First thoughts that come to mind for some people when thinking of Berlin is its history of the world wars and the cold war. We were inspired to travel to Berlin after watching Bridge of Spies, so you can say that we fell into that category too. We were also expecting Berlin to be really cold and thought we might freeze to death!
Upon exiting the airport we knew that we were so wrong… There is so much to see and do in Berlin and we would recommend staying around a minimum of at least 2/3 days in Berlin.
Getting around the city
We used our Berlin Welcome Card and google maps to get around Berlin. The Berlin Welcome card gives you access to unlimited public transport and discounts around Berlin for the duration of your stay. These can be purchased either online, at the ticket kiosks in the stations, Visit Berlin stands and in many shops and hotels. For 48 hours use the price is €19.90.
Using public transport to get around a capital city can be a little daunting, especially when you think of London, New York, Hong Kong etc. The stations in Berlin were not as busy as you would expect even in rush hour and connecting to another line on the Ubahn is very simple.
One thing to note about using the trains in Berlin is that if you buy a standard train ticket you need to get it ‘punched’/validated before you get on a train. You can do this at numerous points within the station and this activates your ticket for 120 minutes. If you purchase the welcome card from visit Berlin then the ticket also needs to be ‘punched’ before you begin your journey, if you don’t do this then you could get fined.
We purchased tickets online for the PanoramaPunkt (6.50 euros or 5 euros with the Welcome Card) We were then in the the fastest elevator in Europe, which takes you to the top in 20 seconds, where you can see the picturesque view over Berlin. You can spend as long as you want up there and there are also toilets and a cafe there.
From there we walked to the Holocaust Memorial. This is a memorial to the jewish victims of the holocaust and was designed by architect Peter Eisenman. The design is simple and yet devastating, bringing the loss to reality.
From the memorial we walked to the Brandenburg Gate, an 18th century neoclassical monument which is now a symbol of European unity and peace. We then proceeded to take loads of selfies with the selfie stick in front of it, and a few jumping boomerangs.
The Reichstag building was just round the corner from here, a massive government building. The Reichstag was set on fire in 1933 during the nazi period and was abandoned after world war 2. The building was not fully restored until the reunification of Germany on the 3rd of October 1990 and once again became a meeting place of the German parliament.
Although the Reichstag is free to visit, you do have to book in advance by going on to their website.
Kafer Dachgarten restaurant
Whilst researching the Reichstag building we discovered the Kafer Dachgarten restaurant. As it was right next to the Dome it looked like the perfect place for a nice romantic lunch. We received a warm and friendly greeting upon arrival and we were shown to our table, which was exactly where we wanted it, right next to the window!
For our main we both ordered the Fried Cod filet & octopus! The Cod was cooked perfectly and beautifully flaky and the octopus was delicious! I really loved the octopus, while my wife (a lover of mash potato) really loved the fluffy, creamy, mash potato it was served with. We then ordered both the deserts, Valrhona chocolate (white chocolate Crème brûlée, madeleine, orange terrine and amarena cherry ice-cream) and the Coffee-almond-toffee (rum truffle, pistachio crunch, vanilla ice-cream and caramelized bananas). With both of the deserts the presentation was very elegant and unique, we almost didn’t want to eat it! Both were made perfectly, and tasted divine! The atmosphere and experience was lovely and the view of the city was amazing! It is really worth a visit!
The Reichstag Dome
After our lovely meal at the Kafer Dachgarten we went to the Dome. There are stairs winding around the building which takes you to the top and view the whole of Berlin. We went during the golden hour and it was pretty amazing from there.
Berliner Dom (Berlin Cathedral)
The Berlin Cathedral, which is the short version of Evangelical Supreme Parish and Collegiate Church. The Cathedral is located on Museum Island which is a small island in the Spree river. Its a really nice area with lots of benches around so you can just sit and admire the view (and also people watch)
After museum island we went to Checkpoint Charlie, the most famous crossing point between east and west Berlin during the cold war.
Note, you can take a photo with the guards (they are people dressed up as guards not offiical guards) but they will want a few euros after.
East Side Gallery
The East Side Gallery is one of the largest remaining sections of the wall left, stretching an amazing 1316 metres. This section consists of 105 paintings by artists from all over the world, painted in 1990 on the east side of the wall. They are beautiful and yet devestating as they all tell a story.
We hope this gave you a few ideas of things to do in Berlin. There are a lot more things that you can do and of course there is the Christmas markets in November and December which we recommend visiting. Berlin during the Christmas markets has a really nice vibe in the city and the markets are really pretty.
Check out our vlogs for more info on what we did.