If you haven’t visited Berlin yet I am telling you now you need to go. It is such a fascinating city with so much to offer. We were there for four days in total and I can’t believe how much we didn’t get to cover. If I were to describe Berlin in 3 words they would be welcoming, artsy and buzzing. This city has something for everyone and it had everything a capital city should be for me!
On our first day in Berlin we visited the Bauhaus Design Museum. I have wanted to go since learning about the Bauhaus movement in my first year of university, and with it being a 10 minute walk away from our hotel I naturally whisked us off there on our first day. The architecture of the building is even more breathtaking than the designs inside. The minimal white buildings are just too beautiful, especially in our photos against the perfect crisp blue sky. We then just decided to have a wander and ended up somehow at the Victory Tower (we didn’t even know what this was till we got there – we just presumed it was a big tourist attraction lol).
On our first night we visited a local bar for a quiet drink. We met a lovely local guy called Ingroove, he chatted to us for what felt like hours about the ins and outs of his beloved city, the best places to eat, the best places to visit… he pointed us in the direction of his local favourites and not the normal tourist spots everybody goes to. One thing we couldn’t believe was just how friendly everybody was, it isn’t often that a capital city has such a lovely, welcoming vibe. As soon as we got off the plane we had people wanting to help us, quite literally – at the airport underground station we were unsure on which ticket to purchase and within 10 seconds of us looking very confused a lovely German couple came straight over to us and told us what we needed to do without us even asking. Ingroove took a big chunk of his evening and dedicated it towards helping us out; it was so refreshing and reassuring to know that Berlin was full of lovely people who wanted to look after us.
I read a travel article a couple of years back in the stylist magazine where the magazines travel writer had visited New York. She explained that she had visited New York before, so had already seen all of the tourist parts, so this time she lived as a local. She went to local cafes, rented a locals air bnb, went for walks in the local park… everything she did was as if she had lived there for years. And she said it was the best trip she had been on – even better than the first time around with all of the sight seeing. This has stuck in my mind ever since, so when we met Ingroove and he wrote down all of the best paces to go on a few scrap pieces of paper at the bar, I knew we were on to a winner.
His recommendations did not disappoint. Of course we wanted to do all of the tourist bits too, so instead of spreading it out over the four days we were in the city, we decided to do a free walking tour. This took up around two hours of our second day and we managed to see most of the tourist attractions Berlin has to offer, leaving us more time to check out all of the best local spots. I strongly recommend going on a walking tour. The one we went on is available to book here. You just need to reserve a space online at a specific time slot and all you need to do is meet them at the hostel address. Everybody offers a tip at the end of the tour, so it isn’t actually free, but 5 euros is nothing for the amount of information and new things you learn when you are on it. I know for sure we would have got lost trying to find all of these places ourselves, even with George’s ‘excellent map reading skills!’
Everyone was so nice on the tour. There was only a small group of us so we had the time to get to know each other and chat away for two hours! We even went for a drink afterwards together. William and Nicole, the lovely Irish couple we met on the tour were a dream. We spent the rest of the day with them and explored Kreuzberg, a really cool east district of Berlin, adorned with amazing graffiti artwork and quirky bars and restaurants. This was one of the areas our local friend recommended to us!
Later that night George and I visited the Monkey bar near where we were staying. I do regret only visiting at night because the bar has an amazing view over the zoo and it was so dark we couldn’t see anything over the balcony. But nonetheless it was a really cool bar and we really enjoyed ourselves! Make sure you visit in the day of you go too, and maybe at night as well!
The last two days were spent exploring other cool places Ingroove recommended as well as visiting the East Side Gallery. Shock horror George and I didn’t do any research before we visited Berlin and we were totally clueless about the city. Even after our walking tour, where I’m sure our guide even mentioned it, we didn’t know what the East Side Gallery was. I even mention in the vlog that I was really excited to ‘get inside’ because I was so cold and it was snowing and then we got there to realise it was all outside on the east side of the wall. Whattttt how can two people be so uncultured? Well we certainly learned about the city whilst we were there which was actually really fun and inspiring and I wouldn’t change a thing. Although when we go to Brussels, I am making sure that we do even just a little bit of reaearch before we go!
We also visited Checkpoint Charlie which was a real eye opener. We got some hilarious photos with the two American soldiers at the check point who were so funny and totally made our day!
We went back to kreuzberg and had breakfast at another recommended place called Hannibal. We both opted for traditional continental breakfasts, which isn’t really my cup of tea, but you can’t not have a continental breakfast in Europe! They were full of meats, cheeses, fruit, bread and jam. A bit of a miss match really in my opinion but still gurrrrd.
Our favourite part of Berlin was called Hackescher Markt and it was so beautiful as you’ll be able to see on our vlogs. We actually went back there twice because we loved it so much. It reminded me of Italy (even though I’ve never really even visited) there were so many places to eat outside by the water. I know that if we ever, sorry I mean when we do return to Berlin it will be in the summer months because I couldn’t help but think that it would be so beautiful in this spot with the sun gleaming on the water. This was one of the local spots on our piece of paper from the bar, and I am so glad we got chatting to Ingroove just for finding this place. We went to a cafe called Ampelman in this area which was right by the water, we had a gorgeous homemade apple pie and cheesecake. The lunchtime menu looked a great as well!
On our last day we found a really cool spot called Cafe Cinema which was also in the Hackescher Markt area. It was really edgy and reminded me of a bar you’d find in Shoreditch in London or the Northern Quarter in Manchester.
If you are thinking of visiting Berlin soon, I hope I have given you a few helpful tips of where to go! I’ve included all of my favourite photos of places we visited and the sights we saw, which was actually far too many to cut down on, so pretty much everything I have just talked about is pictured here. I have also included our joint effort in filming our very first vlogs which are very obviously our first vlogs, but I hope you enjoy watching them if you do. Let me know what you think!
Part time designer and illustrator and full time traveller. Thanks so much for stopping by. If you want to find out more about me visit my about me page :) Laura x