How to visit berlin on a weekend
A friend of mine is going to visit Berlin soon. Knowing I have lived there a few years ago, she asked me for some tips. This brought back my happy memory of living and working in this exciting capital from 2010-2012. Berlin is a wonderful city to walk around. There is a lot to do and see, yet it is not too big. Many sights are pretty much within walking distance, and very well connected(the transport system works great!! Credit to German engineering ) Comparing to other big city like London and New York, it is dynamic enough that you never get bored, but never too busy that you feel hectic. You can easily spend month there. Below are the places I enjoyed during my time there.
The iconic German Parliament building with amazing view from the dome overlooking the city. It is free but you need to book and bring your passport. Airport style security there.
2. Brandenburg Gate
The iconic monument identical to the image of Berlin.
3.The Victory Column (Siegssaeule)
The victory column in the middle of Tiergarten. You can climb up the column for another view over the city.
4.The Jewish museum
One of the best Jewish Museum and the biggest in Europe. The building is designed by very famous architect Daniel Libeskind.
5.The Holocaust Memorial
Simple but impressive monument ground for the murdered Jews during the WWII. The best and the most touching memorial I have seen.
6. Kaiser Wilhlem Memorial Chruch (Kaiser-Wihelm-Gedaechtnis Kirche)
The memorial church built on ruins from WWII. Impressive contrast between the old and new, and beautiful interior inside the new church.
7. Potsdamer Platz
Great place to hangout under the iconic umbrella in Sony Center. There are remains of the Berlin Wall inside the square.
8.Topography of Terror
The former Gestapo headquarter, now a museum with a portion of the original wall and the trenches.
9. Berlin Wall Memorial (Gedenkstätte Berliner Mauer)
A less famous but impressive stretch of original Berlin Wall with watch towers and trench, no graffiti, no conversion. Everything was kept as it was. For me this one is the heaviest among all Berlin Wall remains.
10. Berlin Cathedral (Berliner Dom)
Impressive cathedral of Berlin located in the center of Berlin on Under den Linden street, with huge open space in front. A popular place for the Berliners to hang around in the summer. There are several moments scatted along this street. Wonderful place to walk.
11, Charlottenburg Palace (Schloss Charlottenburg)
A decent palace and park in the city if you don’t want to go all the way to Potsdam.
12. Museum Island
A few very good museums around this area if you have time. I would especially recommend the Pergamon Museum if you like ancient Greek collection. The whole Greek temple was transported from Turkey and rebuilt there.
13. Mauer Park
A park built around a good portion of Berlin Wall, with loads of graffiti on it. A bit out of the way but well worth a visit if you have time
14. Boros Foundation:
A hidden gem. I only found out this place before I left Berlin. This is a private art museum in a former cold war bunker. Apparently the owner lives on the top floor. It is an incredible place just as it is plus very good modern art collection. Guided tour only, you need to book ahead.
15. Potsdam for Sanssouci Palace (Schloss Sanssouci)
Previous summer palace about 1 hour from Berlin by train. It is very accessible from Berlin city but you need a full day to enjoy the palace, the garden, forests and lakes around. It should be stunning in autumn on a nice day
The high street of Berlin with all the luxury brands, yet quite cozy to walk down. I like the cake and dessert counter on the top floor in KaDeWe(th famous department store of Berlin)
A beautiful mall for high-end luxury items, like Harrods in London. I used to just go there to admire the interior.
A lot of boutique shops and cafes around this area, nice to walk around.
When I lived in Berlin I was a poor student and then still quite poor first-year graduate. So I didn’t spend much money on eating out. But there are a few places worth mentioning:
Iconic Berlin street food. A lot of places claims they are the best. I usually go for these two:
Curry 36 (Bahnhof Zoo), just outside Zoologischer Garten S-bahn station
Bier’s Kudamm 195, on Ku’damm
My favourite restaurant as I used to live nearby, though more Austrian than German. You might need to book for Friday and weekends.
Witzlebenstraße 31, 14057 Berlin, Germany www.engelbecken.de
Proper traditional German food. I used to go with friends for its 1-meter beer offer(a flight of beer)
Spreeufer 4, 10178 Berlin, Germany brauhaus-georgbraeu.de
It is a chain restaurant serving Bavarian food, quite a few around Berlin. Quite reliable on quality.
Usually all Bauerei(brewery) serves good beer and decent food till 11pm-ish. For late night scene generally you need to go more east Berlin, like Alexander Platz, Kreuzberg, or even Neukoelln.
If you like beer, my favourite is Schoefferhofer Weiss from tap. Can’t find it anywhere outside Germany, once it gets into a bottle the taste changes…
One place I can remember is called Palm Beach Mitte, it is a cocktail bar. Remember it is decent and not expensive.
Spandauer Str. 4, 10178 Berlin, Germany
I am a big fan of chocolate and Berlin has some delightful offers.
Rausch Chocolate Cafe
Ritter Sport flagship store
A bit like M&M world in London. Fun place to have a look and buy some not so common flavors of Ritter chocolate.