How to spend a long weekend in Berlin

How to spend a long weekend in Berlin

4 Nights in Berlin

Growing up I had always wanted to travel to Germany, especially places like Berlin. My fascination with Germany started from a young age, listening to stories of the war from my grandparents who all served in the R.A.F. That early childhood interest grew as I took history in school and completed a history degree thereafter in South Wales.

Fast forward a few years and it was time to head out to Germany and get a feel for the country I longed to explore. Below you’ll find my top tips for a whistle stop tour of Berlin, some of the attractions are obvious and some less-so but all of which I’m sure you’ll enjoy.

Accommodation:

Staying at the Park Inn Hotel in Alexanderplatz gave a great base to explore the city as the train/tube network is very efficient and easy to manage.

Transport:

Trains/Walking. Just remember that after buying your train tickets (buying for a few days is cheaper) you MUST get them stamped/punched at the little machines before you go on the train. We got caught out by undercover ticket officers on the very first train and after pleading about being mere mortal tourists we were let off, but I’ve heard of hefty fines for those caught out (Ze Germans are stern characters which I liked).

Main Attractions:

  • Checkpoint Charlie
  • Brandernburg Gate
  • Parliament
  • The Holocaust Memories
  • Berlin Cathedral

  • Walk up into the roof dome of the houses of parliment (nice cafe for lunch in the park opposite, next door to where you buy tickets for the roof dome walk)
  • Jewish War memorial

Lesser known gems:

  • Museum Cafe
  • Potsdam (we took a the red bus tour and got off a few times, one stop from here you can take a short walk to the Potsdam Brewery and enjoy a nice beer next to a lovely lake setting). Potsdam is also where the university buildings are (stunning) and lots of open green spaces to explore
  • 1936 Olympic stadium – we went to watch the local football side Hertha BSC vs FC Shackle and if you like football (soccer) the atmosphere is crazy!

If you want a real shock:

  • Sachsenhausen concentration camp. If you know anything about the war then you’ll understand that whilst Auschwitz wasn’t the only horrific concentration camp used by the Germans in WW2. 

We found a local tour company (think it was in the train station) and used a local German speaking guide who took a big group of us here. It’s out of the centre of Berlin so you will all take a train journey together and then walk to the site. I honestly can’t tell you how worthwhile this trip is and it’s sad that have to write that down. Our guide was incredible (actually a PHD student who had studies in the UK) and his knowledge was first class. I’m sure you can imagine the horrors that happened here but to stand on the ground and see where it all took place is a sobering experience.

Extra info:

  • Berlin is not an expensive country but European standards. It’s easy to travel around and there is so much to see
  • There are so many places to eat and drink and so many different districts to explore. So my advice would be to just hop on the tube and go to each one each night and you’ll find amazing food and bars).
  • The people are great and despite this being quite a grey city with remnants of the war all around, I thoroughly enjoyed my time here and would love to come back one day.
  • It’s not all doom and gloom – there’s a vibrant student life and one wild nightlife culture if that’s your thing!
  • Great coffee spots, great shops, a river to walk alongside and big green parks to chill out in

Before I went to Paris I said that Berlin was my favourite city and that is simply because it’s a very affordable place that has so many things to see and do. One evening we spent in a spa (everyones naked be prepared) and you could lay back and listen to house music but only when your ears were under the water… Berlin has it all!

Want to know what camera I use for my travels… Click here.

Thanks for reading,

Ed

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