Our own list of the best Berlin books everybody needs to have as a way to see and understand the city a little better. We bought these books over the years we have been here, and we promise you they are worth every penny.
From endless tips of the kind of places most people would never find on their own to beautiful urban exploration pictures, to a guide about how to be German. We are sure you will enjoy the books here and, maybe, even use them as a holiday gift guide.
My Top 10 Berlin Books
Berlin Companion by Beata Gontarczyk-Krampe
We have been following BerlinCompanion, aka kreuzberged aka Beata Gontarczyk-Krampe, on Twitter for years now.
We love the type of content and information that she puts out there. We cannot believe that anyone else knows more about Berlin than her.
This is why we start this list with her books: Berlin Companion and Second Berlin Companion. We have them, and we learned so much through them.
If you have ever wondered where you can ride your skateboard on parts of the old East German parliament building. Or what happened to the tram tunnel beneath Unter den Linden? These books are for you.
This is the Berlin guide you didn’t know you needed.
Abandoned Berlin by Ciarán Fahey
Abandoned Berlin is the blog of our friend Ciarán Fahey, and we have to add both of his books to this list. We interviewed him before because he is our friend and because we love how he uses his photography to document abandoned places in and around Berlin.
Besides the pictures, the Abandoned Berlin books come with all the information needed to understand these relics of a not-so-distant past that can be found all around us in Berlin.
In Berlin – A City Divided by Susanne Buddenberg and Thomas Henseler
With that in mind, Susanne Buddenberg and Thomas Henseler interviewed contemporary witnesses, recorded their stories, and created this incredible comic book.
In Berlin – A City Divided, you will read 5 different stories of a past that is not far away. A woman leaves East Germany using a fake ID card, a refugee is shot at the border, a family tries to flee into the West, a young man gets in trouble for taking pictures, and the party of a lifetime.
You get this when you buy Berlin – A City Divided, and we know you should get it.
100 Favourite Places from Slow Travel Berlin
Slow Travel Berlin is one of our favorite Berlin blogs. They created this book with a more patient and personal approach to bringing 100 extraordinary places to Berlin.
From restaurants and cafes to museums and parks, you will find everything you didn’t know about Berlin here.
100 Favourite Places from Slow Travel Berlin is not a conventional guidebook, so we love it. Listen to what we are saying and buy this book right now.
Cee Cee Berlin Highlights
Cee Cee is our favorite newsletter about Berlin. They often show us places we have never heard of, and we are always amazed by their weekly links. Their book was a pleasant surprise, and we bought it at the release party. We went out with such a beautiful book that we could advise you to get it based on graphic design.
But the Cee Cee Berlin Highlights book is more than beautiful. It is a book with over 200 hundred of Berlin’s most exciting features. This book has everything you need to know about Berlin, from secret bars to hidden art collections in bunkers.
This book is a must-have for people visiting Berlin, Berlin lovers, residents, and future Berliners. You really need to buy it.
Berlin – The Architecture Guide
When we first arrived in Berlin, what caught our attention was how different it looked. The architecture of Berlin is quite unique, and we always walk around the city looking for something new.
When we moved over, one of our favourite things to do was just take a subway, leave in a random station and feel like we were in a different city. This is why we love the book Berlin – The Architecture Guide. It helps us understand the history of these buildings we see all around us, opening a new world for us to see.
If architecture is something that you enjoy reading about, this book is for you.
City of Exiles by Stuart Braun
City of Exiles is not a book about Berlin. It’s a book about Berliners. In it, Stuart Braun talks about the restless spirits that have left Berlin in the last hundred years.
It’s a book about those who have drifted into town and stayed for a while. As did so many anonymous people, as did David Bowie and Iggy Pop.
Maybe, as you did.
Take Me to the Lakes: Berlin Edition
Take Me to the Lakes is a different book from everyone on this list. It’s different because it’s not about Berlin itself. Still, it guides exploring the lakes in and surrounding areas.
It’s a great guide to help you determine if that lake your friends are talking about is worth a trip. Maybe you can find out which one has the most beautiful view of the countryside…
Berlin in the Cold War by Allan Hailstone
Berlin in the Cold War is a book filled with gorgeous historical pictures taken by Allan Hailstone. We have been following him for a while on Twitter, where he posts daily pictures from trips he took in many countries starting in 1949.
In this book, you can see almost 200 different pictures from the streets of a Berlin that doesn’t exist anymore.
They were taken between 1959 and 1966, at the height of the Cold War, and it shows the conflict between West and East and how it could be seen in the daily life of Berlin.
Berlin Wonderland is a photo book showing the tumultuous years of Berlin between 1990 and 1996. That is the Berlin we grew up dreaming of living one day, and this is why we loved this book so much.
You will see how Berlin was just after the Fall of the Berlin Wall. How these subcultures of artists, punks, anarchists, squatters, visionaries, and oddballs discovered the practically lawless zone in the heart of Berlin and learned how to live in it.
In its more than 200 pictures, you will see how the years between 1990 and 1996 were quite unique and how they shaped the city we live in today. This is another book that everyone in Berlin needs to have.
Bonus Book: How to be German / Wie man Deutscher wird
How to Be German in 50 Easy Steps is the perfect present for that friend who just moved in. Welcome to Berlin, little Ausländer.
In this short book, you will learn a lot about Germans, why they like Tatort so much, have weird dreams of being naked in parks and lakes, and have so many rules for everything. This book is an eye-opener and a love letter to Germany.
If you have just arrived in Berlin, you need to buy the book How to Be German in 50 Easy Steps first.
This list of our top Berlin books can and should be used as a Holiday Gift Guide.
Ten great books about Berlin will show you everything you need to know about this ever-changing city.
You should add them all to your Berlin library.