The Luvaville Blog
The Luvaville.com Blog is ALL about travel and lifestyle for urban parents. Here, we wish to share with you some of our travel experiences as well as tips and various recommendations on fashion, great design, trendy and practical products that go along with life as parents.
Berlin tips from Sara Helena Kangas
We have been so lucky to have Sara Helena Kangas, the author of Elle Bella's adventures, on board. She is what you can call a true family travel expert and we are thrilled to have her sharing her best tips on Berlin with Kids. Sara will also be guestblogging here on Luvaville.com and is working on her next title about London. You can read our review of her first guidebook here! We have ask Sara a few questions and here it goes...
1. Why did you choose to go to Berlin and why would you recommend it to other families?
We chose to go to Berlin for a bunch of different reasons. First of all I wanted to test my first book of Ella Bellas eventyr with my husband and daughter. The purpose of the books is to give families a possibility to visit and experience the cultural sights in different cities.
Berlin has a nice and cool atmosphere, and it is easy to tell that a big part of the population is young – a lot of them with kids. So there is always a playground or a ping pong-table in the nearest surroundings.
2. Where did you live during your stay and what was special about it?
We lived in a friend's apartment in the Prenzlauer Berg neighborhood. There´s a lot of apartments for rent in Berlin, and I would for sure recommend this way of staying when you are traveling with kids. In my opinion it is nice to have a living room, where you can talk, watch a movie, drink a cold beer etc. when the kids are sleeping.
3. What is your favourite area in the city and why?
My favorite area is the same place as we stayed – Prenzlauer Berg. It has a special charm and unpretentious atmosphere. A lot of families are hanging out on the playground on Helmholtzplatz, in the nice cafés along Eberswalder Strasse or in the super nice and super kids-friendly café, Spielzimmer. Here you can cool down with ice-cream, eat homemade waffles – and of course drink a lot of coffee, while the kids are playing in the indoor 3D-labyrinth or "swimming" in the pool of plastic-balls.
4. Did you discover nice cafés or/and restaurants for lunch or dinner?
My all time favorite (family-friendly)place to eat is the pizzeria I Due Forni. It is located two places in Berlin: in Kreuzberg and Prenzlauer Berg. I would recommend the one in Prenzlauer Berg (Schönhauser Allee 12), since it has a nice garden with a small playground in front. Its a nice place to enjoy the last sun of the day, while sipping a Alsterwasser and eating super nice pizzas. You are seated at long tables, served by italian punker´s and there´s often a lot of people. So you need to be patient – or come not to late (which is hardly the case when you are traveling with kids …).
5. What kind of public transport did you use getting around in the city?
We mostly used the busses and the tram. Only a few times the metro. Since we were not in a rush, we prefered to get the chance of watching the surrounding while moving around in the city. It is a great way to experience new stuff, to look at great architecture and talk with the kids about what is happening in the city.
6. Your favourite shops for your self and for your child/children?
We didn´t use much time on shopping - more on cafés, museum and places like that. But in general Berlin has a lot of nice shops, so it s difficult to highlight one or two shops from the others.
7. Any interesting products or things, you recommend to buy and bring with you home?
A piece of the Berlin Wall … Just joking :) I like the "hard plastic" posters in where street art or a german word is photographed and transformed into small pieces of public art. You can find them in a lot of (tourist)places. They look great both as "coffee-coaster" and on the wall. Besides I do not feel the need of shopping, so I prefer bringing back memories – and a lot of photos.
8. What kind of play grounds or cultural activity did you visit?
As I mentioned before there´s a lot of playground worth visiting in Berlin. As normal playgrounds I would recommend the one in Helmholtzplatz, the one in Volkspark am Weinberg (U-bahn: Rosenthaler Platz) and the one in Kollwitzplatz. If you are bringing kids in the age of 6-14 years, it could be nice to visit one of Berlin's many city farms. For an example "Der Moritzhof" (www.jugendfarm-moritzhof.de) or Kolle 37 (www.kolle37.de). Here the kids can help feed the animals, ride the horses etc. Check the websites for program.
Besides the playgrounds we visited many different cultural places. As told before it is the main purpose of the Ella Bella-books: To give families a possibility to visit and experience the cultural sights in different cities. Thanks to the book both my daughter and husband enjoyed really much visiting Brandenburger Tor, Reichstag, the TV-tower, Holocaust-Mahnmal etc.
9. Your top 5 of most important things to bring for your children when going to Berlin?
My #1 advice is to bring some electronically devices, for an example an iPad (a smartphone would do). I realized that kids, as well as their parents, needs to calm down and relax with stuff they know, which for an example could be a cartoon or a computer game. It can also give the parents a break during the day, being able to drink and enjoy the coffee, while the kids are entertained by Curious George. And it is great to be able to gather useful information from the net, when you are at the location – and of course the books of Ella Bella also exist as e-books. Hopefully also in english in the nearest future!
#2: wipes - they always come in handy …
#3: 2-3 known books for the goodnight-read. It can be nice to listen to something familiar when you are in a new place. Especially just before falling a sleep.
#4: Swimsuit. Berlin has good outside swimming-spots to visit during summer – for an example the Arena Badeschiff (www.arena-berlin.de/
#5: Don´t have too high expectations! A holiday vacation with kids would always be a different experience than one with just adults. So don't try to see too many things. Try enjoying an ice-cream, a stroll in the park or a simple pause like petting a dog on the street. It is a brilliant way to meet the people who lives in the city!
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