A busy person's guide to Berlin (4.8 things to remember in 48 hours)
Have you ever been surprised by a city?
This is what happened when we visited Berlin for two days.
A city of culture. A city with a past. There is something special about this city that can somehow not be appreciated until it has been experienced.
What is so wonderful about this city is that, wandering the streets and parks, the past is acknowledged and its inhabitants open to interpret it in their own way. A place for innovation to thrive and ideas to flourish.
Start-ups co-existing with corporates. One-off Insta-worthy cafes on the same streets as chain restaurants. Bringing together history with contemporary art in one festival in the park.
I couldn’t have imagined ever being so enamoured with this city. But it happened. Stepping off the plane and on to the S9 towards Spandau, you’re not too sure what to expect, but here are 4.8 things to bare in mind:
The sky is the limit: so reach it. See the city from many angles on the ground and in the sky. The majority of my Instagrams seem to be cityscape-themed from this trip because the view is pretty spectacular. Berlin Cathedral, the Reichstag Building dome and the TV Tower are in this top three. (The latter should be booked before you go either on site or online).
While you’re at it, embrace the history. As a guide at the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe put it so wonderfully, art is there to be interpreted. And so is history. Visting this momentous piece, the Berlin Wall memorial and the German History Museum, it feels a little off to post pictures on social media. But wouldn’t it be so wonderful if, instead of apologising for it, it was acknowledged, interpreted and learned from?
Yes, it is possible to eat traditionally on a veggie diet. Outside of London, there seems to be an assumption that veggies and vegans will starve. Now sure, there have been a couple of countries where you need to search a little harder. But Berlin is definitely not one of them. From veggie spaetzle pan in a local pub to mushrooms with traditional garlic sauce at the Nur Mit Euch (Day of German Unity) festival.
*And grab one of the many local lagerbeers - or even a cheeky “gluhwein” - to accompany it!
Invest in transport. Berlin is a huge city with a lot to cover. While London may look bigger on the tube map due to the amount of stops, Berlin does not have as many. As a busy person looking to reach and learn as much as possible, it is worth your while talking to someone at the Visit Berlin office about your options.
The same goes for accommodation. Research the areas you are staying and invest a little more in where you sleep as it will be a tiring couple of days. Recommended areas to us were Mitte, Kreuzberg and the centre. We chose the Generator Mitte hostel.
Save some dollar (euros). Save money on transport (in the city plus airport journeys) and attractions by investing in a Welcome Card. As Londoners, we were not too taken aback by the general cost of eating, travel and attractions, but it of course does build up. You can either purchase it online before you arrive or at the Visit Berlin desk when you first touchdown in the Schonefeld Arrivals hall.
The reason there are 4.8 tips and not four or five is that, no matter how hard you try, you have to accept that you will be back. Accept that, like 4.8, you cannot quite round the trip up and you’ll want to return to the glorious City of Freedom.
Why will I come back? This city tailors oh so perfectly to digital nomads and creatives. It has an abundance of culture and random events to get involved with. (I mean, we caught a George Ezra set for free in the park). What’s not to love about a little spontaneity?!
Let me know if there is anything else you would add!