Travel Tuesdays takes on beautiful city of Berlin this week, where Charlotta Mattila discovers the long history and colourful cityscape of the capital in just 72 hours.
Wherever you are, when you have less than 72 hours to explore a vibrant city of millions of inhabitants like Berlin, it is quite impossible to run through every sight and suburb. Yet, there’s no doubt you wouldn’t be able to make the most of your trip in 3 days, just like I did.
To be able to see the diversity of Berlin’s East and West side, it is worth of exploring a couple of different neighbourhoods. Whether interested in culture or nightlife, hopefully you’ll be able to pick some must-see spots from my last Berlin visit:
- Mitte & Museuminsel
After the fall of Berlin wall in 1989 the areas around the centre, ‘Mitte’, have gone through a lot of construction projects, and are nowadays known for skyscrapers, modern art, business, filmfestivals, and huge glass buildings, such as the Sony Centreat Potsdamer Platz. When heading towards Brandenburger Tor, you’ll be walking past the Holocaust Memorial. The Memorial for the murdered Jews consists of 2700 built concrete slabs to give the visitors a sense of disorientation and confusion. Although the whole memorial has received controversial feedback, it one those must spots for a couple of cliché tourist photos.
Another photo spot just next to the memorial is Brandenburger Tor, which has been throughout the history a symbol for victory and peace as well as is the famous place for Ronald Reagans “Tear down the wall” –speech.
Museum Island has a wide range of museums to offer, however with limited time you might just want to observe to UNESCO heritage complex outdoors unless you are not a true history-lover. I would still recommend paying the 5 euro entrance and climb up to the top of the Cathedral to catch a beautiful view.
Also, the DDR Museum is located just opposite the Cathedral. The unique museum is the only one providing an insight to everyday life in DDR instead of having the focus on Stasi power in East Berlin.
- Friedrichschain & Kreuzberg
Friedrichschain in East Berlin is a good place for cheap eating, outing and flea market shopping. Although there are not as many sights as in other parts of the city, one of the neighbourhood’s top attractions, is no doubt East Side Gallery, a 1.3 kilometre long section of Berlin Wall covered with graffiti. The Gallery consists all together of 105 paintings from artists all around the world expressing political opinions and hope for a better future. During the summer East Side Galery it is also a popular picnic spot, as well as a romantic place to have an evening stroll along the river. The Wall Gallery ends by Oberbaum Bridge, which bounds Friedrichschain to Kreuzberg.
Out of the neighbourhoods in Berlin, Kreuzberg, and especially the area around Bergmankiez are known as the heart of culture and nightlife. Mehringdamm and Bergmann Streets are the musts for everyone looking for unique gifts, handcrafts, and vintage clothes, as well as a real foodie heavens. If you want to have the authentic experience, go for Currywurst or Döner Kebab, however if you prefer fine dining, there are plenty of affordable options.
For even more food experiences visit Marheineke Market Hall. Whether searching for Bavarian cheese, or ultimate hipster smoothies, I’m pretty sure the hall has it. When it comes the time for wine o’clock a perfect place for enjoying quality wine is Not Only Riesling. In case you don’t fancy wine that much tough, Kreuzberg has even more options for bars than you could even imagine!
3. Charlottenburg & Schönberg
In comparison to the colourful Kreuzberg in the East, Charlottenburg is a sophisticated area in the West, which you will notice on the neighbourhood’s architecture, restaurants, shops and, yes, prices as well. However, Charlottenburg is probably best known for Charlottenburg Palace, which is the largest remained palace in Berlin.
After our visit to the palace, we wanted to check out what Charlottenburg’s famous eateries had to offer and went for Schwarzes Café at Kantstrasse. I would classify Schwarzes Café is an real insider choice offering 24/7 breakfast, home-made pasta, lunch and heavenly desserts.
To explore the areas classy atmosphere, walk along the shopping streets, Kant Street and Kurfür Street. The shopping heaven continues further closer to Schöneberg, where you can find the largest department store of Europe, KaufhausDesWestens.
Towards the night, head to Tiergarten and Bikini Berlin. Although Bikini Berlin is best known as a huge shopping complex, it also offers a stylish bar scene. For the best cocktails and a view over Tiergarten, Monkey Bar on the 10th floor of a hotel is the place to be!
Unfortunately, the popular Monkey Bar was so packed that we spend our night a bit closer to my friend’s home in Schönberg in a hidden cocktail bar called The Green Door, which revealed an unique experience with carefully mixed cocktails, top service, good old school vibes and much more. Indeed, a magical night to end the 3 day trip… or a perfect start for making the most of your last night before catching the morning flight -it’s all up to you!
Edited by Natalie Whitmore