Searching around, you’ll probably see lots and lots of information on Berlin and the coolest things that you should do. But what if you booked last minute, you’re on a schedule or a budget? What’s the best way to do Berlin, without any flips and tricks?
You’re asking the right person. At the end of February, I spontaneously booked a trip to Berlin – with no plans or tickets, I made my way to the beautiful, artistic city. I chose to stay in an Airbnb – as I always do. I always find the quirkiest, cheapest and most cultural spaces this way.
In Berlin, I actually stayed in a room in the famous Kino Museum, which roughly translates to film museum. The whole place was so unique and amazing and showcased Indie classics every weekend.
Walking in, I saw that the floor was made completely out of coins, and the walls didn’t really have a space free on the wall for the gorgeous, contemporary artwork. I remember thinking that it was a symbolic way to start my journey into such a cultural and artistic city. My bed also felt like a cloud, so that was a plus. These types of experiences you just wouldn’t be able to find in a hotel.
Sidenote: I actually had 4 days in Berlin, but as everyone will say- you never count the travelling days. I will say, always take the days where you are flying to soak in your surroundings and become familiar with the transport system.
Day one in Berlin
Things I did:
- Saw the West and East side wall
- Berlin Wall Museum
- Brandenburg Gate
A big chunk of my first day was spent walking along the Berlin wall (or what’s left of it). I would say that you should dedicate a lot of time to this, as even the walk up to it is signposted with tonnes of information on the war and the history of Berlin.
On the West side, you’ll find the Berlin Wall museum, which also took me over an hour to completely walk around and digest everything.
Before going in, I had breakfast in the tiny cafe next to the museum. City living is thirsty work. I will also point out, that transporting yourself around Berlin also takes a little while to do. However, it’s made exceptionally more enjoyable by the fact that every underground station has some kind of shop or restaurant in it. Some were even shopping centres in their own right.
After the museum, I made my way to the East Side Gallery, which still remains my favourite part of the trip. It was rife in political messages, and incredible genres and styles of art. I felt like it was the most beautiful, poignant ways that the people of Berlin could react to the split.
My last trip was made to Brandenburg Gate, which was an amazing sight, and really incredible to witness. Here, you’ll also find basically all the over tourists – so that’s always comforting.
I will also point out that I made my way home early for both nights – about 6pm when the sunset. This was partly because of work I had to do, but also because as a solo female, I didn’t feel as safe as I could have. This might be something to bear in mind for yourself.
Things I saw:
- Memorial to the murdered Jews
- Checkpoint Charlie
- Berlin Cathedral
- Reichstag Building
So, my second day in Berlin was definitely a bit more jam-packed. I ended up visiting just about every single iconic spot I could think of. This started with the memorial to the murdered Jews of Europe, which was a humbling, serene moment.
After that, I made my way to Checkpoint Charlie, this is an interesting site that also has a big information point dedicated to it close by. A quick pointer here, there are tonnes of places to eat in this area.
So, once at Checkpoint Charlie, you can basically walk to the Cathedral, Reichstag Building and Alexanderplatz. On the way, you’ll bump into lots of cool shops and interesting sights. I had the best time just walking around, nibbling on food and buying souvenirs for people.
Sometimes, the trips with no plans at all are the most amazing.
I hope this helped a little bit with deciding on what you should do in Berlin. Take it as a realistic guide to Berlin, no swings and roundabouts – just a simple way to see the city and enjoy every bit of it.
In a city filled with art and idiosyncrasy, you don’t really have to search for interesting or cool things to do anyway.
I am planning on making my way back to Berlin in the future, let me know what you think I should do.