Berlin’s Strangest and Most Unusual Public Toilets
Picture this: You’re wandering the streets of Berlin, taking in the sights and sounds of this vibrant city, when suddenly, the call of nature strikes. You frantically search for a public restroom, expecting nothing more than a standard, run-of-the-mill experience. But in the wonderfully weird world of Berlin, even a trip to the loo can be an adventure. Get ready to flush away your preconceived notions, as we dive into Berlin’s strangest and most unusual public toilets.
First on our list is the iconic “Café Achteck” (Café Octagon) – a name that might not immediately scream “public toilet,” but trust us, it’s quite the experience. These charming little kiosks, scattered throughout the city, date back to the early 20th century and feature an octagonal design, hence the name. While some have been repurposed as charming cafés, others still serve their original purpose, offering a historical (and functional) trip down memory lane. So, next time you’re in Schöneberg or Prenzlauer Berg and feeling the urge, keep an eye out for these green, octagonal gems.
As we continue our journey, let’s stop by the “Klo” bar in Charlottenburg, where the toilets are the main attraction. This eccentric bar is decorated with bizarre, kitschy items, such as a mannequin perched on a unicycle and a miniature Ferris wheel. But the real showstopper is the restroom. When you enter, you’ll be met with a talking toilet seat, which might initially give you a fright but is actually there to entertain you, not just to scare the, well, you know, out of you. The experience doesn’t end there – the sinks are inside old beer barrels, and the urinals… Well, let’s just say they’re mounted a little higher than usual. So, if you’re looking for a Berlin bathroom experience that’s equal parts strange and entertaining, “Klo” is the place to go.
Now, let’s take a trip to the East Side Gallery, where you’ll find the famous “Pink Pank” public toilet. This quirky restroom is encased in a pink shipping container and is covered in graffiti, reflecting the city’s love for street art. With a pay-as-you-go system, it’s the perfect place for a quick pit stop while exploring the vibrant area. And hey, you might even leave with a newfound appreciation for the humble shipping container.
Speaking of art, we can’t forget about the “Toilettenpavillon” at the Haus am Waldsee, an art gallery in Zehlendorf. This public restroom resembles a small, futuristic spaceship and is actually a piece of art itself, designed by artist Haegue Yang. It’s a blend of functionality and aesthetics, making it a must-visit for anyone who appreciates art in all its forms – even the ones you can, quite literally, sit on.
For a more luxurious restroom experience, head to the Galeries Lafayette department store in Mitte. Located in their basement, you’ll find some of the most opulent and meticulously designed public toilets in the city. Complete with plush seating, ornate mirrors, and even a chandelier, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into the powder room of a palace. It’s the perfect place to answer nature’s call while feeling like royalty.
If you’re a fan of the great outdoors, the “Tree Toilet” in Kreuzberg’s Görlitzer Park is worth a visit. This innovative and eco-friendly toilet is built around a tree, meaning you can take care of business while staying in touch with nature. Don’t worry, though – it’s fully enclosed for privacy, and the tree is protected by a metal shield. It’s a unique way to combine the urban and the natural in true Berlin style.
Continuing with the eco-friendly theme, let’s head to the “Nette Toilette” initiative, which is all about promoting clean and accessible public restrooms. The idea is simple: Local businesses volunteer their restrooms to be used by the public, and in return, they receive a small fee from the city. It’s a win-win situation, and you’ll find these friendly toilet signs throughout the city – often in unexpected places, like trendy boutiques and cozy cafés.
When it comes to truly bizarre bathroom experiences, Berlin’s got you covered, and our list wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the annual “Toiletten Festival.” This event celebrates the city’s most unique and innovative public restrooms, with awards given for categories such as “Best Design,” “Most Sustainable,” and of course, “Most Unusual.” It’s a fun and quirky way to pay tribute to the unsung heroes of our daily lives: the humble public toilet.
And there you have it – a comprehensive, albeit slightly bizarre, guide to Berlin’s strangest and most unusual public toilets. We hope this has inspired you to embrace the weird and wonderful world of Berlin’s restrooms and perhaps even visit a few on your next trip to the city. So, go forth, dear reader, and remember: When nature calls in Berlin, don’t be afraid to answer – you might just be in for the experience of a lifetime!
Q: What makes some of Berlin’s public toilets so strange and unusual?
A: Berlin’s public toilets stand out due to their unique architecture, history, and sometimes bizarre locations. For example, the Café Achteck, a historical toilet from the 19th century, is an octagonal-shaped building that features intricate details and ornaments. Other examples include the public toilet on Gneisenaustraße, which is located inside a repurposed underground bunker, and the restroom on Schlesische Straße, which is situated within a former border watchtower. These toilets not only serve their functional purpose but also provide an exciting and unexpected twist to the ordinary bathroom breaks for both locals and tourists alike.
Q: How does the city maintain these peculiar public restrooms?
A: The city of Berlin collaborates with various organizations and private companies to maintain and operate these unique facilities. For instance, the Wall AG, a company specializing in outdoor advertising, takes care of maintenance and cleaning for many public toilets. Additionally, some toilets, like the one in the former border watchtower, are preserved by non-profit organizations dedicated to the conservation of historical sites. The city often invests in restoration projects to ensure that these facilities remain functional and continue to serve as fascinating landmarks.
Q: Are there any funny anecdotes or stories about these unusual public toilets?
A: Absolutely! One example includes the public toilet located in the former border watchtower on Schlesische Straße. This watchtower was once a part of the Berlin Wall and played a significant role in the city’s history. After the Wall came down, the tower was converted into a public restroom, and locals jokingly refer to it as the “Pinkelwache” (pee-guard). Another example is the iconic Café Achteck, which is famous for its “no men allowed” rule. The women’s entrance features an angry face sculpted above the door, supposedly to scare away any curious men.
Q: How can I find these strange and unusual public toilets when visiting Berlin?
A: To locate these one-of-a-kind restrooms, you can use online resources, such as blogs, social media, and travel websites, which often provide detailed information about their locations and accessibility. Additionally, many tourist maps and guides highlight these unique facilities as points of interest. And of course, don’t hesitate to ask the friendly locals for directions! Berliners love to share their knowledge about the city’s quirky spots and hidden gems.
Q: Are there any etiquette rules or tips when using these public toilets?
A: When using any public restroom in Berlin, it’s essential to follow basic etiquette rules, such as waiting your turn, respecting the facilities, and cleaning up after yourself. Some of these unusual public toilets may charge a small fee, typically around €0.50 to €1, so it’s a good idea to have some change on hand. Additionally, as these toilets often attract attention due to their peculiar nature, it’s important to be mindful of other visitors and tourists who may want to take pictures or explore the area. Remember, these are functional restrooms, so be respectful and considerate of others’ needs.