Veronika Heilbrunner Berlin City Guide Garance Dore photos

9 years ago by

I’ve never been to Berlin, but it’s one of my dreams – and who better to ask for the secrets of the city than Veronika? She lives a beautiful life there, amid all of the art and culture. And I can’t wait to visit all of these places with her next time I visit!

How would you describe Berlin to someone who has never been?
The city with two faces; young and old, beautiful and torn down, grey and colorful, loud and quiet, modern and old-fashioned.

Tell us about your first visit to Berlin — what made it memorable?
I was only 16. It felt enormously huge. As it was a very short weekend, I only visited West Berlin. I was overwhelmed exploring the area around Bahnhof Zoo, thanks to my favorite book C, Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo by Christiane F. Disturbing and exciting. Mostly I remember the colors were dirty and bleached out, very 70s-like. It was only years later that I found out David Bowie was playing in the movie.

What is your favorite restaurant here?
Grill Royal is the place to be and is always fun!

And the best bar?
Diener Tattersaal

Where do you go if you feel like dancing with friends?
I rarely go dancing, as I am traveling so much. I really enjoy my quiet time at home in Berlin. I really do love dancing in our corridor in our huge apartment (one of Berlin´s big pluses are the spacious apartments)…

And for date night…
Luckily my date (Justin) loves bringing me to Grill Royal. Another good place is Paris Bar. It’s a classic West Berlin restaurant that is filled with art and breathes historic air.

What is the one landmark in Berlin that everyone should visit?
Museumsinsel is a very beautiful place. I love the Pergamom Museum – unfortunately it’s closed for renovation. but the Neues Museum, renovated by David Chipperfield, is an amazing place. also the Dom nearby is one of my favorites. Visiting churches is something I love – quiet places that feel like time machines to me. Another exciting spot is the Bundestags-Building. Very impressive and amazingly renovated!

What is the best souvenir someone can buy in Berlin?
Porcelain from KPM (Königliche Porzellan Manufaktur)

Where is the best spot for people watching?
The restaurant Borchardt. A famous place where the people watching is major next to having schnitzel. I love going there on a rainy sunday afternoon, having late lunch and a glass of champagne.

Describe your favorite stores here…
I am very excited for The Store in Soho House to officially open in March, they have an amazing juice bar — very healthy, yummy snacks and a great selection of designers from J.W. Anderson and Simone Rocha to Christophe Lemaire. And I like Andreas Murkudis’ store a lot, he sells not only Céline and Dries van Noten, but also beautiful furniture pieces.

How do you prefer to get around Berlin?
In Summer I am always on my bike and preferably crossing the Tiergarten (by day – it’s a bit dodgy in the night). In winter, it’s best to have a car. My favorite is driving with Justin on his beautiful 70s BMW motorbike on the super impressive Karl-Marx-Alee with its enormous socialist building blocks.

Where do you go for a day trip outside of Berlin?
To Potsdam. Its a very short trip. The castle Sans Souci is a must-see and the lakes around are beautiful. My secret spot for sunbathing and swimming is Heiliger See in Potsdam.

Describe your perfect day in Berlin…
After waking up early (one of the pluses of not going dancing ;)), we have a fresh juice and a snack (best cookies and carrot cake in town!!) in our favorite cafe What Do You Fancy Love. Then we have a walk on Ku Damm through my favorite street, Fasanenstrasse, visit my favorite church Gedächtniskirche (its new version built by Egon Eiermann at the zoo). Then we visit some galleries like Blain Southern, maybe go see a movie in the afternoon and have an early aperitivo in Grosz. Then either we invite friends for dinner – luckily Justin is a great chef, or we go and have the best meat in town in Pauly Saal.


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Photo by Sandra Semburg.


Add yours
  • This is great – even though I also live in Berlin myself, Veronika mentions a lot of spots I have never visited. Museuminsel is also one of my favorite parts in the city. The park in front of the Dom is super nice in summer. Thank you for sharing this post!

  • i like her but i love them together: a real power couple! :)

  • Love this city so artistic and creative..yet i can’t forget the heavy past..
    Yael Guetta

  • But that’s the good thing: the city doesn’t try to ignore or forget its past, but ensures in so many ways that we do remember what happened and that we’re mindful about the present and working towards a future where such atrocities won’t happen again

  • Hello Garance,

    J’ai très envie de visiter Berlin et les tips de Veronika me mettent l’eau à la bouche!
    J’avoue que pour moi Berlin c’est le mur qui tombe le 9 Novembre 1989, j’étais jeune mais j’avais suivi à la télé et j’en suis restée fascinée. Ces gens qui se battaient pour leur liberté, mon 1er souvenir de “fight for Freedom”
    Maintenant j’aimerais bien découvrir l’autre visage de Berlin.

    Merci Garance


  • this makes me want to go to berlin even more than I did before!

  • bavarian_blue January, 23 2015, 9:49 / Reply

    Yeah, a place also worth to visit (especially in summer) is Prinzessinnengarten, an urban gardening project in Berlin’s hip quarter Kreuzberg (

  • Prinzessinnengärten are so nice in spring and summer! Also, think of just wandering (or biking) around in districts like Kreuzberg, Schöneberg, Prenzlauer Berg.. you’ll find a lot of art, gardens and parks, cafés and bars everywhere, just floating, drifting around, that’s one of the things I like to do most in Berlin. Then in the afternoon out to the lakes, and later on, cocktail night at Würgeengel! xxSol

  • Love hearing about life in other cities – thanks for keeping this intermittent series going!

  • Laurence D January, 23 2015, 10:30 / Reply

    Dans la Fasanenstrasse aller au WinterGarten resto très sympa. Pour les musées j’aime beaucoup la Hamburger Bahnhof,une ancienne gare transformée avec des expos modernes, un resto et une boutique très bien. Le quartier Bahnhof Zoo dont elle parle est plutôt sinistre, mais on y trouve le musée consacré à Helmut Newton. La meilleure collection pour moi est celle de la Gemälde Gallerie. Ne pas oublier le Bauhaus Museum aussi. Les galeries dans Mitte. Les antiquaires pas chers dans Suarez Strasse. J’aime bien y acheter des photos anciennes, des jouets d’enfants, des serviettes de table, des tasses à thé, des verres ou de l’argenterie. Le dimanche matin les puces. L’été ou au printemps les Bier Garten où l’on mange des saucisses, encore mieux quand ils sont sur la plage d’un lac, ce qui existe à l’intérieur même de la ville. L’hiver on peut parfois patiner sur les lacs. Les enfants ont des vieilles luges en bois. J’ai alors l’impression d’être dans un de mes livres d’enfants.

  • Hi Garance, as much as I like Veronika as a street styler, this Berlin places are really not were you hang around if not a jet-setter/VIP/verychictourist. I’m a Berliner, too, and even if I also love arts, fashion, hanging around in Cafés, biking etc., I’d much rather do so in Kreuzberg, Prenzlauer Berg, Schönefeld or even Charlottenburg sometimes than in Mitte. Also, think about the Neue Nationalgalerie rather than the crowded Museumsinsel, and all the new Galleries around.. also, Sansssouci sure is very nice but VERY touristic during the season, much better to make a tour to the Rheinsberg Palace (built by the same kings but in the midst of the big forests and lakes around Berlin).. I could go on and on… hmm, maybe I should write up some Berlin guide for my own Blog :-) ?? BUT: Thank you for this great blog I read every, every day for many years now! xxSol

  • I spent a couple of days in Berlin earlier this year, and while that is no where near enough time to properly explore the city, I did a lot of people watching and was particularly enamored with the fashion. The people there have the best style I’ve ever seen. It was so much more sophisticated than what I’m used to seeing in the States–especially in Chicago. Talk about an inspiration and a breath of fresh air! I also loved the biking culture.

  • Merci j’adore tes city guides!! Veronika a l’air d’adorer sa ville et elle le transmet bien…a garder sous le coude pour une prochaine escapade la bas…

  • Cool coat!
    Passa a trovarmi VeryFP

  • Il manque un tas de choses dans son Berlin qui est très Ouest, je conseille d’ajouter les city guide suivants : (à la pointe food et fashion) et (blog d’un artiste francais y vivant depuis longtemps)

  • Je voulais ajouter que je ne suis pas d’accord avec le fait qu’il faut une voiture à Berlin, c’est pas Austin ou LA ! Il y a un super réseau de transport très maillé et très facile, pas de soucis pour se déplacer ! C’est juste très GRAND.

  • Ma fille commence a pas mal tourner en Allemagne alors je garde ces adresses sous le coude histoire de joindre, la prochaine fois, l’utile à l’agréable ! Merci

  • Thanks for sharing this. Berlin is on my travel bucket list!

  • Is Veronika an Everlane model? Her face looks very familiar! Berlin sounds great, I can’t wait to go.

  • Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo used to be my favourite book when I was a teenager!

  • Thanks for sharing these great Berlin secrets! I’ve been living here for a couple of years now but the city is so big that there’s always a new angle to discover. Only thing I wouldn’t agree: I definitely don’t need a car in Berlin =) the U-bahn takes me everywhere in winter and the roads are usually congested!

  • This girl’s got a great sense of style! She wears hottest trends and looks absolutely natural and efortless.
    I made a post on my blog about her and her boyfriend Justin O’Shea:

  • Steph à Berlin January, 23 2015, 4:32 / Reply

    ah, alors là, je me dois de réagir… c’est très Berlin-Ouest-Kudamm tout ça, il serait dommage de ne pas aller faire un tour “de l’autre côté du Mur” ou à Kreuzberg, par exemple. c’est une tout autre ville. Mitte et Prenzlauer Berg chic ou bobo, Kreuzberg par endroits plus authentique… à Berlin, tout est dans la vie de quartiers très différents, qui changent beaucoup, tout le temps. une journée parfaite, ce serait par exemple aller chercher de délicieuses pâtisseries à la Bekarei, se remettre sous la couette avec son amoureux, puis manger des sushis chez Sasaya et partir en balade au bord du canal à Kreuzberg, ou sur l’ancien tarmac de Tempelhof, pour y faire ensuite un pique-nique avec des amis et profiter du soleil jusqu’à ce qu’il disparaisse à l’horizon…

  • Oui, je suis tellement d’accord, j’avais aussi fait un commentaire ce matin là-dessus, mais il a été supprimé, je ne sais pas trop pourquoi (?? peut-être trop directe à la fameuse franquette allemande? ;-) ). Parce que: Je ne retrouvais pas du tout mon Berlin de tant de sorties, ballades, amitiés et années dans tout cela .. je pense que ça serait quand même bien de dire à tous ceux ici que le Berlin d’en haut est un Berlin très très glam / cher / society, pas forcément ce qu’on cherche dans cette ville. Mais à la fin, ok, je suis sur qu’il y a un Berlin pour presque tout le monde!! xxSol

  • 100% d accord avec vous! Il ne faut absolument pas négliger l’est où ambiance est très différente ( et a mon avis autrement plus génial!).
    Pour danser aussi Berlin regorge de clubs mythiques comme le berghain ou le trésor!
    Quand a dire âge d or du socialisme ….

  • Aliénor January, 23 2015, 4:48 / Reply

    Bonjour ! Pleaaaase un city guide sur Buenos Aires Garance .

  • Berlin is such an exciting city. I went in 1999 and again in 2010 while living in Hamburg and the difference was amazing. From gritty in 1999 to luxe in 2010 around Checkpoint Charlie (I don’t recall right now the name of that big boulevard where now you can find Vuitton, etc.) I think Berlin would be a fabulous place to live!

  • Steph à Berlin January, 23 2015, 5:14 / Reply

    je me suis emballée un peu vite… elle cite des lieux à Mitte, bien sûr, mais un conseil, vraiment : aller dans les quartiers…

  • Berlin sounds so wonderful, I still have to get there. Now I know where to go, thanks for sharing. Love her coat!

  • J’adore son manteau! Une perfection de style et de confort douillet!;)

  • Berlin is the city of art. If you are interested in contemporary art, off spaces and project spaces, young artists and curators, visit our art-blog You can also have a look on our Facebook and find the upcoming events during your visit. Welcome to Berlin!

  • Berlin is definitely worth a visit, but I totally agree that Veronika left out many of the really interesting places – so check out the recommendations others have made in the comments! And if you are in Fasanenstrasse, make sure to visit the Café in the Literaturhaus! (Then again, I discovered that my parents – in their late 60s – seem to be quite hip – they usually celebrate New Year’s Eve at the Paris Bar with friends… and they have a second home in Karl Marx Allee, right near Frankfurter Tor. It does have an amazing view. Damn, I should visit again!)

    I discovered only recently that there was a German version of Harper’s Bazaar – I was curious, so I bought a copy (the cover looked nice enough). It was the most expensive and disappointing fluff I’d had for a long time. And I LIKE magazines (as a rule).

  • Ahhhhh…. Berlin…. <3 !

  • What a great guide! Cant wait to go back now :)

  • ll cool j January, 24 2015, 12:51 / Reply

    I agree that Veronika misses most of the good places!!!!

    I can recommend and for food/bar reviews.

  • J’espère que ton Berlin sera un peu plus fun que celui de Veronika :) … Berlin sans passer par le Berghain c’est pas vraiment Berlin experience unique que l’on ne trouve nul part ailleurs! Cette ville est très éclectique et les gens ont l’air vraiment heureux. Froide, grise et moderne Berlin est un caméléon qui mêle l’underground à un chic et une sophistication glaçante belle et très vaste.


  • Sounds like she has memorised her Baedecker by heart – all boring, touristy places, nothing original or new. All the places I’d take an elderly aunt are mentioned … snooze.

    To wake up, try

  • J’aime aussi beaucoup Berlin. Bon, je n’aime par contre pas du tout le style de Veronika. Le col roule, le manteau en tapis de salon poilu, le col noir, on se croirait dans un (mauvais) film français de fin 80. Mais la diversite est toujours interessante :)

  • euh….comment dire….Veronika passe t-elle vraiment beaucoup de temps à Berlin ou tient elle à garder ses adresses secrètes? Parce que là, franchement elle nous a quasi fait la liste des endroits ringards et “nouveau riche”…mais bon, chacun son style ….

  • Danielle Balossa January, 25 2015, 5:39 / Reply

    Mais Berlin, c’est quand même LE lieu pour faire la fête en Europe du moins! C’est la capitale de la techno de qualité! On ne peut pas aller à Berlin sans tenter d’entrer dans le temple qu’est le Berghain!

  • Ultra cool ce city guide Berlin ! Je n’y suis jamais allée, et avec les conseils de LA fille la plus stylée, c’est clair que ça donne envie !

  • Heu ouai c’est un peu Berlin pour les hipsters là, on peut pas dire que ça soit très UNDERGROUND si vous voyez ce que je veux dire.
    (ouai je suis un peu agressif mais depuis que Berlin est devenu hype sur les blogs de mode les loyers sont chers et les punks à chat ne peuvent plus VIVRE)

  • Charlotte January, 25 2015, 3:23 / Reply

    Merci Garance pour toutes ces précieuses adresses et ces conseils ! Allant prochainement à Berlin, j’ai tout noté. J’ai aussi trouvé des infos très intéressantes ici : Je partage donc !

  • Euuh, un guide sur Berlin, vraiment ????!?
    On n’habite pas le même Berlin alors. Même si je ne remets pas en question les lieux cités, que je fréquente également et qui sont sympas. Mais Berlin, c’est tellement mieux que ca !!!

  • i have been to Berlin twice…..before the wall came down……both times at the Berliner Festival in September… The waiters in cafes carry wallet and u pay them…Bought one at a department store …..great find

  • Whoa, the girl doesn’t leave the Western part at all!! She’s missing out.. And dancing, dancing is enjoyable in Berlin :)

  • S’il y a bien un truc avec lequel je suis bien d’accord avec Veronika, c’est sur la taille des appartements à Berlin, ils sont tout simplement immense. L’été dernier j’ai été invité comme blogueur par Boconcept à Berlin dans un appartement entièrement aménagé par leurs soins et on j’ai eu le droit à un 2 pièces d’au moins 120m², je vous laisse imaginé la taille du séjour et de la chambre.

    Après, s’il y a un truc que je dois vous recommander, c’est de tester les nuits Berlinoise, c’est une expérience très différente de ce que l’on peut connaitre à Paris, c’est un peu “crunch” mais il faut absolument le faire au moins une fois dans sa vie.

  • Maria Carlson January, 28 2015, 11:19 / Reply

    I visited the Pergamom Museum as a college student, over 20 years ago. It lives large in my memory. It literally left me agog. I simply couldn’t believe this remarkable museum wasn’t famous in America, too! Berlin is simply a fascinating city.

  • guys!! nooo… this gets a totally wrong idea about why berlin is SO AMAZING as it is!! i live here since ages now, and sure, the most popular and expensive restaurants like grill royal and pauly saal have great food, but this is not real berlin! this is more like – berlin trying to be paris, or any other european city. good food, but you don’t come to berlin for that! boooorring!

    berlin is shabby, and one has to accept and love it that way, otherwise you will just end up cruising around charlottenburg and DYING of boredom on kudamm, which has NOTHING ELSE, but only clothes shops.

    for real berlin, you most definitely have to forget this guide, unless your mother is coming with you, then Borchardt might be a good idea..

    ..and go wonder in kreuzberg, prenzlauer berg, friedrichshain!

    go to the ‘heimathafen’ for a saturday brunch, they have a delicious food market in this incredible old building, totally berlin.
    and on a sunday afternoon, go to the famous fleamarket on the 17.Juni street, one can find amazing antique stuff there!

    and yes, THE STORE in Soho House is an amazing store, Alex, the owner of the shop, did an incredible job with designing it and the selection of clother and furniture there is divine! and by the way, its open already, no need to wait for march!

    love from berlin,

  • I’ve been living in Germany for four years now and I’ve only been to Berlin once. I was super excited but… it was disappointing. I didn’t like it. I know, I know, all those Berlin lovers can’t be wrong. So in April I will give it another try. Thsi guide might help!

  • This is funny – most interesting places have been left out. I would take my 62 year old mum or an aunt to these very touristy places rather than someone in their 20/30/40s. Berlin is much cooler than this

  • I have to agree with Laural, Mari, and XXR…this is a Berlin guide for a weekend with grandparents! And the Grill Royal is good but overpriced and touristy. I love the attempt to shine a brighter light on the city, though :)

  • I love Berlin, have been there once , truely amazing city . Thanks for sharing, I might go there again.


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