Prenzlauer Berg: Beyond Kollwitzplatz

A cultural-historical stroll through Prenzlauer Berg

Probably one of the most maligned areas of Berlin, Prenzlauer Berg has a reputation for being charming, boring and packed with yuppie families. But scratch beneath the surface and you’ll find a unique and fascinating history, abundant traces of which still exist all around – if you know where to look.

“Prenzlauer Berg: Beyond The Clichés” draws on historical research, eye witness accounts, personal interviews as well as architecture, music and film to tell the story of the district’s transition from sleepy backwater to the breezy, cosmopolitan neighbourhood it is today, via turbulent decades of being both war-torn and wall-torn.

Along the way you’ll see and hear about parts of Prenzlauer Berg you won’t find in the guidebooks: modernist and East German housing estates, former Nazi drinking holes, sites of Stasi torture and SS execution, bullet-riddled courtyards, experiments in gay and bourgeois collective living, underground music clubs and more.

You’ll find out why the area’s distinctive tenements were so crucial to the character of the area, the colourful and dramatic history of the local breweries and the tasty legacy of its long-forgotten Italian community. You’ll discover why it became a hotbed of dissidence in the GDR days – and why that very legacy has been questioned.

You’ll discover, in fact, that Prenzlauer Berg’s past is anything but boring…

About The Tour Leader

Paul Sullivan is a writer, photographer and the founder of Slow Travel Berlin. He has written several guidebooks about Berlin - including the Rough Guide to Berlin and National Geographic's Walking Berlin - and abundant articles for The Guardian, The Sunday Times, National Geographic UK and more. He also co-runs STB's Literary Tour and Improve Your Photography workshop.


€20 per person for two hours. Private tours and groups can be arranged in advance.

Group Size


Reviews of Beyond Kollwitzplatz From Gidsy:

5 stars | Yannik S.

We live in Prenzlauer Berg and we really enjoyed this tour! Paul told us a lot of interesting historical information, but also pointed out some cool bars. It was a great mix of fun and factual. A few of the building were not open to the public, like the Stadtbad, and he had his iPad handy to show us photos of the interior– we thought that was really cool. The other people on the tour were also very friendly, and it was a small group, which made it easy to ask questions and chat. It was a great experience— definitely recommend it. Thanks, Sarah & Yannik.

4 stars | Tom Hillman

Paul was an informative, intelligent and personable guide who gave a unique insight and fresh perspective of a seemingly uninspiring area of Berlin. I couldn’t recommend this tour enough for those looking to gain a better understanding of both an area and a niche segment of Berlin’s history.

5 stars | Meghan M.

I highly recommend this tour! Paul took us down streets, through cemeteries and into unassuming spaces that told another layer to the story that is Berlin. I can’t wait to check out another tour. Fantastic for visitors, even better for residents!

5 stars | Julius

Paul is a great guide and led us to some amazing places around Prenzlauer Berg. I’ve lived in the neighborhood for over half a year now and it’s amazing to realize how little I actually knew about its history.

4 stars | Andrew H.

The Pberg tour by bike provided a fascinating insight into one of Berlin’s oldest and most colourful areas. Paul’s historical and architectural knowledge of the area made it a trip that went beyond the usual tourist trek. Insightful and humorous!

5 stars | Rachel Carroll

This is a must for anyone staying in this neighbourhood! Less like a formal tour than a highly enjoyable stroll with a fascinating friend – very engaging, highly informative and thoughtfully paced. One of the highlights of my visit to the wonderful Berlin!


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  1. Fiona says:

    We’ve experienced a lot of walking tours over the years and this was one of the better ones! Group sizes are deliberately kept to a minimum which gives ample opportunity to ask questions and keep things moving. The mix of sites visited had both historical and cultural relevance, and were a really great insight into the P’berg of yesterday and today. Paul was an excellent guide and had an expansive knowledge of Berlin. He was also easily able to customise the tour to suit the interests of the group. Highly recommended for travellers and expats! — Fiona and Martin

  2. Jose says:

    This is a very good tour! I have been living in Prenzlauer Berg for two years now but most of the stuff Paul said was new to me. As the groups are kept small, the tour is more interactive than a normal walking tour. You can visit some inner courtyards that are full of history and feel free to ask Paul whatever you want. Paul also brings with him a lot of material like old photographs and maps which helps you understand better the history and development of the neighborhood. – Jose

  3. An excellent tour, brimming with insight into one of the most atmospheric, historically interesting neighbourhoods in Europe — a front row seat to all the major movements of the twentieth century, and probably more to come! Paul kept mixing it up, including vivid insights into every day life with commentary on the most profound social and political themes. A ‘must do’ for anyone seriously interested in understanding Berlin.

  4. varenka says:

    Very interesting, paul knows a loooot and is really nice and flexible

  5. Elain says:

    An interesting and informative tour of an off the beaten path neighbourhood. Paul pointed out all kinds of interesting facts that we never would have known. Paul is a personable and flexible guide with amazing knowledge of the area. Highly recommended.

  6. Linda says:

    My partner & I found this tour to be an excellent introduction to the history & character of the area, given by a Berliner originally from England, so it is great for English-speaking visitors. The group was small (only 4 of us plus dog) & was casual & personable. The tour was enlivened by Paul’s use of humour & an iPad with old photos & maps of the area. Next time we visit Berlin we would like to stay in P’berg. Highly recommended.

  7. Maya says:

    I’ve lived and worked in Prenzlauberberg off and on for the past 3.5years. It was enlightening and touching to see this neighbourhood through new details and histories. It was a sombre and moving tour actually, as much of Berlin’s history is, and made me appreciate the city even more. I also went out and bought a book he recommended, Stasiland, which I am totally absorbed in now 🙂 I’m going back for another tour and would love to recommend it to friends and family visiting Berlin.

  8. Peter Geyer says:

    I chose to live in Prenzlauer Berg because it is a great place to raise a family in an urban environment. But until Paul’s tour, I really didn’t have a lot of the historical context of what made the neighborhood the way we see it now, and how it fits into the broader history of Berlin. The intimate size of the group allows everybody to ask questions, and Paul’s friendly demeanor and solid command of the subject matter meant that everybody ended the tour with those questions answered. This is a great way to spend a couple of hours learning about one of the most interesting neighborhoods in one of the world’s most interesting cities.

  9. Kevin C says:

    I really enjoyed this tour with Paul. He has a great knowledge of the area and delivers this in a relaxed and informative manner. It’s a great way to get to know one of Berlin’s fascinating districts. Highly recommended.

  10. Jane says:

    Just wanted to say a big thanks for the wonderful tour of Prenzlauer Berg with Paul and the architecture tour with Richard. You guys are fonts of knowledge. I really like the style you are working in – a kind of more gentle, personable tour which weaves around the the big touristy stuff and seeks out the actually really interesting stuff. Thanks again and keep up the great work.

  11. Julia Hagen says:

    This tour was perfect for me as I wasn’t interested in seeing what all the other tourists see. I was introduced to a different side of Berlin and loved it

  12. This tour honours the approach of slow traveling in a very sincere way: From the size of the group, which shows the appropriate respect to each member, to the stories that Paul lets unfold in corners of the streets, backyards of house buildings and public outside spaces. Two hours of becoming part of the place you are exploring – I would recommend it not only to “slow travellers” but to anyone really.

  13. Michael Strong says:

    We loved the 2 hours we spent with Paul wandering slowly around PrenzlauerB. So often when reading or hearing about places you have questions but no-one to ask, but Paul was very open to all sorts of questions about history, culture and architecture that lead to some very interesting discussions about Berlin and Prenzlauer. We covered the local history from its origins, the brewery lead economic and housing development, the Nazi activity, the war and of course, the GDR and the wall. He also pointed us in the direction of other places we should visit which proved to be very worthwhile. We would definitely recommend this tour for an in depth look at the real Berlin

  14. Marika says:

    I highly recommend this tour, for those visiting as well as those living in the area or Berlin. Paul does a fabulous job introducing P’berg in an interesting manner covering the different eras of history to visitors of different degrees of background knowledge. The small group size (4) makes the tour an unique experience.

  15. Zack says:

    I’d lived in Prenzlauer Berg for around three months prior to taking Paul’s tour; enough time to take in the geography of the place though not much of its history. Paul’s tour transposed the often dramatic past onto familiar neighborhood sites and buildings, exposing the historical significance of everything from the ground we walked on and the street signs we walked under. And beyond the scripted tour, it was invaluable to have an expert like Paul on hand answer questions that had been burning a hole in the back of my mind.

    Wandering around Prenzlauer Berg with Paul was great way to spend a morning, and I’d definitely recommended his tour for all those wanting to know the neighborhood better.

  16. Christine says:

    Paul certainly is a passionate tour guide and obviously devoted to the history of Berlin. Having a journalist and photographer at your side, you´ll notice different aspects of “Prenzlauer Berg” than the usual ones
    and indeed have the chance to see hidden spots.
    As a group of five we enjoyed the tour and recommend it as an alternative
    to the rather boring commercial city tours.

  17. Dan says:

    I was fresh in Berlin and this tour was exactly what I was looking for. It was based around Prenzlauerberg landmarks, going into their histories, but often extending out into the threads of Berlin’s history. Paul then returned to things he’d told us towards the beginning of the tour and related it back to bigger events or other points of interest in Pberg. He also gave a good slew of book recommendations. Berlin is vast and a little confusing for the uninitiated and now I feel a bit more like I’ve arrived. Will definitely book another tour!

  18. Duncan says:

    Unlike those staid and heavily scripted walking tours I could mention, this was excellent. Chilled, intimate, and a guide with a real passion for the subject matter. Despite knowing Prenzlauer Berg fairly well, there was still so much to learn. A treat – do go.

  19. Ari says:

    Great tour with Paul! Very informative and much more interesting than your standard touristy walking tour. Got some great insight into the neighborhood and saw some cool stuff!

  20. Orsi says:

    We had a lovely time with Paul. The amount of information, the distance, the pace were in perfect balance. The great thing about these tours is that you see and hear about hidden spots or sites you would normally just pass by. Paul’s passion for Berlin, for stories and histories really came through and it was as if we had been told stories on a walk by a good acquaintance. I really recommend the tour for anyone either living in Berlin and just wanting to discover a “Kiez” or for those who are just visiting but wanting to go more in-depth.


    The tour was as if conducted by an old acquaintance who is both learned and gentle. All the people on the tour became friendly with each other, which also said much about the way the tour was conducted – there was a kind of energy that connected us. I would go on other tours with Paul – we didn’t even scratch the surface of what he knew. This is a tour that provokes you to learn more.

  22. Ciarán says:

    Great tour, really great. We met up at the Kulturbrauerei and Paul brought our little group around and told us why Prenzlauer Berg is the way it is.
    He told us of its breweries, of soldiers at the front getting beer for nutrition, of Jews’ struggle for rights well before the Nazis took over, of running battles between Nazis and Communists frequenting rival pubs on Danziger Straße. We saw wartime bullet holes in walls and Paul told us of punks being harbored by churches, of opposition movements within the GDR, greedy landlords and gentrification, Käthe Kollwitz, windmills and the winds of change.
    We were all friends by the end of it. I can’t recommend the tour enough.

  23. Bonnie says:

    Paul gives a tour that is informative and well researched and that will please the most historically minded visitor (like me). It is also one that is casual, low key and filled with quirky facts for those seeking a non-touristy introduction to a “real” neighborhood (like my tour-phobic son). P-Berg was a discovery for us–rich in architectural detail, barely restored, off the beaten path– a very interesting and beautiful part of “old” Berlin. As others have written, Paul did make it seem as if we were just friends being shown around his neighborhood, a very pleasant way to see things. I would merely add that he is as generous a guide as he is knowledgeable, willing to share tips about Berlin beyond the confines of P-Berg. I highly recommend his tour and will definitely sign up for another one on my next trip to Berlin.

  24. Vishal Jodhani says:

    A very relaxed and off-the-beaten-path tour of an extremely charming neighbourhood. Loved the small group size, the storytelling and spontaneous venturing into construction sights and unsuspecting courtyards.

  25. Idil Cetin says:

    This was my first Slow Travel Berlin tour and I enjoyed it so much. What stroke me most was how wandering around the streets of Prenzlauer Berg with the stories Paul told us was also a constant moving back and forth between the different centuries of Berlin. I am living in Berlin for the past 6 months and I didn’t like P. Berg very much from what I’ve seen. But it was with this tour that I learned that P. Berg was much of the breeding ground of what makes Berlin today. I have been on the roads since I’ve attended the tour, but I can’t wait to go back there and wander around those streets once more.

  26. One can read all the travel books available about an area but only with a local guide you can immerse yourself in the local culture, details of architecture, its life and history of a particular place.
    Such is Paul’s tours of Prenzlauer Berg. Small groups, very easy walks around the neighborhood with vast amounts of information that otherwise would be impossible to gather.
    For all the lovers of a local history, I definitely recommend the tour, you won’t be disappointed.

  27. John Wilson says:

    What a wonderful tour of Prenzlauer Berg! Your tour managed to include something for everyone, including a trampoline! It was the perfect way to end our visit to Berlin. Everyone came away with a new appreciation of the history of this unique neighborhood. Paul’s stories provided an excellent perspective on Prenzlauer Berg’s growth before, during and after the industrial revolution, and on into the roaring twenties. There are tucked away gems in this community, which only the tour can make you appreciate. In the end, our children extended their playtime at the park where we parted. We look forward to our next visit to Berlin, and hope to enjoy another tour with Slow Travel Berlin

  28. This was our first visit to Berlin and the Prenzlauer Berg tour was a fascinating introduction. Paul was interesting and entertaining and his stories and anecdotes really brought Berllin to life for us. Pauls approach is relaxed, informal and very friendly. Rather than a tour it was more of an amble through the neighbourhood with a very informed friend. The small group made it easy to ask questions as we went along. We discovered some lovely hidden gems behind closed doors which we would not have discoverd on our own. In fact we loved the area so much we went back for coffee and people wathcing the next day. We would certainly recommend this tour.

  29. Carla says:

    What a wonderful and fascinating tour of Prenzlauer Berg! We really enjoyed the tour. Pauls storytelling and humor are very engaging and uplifting!
    We discovered a different side of Prenzlauer Berg which was fascinating. The group size was small which made it easy for everyone to ask questions. Way better than any typical, commercial city tour.

    I definately recommend the tour, you’re going love it!


  30. I think I can safely say that it was one of the best walking tour I have ever been taken. This isn’t your regular tourist walking tour where you are shepparded around in a group of 40 camera-wielding tourists by a tour guide who is clearly reciting her two-hour script for the 15th time this month.

    The format was a small group of 6 people covering just a few blocks in the heart of Prenzlauer Berg. It’s a tiny sliver of Berlin, but you sacrifice that breadth for the opportunity to dive deep into a specific neighbourhood. Paul has a deep knowledge of the area and it’s history — and it shows during the tour.

  31. Caileigh says:

    Paul’s Prenzlauer Berg tour was wonderful. The neighbourhood is layered in history, and he led us into courtyards and even a construction site to see behind the new facades that are replacing what were once war-ravaged and state-neglected structures. He was warm and friendly and got our diverse group laughing and chatting together as we roamed the very wide Pberg sidewalks, dodging all the prams.

    Thanks so much, Paul!

  32. I was visiting Berlin on holiday and was staying on the edge of Prenzlauer Berg. I wanted to learn more about the area, so I booked myself a spot on Paul’s tour. I wasn’t disappointed. We met at the Kulturbrauerei where Paul told us lots of entertaining stories about the building and showed us some really good photos on his iPad. We walked the streets of Pberg with Paul pointing out buildings and landmarks whilst keeping us enthralled with personal stories and historic photos. We visited WW2 courtyards riddled with bullet holes, beautiful old towers and even the Stadtbad which was under construction! Even when the tour was over, Paul told us the best places to get lunch or a drink in the area, giving us plenty of personal recommendations. He was spot on with the hummus restaurant! Paul clearly loves the area and is very knowledgable and entertaining. He’s a natural storyteller and guide. Thanks for an amazing experience. Now I want to live in Pberg more than ever! Sorry the review is a bit late!

  33. Jane Holland says:

    We had no expectations but loved this small group walking tour with Paul around Prenzlauer Berg. Paul has such a wide knowledge of German history which he weaves into the local area making it come alive. Because the group was small he was able to answer questions and not give a generic talk. Loved it – after the walk and we had lunch with some of the group.

  34. Dr Atique Malik says:

    It was a very informative and fun tour. Low key, slow pace and enough background to help us appreciate the history of this area. The tour was just long enough to keep us from getting too tired walking. The history behind how Berlin was planned was quite amazing. Thoroughly enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone.

  35. David Pizzo says:

    My wife and I led a group of college undergraduates to Berlin this May, and we began the program with a Slow Travel Berlin tour of the neighborhood in which we were staying, Prenzlauer Berg. I lived in Berlin for about five years at various points beginning in the mid-1990s, and I therefore have very high standards when it comes to tours or other educational experiences in the city. I must say the quality of the tour and the knowledge demonstrated by our guide was really top-notch. Paul was a truly fantastic guide, both in terms of his knowledge of the area and in terms of his delivery. He managed to keep 14 students who had not slept in two days (we had just arrived) awake and engaged. The students gained insights into the community in which they were living in a way that would have been impossible with either a conventional tour or on their own, and it helped set the tone for the rest of the program. Paul does brilliant work, and I cannot recommend him or his company highly enough. We are definitely going to engage him again in subsequent programs. I advise anyone who is serious about getting to know a piece of Berlin to book with Slow Travel Berlin!

  36. Pam says:

    I can highly recommend this personal and personalised tour of Prenzlauer Berg. It’s a great neighbourhood, with a little of the vibe of the West Village or Upper West Side in NY in the summer, and it was fascinating being shown it by a local who could answer all our questions and paint a picture of the historical context and growth of this area. Paul was very personable and engaging and interested in each individual and so nice to be on a low key tour with only 5 others.

  37. michael metz says:

    Excellent tour, Paul did a wonderful job, I recommend it highly.

  38. Thais de Melo says:

    Excellent tour and a pleasure to meet Paul and listen to everything he knows about this peculiar, beautiful and rich in stories neighborhood. We wish we had more time to do the other tours that he offers on the site, but we deeply appreciated all the tips that we could dig here already, a real treasure of nicest places to visit, see or enjoy in Berlin. Thanks Paul and we hope to see you soon again.

  39. Mary says:

    A miserable Sunday morning in February was made enjoyable by Paul’s interesting meander through Prenzlauer Berg. He provided the right mix of information from a historical, architectural and cultural perspective. It was good to have the opportunity to go into more detail in a particular area and how it fitted into the overall history of Berlin and indeed Germany. The small group size enabled interesting discussions on different topics. Highly recommended.

  40. Eva says:

    Strolling Prenzlauer Berg along with Paul and other walkers on a cold Sunday morning was something I would do over and over again. Paul is by far the best “tour-teller” I could have ever imagined. If you really want to know about Berlin and enjoy its spirit, book immediately!

  41. Adrian Duncan says:

    We had a really excellent tour of Prenzlauerberg. Informative, accessible and a lot of fun. Can highly recommend it !

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