If you’re looking to spend a weekend in Berlin, this Berlin city guide is what you’ll need for the best adventure!
Having obsessively listened to the ‘This is Ziggy Alberts’ playlist on Spotify for weeks on end, my flatmate and I decided to search for some tickets to see him play live. Realising we’d missed his London date by about a week we continued to search his remaining tour dates in Europe. Our eye contact at 10pm on this random Tuesday evening was a mutual ‘let’s have an adventure’ agreement. We considered a few locations whilst aligning them with the cheapest flights available… Berlin was decided.
Berlin was a city neither of us had been to before. We’d heard of Brandenburg Gate, the Berlin Wall, Reichstag, Checkpoint Charlie, and more, but had never explored. So a very spontaneous late night booking had us arrive in the capital of Germany, in the centre of an incredible amount of poignant WW2 history just 3 weeks later. £45 return flights each. €25 concert tickets. So much to see and do.
Oh Europe. How amazing are you.
A 48-hour guide to Berlin…
How do you get to Berlin?
Berlin is great for a quick adventure from anywhere in the world, as it has two international airports: Berlin-Schönefeld Airport (SXF) in the south east of Berlin and its subsidiary, BFG Berlin-Tegel (TXL), north-west of the city centre.
We flew out of London Gatwick at 8am on the Wednesday and returned by 8pm on the Thursday, securing ourselves a solid (cheap) 48-hour adventure in Berlin.
Flight time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Landing location: Berlin Schönefeld Airport
How do you get from Berlin airport to the city centre?
Berlin-Schönefeld Airport to the city centre:
- Train: The station is a 2 minute walk from arrivals and links to city centre. You can buy your ticket from the tourism office in arrivals (we bought a day transport pass for €7.70) or you can buy at the station.
- Uber (download the app)
- Taxi (about €30)
Berlin-Tegel Airport to the city centre:
- JetExpress bus from the airport terminal (20-30 mins)
- Uber (download the app)
- Taxi (about €30)
You can see all the hotspots I went to, heard about and have mentioned in this post, on the map below. It will help give you an idea of where everything is in relation to each other…
Where should you stay in Berlin?
We stayed in an apartment at St.Christophers Inn located in the heart of Berlin. We didn’t fancy a dorm set up for this fly-by trip, but equally didn’t need or want a fancy hotel so this apartment was the perfect solution. With an apartment you get the social advantages that come with a hostel and the travellers it attracts but the privacy of your own space and facilities. See photos below.
Our accommodation was located in Mitte – the city’s most central district. A great place to be based if you’re exploring the nightlife, central tourism spots and want all the best restaurants within walking distance.
Other districts I’d recommend if you’re looking for lively and vibrant location: Mehringdamm, Kreuzberg.
What are the best things to do in Berlin?
1. Head to the famous TV tower
2. Check the events and gigs on at the Lido.
Such a cool, small and intimate venue. This is where we saw Ziggy play. Visit the website here.
3. Head out on a self drive Trabi Safari tour of the city in these epic vehicles!
4. Checkpoint Charlie.
Located on the corner of Friedrichstraße and Zimmerstraße, it is a reminder of the former border crossing, the Cold War and the partition of Berlin.
Lots of hip cafes and trendy places to eat!
6. Rent a bike and cycle around the city.
Berlin is completely bike friendly with cycle lanes on the main roads and is also very flat, making for the perfect cycling adventure. We rented bikes from our hostel for €12 which gave us 24 hour access. There are lots of bike shops around!
7. East Side Gallery
(The main hub for the Berlin Wall, there’s cafes on the river too!)
8. Bear Pit Karaoke on Sundays!
This spa is just a lovely few hours or a day escape from the city. You can pay for a couple of hours or for a full day. We went for the shortest, 2-hour slot and enjoyed the array of saunas, infused steam rooms, plunge pools and outdoor pools. There’s even a Liquidrom pool which is a salt pool with low light, in which you float and can listen to electronic music underwater. It’s so relaxing and reasonably priced. There are loungers and a bar serving healthy drinks and food too. See more here.
10. Berliner Unterwelten (Underground tours of Berlin)
A museum exploring the underground history of the city, focusing on WW2 bunkers. See more here.
11. Insider walking tour of Berlin (apparently the best one!)
12. Visit the famous Brandenburg gate.
Where are the best places to eat in Berlin?
Places I went and LOVED:
I never eat burgers but this was UNREAL. Get some cheesy chips on the side.
– Mustafa’s Kebab
Tourist central and always a queue but I can confirm it’s amazing.
– 1990 Vegan Living
Delicious food, cheap yummy cocktails, lovely outdoor seating.
– Curry 36
Fab for a famous Curry Wurst, the ‘must’ German sausage with a spicy tomato sauce on.
– Soho House Berlin
For a healthy brunch with all the avocado and smoothies your heart desires.
Other’s I’d heard about that you should check out:
- Burger Vision
- Umami (apparently the sweet potato curry is worth travelling to Berlin for alone)
- Peter Pane
- Amsterdam Junk Food
- TRANSIT in Mitte
- Hackescher Markt
- Zero fur brot for cinnamon swirls
- Monsieur vuong
- Burrito dolores
- Com viet
- Pasternak (breakfast)
- House of Wonder
Where are the best places for drinks in Berlin?
We actually just pre drunk some prosecco before watching Ziggy and this was our only night in Berlin, but here are a few places to check out if you fancy a night out on the town in the German capital:
- Monkey Bar (overlooking the zoo)
- KLO (quirky toilet themed bar)
- Mein haus am see
Have you been to Berlin?
What were your favourite spots? I’d love to know!
Love as always + happy adventuring,
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