I was so excited to return to Berlin after studying abroad there 3 years ago! This past weekend Chris and I finally headed over to explore the wonderful city. While there are endless things to see there, I think we did a great job of fitting in all the big sights and had a great time learning more about the history of the city. Read below for a recap of our adventure!
Day 1: East side loop
I thought we would kick off our time in this wonderfully historic city with a walk around the East Side. We were staying at a friends flat on the boarder of the neighborhoods Kreuzberg and Neukolln which are known to be some of the most “hip areas.” After getting in at a bit past 2:30 that morning due to a delayed flight ou of Stansted, we thought we owed it to ourselves to have lunch at Curry 36. What could be better than a greasy curry-wurst and chips smothered in ketchup and mayo…yum!
We headed north from there to Checkpoint Charlie next, stopping to learn more about the history of this site on the boarder of the east and west sides. After a quick stop at Starbucks to steal some air conditioning (it was a stifling 95 degrees and beautifully sunny out the entire time we were there….not complaining, but it definitely made walking the 5+ miles we did that weekend a bit more intense!) we walked along the River Spree to the East Side Gallery. While there are pieces of the wall elsewhere in the city, this is the longest segment still standing. Covered in art from 118 artists from 21 different counties, this is an amazing way to view the wall! We finished our day by strolling through Treptower Park to see the Soviet War memorial and hangout in the shade next to the lake.
After a quick recharge, we caught the sunset at Viktoria Park over looking the waterfall from the top of the war memorial. The great views of the city were followed by an equally awesome dinner of beers, pasta salad, pretzels and some of the creamiest tzatziki we’ve ever had at the Golgatha Biergarten at the southwest side of the park.
Day 2: West Side Sights
The day began with breakfast and coffee at Father Carpenter’s coffee shop. Not kidding, I think they used at least 3 avocados to make our smashed avocado toast! Also a cute little courtyard to sit in and enjoy the meal. Next, we walked over to beautiful Museum Island and down to the Holocaust Memorial and Brandenburg Gate. This little stretch is easily walk-able and you can see other historical sights along the way, such as Humbolt University where many notable alumni, such as Karl Marx, studied as well as the Neue Wache memorial for war victims.
Next, we headed over to the Mitte/Prenzlauer Berg area for lunch of bratwurst, sour kraut (my fav!), potato salad and of course, pretzels and cheese at the Prater Garten. Oh yeah, and some more German bier 🙂 After hanging out and watching some futbol we walked explored the vintage shops along Oderburger Str. Chris got a super cute vintage skinny knit tie from VEB Orange, a funky antique and vintage shop and we also grabbed a yummy espresso at cute coffee shop Bonanza.
After another long day of exploring and sight seeing we wanted to stay pretty tame that night. We found Vater Bar, a cozy little bar where the bartender was making some fresh blended watermelon and pineapple vodka drinks 🙂
Day 3: Sanssouci Palace in Potsdam
Like any great day, this one started with breakfast at Roamers, a cute California themed little cafe. We had a little bit of a wait but worth it for the great food! Next we hopped on the S1 line for a day trip to Potsdam to visit Frederick the Great’s summer palace of Sanssouci. This was only about an hour train ride and a short bus once you arrive in Potsdam to get to the palace grounds and gardens. Definitely worth taking the trip if you have time, the palaces, built around 1745 to 1747, were beautiful and are often compared to Versailles. If you have the time, get there early and buy tickets for any palaces you’d like to tour, but access to the grounds are free if you just want to walk through and explore. After a quick coffee in the windmill cafe on the grounds we headed back to the city. Side note, highly recommend reading more on Frederick the Great’s impact on Berlin, we found this fascinating!)
To finish our time in Berlin, we went to the amazing rooftop garden bar Klunkerkranich. We lucked out and saw an amazing sunset over the skyline and listened to great music. Make sure you bring cash though, you have to pay 3€ each to get in and they take a deposit for each glass you use. Definitely a must-go place especially on a beautiful day!
Our friend Jo, who’s place we stayed at while we were there, left us a great list of things to do. I wanted to make sure to include all of them even though we didn’t get to do everything. She gave great advice and I hope we can get to them next time. If you get to Berlin before I get to go back, please let me know if you make it to any of them!
Bars & Clubs
- Wilde Reanatte
- Badeschiff open air pool
- Arena Club
- Club dear Visionäre on the Spree
- Burgit & Beir
- Schiller Bar for all you can eat brunch
- Mauerpark flea market
- Roller skating at Templehoff field
- Schlachtensee lake
- Plötzensee lake
- Berliner Unterwelten underground tours