The Berlin City Guide

Schnitzel, gin and the sights. If I had to describe my time in Berlin in three words, it would be those. I finally crossed this German city off earlier this year, and boy, did it live up to expectations.

The city was glorious, the weather was great (not a cloud in sight when we were there), and the locals absolutely made the trip. Here’s a short guide to our Berlin highlights during our long weekend away.

TO EXPLORE

There’s so much to do in Berlin, we barely scratched the surface despite our best efforts to cram in as much as possible for our long weekend. But, hey that’s just another reason to head back right? It’s worth noting that a lot of the big tourist spots are outdoors, so we only had to pay for a couple of the museums we headed into.

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With the weather at its best, we spent our first day absorbing as much of we could by walking through the city. We started at East Side Gallery (my favourite), on towards Checkpoint Charlie before spending a couple of hours at the Topography of Terror – a museum that is both outdoors and indoors. There’s a lot to take in there, but we really loved it. From there, we headed onto the Holocaust Memorial and Brandenburg Gate. Our self-designed walking tour was probably the highlight of my trip, so completely worth all those steps.

A highlight for me was visiting the Bundestag, learning about the German government past and present. Even though it’s free to enter (amazing), we pre-booked in advance to avoid any potential queues. Walking around Charlottenburg Palace is a must-do if the weather is sunny and you’re feeling slightly hungover like we were. The gardens are beautifully kept, although we didn’t go inside the palace as we had to head back to the Berliner Fernsehturm, aka the TV tower that gives panoramic views across Berlin. We booked this on the day (you can book in advance), which meant our slot wasn’t until two hours later but it did mean we knew the weather was good enough to get a good view!

Other notable mentions include the DDR Museum, the Olympiastadion (built for the 1936 Olympics) and Tempelhofer Feld, a former airport turned public park where you can rent bikes or scooters to explore all 386 hectares of open space. The latter two are a little further out but definitely worth the extra journey on the U-Bahn.

TO GET BY

If the U-Bahn is anything to go by, Germany certainly is efficient. It cost 35€ each for a five day pass, which is incredible given how many times we hopped on and off the metro. If you can navigate the London Underground, you’ve got this…

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EAT & DRINK

My friends and I were keen for a local hot spot, and with a bit of clever Google searching, we headed to Schwarzwaldstuben. My, oh my, it was a glorious little find. We headed there for around 9pm on a Friday night – it was full without being suffocating and the atmosphere was vibrant without being annoying. We all had the schnitzel with cucumber salad and potatoes for dinner, washed down with a stein (the guys) and a gin (me). The staff were so friendly, we ended up staying until around 2am when it was closing. Getting merry in a great restaurant/bar with your best friends? That’s a night I won’t be forgetting in a long time.

My friend and I had real cravings for guacamole, so we headed to Santa Maria in Kreuzberg for our final evening. The seating was quite cramped, but the chilled vibe and food made up for that. We paid 12€ each for burritos the length of my forearm, and they were so deliciously made, it was definitely a bargain.

We didn’t really eat breakfast on this trip, instead opting for a bigger-than-normal lunch to keep us going until dinner time. We tended to pop into independent places as and when we needed to along our way. Of course there was a dessert trip to the Haagen-Dazs restaurant at Potsdamer Platz because, how could you not?

Have you been to Berlin? What were your highlights?

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