Capping off the Berlin series with a handy cheat sheet that I’m hoping you can use as a quick printed reference, or to help you in your overall planning. Download the printable guide here.
WHERE TO STAY
Book at ARCOTEL Velvet Berlin: a four-star hotel in the heart of Mitte that will not break the bank. Apart from being decorated in ‘Berlin boutique’ trappings, the hotel is a stone’s throw away from everything, including:
- The tram runs right in front of the hotel
- Oranienburger Tor subway stations is just around the corner
- Mirchi—an amazing Singaporean restaurant is across the street and serves dinner until 1:00am
- Oranium Cafe and its delicious breakfast/brunch options are 350 meters away
- The hotel is located in Oranienburger Straße which transforms into party central at night
- At the heart of Mitte, the hotel is walking distance to a good number of tourist spots including Hackescher Markt (950m), Berliner Dom (1.4km), Brandenburg Gate (1.6km), and Alexanderplatz (2km)
Cost: €70 to €160 per night (double occupancy) without breakfast
WHERE TO EAT
Oranium Cafe 1066 Oranienburger Straβe 33/34 10117 Berlin-Mitte
Great breakfast/brunch option; €20 to €30pp for an entrée, coffee, and a side of fruit or cake
Wurst right-off-the-grill and other local market favourites; €10 pp for a satisfying lunch
Mirchi Oranienburger Straße 5010117 Berlin-Mitte
Delicious Singaporean dinners—a taste of the diverse choices of good food in Berlin—serving dinner until 1:00AM thus perfect for post-dancing munchies; €20pp for dinner
WHAT TO DO
Suggested two-day itinerary:
Day 1: Breakfast to Brandenburg Gate
- Kickoff your trip with a delicious breakfast at Oranium (1066 Oranienburger Straβe )—surrounded by its beautiful interiors that fuse stunning ox-blood-red chesterfield-esque seating with modern chandeliers, and their delicious food.
- Walk to St. Mary’s Church (Marienkirche)—said to be the oldest church in the city.
- Visit Alexanderplatz and check out The Fernsehturm (television tower), the Weltzeituhr (Worldtime Clock), and Rotes Rathaus (Red Cityhall).
- Grab a currywurst from one of ‘grillwalkers’ at Alexanderplatz and head towards the Berliner Dom. Cut through the park so you can stop by the Marx-Engles Forum.
- Photograph the Berliner Dom from the park’s side, and then take even more photographs of the main entrance’s façade. Enter and be amazed.
- At the exit of the crypt, stop by the crêpestation and enjoy a nutella crêpe, a cup of coffee, and the view.
- Swing by the Altes Museum (Old Museum) and don’t forget to count all 18 ionic columns.
- Walk towards Unter den Linden and check out the Mercedes-Benz Gallery.
- Continue walking down Unter den Linden until you reach Brandenburg Gate—the most iconic landmark of Berlin. Don’t forget to take notice that you are walking literally unter den linden or under the linden trees as you make your way to the end of the road.
- Take a short walk to the Holocaust Memorial and give the site the time and reflection it deserves.
- Continue to the Reichstag and take the tour to the iconic dome. Note that advanced booking is required.
- Grab dinner and end Day 1 with a post-dinner stroll towards Brandenburg Gate to see the amazing structure at night.
Day 2: Chocolate, History, Party
- Start your day off with a visit at the Ritter Sport flagship store. Going early will help you skip the crowd.
- Take a walk around Großer Tiergarten—a 210-acre urban park in the heart of Berlin. This should burn off some of the chocolate you had at Ritter Sport.
- Head to the Victory Column and remember not to cross the roundabout—take the underpass instead.
- Take the subway or walk back to Hackescher Markt which is right outside the Hackescher Markt station. If you go on a Thursday or Saturday, you can grab a quick cheap lunch from the market stalls. Otherwise, you will also find a ton of restaurants although some may be easily classified as your usual tourist trap.
- Walk to Café Cinema around the corner from Hackescher Markt and enter the small dark alleyway next to it and check out the street murals. It will warm you up for your next destination.
- Hop on the S75 and head to the Berlin Wall East Side Gallery and view even more art on walls of concrete.
- After seeing the East Side Gallery, prepare yourself for the a more somber version of the wall at the Topography of Terror (via the S-Bahn with transfer) which is an indoor and outdoor museum right at the former SS headquarters. Seeing the Berlin Wall at sunset adds to the experience so time your visit if possible.
- Lighten up your mood (after the very heavy content at the Topography of Terror) by heading over to Checkpoint Charlie. The story behind Checkpoint Charlie is historically significant but watching some tourists pay €2 to have a photo taken with two goofy guys pretending to be American soldiers is sure to make you laugh.
- Just like Day 1, take advantage of the fact that you’re in a city that offers amazingly diverse good food by treating yourself to a nice dinner. If you’re up to it, you can even extend the night and go drinking or dancing (or both) until the next morning. After all, you are in one of Europe’s best party cities—you’re in Berlin!