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During my European road trip, Berlin was my last stop before heading back to Amsterdam. Berlin was rather a long drive from Munich, I’d say around 6 hours with a gas stop. Even though it is a long drive, it certainly was a lovely experience driving through the many small German towns. It’s like a dream! I have put together a detailed weekend to Berlin travel guide with a 2 and 5 day sample itinerary for you guys too. Can not recommend this city enough, especially for all the good food.
ABOUT BERLIN– TRAVEL GUIDE ITINERARY
Berlin, the capital of Germany, dates back to the 13th century. A city that has had it’s fair share of good and bad times, including the Cold War, World War, etc.
Berlin has come a long way from those times, especially after the Berlin Wall fell in 1989. The city has become culturally diverse and has welcomed people from all over the world. I found the locals to be generally friendly and helpful.
Why should you visit Berlin? The historical importance of Berlin, the capital of Germany, the food, the culture, etc. are some of the reasons. I’d describe Berlin as the perfect city for all age groups, whether you are a millennial or in your 60s, the city has something to offer to you.
If you are wondering how convenient it is to travel in Berlin, then you’ll be pleasantly surprised to know that it felt like a breeze navigating through the city. Whether you like to hop on the public transportation or Uber around, Berlin is for you. I personally used Uber as my Airbnb was very centrally located, so everything was only 5-7 mins in a car. Grocery stores, big and small are located conveniently, smaller ones are usually in the residential neighborhoods, perfect for you to purchase any foods or household essentials.
My trip was during the summer months, which means it was really hot in the city. Most buildings still do not have ACs installed as there are very few hot days, but be aware, it did get really hot and fans barely kept us cool. However, on the flip side, if you are planning to visit during the winter months, expect lots of snow and cold ass weather! Lastly, German is the main language spoken in Germany, however, I found English was also widely spoken especially around the touristy areas.
WHAT TO EAT– BERLIN TRAVEL GUIDE ITINERARY
So I keep raving about Berlin’s food scene, not because I just want to, but because it was honestly really good! When I think of a Europe trip, I imagine it walking around cobblestone streets, exploring museums and some posing in front of some magnificent Medieval times castles. Maybe some pizza, pasta, and lots of fresh bread. Oh and French pastries. Now, imagine adding delicious food to this picture! How amazing of a trip can it be? Well, Berlin surely is that place.
Some of the local foods you absolutely must try are pretzels (Aunt Anne’s pretzels don’t stand a chance here), currywurst, kartoffelpuffer or potato cakes, sauerbraten which is the national dish of Germany. It is a pot roast dish made either using beef or other meats such as lamb, mutton, pork, etc. Having said that, below are some of my recommendations which I either ate at or were recommended by locals.
Silo coffee – Great option for fresh food, and a filling breakfast. No plastic straws used, mostly sustainable. Try silo on the menu
Restaurant Bastard – Food is picturesque and delicious
Barcomi’s Deli – Good coffee and cakes.
1900 Cafe Bistro – Cute cafe to have a local German breakfast
Flamingo Fresh Food Bar – Offers a fresh food bar, healthy grab & go options.
Yarok -Located at Wilhelmstraße 41A, 10963 Berlin, Germany – Middle Eastern cuisine, one of my personal favorites. Inexpensive option.
Mabuhay Indonesian restaurant– Definitely a small hole in the wall type, very popular and vegan options available.
Happies – Most raved about dumplings in town, another small place but worth a visit.
Kanaan Berlin – Cash only, reservation required. A unique vegan-vegetarian restaurant serving you the best hummus in town.
Gasthaus Kater Alex – Another good option for a traditional German meal.
Grab a street side pretzel
One Page Home – Turkish cuisine, this is best with a group of friends/family. Huge portions, best when shared with your loved ones.
Hackethal’s – Typical German experience offering authentic food. A small place, definitely make reservations.
Masteca e Tasi – Highly recommend this place! Another small restaurant that offers fresh food and excellent wine. It is CASH only, make your reservation well in advance, otherwise forget dining in.
Haveli– Delicious Indian cuisine, one of the more popular ones in town.
Restaurant Tim Raue – Michelin star restaurant serving an Asian inspired cuisine, fine dining at it’s best. Located near one of the major attraction: Checkpoint Charlie.
Grill Royal – Steak lovers paradise, some sea food options available also.
Zenkichi Berlin– Offers unique Japanese cuisine in a very romantic setting. Locals claim it has the best Japanese food in town.
Trattoria Portofino– Can’t go wrong with some delicious Italian pizza especially if it is made by natives.
Brammibal’s donuts – Fresh, vegan donuts. That’s all the reasons you need to go there!
Ritter Sport Cafe – I am going to elaborate on this one a little more because it was a wonderful surprise. So here you can either purchase a wide variety of the different flavored chocolate offered by Ritter Sport and trust me there are many, get a custom flavored made where the options are endless, and/or head upstairs to their cafe to enjoy some deliciously chocolate hot chocolate or try some of their pastries. Me being the chocolateholic that I am, felt like I was in heaven surrounded by heavenly goods.
Waffel oder Becher – Natural and homemade ice cream, waffles, or other desserts. All made from scratch!
JONES Ice Cream – Whether you are in the mood for some ice cream or cookies, catch this truck.
WHERE TO STAY– BERLIN TRAVEL GUIDE ITINERARY
During my research for a place to stay in Berlin, I was pretty impressed with the Airbnb options the city offered. Unlike the typical European apartments, many were decent sized and offered all the amenities in newly renovated homes. I fell in love in with quiet a few options, however, I went with the one that offered the most comfortable sleeping space for 4 adults. Below were some of my final contenders.
As far as hotels are concerned, unique and sophisticate, were the words that came to my mind when I looked at some of the options. Check out my favorite ones below.
- Spacious 1 bedroom for 4 people– $88 per night. This is the one I stayed at- Click here.
- Cozy little space in the heart of the city, perfect for 2 people- $28 per night. Click here.
- Designer 2 bedrooms apartment for 4 people- $67 per night. Click here.
- Centrally located apartment for 2 people- $45 per night. Click here.
- Larger apartment for 6 people- $144 per night. Click here.
- A masterpiece that sleeps 11 people! $362 per night. Click here.
- Club Lodges – Live in a cube! Such a unique experience, fits 2 people, an inexpensive alternative, however, no private bathrooms – $45 per night.
- Hotel NH Berlin Alexanderplatz– $118 per night- Looks fairly new, and offers a buffet breakfast.
- Hotel de Rome, Berlin– $288 per night- A high-end, 5 stars hotel offering elegant rooms, a chic Italian restaurant & rooftop bar, plus a spa , good location
- The Ritz- Carlton Berlin– $199 per night- 5 star hotel, contemporary upscale hotel with plush quarters, plus fine German dining, elegant lounges & a pool.
- Grand Hyatt Berlin– $196 per night- Another 5 star hotel, refined rooms & suites in a high-end hotel offering a hip cocktail bar, an Italian eatery & a spa.
- Select Hotel Berlin Spiegelturm– $96 per night- 4 star hotel, bright rooms with city views, plus a sophisticated restaurant, meeting space & a chic bar.
- Hotel Indigo Berlin– $80 per night- Located on the East Side Gallery, nice little boutique hotel.
WHAT TO PACK FOR BERLIN
Here are a few things I recommend for you to bring on your first trip to Berlin:
- German phrase book. Perfect pocket sized, great to learn a few essential phrases quick. Click here. It’s only $2.79!
- German travel guide. If you want to do more in depth research before your trip, click here for a Germany travel guide and click here for a Berlin travel guide.
- Travel plug or European adapter. Did you know you need an adapter to plug in your electronics in Europe? Yes, that means you can not even charge your phone without one. You must have one for your trip. Click here.
- Reusable water bottle. As I have mentioned before, Germany is big on sustainability, so why not help them out and do your part? A reusable water bottle is essential for my travels as well as my everyday life, I never leave the house without one. Click here for a foldable water bottle. And if you are someone who does not like drinking non-filtered water, click here to purchase a Brita stainless steel bottle with a filter.
- Toiletry bag. I love this water proof one, I store all of my toiletries and it takes up very little space in your luggage. Click here.
- Walking shoes. Ladies, you need a good pair of comfortable walking shoes for Europe. It is an absolute must! I found these inexpensive, and real cute ones on Amazon, click here to check them out.
- Travel cubes. These help keep your entire luggage organized. An essential for most travelers. Click here.
- Portable battery charger. I can not stress enough the importance of having with you whether you are at home or traveling. For cities where you have to walk a lot, I use the gps a lot, so I need my phone’s battery to last all day which usually means it needs to be charged couple of times. I never leave for my trips with a portable charger, click here to see my favorite.
BERLIN CITY TRAVEL GUIDE ITINERARY
WHAT TO DO– BERLIN TRAVEL GUIDE ITINERARY
Berlin has SO much to do and see that you won’t know where to begin from. Yes ofcourse there are the main spots such as the Berlin Wall, but what else is there to do? No worries, I got you. I was able to create my own unique experience during my travels to Berlin which was a mix of culture, history, and amazing food! Here are some of my recommendations:
- Berlin Wall– The obvious must see. With all the history behind it, a few parts of the wall still remain behind in different parts of town. Some are more popular with the tourists than others.
- Checkpoint Charlie– This is an East-West border landmark during the Cold War. There’s not much to do here except take pics with the guards. Typically there’s a line to take pics but moves pretty quick. There are several stores and restaurants in this area which I recommend checking out.
- Brandenburg Gate– An 18th- century neoclassical monument in Berlin built on the orders of Prussian king Frederick William II after the temporary restoration of order during the Batavian Revolution (Thanks Wikipedia for the info). Great pic opp.
- Reichstag Building– A historic, glass-domed home to the German parliament.
- Museum Island– Northern half of an island located in the Spree river. You can visit the museums, cathedral, and art museums there.
- Berliner Fernsehturm– Also known as the Television Tower, is perfect to get a view of the city of Berlin. It has a viewing gallery at 203m, a bar and restaurant too.
- Berlin Cathedral– Located on the Museum Island, the Cathedral was built in 1905.
- Gendarmenmarkt– A historical square in Berlin with beautiful architecture all around, including buildings such as the Berlin Concert hall, French, and German churches. Great spot to sit outdoors at a cafe/restaurant to people watch or listen to live music.
- Watch an opera- An amazing experience to be able to watch an opera show in the city. Click here for more information on where to watch.
- Lustgarten– A beautiful park on Museum Island, great to take a break from sightseeing. Bring your lunch, or go for a stroll around the park.
- Sanssouci Palace– An iconic palace of Frederick the Great, with stunning interiors and exteriors, the palace makes for some beautiful photos.
- Food tour– Yup, a food tour in Berlin. If you haven’t already realized, but I enjoyed the food in Berlin. Having said that, food tours are a great way to learn about a city and enjoy some of their amazing cuisines.
FINAL THOUGHTS– BERLIN TRAVEL GUIDE ITINERARY
Soo my thoughts on Berlin- a stunning city, with an amazing food scene and lots of things to do and see. A major hub for many European markets, Berlin houses a widely diverse population from around the world. This diversity has definitely spread across the food scene and has given Berlin some truly unique restaurants which range from Michelin stars to food trucks. The trip truly surpassed my expectations, it was so different from Munich and much larger.
What can you expect on your first visit to Berlin?
A larger waist line, JK! But on a serious note, be open to trying different cuisines with a unique twist to them that can be found only in Berlin.
English is wifely spoken in this city due to the diverse population but it doesn’t hurt to learn a few common German phrases, it will help enhance your travel experience to Germany.
The public transportation system is pretty easy to navigate and Berlin is a walkable city unless you are going during winter. I used Uber a lot while I was there because not everyone in my group wanted to walk, and the rides were fairly inexpensive. Expect lots of tourists during the summer months, locals seated outside cafes and restaurants to enjoy the warmer days.
I didn’t find Berlin crazy expensive like London and Paris but certainly not the cheapest either. I think I spent the most in food, eating at fancy restaurants, so I suggest balancing it out and trying some of the inexpensive options too.
The German history is a very sensitive topic, especially the Nazi era highly suggest talking about soccer instead of their history, or you can discuss beer. Another thing I love about the city is their attempt at being sustainable and green. Your Airbnbs or hotels might have rules accordingly, please respect those. They are only trying to do good for the environment, doesn’t hurt to help.
Share your thoughts or comments below. Are you ready for your first visit to Berlin?