A friend recently asked me for some tips for a weekend in Berlin, so I thought I’d make the most of the opportunity and write a quick blog post. This list is by no means exhaustive; Berlin is one of those cities where there is an almost unlimited number of things to see and do, but here are a few of my favourites:
Berlin Free tour
I first took this free tour of Berlin back in 2008 when I was practically penniless. The tour hasn’t changed much since, and importantly is still free, but that’s not why you should take it. The tour starts right next to the Brandenburg gate and explores sights such as Checkpoint Charlie, the Jewish Memorial and some of the few remaining examples of the Third Reich architecture such as the oppressive Luftwaffe headquarters. It’s the best way to get your bearings if you’re visiting Berlin for the first time.
Located nearby the TV tower where the Berlin free tour ends, the Berlin DDR Museum offers a fascinating glimpse into what life was like in the GDR controlled East Berlin.
East Side Gallery and Michelberger Hotel
Even though the Berlin Wall came crashing down well over 25 years ago there are still a surprisingly large number of stretches of the wall still standing. One of the best places to see the wall is the East Side Gallery in Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg. It’s a 1.3KM stretch of wall plastered in artwork by over 100 street artists from all of the world. Once you’ve taken in the art, what could be better than sipping a cocktail at the incredibly hip Hotel Michelberger? They have a great selection of cocktails and the coolest menu design I’ve ever seen.
Homework - The Berlin Wall by Frederick Taylor
No trip to Berlin would be complete without taking a walk along one of the last remaining sections of the wall, but to get a bit of background to Berlin I’d recommend reading Frederick Taylor’s Berlin Wall book. It’s a fascinating account of Berlin from the end of World War Two right up to the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989. Having a sense of what the city has been through in the last 70 years makes sightseeing so much more interesting.
Climb the dome of the Reichstag Building
From the top of the futuristic dome crowning the Reichstag building you can peer down into the German Bundestag (parliament) and see a 360-degree view of the surrounding Berlin skyline. What’s more it’s free, provided you book in advance. It’s particularly captivating if you visit at night.
Late Sunday Brunch at the Markthalle Neun in Kreuzberg
I won’t say too much about this incredible palace of delicacies other than it has to be the best place to get breakfast in Berlin on a Sunday. Markthalle Neun is a vast indoor market is crammed full of stalls selling delicious breakfast items. Check opening times though, as the market doesn’t open every weekend. If you’d like to read more about breakfast places in Berlin, check out Joe’s blog post: