There is something charming about Germany to me. Cultural diversity, beautiful landscapes, gluckwein, German style houses with timber framing are just some of the things that make this country attractive to many, including me.
While Germany can offer a variety of attractions for foreigners, Berlin is the top urban destination among travellers. It’s a buzzing city full of culture and history. Now, who can say no to such a well-made combination?
The first time I visited Berlin was a year ago when I went to explore German Christmas markets during the festive season with my family. We spent the weekend there, about which I wrote a blog post a while ago, but I felt like there was so much more to see in Berlin after those 48 hours. That’s why I booked another 2 days trip to Berlin with a good friend of mine.
After spending the first hour in Berlin for the second time, I knew that I was right to book a second trip. This city can charm your pants off for sure.
We came to Berlin by bus which took 14 hours, by the way. I am not the hugest fan of travelling by bus, especially overnight as I struggle to fall asleep due to uncomfortable seats and possibly snoring strangers. However, when I see a deal of a round trip for only 6 Eur that I simply cannot say no to, I have to suck it up and prepare myself for a sleepless night on a road.
So it’s safe to say that a was a little grumpy but excited nevertheless when we stepped off the bus at Berlin bus station around 7 a.m. The first thing we did was getting 48-hour Berlin WelcomeCard. For anyone who plans on going to Berlin, I would really recommend buying these for your trip. With Berlin WelcomeCard you get unlimited travel on all public transport for zones AB (city centre) or zones ABC ( city centre + other surrounding areas and airport) and up to 50% off at around 200 major attractions in the city.
We got cards for zones AB and it was full enough to cover all of our needs for this trip. However, if you plan to visit Potsdam which is a town nearby, you might want to consider getting the card for zones ABC.
Our exploration of Berlin started from the Victory Column which we reached with a short bus trip from our apartments. From there we took a walk through Tiergarten park to the Brandenburg Gate, one of the most famous Germany landmarks. Then we went to see Reichstag building, an important historical parliamentary building. If you want to go to the dome which offers a nice view of the city, you need an early registration that we didn’t do, so there no suitable times left for us to visit the dome.
After taking some photos (by some I mean at least 30), we went back to Unter den Linden, a boulevard linking many Berlin sights and landmarks, starting from the Brandenburg Gate.
We couldn’t resist and had a quick stop at Dunkin Donuts that I’m sure would taste better when they aren’t smashed and held in your backpack for the whole day. It appears that our eyes were bigger than our stomachs. Anyway…
The next thing we decided to visit was Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. It was only 5 minutes wall from the Brandenburg Gate. The whole memorial is deeply touching as you walk through its labyrinth. There are many variations of the meaning behind it but I like the idea that you can interpret the monument in your own personal way. Of course, the main purpose of it is to remind people of the horrible events that took place in Europe and warn.
After this, it felt appropriate to visit the famous Checkpoint Charlie which was an inspiration for many thrillers or spy novels. This reminder of the former border crossing is swamped by the tourists 24/7. We had to wait a few minutes until we could catch a glimpse of it.
I used to be obsessed with anything related to spies, so this was one of the sights that I really wanted to see. It also gave me a little bit of Bridge of Spies movie vibe (GREAT MOVIE. MUST SEE.). These days Checkpoint Charlie is standing side by side with the biggest US fast food merchandise, McDonald’s. Oh, the irony.
We decided to end our first-day sightseeing with a walk along the East Side Gallery, the largest open-air gallery in the world. Some of the paintings left us thinking about life and some just made us smile.
The next day we started with a visit to Charlottenburg Palace. It’s a beautiful 17th-century castle with large gardens, perfect for an evening or morning walk. Next must-see sight for us was the Olympic Stadion of Berlin, a place for top sports events and concerts. We didn’t go inside but I can imagine how glorious it looks from the inside.
It was already around noon, so we had lunch at Mall of Berlin which is effing huge and we could spend there the whole day if we had the time. Definitely recommend to check out Restaurant Aida while at the mall, the best pasta ravioli I had in a while.
After stuffing our stomachs with delicious food and resting for a few minutes, we walked to Gendarmenmarkt. It’s a beautiful square where you can find a big Christmas market during the festive season. It is said to be the most beautiful public square in Berlin.
During our last minutes in Berlin, we quickly walked around Museum Island which consists of 5 museums that look like architectural wonders, might I add. Of course, we had to stop and take some photos of the gorgeous Berlin Cathedral. Second time seeing it but it still takes my breath away.
We only had around 2 hours until our bus, so that was the wrap on our Berlin adventure. Trips like this one always leave me craving for the next adventure, so I couldn’t be more excited about my upcoming trip to Bulgaria about which I’ll write a blog post soon (hopefully, not after another 2 months…).
For more things to explore, check out this self-guided walking tour in Berlin which has a list of hidden gems and more funky places to see and visit.
Also, here’s a short video that my friend made. Take a look if you want to see with your own eyes how beautiful Berlin is.
So, what is your planned travel destination for 2018?
What country or city you would want to revisit all over again?
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