My first week-ends after I moved to Berlin I spent an impressive amount of time exploring the flea markets. No, I wasn't looking for items to decorate my new house, as I am usually an adept of minimalist, modern and new furniture and accessorizes, but just for the pleasure of discovering objects with histories that I wanted to understand in order to better know my new city and country.
After years and years - almost 10 - of living in Berlin, I can bring you my choice of best flea markets. Either if you are a tourist or a local, a vintage fan or just an average shopper, you should give at least one of them a try, because you never know what you can find.
Most of them are open in the weekends and there are no entrance fees. As usual in such places, don't forget to use this visit as an opportunity to improve your negotiations skills. It might work almost always.
One of my favorites so far is set up every Saturday and Sunday in the Taxi parking lot of the Fehbelliner Platz metro station, opposite the red oil rig-like construction I featured in my post about the most beautiful metro stations in the city. It is a relatively small one, but rich in offers which range from bikes and Oriental carpets to gas masks from the time of the Cold War or German porcelain. If you visit it often, you may realize that there are almost the same people selling stuff for years and years and therefore, if you have a special request you can find the right person to help you.
A similar market - both in size and in choice of products - can be visited every week-end in the front of the historical Rathaus Schöneberg, made famous by the speech of the US President J.F.Kennedy who proudly declared 'Ich bin ein Berliner' in the front of the citizens of West Berlin trying to live with the reality of a divided city.
One of the famous and most crowded is on the other end of the city, in the Eastern side, at Mauerpark. The best time for a visit is during the summer, as you can take the advantage of the warm weather to enjoy the very generous offer. And you need actually a lot of time, as this is the place where you can find almost everything: from plastic hands of dolls until colourful pieces of vintage furniture.
When you are too tired, you can have a stop at one of the food stalls installed around, serving from vegetarian burgers to noodles. You can use your visit to the Mauerpark to interact with people or attend one of the open air concerts or karaoke happenings regularly taking place there during the weekend.
Back in the Western part of the city, you should definitely visit the Tiergarten flea market, one of the oldest in town. It is situated minutes away from the S-Bahn station with the same name, close to a historical city gate. Compared to the other markets, it has less junk and you can find here a fine selection of paintings and antiquiies, which is also a specialty of the flea market at Bode Museum, on Museum Island.
If you are too busy in the weekend to explore the many beautiful and interesting sightseeings, there is still a chance to have some vintage stuff during the week. At the beginning of Bergmanstrasse - closer to Mehringdamm U-Bahn station, in Kreuzberg - on the colourfully decorated tables one can find every day from Monday to Friday the equivalent of Mauerpark in terms of jewellery and tableware. If you are patient enough, for sure you can discover some affordable hidden gems to impress everyone after your visit to Berlin.
The serious vintage collectors are in paradise on Suarez street, the official Antiquities street in Berlin. It is the place for trading and finding the perfect matches for your classical furniture or paintings, and there are always professionals ready to answer your questions and find the right piece for you.
And as the good weather seems to be the new rule of Berlin life, I am sure there are even more interesting flea markets to explore and learn about soon. As a curious person, I can't refuse the temptation to discover something new every day and those places always promise a lot of pleasant surprises.
What about you, what are your favorite flea markets in Berlin?