I am going to be honest with you straight away – Berlin is the best. Having been born and raised in London, I can say with some certainty that Berlin is winning in the liveable city stakes. The two cities do have many similarities. Both are multicultural melting pots and their inhabitants are accepting to people from all walks of life. Plus both cities are famous historically with amazing collections from all over the world in their museums.
Apart from that, Berlin beats London hands down. Have a niche interest? Berlin is much more quirky. There is a raw creative freedom here where you can express yourself anyway you want – without judgment. There is no shortage of things to do. With a lively night scene, pop-up exhibitions (I went to one about broken pianos) and tons of community projects, you will never be bored.
There is also a strong community spirit here and you will find people much more helpful than they are in London, where the population is famous for avoiding close contact with others. Londoners are constantly in a rush. In Berlin spending time with your friends and family has higher priority than in London where everyone seems to be too focused on work. In my experience a relaxed and friendly atmosphere can be found in every corner of Berlin, from friendly spätkauf owners to the people who run my language school.
Another aspect that Berlin has that London lacks, is open space. There are not so many high-rise buildings, apart from contained localised areas such as Alexanderplatz. Also with the roads being wider, it feels less claustrophobic – walking around the city is a lot more pleasant than London. There are also some amazing open spaces, for example Tempelhof airport, back in the UK this site would have been developed and turned into luxury flats.
It is also far easy to travel around Berlin. With its efficient transport system, it does not take long to get anywhere. Unlike London, where the rush hour is endless and unpleasant, in Berlin you can actually get on a train and not have your face pressed into someone’s smelly armpit. I have started cycling to Kapitel Zwei. I used to cycle in London, which, looking back was insane!
This all goes without saying how much cheaper Berlin is compared to London….
London 0. Berlin 1.