I always try and avoid visiting the same place, but for some cities I just can’t help myself.
Take Budapest for example, I’ve been twice already but I’m due to jet off to make it a hat trick in a mere matter of weeks. When a city steals your heart, you just keep going back for more.
Just like Berlin. I’ve already visited the city twice, and I’m still hankering over returning at least once more. It’s also the city I recommend to my friends and family most often, even though it’s a bit like marmite- you either love it or hate it.
Me? I think you’ve guessed it- I LOVE IT!!
Where to stay
I’ve saved and I’ve splurged- and there is something out there whatever your budget.
Luxury– Berlin Grand Hotel Esplande. Located near the leafy Tiergarten, this sumptuous hotel is a real treat. My only downside was there wasn’t many restaurants or bars nearby- although the in-house ‘Unique Bar‘ is pretty epic, it’s closed on Sundays and Mondays.
The cost? Around £240 for 2 people, Staying Friday and Saturday night in March
Budget– MEININGER Hotel Berlin Alexanderplatz. Located near Alexanderplatz square, the area is cosmopolitan in the daytime but quieter at night- with lots of coffee shops, bars and restaurants a couple minutes walk away. As this is a hostel the ‘common’ room areas are always busy, and it’s a good place to grab an early evening drink.
The cost? Around £164 for 2 people, Staying Friday and Saturday night in March. Like all hostels, the bigger the room, the cheaper the per head price. So grab your bestests and save yourselves a fortune on a bunk bedded room for 4-6.
What to see-
I’m back on my obsession with walking Tours. Honestly, considering they are free they are such a good investment for your trip. They generally only take 1-2 hours and you can pretty much box off all the must see sights in one afternoon. Plus if you are travelling you’ll meet some lovely fellow wanderlusters from all corners of the globe.
We joined the tour with New Europe Tours (who also offer Pub Crawls FYI), and spent our first morning admiring the Berlin Wall, Museum Island, Brandenburg Gate and Hilters Bunker.
After your tour you’ll have a pretty decent idea of how to navigate around the more central areas- and you’ll have some good German history knowledge too! There may even be some areas you wish to explore in more depth- for us it was the Holocaust Memorial.
The memorial to the murdered Jew’s features 2,711 concrete slabs and opened in 2005, sixty years after WW2 ended. The abstract memorial isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but we spent a few minutes walking through the area, to pay our respects.
You’ll also still be in the area of the Brandenburg Gate, which depending on the time of year you visit has plenty to see! On one of our Berlin trips the World Cup was rife- and as two football haters we actually thoroughly enjoyed joining the crowds and adding to the cheers!
Around a 20 minute walk away is Berlin Cathedral, another of my favourites, and the UNESCO Heritage site Museum Island which is full of beautiful architecture. If the weather is nice take some time to soak in the history of the area, and even head on towards Gendarmenmarkt.
Museum Island not your thing? Checkpoint Charlie is also 20 minute walk from the gate but heading in a different direction. Checkpoint Charlie is the best-known Berlin Wall crossing point between East Berlin and West Berlin during the Cold War (1947–1991), and you’ll recognise it from lots of films and TV shows.
If you are a car fiend you could even pop into the nearby Trabi Museum or join the Trabi Safari for a different view of Berlin from these colourful East German motors.
And speaking of the Berlin Wall the is lots of ways to educate yourself on its history, it’s fall and World War II, such as visiting Gednekstatte Berliner Mauer , Topographie des Terrors or Panorama Point at Potsdamer Platz.
Whilst you are at Potsdamer Platz, keep your eyes peeled for a whole host of celebrities- it’s the home to many German film premieres, in the swanky Sony Centre! It’s also a great spot to steal a great view over the city and enjoy a cocktail, coffee or scoop of gelato.
One of my favourite spots in Berlin is the East Side Gallery. A section of the Berlin Wall featuring the work of 118 artists, which is now the longest open air gallery in history. Enjoy a slow stroll along this area, seek out all the nooks and crannies and listen to some of the ‘unique’ musicians who perform there.
What to eat-
Well you can’t visit Berlin without indulging in a Curry Wurst. It’s their famed national dish, and as bizarre as it might sound- it’s damn right delicious. We headed to Konnopke’s Imbiss to try the sausage, curry powder and ketchup speciality, I’d suggest you do the same, you won’t be disappointed!
If you are big fan of sausage (no pun intended!) then you’ll love all the street sellers and their famous Bratwursts. I try not to stop for lunch whilst visiting a city on a tight time frame, and street food vendors become a big part of my foodie experience- Berlin has always exceeded my expectations on the grub front!
Moving on to drinks, and the famous Berlin club scene. As with all good nights out- I can’t remember much about our ventures into German nightlife. But I can highly recommend the Hermannplatz area for a variety of bars and speakeasy style clubs. Just follow the music and be prepared to grab the U-Bahn with the commuters the next day.
Off the beaten track-
My all time favourite memory of Berlin is MauerPark and if you are in Berlin on a Sunday, it’s a must. The flea market is filled with random trinkets and unique finds, whilst the bear pit karaoke will keep you entertained as you graze on the delicious delicacies you’ll find in and around the park. Grab a picnic blanket, a bottle of screw top prosecco and immerse yourself in Berlin living.
Visiting midweek? Head to the Berlin Philharmonic for one of their free concerts on Tuesday afternoons at 1pm. It’s the perfect remedy to soothe your hangover after a heavy weekend on the Berlin night scene.