Berlin City Guide: Top Tips
The first time I went to Berlin I intended to stay for three days, but ended up staying for three weeks. That’s how much I fell in love with the city, and I just couldn’t leave.
I have since been back several times and spent weeks or months there. But if you don’t have that much time to spare, there are some MUST must-do’s for a fleeting stop in Germany’s capital.
Berlin has many vibrant areas that are rich in culture, history, food and drink options. From classy Prenzlauer Berg to the north of Mitte (the center), to grungy Kreuzberg in the south -- there are many areas good for a wander.
- For transportation, the U-Bahn (subway) is a quick and easy way to get around but if you want to see more while traveling, the best way to do it is by bike. There are bike lanes everywhere and the cars and bikes have a nice, respectful relationship on the roads.
- If you start in Mitte, you will see the well-known television tower or Alex as the locals call it. Head up Karl-Liebknecht-Straße and you will hit the Spree River and Museumsinsel, a collection of five museums, and the beautiful Berliner Dom (cathedral).
- Continue along tree-lined Unter den Linden to the famous Brandenburg Gate, with the incredibly moving Holocaust Memorial to the south and the Reichstag (parliament building) to the north. It's worth climbing up the glass dome of this striking building, but make sure to book in advance.
- For some historical landmarks, Checkpoint Charlie (the crossing point between East and West Berlin during the Cold War) is to the southeast, as well as the Berlin Wall Memorial. Also, ride along the East Side Gallery between Friedrichshain and Kreuzberg, a section of the Berlin Wall covered with 105 paintings by many artists.
- Three foods you must try in Berlin are currywurst, hamburgers and schnitzel. For currywurst, head to Konnopke Imbiss near the U-bahn stop Eberswalder Str. in Prenzlauer Berg -- lines go down the street, but it’s well worth it. For burgers try Burgermeister in Kreuzberg or Burgeramt in Friedrichshain, and for amazing schnitzel, Schwartzwaldstuben at U-Bahn stop Oranienburger Tor is definitely the place to go.
- Nightlife in Berlin is like no other and you have to see it to believe it. Must-go clubs, if even for a quick walk around, are Club der Visionaere, Berghain, YAAM and White Trash Fast Food. If you are looking for something more chilled, it’s quite common in summer to congregate in parks to drink and hang out. It’s always a really good vibe, with music (usually reggae/bongos), slacklining, games etc. Alternatively, for some summer fun head to Badeschiff, the floating swimming pool on the river.