Walking through Berlin inner courtyards is definitely one of the coolest things you can do in this city. We usually tell our friends: if you come to Berlin and don’t explore the courtyards you probably missed a super important aspect of Berlin’s life.
The incredible number of cool stores, restaurants, services that you can find inside the Berlin inner courtyards (Höffe or Hof (singular) will take your breath away. Our rule of thumb: if the door is open to the public WALK IN!
Sometimes you will just find a normal cute courtyard, but sometimes you will be transported to a different world. Some of the buildings have 8 or 10 courtyards. One connected to the other. Just keep exploring. You can walk from street to street without going around the block. “Crisscross” the hell out of Berlin, people!
Hackesche Höffe are probably the most famous (and touristy) ones. With that said, it is still worth a visit. But don’t stop there. And don’t just visit the areas we recommend (below). Discover this parallel universe on your own. Just walk aimlessly! It is fun. We promise. Yes, there is the occasional uninteresting courtyard…just walk out and carry on your quest! All over town!
Here are some of the streets that we think have some of the more interesting Berlin inner courtyards (just get into every courtyard you can get along these stretches).
– Rosenthalerstrasse, Sophienstrasse/Gipstrasse, Torstrasse, Augustrasse, Linienstrasse, Hanoverschestrasse/Luisentrassee, Oranienburgerstrasse
– Bergmannstrasse, Oranienstrasse, Paul-Lincke Uffer, Glogauer Strasse, Böckstrasse, Urbanstrasse, Schlesische Strasse
– Schönhauser Allee, Pappelallee, Prenzlauer Allee, Kastanienallee
– Boxhagenerstrasse, Simplonstrasse/Gryphusstrasse
– Gerichstrasse, Groningerstrasse
The possibilities are endless. We will keep adding to the list. We would post a map below, but we think that the idea is to explore aimlessly without much structure. Tell us what you think.
Additionally check out this nice article from Deutsche Welle: http://www.dw.de/in-berlins-courtyards-youre-less-of-a-stranger/a-15069431 about Berlin inner courtyards.