Berlin Neighbourhood Guide: Karlshorst

13th September 2022 in Guide
Karlshorst streets – Source: wildensteinerstrasse7.de

In this new series, we’re diving into some of Berlin’s best kept secrets. Lesser known neighbourhoods that offer proximity to city centre, offering beauty, culture, nature and of course better value than the most popular districts.

If you’re brave enough to journey further East beyond the gentrified pizza eating punks of Friedrichshain, past the Rummelsburg waterfront, you will reach the green and picturesque district of Karlshorst. 

Many are catching onto it as one Berlin’s best neighbourhoods to live. Here’s why you should give Karlshorst a chance.

Location

Karlshorst is situated on the north side of the Spree river, sandwiched between the beautiful Plänterwald and the old east German zoo, the Tierpark. Its small town charm, excellent public transport connections, and proximity to parks on all sides make it perfectly positioned for access to the city and nature, while keeping things at a slower pace than other districts. 

Transport Connections

Source: Google Maps

Karlshorst is connected with the S-Bahn (S3 Karlshorst S-Bahnhof), U-Bahn (U5 Tierpark), Tram (21, 27, 37 and M17) and various buses. Despite being situated a little out of the central districts, the S-Bahn is fast and it takes just 7 minutes to travel to Ost-Kreuz in the heart of Friedrichshain, putting Berlin’s trendiest neighbourhood on your doorstep.

This is one of the biggest draws of the neighbourhood as it’s rare in Berlin to be outside of the ring, yet getting into the center in minutes. Being on the central S3 line it’s also possible to cross the entire city, and have equal access to Northern and Southern districts.

Places of Interest

The neighbourhood is surrounded by some of Berlin’s most interesting Eastern corners. Despite the perception of it being a slower paced, family oriented district, its position is at the centre of Berlin’s arts and music scene. For musicians and artists it has a perfect balance providing access to the consumption and creation of culture, from the most inspiring venues minutes away, to extremely affordable studio or atelier space in the neighbouring districts of Marzahn and Lichtenberg.

Funkhaus Berlin

Just over the train tracks you are within walking distance to the spectacular Funkhaus. The former DDR radio station headquarters. The palatial building now hosts concerts and parties at the forefront of electronic music, including performances from Aphex Twin, Floating Points, Nils Frahm and many more.

The complex is also home to the experimental MONOM venue, Berlin’s Centre for Spatial Sound, where concerts which explore music through their multi-dimensional sound system take place.

MONOM in Funkhaus – Source: www.monomsound.com

On the slightly dilapidated upper floors of the main building you will find some of Berlin’s leading music producers in their studio spaces. With limited but affordable spaces to rent, Funkhaus has become one of Berlin’s cultural centres for electronic music.

Milchbar in Funkhaus – Source: berlinmitkind.de

The garden is also a beautiful spot to visit for a coffee at the Milchbar or pizza at Zola, a branch of one of Berlin’s more popular Neapolitan pizzerias.

Parkbühne Wuhlheide

Staying on the cultural tip, Karlshorst is also home to Berlin’s leading outdoor live music venue, Parkbühne Wuhlheide. This open air concert venue invites some of the world’s biggest artists ranging from Bjork to Pearl Jam as well as regular classical music performances.

Wuhlheide – Source: www.arne-mueseler.com

The venue is part of the larger Volkspark Wuhlheide, a green and forested park with walking and cycling trails throughout, which reaches into the district of Oberschöneweide.

Karlshorst Itself!

The neighbourhood itself is an oasis of calm to escape from the usual hustle and bustle. The small town feeling in the centre, leafy residential streets, welcoming dog and baby friendly cafes, as well as plenty of kindergartens, and a small shopping centre provide everything you need for a comfortable existence.

Karlshorst residential streets – Source: Berlin.de

Sure, it’s not Kreuzberg, Mitte or Friedrichshain, but with these areas accessible in a matter of minutes, you won’t feel disconnected from the city’s pulse. Also with the influx of more expats in the area, the flat whites, trendy cafes and natural wine bars are beginning to appear, so millennials needn’t fear a total drought of avocados and craft beer.

Parks & Nature

Karlshorst is one of Berlin’s greenest neighbourhoods, and is completely surrounded by parks! With the Volkspark Wuhlheide to the south, Plänterwald and Treptower park to the East and the Tierpark Zoo to the north, taking a breath of fresh air is just a few blocks away.

Plänterwald – Source: theculturetrip.com

The Plänterwald is also worth a mention because in addition to being a beautiful forest itself, it is home to the legendary, abandoned Spreepark. A former East German theme park, complete with overgrown rollercoasters and decomposing mechanical dinosaurs.

Source: Unsplash

A little further to the East is also the Kaulsdorfer Seen, a group of three small lakes with a small beach for swimming in summer. These smaller lakes are great places to take a swim in summer with a car, and avoid the crowds who overwhelm the other beaches within the city limits.

Right in the centre of Karlsdorf you can find a number of Kleingartenverein, which are allotment communities. If you are lucky enough to find a free allotment you can even grow your own vegetables and have a special patch to escape to when you feel the urge to get some dirt under your fingernails.

Tierpark Berlin

The Tierpark is the largest landscaped zoo in Europe. Spread across the grounds of the Friedrichsfelde palace. With new attractions including the rainforest house you can immerse yourself in the east asian forest, getting up close with tigers, flying foxes, and tree kangaroos.

Source: Tierpark Berlin

The zoo has been open since 1955 and is one of Berlin’s highlights for visitors, yet is often overlooked in favour of the more central Zoologische Garten in Charlottenburg, pulling in the tourists more than ever since opening the panda enclosure. 

Nightlife

Sure you may not associate Karlshorst with Berlin’s best nightlife, but it’s proximity and transport links to the eastern districts of the city make it one of the best positioned districts to get immersed in the rave.

In 7 minutes as Ost Kreuz, you can jump into popular venues such as ://about blank, Wilden Renate as well as outdoor venues such as Oxi or Else.

Of course another 5 minutes on the train will get you to Ostbahnhof, your jumping off point for the infamous Berghain & Panorama Bar. No further explanation needed.

Revier Sudost – Source: www.rbb24.de

Plus after a short tram ride, cycle or even walk over the spree, you will arrive at Revier Sud Ost (RSO) another of Berlin’s leading techno clubs. Not to forget events at the nearby Funkhaus and MONOM venues as mentioned above.

Restaurants & Cafes

While you may not find the latest new scandinavian cuisine, fine dining, or emerging food trends in Karlshorst, there are plenty of restaurants and cafes offering international food, from India to Italy, and of course with no shortage of German classics or Döner kebab.

For great coffee, food and a good spot to get some work done, check out the CO.ME.IN cafe, offering quality coffee and food with a clean and light design creating a nice atmosphere for freelancers.

Hungover? Why not go to KaWi Cafe for a full English breakfast and let the sausage fat melt the alcohol out of your blood.  Or grab a pastry or cake from plant based bakery Kojake.

Source: Kawi-cafe.de

Sure it’s not the centre of Berlin’s culinary scene, but there’s plenty of cosy cafes and interesting eateries to explore. Plus fine dining is just an S-bahn away. 

Round up

For us, Karlshorst has it all. Access to the city’s top expat areas, a beautiful and green neighbourhood, accessible housing, schools and kindergartens as well as a chilled out vibe that makes home a relief from the inner city pressure.

With residents being gradually priced out of the central districts with furnished housing developments, and rent control laws failing to make it into federal legislature, it’s worth considering areas of the city often overlooked by tourists or new residents.

Interested in Karlshorst? Let us know and when booking your flat package appointment and we’ll get in touch.

Good rubs from Joshua Snow, expat massage therapist in Berlin.

11th January 2022 in Guide, Health & Fitness

Are you old, stressed and so contorted from hovering over your laptop that you have the posture of a gargoyle? Maybe it’s time to treat yourself to a massage from the healing hands of English speaking massage therapist (and of course Expats In Wonderland client) Joshua Snow.

Just look at him. Magnificent. I feel better already.

I could try and explain what Josh does with my limited understanding of massage therapy and the human body in general, but it would be more effective just to record a series of “ooohs” “aaaaahs” and the occasional “ufffff” sound.

Instead I’ll leave it to him. Here’s what he says…

“My name is Josh, from Melbourne and I specialise in the advanced form of remedial massage called Myotherapy.

With a main focus on the musculoskeletal system and nervous system, a wide variety of massage styles and techniques are used to improve blood circulation and ultimately rehabilitate the main cause of pain;

  • Trigger-point therapy
  • Lymphatic drainage
  • Joint mobilisation techniques
  • Classic massage (Swedish)
  • Rehabilitation
  • Sports massage
  • Myofascial release

After finishing my studies in 2009 at the Kangan Institute in Melbourne, I began working in the Spa at Day Dream Island on the coast of Queensland Australia, then for 2 years as one of the first therapists in the new Isika Spa in Crown Metropol Hotel as it opened in Melbourne in 2010.

Now that I have been freelancing in Berlin for 2 years, I am building my own clientele of patients who seek more specific help to rehabilitate from various musculoskeletal pain and associated conditions. The main goal is to treat the patient first to discover the cause, and then be able to effectively and efficiently treat their pain second. I have dedicated my research and practice to assist in the discovery and recovery from pain.”

Josh’s offers a comprehensive menu of massage treatments including but not limited to the following:

He works either from his studio in Neukölln, or is happy to come to you with a mobile setup, because what’s more relaxing than being at home.

Josh comes highly recommended and you will find him to be professional and charming in equal measure.

Ready to book? Just get in touch with him via his website, or write to him on WhatsApp at +49 160 92038642.

Supporting your local businesses in COVID-19

11th May 2020 in Food & Drink, Guide, Health & Fitness
Small businesses in your neighbourhood are struggling to survive.

As the lockdown laws slowly are relaxed, the aftershocks are still being felt by independent businesses across Berlin.  To stoke some of the entrepreneurial spirit normally keeping our local kiez buzzing (and our bellies and livers hard at work), we decided to treat our relocation manager Emi to a day of delights using COVID-19 replacement services.

Here’s her diary of the day.

Start your day with a fresh pressed juice from BTTR (8:45am)

As I was still laying in bed sipping on my morning coffee the doorbell rang. My first delivery was here! I was delighted it was fresh juices, shots and “Mylk” from Kreuzberg based store BTTR.

Fresh pressed juices and shots from BTTR

BTTR has become a bit of an obsession of mine during this lockdown. Their cold pressed juices and various Mylk’s are created with a biohacking mentality, drawing as much from the latest science from Californian nutritionists as ancient Eastern medicine.

But could the whole day be just about fitness and health?

Cruelty free haircare products from wallacewallace (9:30am)

Cleansed and alert from juices, I sprang to action like a lightning bolt as the doorbell rang again. I opened the door dazzling the bike courier with a glittering smile that he was obviously unprepared for at this time in the morning.  He responded by solemnly handing me an old rolled up paper Edeka bag.

Cruelty free hair products from wallacewallace

I was pleasantly surprised when I opened up the bag to find amazing cruelty free Kevin Murphy hair products. There is only one hairdresser that sells these products and that is wallacewallace.

Seconds later my phone rang and it was a facetime call from the salon’s founder Justin, who declared that he was going to guide me on a home hair treatment journey. After a brief exchange of affirmations on each other’s inner and outer beauty, he guided me on how to treat my hair at home and gave me a few tips and tricks I could do at home.

Justin gives me a tutorial on properly treating my hair.

I am not sure if it was Justin who felt my desperation or if Ina had seen the need for some tender loving care for my hair but this came like a gift from heaven.  Of course I finished up looking like Princess Angel, and proceeded to vogue around my apartment.  The dog looked somewhat concerned.

Stay safe with a locally made facemask from Katies Blue Cat Cafe (11:00)

I was given the task of sourcing a face mask which during this pandemic is not easy as they seem to sell out everywhere. I was already thinking about making one myself, and had seen someone ensemble one from an old bra and figured this may be my last resource.

While I was panicking about the thought of wearing a bra on my face, I popped out to grab a coffee, and there it was, a face mask!

Katies Blue Cat cafe is selling waterproof face masks.

Katies Blue Cat cafe does not only sell delicious cakes and coffee but also cotton face masks. Plus they are running a delivery service for their wonderful cookies and shortbreads. Suddenly this task involved coffee and cookies and became much more appealing.

DIY boozy brunch from Geist im Glass (13:00)

All that looking and feeling good was making me hungry.  Time for another delivery! It was brunch time from Lenaustraße based bar/restaurant Geist im Glass.

Sampler brunch from Geist Im Glas

I got a nice sampler brunch of all their favourites and what seemed to be a bottomless bloody mary.  The preparation really couldn’t have been better.  As the hard work is all done for you and neatly packaged, so that your feast just needs to be heated up and decanted, giving both the satisfaction of eating and false pride of having prepared the meal.

Their bloody mary bladder is generous to say the least.

I took my sweet time scoffing all the samplers and squeezed the final drops from the bottom of the bloody mary bucket.

Oh gosh I’m still drunk and it’s time for Hotpod Yoga (18:20)

As I was still trying to recover from my afternoon bloody mary buzz, my email notification went off and it was time for a yoga class from the lovely ladies from Hotpod. Before the lockdown, I would attend hotpod once or twice a week, as I found it a good way not only to sweat out my weekends sins of over indulging, but the soothing beats in a warm sweaty pod somehow gave me a shot of nostalgia for my raving days. 

Yoga a la Zoom.

The class was conducted over zoom and they sent you a playlist to listen to during the class. I did catch myself a few times moving along to the music more than the class. This may have still been the bloody mary’s in my system, and I definitely did doze off for a while during the savasana.

Yoga is more fun with a friend.

Wine for dinner? (19:45)

I had not even had time to peel myself off my yoga mat until it was time for the next task ! Here I was thinking it must be food but it was the next best thing – Wine. And not just any wine, but some of my favourite wines from Palsta, my favourite little Scandinavian hideout in Schillerkiez. 

Update: Very sadly since writing this article Palsta has decided to close its doors permanently.. Viivi and her team had built a beautiful concept of scandinavian food and some of the best natural wines. Despite being one of the most loved small restaurants in Berlin, it goes to show how serious the struggles faced particularly by bricks and mortar businesses are right now. This again shows the importance of us supporting small local businesses during this crisis in any way possible. 

https://www.instagram.com/p/B_zVQWoqg_i/

I had to obviously ‘taste’ the wines, it would only have been rude not to. But for this I needed some entertainment. I knew my friends Kenneth Scott & Noah Pred were doing a live stream dj set from home, so there was my entertainment sorted.

Wines from Palsta and living room DJ set live with Kenneth Scott and Noah Pred

There was no shame in dancing around in my yoga pants with a glass of wine, this is what quarantining is really about it in the end.

Hot Yoga at the Hotpod Yoga studio in Neukölln

31st January 2020 in Guide, Health & Fitness

What’s sweaty, inflatable, and leaves you feeling warm and fuzzy inside?  Of course we’re talking about Hotpod Yoga, which you can find in Neukölln on Karl-Marx-Strasse 75.

Hotpod Yoga specialises in hot yoga, taking place in an inflatable pod which is heated to 37 degrees, and filled with therapeutic aromas and sounds to create a unique environment to practice their signature “Hotpod Flow”.

In comparison to other hot yoga studios, the pod is equipped with humidifiers to help you ‘break the sweat’ as well as the pod itself is made from the parachute material which improves airflow.

Classes are for all levels – The signature Hotpod Flow class, is designed for Level 1-2, Dynamic Flow for 2-3 and Nurturing Flow, a more restorative class, is for all Levels.  You can check the level by reading the teacher bios online.

The team have been kind enough to offer Expats In Wonderland 50% off your first class with the voucher code WONDERLAND when booking online.

Offer is valid for a single use for new customers and valid until 1st May 2020.

Instructors Aleks, Hülya, Francesca & Sebastian always teaches in English, while most other instructors teach in both English and German.  Non-German speakers are welcome at any class, and even if the instruction is in German, your teacher will be able to answer any questions in English if needed. Contact the team online to check the language of your class.

Sünne set up the studio in 2015 close to her home in Neukoelln after falling out of love with her daily 1.5 hour commute.  Stumbling into a Hotpod Yoga class in London, she felt like the yoga scene in Berlin was a little behind the times, and so took the opportunity to transplant the concept over here.

The atmosphere created in the pod, combined with the superb standard of instructors at the studio make Hotpod Yoga one of Berlin’s best and most welcoming studios.  With so many options to choose from, the offering here is truly unique so whether you are a seasoned sweater or first timer it’s a good place to experience hot yoga at its best.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B3GqfpLjXyg/

If you’re new to the neighbourhood, the team recommend taking a warm up walk or run in the nearby Hasenheide Park or Tempelhofer Feld before your stretch.  For healthy drinks and snacks after, pop into OAK cafe around the corner for a golden milk and delicious vegan/vegetarian food.  A great place to bond with your new yoga friends!

For businesses and groups, the Hotpod Yoga studio can also be rented for private functions.  Get in contact via the website to find out more.

Find relief at one of Berlin’s top rated acupuncture & Traditional Chinese Medicine practices

8th April 2019 in Guide, Health & Fitness


Despite the joy it gives us solving Expat visa and flat cases, dealing with those disgruntled civil servants can sure take it out of you. So after too many hours hunched over forms, sitting on those uncomfortable immigration waiting room chairs, and smacking the proverbial bottoms of impertinent landlords, my body was begging for a little relief.

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Introducing our new partner Venn.city

26th March 2019 in Guide, Partners

Expats In Wonderland has partnered with Venn, a forward thinking co-living concept, which is established in Berlin, Tel Aviv & New York.

With their unique approach, Venn are offering beautiful furnished private apartments in their two buildings in Friedrichshain.  Each building has communal areas in-which the residents are encouraged to connect with their neighbours and build a sense of community. Plus they have hinted that new buildings will be opening in the very near future.

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