Paris or London, but it has still proven itself to be a source of inspiration for iconic literary figures like Kafta and Brecht. And with a host of beautiful bookshops, historic sites, and libraries, book lovers will still find themselves swept up in the exciting plot and ever-changing setting of Berlin. Here’s the story.
Browse Berlin’s Bookshops
Berlin is bursting with an amazing number of indie bookstores, including many English language stores catering to the huge expat community. Stop by Shakespeare and Sons in Friedrichshain for your dose of books and bagels, covering a diverse range of old and new titles for their collection that matches the variety of yummy bagel toppings you can choose. Do you read me?! is another English language bookstore in Mitte, while Curious Fox books in Neukölln is where secondhand books go to find new lovers. Bücherbogen Savignyplatz is a unique specialty bookstore for architecture, art, design, and photography, set in an exceptional arch at Savignyplatz under the S-Bahn in West Berlin.
Uncover Iconic Writers
Take the Christopher Isherwood Walking Tour
In the late 1920s, Christopher Isherwood came to Berlin as the city became increasing known for its sexual freedom, wild nightlife, and intellectual movements during what was called the Weimar Republic. The writer stayed at Fraulein Thurau’s boarding house at Nollendorfstraße 17, a place which can be visited today, and this was the starting point of his semi-autobiographical account of his time in the city called Goodbye to Berlin. The tour is given by Brendan Nash from Cabaret Berlin, and will transport you back in time to the places and culture that were entwinedned with the writer’s life.
Berlin has some amazing literary houses to boast. Literaturhaus is a bibliophile’s oasis in the west of Berlin, reputed as a home for contemporary literature. It has a wonderful little café and garden to relax in, while hosting regular readings and discussions from significant figures in modern German and international literature. Literaturforum im Brecht-Haus, the former residence of critical writer Bertolt Brecht and where his manuscripts are still housed, is dedicated to events and discussions around the social functions of art and culture.
Commemorate Berlin’s Literary Past at Bebelplatz
Bebelplatz is the place where books were burnt under Nazi rule in 1933. Thousands of books, collections, and volumes of Jewish literature were piled together and set alight after a speech given by Joseph Goebbels. Today, the site of this tragic event can be visited where an installation by Israeli sculptor Micha Ullman now stands. The installation depicts a window into an underground library where all the bookshelves are eerily empty, and a quote by German poet Heinrich Heine that reads “Where books are burned in the end people will burn.”
This is one of Berlin’s most spectacular public libraries, and marks an important stop on any literary tour. The Grimm-Zentrum, located on Friedrichstrasse, is named after the famous children’s book storytellers and fairytale writers, The Brother’s Grimm. The library was built for students of Humboldt University, although it is also open to the public.
Unwind at John Muir Bar
End of your day of literary inspiration with a drink at John Muir. In the heart of Kreuzberg, enjoy a top shelf whiskey is this charming little spot named after the 19th-century American naturalist and nature writer.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.