Our three days in Berlin were busy, and I think this list proves it. I love getting to explore a new city, but Germany hadn’t previously been on the top of my to-do list. I think I had the preconception that eastern European food isn't really to my taste (it still isn't) and I'd really struggle with the language (my Spanish could not save me even a little bit here) but I was utterly charmed by the city when I discovered how much it has to offer.
I’ve collected together the things we did in our short trip there in case you need some inspiration.
Getting into the city from the airport is really easy – the train system in Berlin is second to none and only €3.40 for the half hour journey too. Everyone told us to buy tickets for the the S-Bahn (overground) and the U-Bahn (underground), apparently you can use the same tickets for both as well as the trams and buses, but I much prefer exploring on foot or by bicycle. We hired out bikes for €12 and had the best time, the cycling lanes aren't as good as Amsterdam's but there are so many cyclists on the road that I felt safe.
WHERE TO STAY
The best way of planning your stay in Berlin is to think about what you want to see and do, and then pick a neighbourhood area which is in easy reach of these things. As it was the first time we'd been to Berlin, I booked our hotel in the Mitte district close to all the tourist attractions but if we went back I'd definitely stay in the livelier Kreuzberg or Prenzlauer Berg districts. We stayed at the Arcotel John F, where we were just a five minute walk from Brandenburg Tor.
Berlin has so much to see. SO MUCH. Grand architecture, WWII history, Communist era sights, modern Berlin, art, food... 3 days was definitely too short to see everything it has to offer. I got as many recommendations from people who've been as I could gather before we went, and curated a pintrest board of course! We missed some biggies like Charlottesburg Palace and the Olympic stadium but with such a short trip, we concentrated on the biggest attractions in the heart of Berlin. We passed the Brandenburg Tor several times a day because we stayed close by and made sure to get out to the East Side Gallery and Checkpoint Charlie.
I would have liked to spent more time in looking at attractions in Museum Island, you’ll also find Berliner Dom here, a wonderfully gothic cathedral which has an amazing view over Berlin - it's 100% worth climbing those 267 steps to get up there, trust me.
We ate Currywurst every day on the go purely because we didn't know what anything else was! German food isn't really my thing, I rejected many cute looking restaurants upon seeing the menus- pickled pork, sauerkraut, erm, no thank you! One thing I did notice is that Germany is really a fan of vegetarian and Vegan diets, lots of vegetarian only restaurants and our hotel had a large vegan menu. We also passed a cereal cafe specialising in 200 varieties of breakfast cereal, so Berlin is a real Mecca for hipster foodies.
The Monkey Bar in Berlin really is second to none, with a magnificent view on one side over Berlin Zoo and a roof terrace on the other overlooking the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church. The cocktails are amazing and pricey to boot (€12 - €15) but it's definitely worth a trip, I had the time of my life sitting in the sun watching the Giraffes with a frozen Moscow mule slushy in hand.
Another bar with a spectacular view is the Fernshturm Tower. This place is so fascinating because it was built in 1969 to block all signal from the West, I can't imagine life in such a tense lockdown. Now it's a bar and restaurant that rotates on it's axis twice an hour. It has a good selection of cocktails (this bourbon sour was one of the best cocktails I've ever had) and although the drinks are a bit cheaper than in the Monkey Bar, there's a hefty €16 price tag to get up there in the first place.
I would love to return to Berlin at some point, we barely scratched the surface this time – a visit to the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp, the Olympic Stadium, more museums, galleries and visiting more than one of the awesome photoautomats could have easily been added to the list.