Like most things, Germany‘s capital makes light-touch living look effortlessly cool with its collection of eco concept stores and planet-hugging places to stay.
It may be known for techno music and WWII history, but Berlin also has more green space than any city in Europe. More than a third of its 900sqkm (350sqmi) is green rather than grey: the lawns of Tiergarten and other city parks, the willow-fringed canals and networks of lakes, all the centre of the city’s social scene on golden summer evenings. For transport, hop on a tram that runs on lawn tracks to reduce air and noise pollution to Museum Island or tootle around Kreuzberg on one of many rental bikes. There are more than 50 plant-based restaurants to choose from. After all, nothing is more Berlin than a cheap, tasty falafel wrap, eaten as you watch young arty types amble by.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Well off the tourist track in the upper reaches of Prenzlauer Berg, this snug vegan cafe has the feel of a friend’s living room. Husband and wife owners Elisabetta and Bachir Niang are from Sardinia and Senegal respectively and celebrate their motherlands through tasty, home-cooked dishes such as mafé, a peanut-infused vegetable stew, or fluffy ravioli made from scratch. This spot really comes into its own on Sundays, when they serve an Afro-Italian all-you-can-eat brunch and the sofas are filled with local families. It gets very popular, so book by Thursday to bag a seat.
Given this 19th-century Baroque mansion was once a favourite of film stars Grace Kelly, Romy Schneider and Sophia Loren and that it’s known for its decadent interiors (a 22m/72ft carpet featuring crouching leopards designed by Diane von Fürstenberg, no less), it may come as a surprise that this hotel’s eco-credentials are equally impressive. It’s the proud holder of the Green Globe Certification, an assessment of its sustainability performance, based on 44 core factors. A leafy west Berlin location on the Ku’damm, one of the city’s smartest avenues, makes this the perfect base for a luxury trip.
Join students and artists for vegetarian food at the low-waste cafe at Himmelbeet, a community garden in the Wedding district. The building itself is made from sustainable materials, including wood pallets, mud and clay, and is the perfect setting to enjoy fresh cakes, stone-baked pizzas, local beers and herbal teas picked from the garden. Afterwards, stroll through more than 300 vegetable beds, where anyone from the community is welcome to enjoy the feeling of fresh air in their lungs and soil on their hands. Keep your eyes peeled for regular events, including bike mending and live music.
Berliners are known for their dry sense of humour, as embodied by the irony in this Kreuzberg concept store’s name. Far from being a supermarket, it does a mean line in organic streetwear, comfy basics such as underwear and fair-trade jeans. Alongside their own label, Hirschkind, they also sell a host of local eco brands including Jyoti, umiwi and Minga. Keep your eyes peeled on their events page, as they often host panel talks or work with charities to put on events such as craft markets, exclusively stocked by refugees. Pick up any item, and the staff can tell you how and where it was made – now that’s something that doesn’t happen at your local supermarket.
It may not be the most centrally located hotel in Berlin, but this excellent-value spot excels in the green department. Not only is it fully powered by renewable energy and lit by LED lamps, it also sources much of the food in its Michelin-star Skykitchen restaurant from its own kitchen-garden in Berlin-Ahrensfelde. Not satisfied with this, the team racked their brains for how they could minimise food miles further still. The answer? A herb garden in the hotel. Guests and employees are encouraged to do their part by travelling around the city via public transport, tracking their points in an app, with the hotel donating some money for every point to a local campaign to plant new trees in the city.
The first and only “pay-as-you-can-afford” yoga studio in Berlin, Green Yoga offers a selection of classes both in their cosy Prenzlauer Berg studio and outside in the leafy surrounds of Volkspark and Hasenheide parks. They also donate five per cent of their profits to tree-planting projects in Indian villages. As if that wasn’t enough, they recently bought their own plot of land so they can start planting their very own forest.
The aesthetic of young Berliners is effortlessly cool and instantly recognisable, and this is in large part due to the huge number of vintage shops in the city. While plenty of shops sell by the kilogram for thrifty fashionistas, the Good Store specialises in curated fashion from a global selection of designers. An Emilio Pucci clutch bag might sit alongside Jacquemus dresses, while their own label, GOOD, features clothes exclusively made from ethically sourced deadstock fabrics.
This vibrant hotel combines quirky touches, such as gramophones and hanging plants, with a friendly atmosphere and thoughtful eco-credentials. Cleaning products are environmentally friendly, toiletries organic and in biodegradable packaging, and the hotel runs mostly on solar power. They also have an impressive charity scheme, supporting the ZelterPate homeless centre, just around the corner, as well as charities in areas such as the Himalayas, Beirut and Belarus. You can donate either in boxes at reception or directly into the hotel’s dedicated charity bank account. After all that generosity, you deserve a drink… So head up to the honesty bar on the rooftop to mingle with other travellers and views of the city’s skyline. It’s a short walk from Museum Island, too.
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meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
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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.