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Berlin Travel Guide

Going to Berlin was my boyfriend’s idea as it was somewhere he’d always wanted to see and when he found a really good deal on flights he couldn’t resist the opportunity to go. I’ll be honest, I didn’t know much about Berlin before going and wasn’t really sure that it was a city I was going to enjoy. But my thoughts on Berlin quickly changed and I instantly fell in love with the city.

Getting There

There’s three main airports in Berlin; we flew into Tegal and flew out from Schönefeld. There’s a train line and metro station at Tegal airport making it really easy to get to your accommodation once you land. With six airlines flying to Berlin direct from the UK, you’re bound to have an airport near you where you can catch a flight to the city. From Edinburgh the flight only takes around two hours, so it’s a great choice if you’re only wanting to go away for a few days.

Berlin Sunset

The City and Getting Around

The city is split into 12 main districts and with an amazing public transport service it’s really easy to get around. If you’re only staying in the city for a few days the I would recommend purchasing the Berlin Welcome Card. The card gives you unlimited travel on public transport as well as discounted entry to a number of sites. Prices start at €20 for a 48 hour pass.

We used the metro a lot while we were there and found it really easy to get to different areas of the city. Berlin is also pretty flat meaning that it’s perfect for walking or cycling. There’s dedicated cycle lanes on the main roads and lovely parks you can cycle through too. We didn’t cycle ourselves but there’s lot of places you can hire bikes and even places that offer cycle tours.

Places to See

Berlin Wall – The wall was constructed in 1961 and separated East Germany from West Berlin. During this time people living in the East weren’t allowed into the West unless they had a reason for doing so. This led to over 100,000 people trying to escape to the West of the country. In 1989 the government controlling East Germany announced that those living in the East could visit West Berlin and West Germany. The wall was official demolished in 1990 but part of it stills remains.

Checkpoint Charlie – This was one of the official checkpoints for people moving between the East and the West after the wall had been constructed. Sadly, this seemed really touristy with people hired to play guards where the checkpoint was. The museum on the other hand was incredibly interesting. It told the stories of people who had escaped over the wall from East Germany including flying a makeshift plane, hiding in cars that had been modified so that someone could be hidden in the petrol tank and hiding in suitcases. The stories helped to highlight just how desperate people were to be on the other side. As someone who knew very little about this before going to Berlin, I found it incredibly informative and eye-opening.

Brandenburg Gate – The Brandenburg Gate was built in the 18th century and was built on the site if a former city gate. The monument has been the site of numerous historical events.

Reichstag Building – This is the parliament building in Germany and is steeped in history. If you want to see some incredible views over the city then I’d recommend heading to the glass dome and roof terrace at the top of the building. It’s free to get in however you have to book tickets in advance.

Holocaust Memorial – Designed by New York architect Peter Eisenman, the memorial covers 19,000 square meters and has 2,711 concrete slabs of varying heights. Not only are the slabs reminiscent of tomb stones, it creates a feeling a feeling of isolation as you head towards the centre and makes your feel like you could easily become lost or separated from the people that you’re with.

Parks – Teirgarten is one of Germany’s largest parks at 520 acres and it’s really nice to walk or cycle around it. Near by you’ll also find the Victory Column.

Victory Column – The Column was built in the 1800’s to commemorate the Prussian victory in the Danish-Prussian war. It’s a pretty steep climb up to the top, but once you make it up to the viewing platform you’re rewarded with amazing views over Teirgarten and the city.

Shopping – No trip is complete without checking out a few shops. If you want to check out some designer places then I would recommend checking out Kurfürstendamm which is pretty tree lined street full of beautiful restaurants and stores such as Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Hermés and Valentino. I’d also recommend checking out KaDaWe, Europe’s second largest department store. With over 60,000 square meters of selling space, covering everything from fashion to food to stationery it’s easy to spend time here exploring everything and you’ll probably not leave the store empty handed!

Places to Eat

Flamingo Fresh Food Cafe – Located in the Mitte region of Berlin, the cafe has a relaxed atmosphere with gleaming white tables and coloured chairs. I really wish we’d found this cafe sooner as it’s perfect for brunch. They have amazing pancakes, which are severed with fresh fruit and maple syrup. If you fancy something a little more filling the cafe has a wide range of lunch options with plenty for vegetarians and vegans to choose from too.

Peter Pane – We got quite lucky when we turned up to the restaurant without a booking and didn’t have to wait too long for a table. It did get really busy while we were there so I would recommend booking if you want to be guaranteed a table. The food here was really tasty with plenty of vegetarian choices. You could also order a pound of chips which turned out to be a lot more chips than I thought!

Schaumschläger – This little cafe was really close to our hotel and was such a lovely place to relax and plan out what we’re going to do that day. The coffee is in here is lovely and they have a big selection of cakes to choose from as well (I’d definitely recommend trying the cheesecake!)

Curry at the Wall – There are so many currywurst stall throughout the city but if you’re vegetarian then definitely head here. At Curry at the Wall you can sample a vegan friendly version of the famous dish.

A Few Helpful Words and Phrases

A list of helpful German words and phrase

Berlin is somewhere that I would definitely go back to as I feel that there is so much of the city I never got a chance to see.

Have you ever been to Berlin? What places would you recommend visiting?
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