Berlin’s Wellness Scene of Extremes

You most likely know Berlin as the party capital of Europe. It is, after all, the city where people dance for three days straight at Berghain under the dual influence of techno beats and drugs I’ve never even heard of.

There’s (probably) a sex club behind or below every späti (convenience store) — the very same spätis where you can purchase a prosecco to legally drink while you stroll. Then, while strolling, no matter who you are — whether a goth raver in a crystal dickini and motocross chaps or a mother with a small child on each hip — you will be approached by a phantom wearing false eyelashes and no pants (perhaps an underground club look that has devolved over the course of 48 hours?) who will offer up a proposition so bizarre that you’ll forget to be offended.

You’ll give this mythical zombie two euros to purchase some shaved meat at one of Berlin’s many shaved meat establishments, and at the end of the day, you probably won’t be thinking to yourself: Why, this place is a pantheon of health and wellness!

Surprisingly though, in Berlin they do balance extraordinarily well. You can live your hedonistic fantasy life (if that’s your thing) and you can also be a hardcore vegan anarchist and/or a litigation attorney. You can subsist on ecstasy and air for three days out of the week and then spend the remainder of your waking hours sipping on green juice at one of Berlin’s many textile-free (i.e. naked!) hamams.

The menu of lifestyles to participate in is outrageously vast. So whether you live that yogic, acai-fueled life all the time or simply to compensate for your decadent weekends… you’ll find endless options in Berlin.

EAT:

Berlin is without a doubt one of the most vegan-friendly cities in Europe… and possibly the world. I’ve yet to find a restaurant without a vegan bowl on offer, and just about every café has a beautiful vegan cake (or four) in the pastry case. The following restaurants prioritize organic (bio) ingredients, cater to every sort of eater, and pile those veggies high.

New Deli Yoga in Kreuzberg

Grab a coconut milk matcha and try the Shiva Bowl: a delicious mix of curry roasted potatoes and cauliflower, red cabbage salad, arugula and apricot jam atop a bed of hummus. Plus, as the name implies, New Deli also hosts yoga classes.

Funk You in Mitte

Owned by an adorable German-Colombian couple, Funk You serves up interesting and super delicious raw vegan cakes, juices, smoothie bowls, salads, and things on toast. They have two locations, and the one in the Bikini Berlin mall overlooks the zoo!

Daluma in Mitte

Arguably the most NY/LA of the bunch, minimal-chic Daluma offers cold-pressed juice cleanses, fresh salmon poke bowls, nori-packed gluten-free vegan ramen, and protein balls galore.

Let It Be in Neukölln

This place serves up entirely vegan, healthy-ish “junk food” like veggie burgers, fries, crepes, and pancakes for dinner. However, the sweet potato fries are not too fried, the Thom Yorke beet burger with hummus is practically a salad, and the eclectic interior is classic Berlin.

My Goodness Café in Prenzlauer Berg

Co-founded by a chef and nutritionist who got her start by peddling/pedaling her plant-based creations on her bicycle, My Goodness offers a variety of smoothies, healthy treats, and daily lunch specials. (Bonus: they share a space with BeCycle fitness studio, so you can have your vegan cake and work it off, too.)

Avocai in Prenzlauer Berg

Part paleo restaurant, part pilates studio, Avocai delivers good clean breakfast and lunch foods — think grain-free pancakes, baked salmon, and a green protein power bowl. You can also sign up for a weekly gyro-kinetics class or a variety of community workshops.

MOVE:

One of the first things that struck me about group exercise in Berlin is that many classes prioritize rest. For months I would go to yoga expecting a sweaty vinyasa flow and wind up disappointed that we essentially spent 90 minutes in savasana. While yin yoga and meditation are enjoying a zeitgeist-y heyday here, tough workouts do also abound. Here are my favorite studios:

Eat & Treat Pilates in Olivia Steele’s neon studio in Mitte

This is a twice-weekly pilates class in Olivia Steele’s artist studio, and it’s one of my favorite Berlin things. The teacher, Gianna Thiess, leads a fun, engaging workout amidst gorgeous neon light installations… in the same building that hosts the famous Pornceptual sex party. So Euro!

Yellow Yoga in Neukölln and Kreuzberg

Offering a good variety of classes between their two locations, this community yoga center works off a sliding price scale, ensuring everyone can come get their yoga on. (Note: the Neukölln studio has a wood-burning stove, so winter classes can get extra cozy.)

BeCycle in Mitte

Taking inspo from both London and New York, this fitness studio has everything: indoor cycling, HIIT, barre (which I haven’t seen anywhere else in Berlin), and yoga. The interior is lovely and the teachers consistently lead fun, challenging classes.

SELF-CARE:

The Berlin spa game is strong. It has to be after all that partying. Here are the best spots to relax and pamper yourself (and also get naked — when in Berlin…).

Vabali Spa in Mitte

Modeled after a small Balinese village, Vabali hosts a huge variety of saunas, indoor and outdoor pools, Ayurvedic treatments, and massage services. I went here on Valentine’s Day and highly recommend it if you and your partner are down to get naked with a bunch of other relaxed, naked people.

Liquidrom in Potsdamer Platz

At this spa you can listen to techno and watch a light show underwater in a thermal bath. Seriously. Modeled after a circus tent and boasting rotating DJs, the Liquidrom facility is a lot like a techno club… except everyone’s calm, sober, and, of course, in their birthday suits.

Stadtbad in Neukölln

Inspired by Roman bathhouses, the Stadtbad opened in 1914 and remains one of the most beautiful examples of classic architecture in Berlin. Plus, there are pools… and saunas! Bring a bathing suit for the public pool, but expect to go fully nude in the sauna area.

Rose Truesdale is a lifestyle writer and marketer, recipe developer, budding mystic, and former Midwesterner living in Berlin, Germany. She’s the founder of a wellness magazine and full-service creative agency called Truth and Beauty Berlin, and loves a new project. Email her at info@rosetruesdale.com or find her on Instagram @rosetruesdale.

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