Planning a Eurotrip? Looking for a long weekend destination? You’ll definitely want to check out Berlin, Germany!
After finishing this year’s NYC Marathon, I headed to Europe because what else do you do when you no longer have to train to run 26.2 Miles? My trip had multiple stops (including one of my forever favorites, London), but I spent about three days in Berlin, Germany. While I definitely got a good taste of the city, I wish I’d stayed a day or two longer to explore more of the neighborhoods, see more of the sites and spend time just walking through the city’s streets.
Helpful Things To Note:
- The sun sets pretty early in the late fall so be prepared for a sunset around 4:15pm. This may mean some early mornings but they’ll be totally worth it.
- You can easily order an Uber, but the trains and busses are fairly easy to navigate so I took them quite a lot. The train I took from Berlin-Schönefeld to Alexanderplatz (City Center) was 3.40 Euros one way, which was not bad at all for a 25-minute ride.
- A lot of places are cash only so take note when you google spots (it is often listed), ask before you sit down and carry at least 20 Euros in cash if possible.
- Bring an umbrella or a good hat/raincoat; it rained a bit while I was there and luckily I had an umbrella in my bag. It seems like it rains on and off during the late fall time of year.
- While there is a city center, Berlin is pretty spread out so try to familiarize yourself with the neighborhoods before you go since they’re all known for different things and have different appeals. In the long run, it may be helpful to stay in an area that you find cool versus one that is considered more central.
- If you have food allergies like I do, a lot of restaurants have a lettered key to various common allergens that can often be found at the bottom or back of the menus.
Where To Stay: As I mentioned, Berlin is pretty spread out, so where you stay is going to be entirely dependent on what area suits the style and focus of your trip. I stayed at the Pestana Berlin Tiergarten because it was overall pretty central and good value for the nightly price. I wanted to be near the park since I knew I might want to run. The hotel was overall simple but the rooms were nice (heated floor in the bathroom was a major plus). The hotel also a pool as well as a small gym which I loved. The rooms came with the option of breakfast included or not included which was a convenient option.
What To Do:
- The Original Walking Tour (Free): A great way to start off the trip and get quick hits on the top points of interest in the city. My travel partner Brittany had been doing walking tours since her travels in Lisbon years ago, but surprisingly, this was my first. It’s free so the tour guides really make the tour their own which is nice. We had a small group since it was a semi-rainy Monday morning so we really got to make it our own. You’ll see the following highlights: Berlin Wall, Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, Checkpoint Charlie, Berliner Dom and quite a few more.
- The Jewish Museum: I’m not alwways into museums but this was an incredibly well done museum with so much to offer. If you have a student ID, the ticket is only 3 Euro instead of the typical 8 Euro. The museum was filled with a lot of insight into Jerusalem Past and Present with a lovely reading guide so you can walk through and experience the museum at your own pace.
- Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe: The Jewish Museum is seperate from the memorial and super impactful. I walked through and truly stopped a few times, just to take it all in. It’s true while walking through I did feel some anxiety, saddness and just grief but so much respect for how the city remembers the past. Worth walking through, and taking some tme to digest in my opinion. Truly a place of contemplation and remembering.
- Dome at The Reichstag: The walking tour listed above ends very close to the Reichstag so it would be perfect to do right after the tour ends. The building is located close to the center of the city and represents a key piece of German history. Keep in mind, entry is free but you do have to register in advance and typically you’ll need to register at least a few days in advance to get a desireable time slot. From what I heard, in the late fall you may get lucky and be able to register day of or show up and get in if someone hasn’t claimed their spot but in summer season it’s much more challenging to get in.
- Teufelsberg: Take a morning or early afternoon to walk around Teufelsberg, an old US listening station from the Cold War that is now full of dope graffiti and also has some great views. This was high on the list of recommendations I had for Berlin but sadly one of the places I wasn’t able to see on this short trip. Teufelsberg is about a 20-30 minute uber from the city center, and once you’re there you will defintely want to spend some time walking around. We were on our way there when we double checked to find that the spot closed around 4pm, so it’s definitely better do to in the morning, especially with limited light in November.
- Tiergarten Park: I stayed near this park and it was amazing for a nice walk especially with all of the fall foliage. Seriously, fall in Berlin is so pretty! Over the summer I can imagine there are so many spots for a good picnic. Of course, as with everything in Germany, there is history attached and this park has quite a few memorials throughout. As a New Yorker, I was impressed by this park.
- Experience The Nightlife: Berlin has a great scene for nightlife, so much fun to explore for a night. I went to Avenue for the Saturday Night “Turn Up” since I was looking for a more last minute current hip hop vibe and it was fun! Minimal waiting in line and only 12 Euro at the door to get in. I was impressed by how current the music was and the clubs stay open until 5/6am so you really do have all night long.
Where to Eat & Drink: Definitely not ALL of the options but a few good ones!
- Madame, Mom’s Vietnamese Kitchen: Great Vietnamese food and not too far from the Tiergarten which was good for dinner. The restaurant served large portions, and creative dishes which is always great. I got a chicken dish with sweet and sour mango sauce which was so yummy. I also got a coocnut water because it’s one of my favorite things to drink, ever.
- Upper Burger Grill Berlin: I got the pulled turkey sandwich with sweet potato fries and was not dissapointed. The turkey was well seasoned and the fries were crisp. I heard great things about the traditional beef burger and my friend loved the one she got. They offer a variety of sauces for just a little extra and have several french fry options which was appreciated. This is actually just a few stores up the street from Madame!
- Suksan Thai: The food was really good and not too expensive, with great flavors. I got fried rice which was great and my friend got Pad Thai which she loved. I’d recommend it for a quick dinner and to mix it up if you’re not feeling like eating Italian food or a burger.
- Tommi’s Burger Joint: They have good burgers as well and a vegan option if you need it. The fries were skinny and plentiful (just like I like them) so it was great in my book. With my egg allergy, I was limited to the veggie burger and it was okay; not the best I’ve ever had but with some of their sauces it was good. My friend who got a beef burger said it was tasty and a friend who had been before said it was the “best burger” he’d ever had. If you go to both Upper Burger and Tommi’s let me know which you think is better!
- Vin Aqua Vin: This is the cutest wine bar I’ve ever seen and they have an amazing selection. I would go back to Berlin to enjoy a glass of wine here for sure. Our story here was pretty tragic though; when we got there after dinner (around 11:15pm on a Monday night), they were already closing up shop. If you go, go early or call ahead just in case (especially on a Monday night!).
While there’s always so much more to see and do but, these are some of my Berlin highlights and things I wish I’d known before going. As always, hit me up with questions! I’m an open book.