Lost and Confused? Where to Start in a Foreign Country

Isabella Bauer is a student at James Madison University and an ISA Featured Blogger. She is currently studying abroad with ISA in Berlin, Germany.

Since I arrived in Berlin, my goal has been to explore as much of the city as possible during my semester here. Naturally, I forgot that Berlin is 341 square miles and that I would have to do a whole lot of exploring to see everything. After realizing this minute detail, I knew that I needed to find a way to get a taste of what Berlin has to offer and get a general introduction to the city as quickly as possible. Luckily, a friend mentioned that we should visit the flea market on Sunday, and am I glad that I took her up on the offer!

There are an incredible number of flea markets in Berlin on Sundays. Some of these include the Flea Market at Boxhagenger Platz, the Art Market at Zeughaus, and the Flea Market at Bode Museum. Many more can be found with a simple Google search for “Flea Markets in Berlin, Germany.”

The Flea Market at Mauerpark offers any tourist or local the perfect opportunity to get a little taste of food, shopping and culture in Berlin. The flea market is expansive, and it’s easy to get lost–trust me, I did. There was food in the center of the park including authentic ethnic flavors, tasty waffles, as well as classic German cuisine. Beyond the main hub of food stands were rows of tents housing handmade jewelry, artwork, antiques, prints, second-hand clothing, and even a tent solely dedicated to the sale of fancy pens and notebooks.

Mauerpark Flea Market, Berlin, Germany - Bauer - Photo 1
A table from which you can buy hand-crafted pens.

I was a little overwhelmed by the amount of small trinkets and number of purses that I immediately wanted to buy. It was intriguing to see the range of items that I could find in Berlin.

If you’re interested in seeing more of the city, I recommend starting with a visit to some of the tents in the market. Ask the sales person if they have a store nearby or if they can recommend any thrift shops in Berlin. If you’re interested in seeing more art, strike up a conversation with one of the artists at the flea market or even ask a local browsing through some of the prints. I know that I will be making a trip back to the table that held rows and rows of gorgeous handmade jewelry. Maybe I’ll even bond with a local about how much we both want to buy everything on the table.

One of the many tents selling handmade jewelry and trinkets.
One of the many tents selling handmade jewelry and trinkets.

The Flea Market at Mauerpark was the perfect opportunity to see a little bit of everything and get an idea of what I wanted to see in Berlin. So, next time you’re in a big city and don’t know where to start, try a flea market and ask around. I will definitely be returning to one of Berlin’s flea markets with some more questions for locals and some more cash!

Want to start exploring flea markets and huge cities? Begin your adventure here!