From where to eat, to where to sleep.
Travel blogger Nadia El Ferdaoussi of TheDailySelf.me gave us her top tips for exploring Berlin, the German and hipster capital of the world…
I’ve never had so many recommendations as when I told people I was going to Berlin. Everyone has a story and everyone talks about the German city with such passion and excitement. I was eager to return after a slightly underwhelming visit a few years ago, to see what all the fuss is really about. I’d found it pretty grey and totally sprawling, but I hadn’t done my homework, this time was different.
After checking in to Andel’s by Vienna House in the Lichtenberg district, I head straight up to the a.lounge on the 6th floor. Access is free when you book an executive room and there’s complimentary prosecco on ice all day, coffee, snacks and the best views over Berlin at sunset.
After a quick refuel, I grabbed tram tickets at the concierge desk (I charged them to my room, handy) and jumped on the U-Bahn directly across from the hotel. Just six stops brought me to Alexanderplatz, one of the most popular shopping areas in Berlin. Home to the famous TV tower landmark and more recently, a massive (in every sense of the word) Primark. The stock is different to Penneys at home, so a summer shopping spree ensued. Emerging back out into the square, I stopped on the steps for a €1.50 hot dog from one of the street vendors, because when in Rome. If you’ve got it in you, hit the Alexa mall for more browsing.
Berlin tip: bring extra luggage for all the shopping you'll inevitably end up with. Or, you could buy more when you're over there… like I did in @primark This suitcase is the lightest thing ever, picked up the dress and denim jacket in Penneys too before leaving Dublin ?? Pic from new post about my 48 hours in Berlin, link in bio #allblackeverything #primark #ad
Everything is quite spread out in Berlin, so you’ll spend a lot of time zipping across the city on the U-Bahn. Buy a day ticket to save cash on multiple journeys. MyTaxi is another handy option, but much more expensive as I found out after a particularly lazy ride in traffic that probably could’ve been made by foot. Cocktails at sunset in Monkey Bar at 25 Hours Hotel wait for no one though. In fact, you’ll be the one waiting as there’s usually a queue to get to the top. Try the Vodka Basil Smash for a refreshing sundowner, exactly what I did before heading back to Andel’s to take advantage of cocktail hour in the lounge.
The nightlife in Berlin kicks off pretty late, so there’s no rush on getting ready. First stop was Madame Claude, a bar where everything hangs upside down, located in a former brothel in Kreuzberg. Strange Alice in Wonderland vibes as if you’re walking into a parallel universe, and an unusual optional entry fee (€1-6). We finished the night in Mano, just around the corner; cool decor, reasonably priced drinks and delicious glass jars of cookies on the bar.
No trip to Berlin is complete without queuing at the famous Burgermeister burger joint in a former train station toilet under the tracks. Greasy hangover food at its best, there’s even a veggie option and the prices are fair. Remember, like lots of places in the city, it’s cash only! Walking across the Oberbaumbrücke bridge over the River Spree brought us towards the East Side Gallery to squeeze in a bit of culture. It’s a kind of open air art gallery featuring the work of 105 artists painted on the Berlin Wall. The other memorial important to pay a visit to is near the Brandenburg Gate, for the Murdered Jews of Europe. The Holocaust Memorial holds the names of approximately 3 million victims, yet astoundingly, you’ll still see people taking smiley selfies here. Please don’t be one of them.
The trip is rounded off with a film strip of four dodgy black and white photos from one of Berlin’s old Photoautomat booths, be ready because there are no second chances (unless you have another €2 coin). Berlin is hipster to the max, but don’t let that intimidate you, there’s lots to see in a short weekend city break.
Rooms at the 4-star Andel’s by Vienna House from €90 per night. See viennahouse.com
Aer Lingus operates up to 2 flights per day from Dublin to Berlin from €59.99 one-way this summer. Visit aerlingus.com
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