We were lucky enough at the start of the year to get a few days in the beautiful city of Berlin. Its a place that has not been on the top of the list as a city break location, but with some great last minute deals, it seemed like a must!
So we've put together our account of all the amazing places we ate, drank and visited in 3 days in the wonderful city of Berlin.
We arrived fairly late in the evening so didn’t really see a lot of the city but had a short wander round to stretch our legs after the journey. We woke up on our first morning ready to start our explorations! It was a very cold and wet January morning, so once very wrapped up, we made our way to the wide and grey city streets.
Berlin is definitely one of the bigger cities to visit as a break, so it did take us a little while to get our bearings and suss the place out. We stayed at The Grand Hyatt in the Potsdamer Platz area - which we were really happy with, as it meant you are pretty much in the middle of most the sites, great for us as we just walked everywhere.
Our first stop was the Brandenburg gate, such a strange sight to see in real life, and not just from a history textbook! On the way up to this we walked through the Memorial to the murdered Jews of Europe, which is an incredible and slightly eery concrete sculpture. As you walk through, the concrete blocks start small and as the ground slowly dips away they grow in size, once at the centre the blocks are towering over you, some of which are angled so look like they could topple onto you. We found this place really incredible and also went back in the evening to see what it would look like.
After the Brandenberg gate, it was only a few hundred yards to the Reichstag Building, again another famous structure you spent your high school years looking at in textbooks. The building itself is gorgeous, it has been lovingly restored, and was just amazing to see the sheer scale of it in real life!
We then wandered back down to the gate and through its columns and marvelled at all the huge embassy buildings for all the different nations, and made sure we checked out the British one! We couldn’t resist! They seem to be dotted all over the city, and we loved trying to work them all out by the flags flying outside! Something we weren’t great at…..
All this walking in the cold and wet definitely gives you an appetite and one of the best things about Berlin is the incredible food! We found ourselves in a delicious vegan Thai restaurant eating some hot bowls of soup noodles, just what you need to get warmed up!
Re-fuelled we spent the rest of day wandering Berlins vast streets, heading up to the TV tower, stumbling across beautiful churches in Gendarmenmarkt and visiting the Berlin Wall, something we knew very little about before our trip. The wonderful thing about the city is that its history is at every turn, and it really is beautiful in its own way.
After a full day of walking we found ourselves back in the Potsdamer Platz area and happened upon an incredible bustling Italian - Ristorante Essenza, luckily they had one spare table, once settled in we quickly realised why! The food, wine and service were all impeccable. The attention to detail when it comes to service and food quality is unlike anywhere we have ever been!
We dined on champagne cocktails, red wine, and lobster pasta.
We decided to venture further afield and headed towards the Berlin Zoo area - we walked alongside the park for most the way enjoying the view of the trees and fountains on one side and even more impressive embassy buildings on the other, and again trying to work out the countries! There are a lot of hotels in this district, and it is also conveniently the main shopping area. We wandered around the impressive derelict church that seemed to be a central point, and thoroughly enjoyed the German markets round about.
As the saying goes ‘when in Rome’ so we couldn’t resist a little shopping in this area and ventured through some of the beautifully impressive and boutique shopping centres. We found an amazing vegan cafe at the heart of the new shopping centre Bikini Berlin called Funk You - we picked up some delicious vegan snacks that kept us going throughout the trip!
As the day drew to a close we stumbled across Reinhard’s, a traditional German restaurant. The food was just delicious and real comfort food after a long day of walking, and again we started with champagne aperitifs, followed by a gorgeous red wine perfectly complementing the food.
With full bellies, we decided to walk off a little bit of our dinner before heading to a Jazz bar to check out the scene. We found The Hat Jazz bar tucked under the railway arches, an old-fashioned long bar dominating the space, and the sound of trains passing over just fitted so well with the feel of the place. We sat and relaxed the evening away listening and chatting and enjoying the jam session, all the while the trains passed overhead.
We took a taxi home to stay out the rain and collapsed into our bed ready for our last day.
Our final day cemented our love of Berlin and this incredible city, with better weather and warmer temperatures we ventured out on a mission to see Check Point Charlie, the infamous border crossing between the divided Berlin. Another landmark that did not disappoint!
We followed on from here by revisiting some of the places we had been to on the first day, as we just felt the need to experience them again. Stopping off for lunch at the best vegan spot of the trip! Beets and Roots.
We refuelled with some huge bowls full to the brim with fresh goodness and topped them off with some chicken.
Ready to walk again we headed down the long street towards the needle stopping along the way to visit Berlin Cathedral. As a rule, we don’t tend to go inside a lot of buildings when on city breaks, being outside and in the open air is just so refreshing! But this is definitely one not to be missed!
The cathedral is just incredible and if you listen to some of the videos dotted around the space, the story of the building is fascinating. We spent a good few hours wandering around before ascending to the dome at the very top of the building where you can walk around the outside and get a full 360 view of the city, by which time it was starting to get dark. It was just stunning! We then headed to the crypts to see countless ornate tombs of royalty and priests. Strangely this was not eery at all, as the rooms are light and spacious, and the tombs are just beautiful.
The temperature had really dropped so dived into the nearest coffee shop to warm up, and met a lovely German family who recommended visiting the DDR museum nearby, not one to ignore a recommendation we headed over.
The next few hours were spent learning sooooo much about the what life was like after the war for a divided Germany, and the history was just incredible! Definitely one of the best and most informative museums I've ever been too!
Dinner was most definitely calling and after wandering the streets. We settled on a beautiful old building that housed Gendarmerie - high ceilings, huge artworks and a relaxed ambience was just what we needed after walking nearly 19k! We dined on traditional hearty German, Austrian wine, which I have never tried before, and the whole experience was just beautiful!
Before we knew it we were the last ones in the restaurant, so paid our bill and headed back, taking the long way home, past the remnants of the Berlin Wall, which now we knew a lot more about it, was even more awe-inspiring.
We lazily packed and headed to bed full, tired and a little sad that we were leaving the next morning, but so thankful to have found such a beautiful and thought-provoking city to have fallen in love with.