Berlin has always been my favourite European city, having now visited twice in the winter and once in the summer. It is the perfect city for a weekend away, with cheap flights leaving from most European countries and a vast number of things to do and see when you are there. Whether its shopping , clubbing or immersing yourself in the cities rich history and culture – Berlin has it all and should definielty be at the top of your travel list for 2017.
Most flights arrive into Schonefeld airport and from the Schonefeld train station there is a direct train you can get to Alexanderplatz for around 3 euros. From Alexanderplatz, you are able to get an 's-bahn' or 'u-bahn' to almost every part of the city, making travelling about Berlin very easy. Just don't forget to buy a ticket or to validate your ticket – because if you are caught without one there is a heavy on the spot fine of 60 euros (I found out the hard way about this).
There is also an abundance of taxis around and mostly all of them run by a metre – so this is an easier option if your not on a tight budget. If you prefer the easier option, you can get a taxi from the airport to the centre of Berlin for around 50 euro. Maybe better idea if you are travelling in a group or if you are not on a budget, but can be quite pricey if you are travelling solo!
Day 1 : Getting to know the city
Morning – sightseeing
Berlin has so many different sights to see in many different areas of the city – so it can be hard to pick which ones to see in such a short space of time. The following are some of the main sights and attractions in the Friedrichstrabe district. The Brandenburg Gate is one of the most famous landmarks in Berlin. It represents the start of the road from Berlin to the town of Brandenburg. Today the gate is thought to be a symbol of European peace and unity.
Just a 2 min walk from here you can find the Holocaust Memorial. This was built to remember the Jewish victims of the Holocaust. This is a moving piece of architecture that I would recommend to visit during your time in Berlin. If you are interested in learning more about WW2 and the Holocaust Memorial, there is a museum next to it named the Topography of Terror – this was built on the site that was previously the Nazi regime headquarters during WW2.
Afternoon – Shopping
After a morning of sightseeing head to the Mall of Berlin – a huge shopping mall just a 5 min walk form the Holocaust Memorial. This mall has something for everyone, from the designer to the budget shoppers. There is also a huge variety of restaurants and food stalls on the top floor. If you have a sweet tooth like myself, you should check out Wonder Waffel for some great deserts!
Berlin has such a huge variety of places to eat and drink. There is also a large Asian influence and Thai / Vietnese restaurants are found on every corner but these are some of my favourites!
Good Morning Vietnam
– This place is usually pretty busy but you never have to wait longer than 20 mins for a table and its worth it as the food , service and decor is amazing , not to mention it is really cheap! – Address : Alte Schonhauser Str. 60, 10119 Berlin
District Mot – Saigon Street Food
– This is in the same area and serves Viennese style street food. It has a large variety of small dishes, Pho dishes and sharing platters. This authentic viennese style restaurant is great for grabbing a late bite to eat as its open until 2am on weekend and 1am weekdays! Its also nice for a drink and the cocktails are delicious. – Address: Rosenthaler Str. 62, 10119, Berlin If you don't fancy Asian cuisine, Berlin has lots more to offer. One of my favourites is Burgermeister. This is located in an old public toilet in trendy Kreuzberg. This tiny burger joint has a small area inside to stand and enjoy your food or some tables outside if you are visiting in summer and is opened until the early hours of the morning. Be prepared to wait in a que most of the time but the wait is totally worth it. Regardless of the small menu and lack of seats – this place is without a doubt the best burger in Berlin. For the veggies out there they also offer a tasty tofu burger.. a visit to here is a must! Address: Oberbaumstrabe 8, 10997 Berlin
Day 2 : Exploring the city
Wake up feeling fresh and ready for another day of exploring Germany's bustling capital, to begin some more sightseeing. Spend the morning taking a stroll along the cities famous East side gallery. This is Berlin's memorial for freedom and is shown by a long section of the Berlin wall covered in paintings from various artists around he world. The paintings express the hopes of freedom for everyone of the world in the future. If you don't fancy walking along to view the gallery.. you can do it on a pedal powered 'beer bike' where you can take in the sights of the Berlin wall whilst enjoying some of the famous German beer.
Spend the afternoon exploring Alexanderplatz – from hundreds of shops and the huge 'Alexa' shopping mall you won't be short of things to do. There are also some great places to eat one of my personal favs being: 'I DUE FORNI' Address: Allee 12, Berlin 10119 Known for being one of the best pizzas in Berlin (also knowns for its not -so- great service) but the good food makes up for that. After some lunch, take a trip up the television tower, it is located right next to Alexanderplatz train station and you can't miss it! It costs around 10-15 euros to go up and sometimes can be quite busy, so i would advise to buy tickets in advance online to avoid ques! At the top you can experience beautiful panoramic views of the city. There is also a restaurant at the top but you have to book in advance and it is pretty expensive!
One of my all time favourite Italian restaurants in Berlin has got to be 'Rosen Garten'. Address: Rosenthaler Str. 36,10178, Berlin This little hidden gem is quite hard to locate but when you do you its pretty surroundings and intimate feel will make you fall in love! The menu is small but the quality of the food makes up for it and it is also very reasonably priced! This place makes a great spot for some dinner and drinks on your last night in Berlin. After this you should head out to one of Berlins many bars. If your travelling on a budget you should just buy some alcohol from one of the cities many 24 hour off licenses and enjoy some drinks before spending your last night enjoying some of the worlds most famous night life.
Berlin is home to techno music and one of the world most famous night clubs – Berghain. This huge nightclub is located between Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain and is thought to be one of the most exclusive nightclubs there is. The club is a converted power plant and attracts thousands of party-goers every weekend. But not nearly as many as that actually get in. There are many rumours and myths suggesting you must wear all black and you shouldn't go up in too large a group but who knows what is actually true. Nonetheless this clubs hosts some of the best DJs in the world, it opens on a Friday night and stays open until Monday afternoon. If this doesn't sound like your cup of tea then there are many other clubs that offer great music and a much more relaxed door policy. Two of my favourites are :
Address: Kopenicker Strabe 70 , 10999 Cost : Ranges 10-20 euros entry and about 7 euros per drink. This club is also a converted power plant and is opened every weekend with some of Berlins best DJs.
Address: Falckensteinstraße 49, 10997 Berlin, Germany Cost: Ranges from 5-20 euros depending on what night. Also about 7 euros per drink. This club lies right on the bank of the River Spree with a huge window inside which gives amazing views, especially in the summer you can watch the sun come up over Berlin whilst dancing to some of the best German techno.
Now you have experienced a rememberable weekend in Berlin, grab a kebab from one of the hundreds of kebab shops on your way back to the hotel and say goodbye to Berlin for now.. as I'm sure you will be back!