Have you ever been to a place that oozes so much charisma and rebellion that you feel cool just by association?
Berlin held the #1 spot on my wander-list for years but as my friend Ciara and I touched down in Schoenefeld Airport on the outskirts of the German capital, I realised I didn’t actually know what I was expecting from this place.
It turns out that not knowing what to expect is exactly what makes Berlin so incredible.
We stayed at BackPackerBerlin hostel (Knorrpromenade 10, 10245) near Warschauer Strasse S-Bahn, which had great links to the city centre and was close to a horde of restaurants and bars.
Top things to do/see
- Alternative Berlin Free Tour
The highlight of our Berlin experience was definitely the Alternative Berlin walking-tour – a fascinating three-hour tour that unveiled the hidden gems of Berlin’s art and music scene.
Our tour guide, Jake, was knowledgeable and clearly passionate about his adopted city (he’s originally from the south-east of England).
He explained the meanings behind some of the most famous graffiti pieces, in particular the politically-motivated graffiti that embodies the irrepressible conscience this city prides itself on.
To finish the tour, Jake took our group to YAMM Beach, a Jamaican beach bar area on the Media Spree riverbank. Reggae music and cold beer was the perfect end to our epic walk, and we stopped off at an African food hut to have a spicy vegetable wrap that frazzled my taste-buds (note: when the friendly guy says ‘spicy’ he actually means ‘hot enough that the devil himself would need a lie down and a pint of milk’).
The tour runs daily at 11am and 1pm and meets between the Viewing Tower and Starbucks at Alexanderplatz. You don’t need to book a space on the tour unless you’re in a large group.
The tour is tip-based, so you pay your tour guide what you think the tour deserved.
Alternative Berlin Free Tours website here.
2) Viewing Tower
The iconic centrepiece of the Berlin skyline is the Viewing Tower, or Fernsehturm.
At €13 per person, the tower is pricey, but it’s a necessary investment – the views from the top are incredible.
There’s a two-hour wait to go up the tower, but you can skip the queues and get around this- for a price. A ‘premium ticket’ is €19,50 but if you want to save yourself some time, it’s something to consider.
3) German History Museum
Dutch photographer Martin Roemers’s photo series ‘The Relics of the Cold War’ is an eerily brilliant exhibition at the German Historical Museum until 14th August 2016.
Photographs of dormant bunkers and underground tunnels overrun with plants line the dark walls, making you feel just that little bit creeped-out.
Roemer’s exhibition runs at the German Historical Museum until 14th August 2016.
Admission to the museum is €8, €4 reduced/student price or free for under-18s.
4) Berlin Wall
Well it wouldn’t be a post about Berlin without giving the Wall a mention would it?
Go early in the morning to beat the tourist rush!
Nearest S-Bahn: Warschauer Strasse
Nearest U-Bahn: Schlesisches Tor, U1
(1) Checkpoint Charlie; (2 & 3) Big Brobot shop; (4) Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe; (5) Brandenburg Gate; (6) Berlin Cathedral; (7) Fotoautomats
What we ate/drank
Similar outfit to what I wore:
What I listened to:
- Here – Alessia Cara
- Easy – Son Lux (feat Lorde)
- Baby Blue – King Krule
- Fight For You – Pia Mia (feat Chance the Rapper)
- Berlin – RY X
- Kangaroo Court – Capital Cities
- A Real Hero – College & Electric Youth
- Waiting Game – BANKS
- Zombie – The Cranberries
- Life Round Here – James Blake (feat Chance the Rapper)