I was recently Germany bound again, but this time trying out a new city – Berlin. Berlin is arguably the hipster capital of Europe and I can vouch for its intimidating coolness. If you want to take your handlebar moustache for a walk around all the trendy cafés and bars, then this is definitely the city for you. If you are just interested in seeing the sites and learning a bit of history, you will still find so much to do and enjoy in Berlin.
Like all old European cities, there are plenty of impressive architecture to marvel over. The German parliament is housed in the Reichstag building which was damaged by fire and World War II, but has been impressively reconstructed. The building is topped by a huge dome which offers 360-degree view of the Berlin city. If you’re organised, you can book a tour and take a jaunt up it. I was not that organised, but my friend has done it and assured me it was amazing. For big impressive things to take your photo in front of, there is also the Brandenburg Gate and Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church.
Museum Island is a UNESCO World Heritage site containing five museums. The museums are all housed in beautiful buildings and there are lots of grassy areas to sit and rest your weary feet. I did go to Museum Island with the intention of visiting a few museums, however the sun came out and it seemed like a sin to go inside, so we chose to sit on the grass, enjoy a beer and people watch instead. We did venture up Berlin Cathedral and take in the views.
City of 2 halves
Berlin has a fascinating history, and there are many opportunities throughout the city to learn more. Parts of the wall are still remaining with the longest remaining strip in Friedrichshain, which has been painted by international artists. If you like your holiday phots slightly kitsch, you can get your photo taken at Checkpoint Charlie with 2 guys dressed up as American guards who happily camp it up for the photo.
Eating and drinking
No matter your tastes in food and drink wise, you will find something that floats your boat in Berlin. Each of the neighbourhoods has its own scene, so if you’re into organic coffee culture or prefer to whittle away the hours dancing to techno in a warehouse, you will be catered for. One word of warning for non-smokers amongst you, in Berlin you can still smoke in bars if they are under 75 m² and don’t sell food. As smoking still seems a popular past time amongst Berliners, I found it really difficult to find a bar at night that didn’t look like a smoke machine has malfunctioned inside it. My advice – take a jacket and be prepared to drink outside.
Have you been to Berlin and have some stories to tell or tips to share? Let me know in the comments below!