48 Hours in Berlin

27 Apr

So very recently I surprised my little sister with a mini getaway to Berlin! It’s a city neither of us had visited before, mostly due to the fact we’ve spent so much time in Spain & Italy, or over in the States visiting our family. It was a bit of a rogue choice, and booked on a whim only 48 hours beforehand, but it actually worked out to be the most perfect city to escape to! Here is my weekend guide to Berlin.

Location
I chose the East side of Berlin as our base, mainly because I was recommended it, and also I’m a like to try and do the less-done thing. Nearly everyone will stay central near Alexanderplatz, probably just for ease of access to the most famous landmarks. Our hotel was in the Friedrichshain region, only 40 minutes on public transport from Tegel Airport. It’s quirky and cute and quaint all at the same time, but luckily doesn’t come with the floods of tourists that you’d find in the centre. The subway system is soooo good in Berlin, as are the normal trains, so realistically no matter where you stay you’ll be able to explore. Moreover, my fave life-saving app Citymapper is also available, so travelling around was easy peasy.

Day 1
After an evening of journeying yesterday, a little lie in is definitely needed. Head out for a super brunch in the heart of the Friedrichshain sector. Silo Coffee is an amazing breakfast cafe situated just off of Boxhagener Platz. We chose to build our own brunches with poached eggs, spicy beans and some banging bacont. Accompanied by some delicious organic apple juice it was just the start to the day we needed.

If like us you are kinda interested in culture and history, but not that much, take the subway into Gesundbrunnen for a guided tour of an old air raid shelter. It’s apparently one of the last of its kind after the majority were destroyed during de-militarisation of the city. The tour was 90 minutes of fun facts, and it gives you a different perspective on the war – especially if history is usually something that bores you. The museum is called Berlinner Unterwalten, and is just a 2 minute walk from the subways station. We chose tour number 1 which was an English speaking tour departing from the subway station at 1pm. Wrap up warm, wear good shoes and if you can get away with it, say you’re a student for a sneaky discount!

After a short coffee and bratwurst break, jump back on the subway and venture off to the usual Berlin sights. The Brandenburg Gate, Reichstag building and the Memorial for the Murdered Jews are all within a stone’s throw of each other, and must sees in the city. Although they were rammed with people, we got our pics and enjoyed wandering about.


An early dinner is absolutely necessary after such a busy day being tourists, so we headed back to our cute little district and burgers were on the cards. Burgeramt, also just off of Boxhagener Platz, is a delightfully cheap, cheerful and tasty place for the largest burgers in town. Make sure you share fries here cos they are maaaasive! And take cash, nearly nowhere in this area takes credit card.

Head back to the hotel now for an evening rest, before gearing up to hit the bars of Berlin. If you fancy a lively little pre-drink bar, choose Hannibal, where it’s happy hour all day and the cosmopolitans are ginormous and only 4 euros! Down the road away from the square and bar, we stumbled across Suss War Gestern, a mini club which was a rally good find from us. Good music, cheap entry, and few tourists make this the perfect place for a little dance.

Day 2
A perfect hangover cure is Boxhagener Platz Market, open on Saturdays and Sundays. This quaint little spot sells freshly squeezed orange juice and humungous pastries, as well as random brick-a-brack and vintage goodies. It’s well worth a wander about. Grab yourselves some rental bikes and wiggle your way  into the East Side of Berlin. Bikes were only 12 euro for the day, and you can definitely find cheaper, but we were lazy and rented from our hotel. Yesterday was the city centre, today, another region. The East Side Gallery is obviously iconic, and very accessible by bike. In fact the whole of the city is thanks to Berlin’s amazing network of bike priority lanes and perfectly straight roads. The gallery runs along side one of Berlin’s many canals, so definitely stop here for an ice lolly or beer before jumping back on your bike for a hefty cycle to lunch.

Follow the canal towards the west which will take you to the south of the city centre, where the TV Tower and Berlin Cathedral lie. It was beautiful to see these in the sunshine, and we even selected one of the many canal-side restaurants for our late lunch. Following the river along further you reach a selection of pop up restaurants with a mass of deck chairs on the huge lawn space in front of the river. With views of the cathedral this is the ideal sport for some early evening ice cream and catching the last of the sun. We had a cute little Aperol Spritz as cocktails were reasonably priced at 5 euros.

Cycling home through Alexanderplatz and you must keep an eye out for one of the famous Berlin photoautomat booths. They’re old style photo machines, with vintage camera equipment making for an adorable strip of 4 black and white pics. The best souvenir! Back at the hotel, walk just 5 minutes west of the main square in Friedruchshain and you reach No Hablo Español Burrito. We can’t explain why, but we both had a craving for Mexican. Glad we found this little gem then. Also try their Fritz-Kola. It’s divine.

So there you have it. Probably not your usual Berlin city guide, but it’s how we did it and we loved every second. Hope you enjoy this gorgeous city!

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