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Berlin: city break

publication date: Jun 10, 2013
author/source: Olivia Coates

Brandeburg GateAlthough the various areas are spread out, Berlin is a very walkable city. The architecture is amazing and the fashion is edgy, making Berlin an attractive place to visit for a long weekend. The political history is fascinating and the old buildings blend with the new seamlessly. The Berlin Wall is symbolic and tragic, and is well worth a stroll down. The graffiti that now covers the wall is imaginative and creative, illustrating the social progress of Germany.

Reichstag, the building for the German Parliament, is one of Berlin’s most famous landmarks. We decided not to do a tour of the building (only available with advanced booking) but the tours are staggered throughout the day, and are a great way to see the city’s views in the day and at sunset. The rooftop restaurant looks amazing too, but a little out of our price range.

Another way to see a fantastic view of Berlin is to go up the Television Tower, one of the most iconic buildings, located in the heart of the city, Alexanderplatz. The tower is 368 metres high, the highest building in Germany, the second highest (open to the public) in Europe. The view is spectacular, however we found the staff to be a little unfriendly. There is also a revolving restaurant which we didn’t visit. Alexanderplatz square is an interesting reflection of urban aesthetics and home to the World Time Revolving Clock.

The Brandenburg Gate, a defining symbol of Berlin, is definitely worth a visit, located between what was East and West Germany.

Haulocaust Memorial, BerlinThe Holocaust Memorial is a beautiful and peaceful square, the site covered with 2711 concrete slabs of varying heights, across a sloping area, designed by Peter Eisenman and Buro Happold. The different heights of the slabs and slopes are designed to create a confusing and strange ambiance, reflecting the loss of human reason during the Holocaust. We often sat and had lunch or a drink in one of the cheap and cheerful cafés overlooking the memorial and visited it all three days we were there.

We only visited a couple of the museums on Museum Island, our favourite being the Pergamon Museum, full of ancient history and fascinating artifacts. You can take a tour around the museum with a headphone set, explaining all the various objects.

Riverboat Tour, BerlinBoth Charlotte and I would definitely recommend a river boat tour. It is a wonderful way to see the famous city landmarks and very relaxing, after so much walking. There are many boat tours, leaving every 15 minutes, so just take your pick!

We had read various things about the night life in Berlin, so we were interested to experience it. In various clubs, closing time only occurs when the last people leave, but if you don’t fancy something that hardcore, then there are many many bars around Berlin to visit, ranging from cocktails and bubbles to beer and crisps. All the bars we visited were good fun.

We weren’t overly keen on the authentic German food, but just like most capital cities there was a wide array of cuisine to choose from and we had some great, good value meals.

What made Berlin even better was the amazing sunny weather whilst we were there. We would definitely advise walking everywhere unless you want to be brave and hire bikes (which are available from most hotels, bike shops and, in fact, our hostel). It is probably the best way to see and get a feel for the city.

Both of us were very impressed with the service and cleanliness of Grand Hostel (Tempelhofer Ufer 14, Kreuzberg, 10963 Berlin) which offers a range of rooms from double with bathroom to dormitory with shared facilities. The staff were helpful and reception was open 24 hours a day.

I would definitely recommend a visit to Berlin.

PWT rating: ♥♥♥♥♥