There is plenty to see and do in Berlin. As I only had a few days I picked a few areas I wanted to get to know better and some sights, restaurants, shops and more that I could check ut. As it is fairly easy to get around I just went from place to place or I strolled around in pretty areas with little markets, cute outdoor cafes, parks and pretty streets.
East Side Gallery
What´s a visit to Berlin without a visit to the wall and the East Side Gallery. The Berlin wall was erected in 1961 and torn down in 1989 and functioned as a physical and ideological division of the people of Berlin. Today parts of the wall is still seen around in the city as a reminder although most of the wall has been completely destroyed. East Side Gallery is an open air gallery, probably the largest in the world, and international memorial from 1990 free for everyone to come and see. The 1 kilometer and so long section of the wall displays the art of more than 100 paintings by different artists such as Ignasi Blanch, Jim Avignon, Susanne Kunjappu-Jellinek, David Monti and many more. It´s kind of a must see if you visit Berlin and is actually really cool whether you are into history, art or just want to see something special from Berlin. I personally loved it and it was also so interesting to see street art from the 90s. Street art has changed so much over these years and the creative expression is so different now than from what it used to be in my opinion; the shapes, the colors, the topics expressed through art.
I went there in the afternoon but it seems you can try to avoid the big tourist crowd by going in the morning or evening or combining the walk with a break by the river, which is a really nice place to sit down in the evening sun. Preferably with some wine or beer.
Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe
The memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe was built in memory of the Jewish victims of the Holocaust, designed by Peter Eisenman and Buro Happold. It consists of large concrete blocks placed in rows stretching over a big square. It is located near the embassies in Berlin as well as the Brandenburg Gate. Close by is also the location of Adolf Hitler´s bunker and the bunker complex with the Fürher HQ although buildings and car parks have been constructed to cover these sites.
The memorial itself is not as moving as, say, going to one of Germany´s concentration camps or Ground Zero in New York. From a more artistic view point though, the memorial site is really special. You are able to walk among these perfectly lined blocks as you would in a cemetery except that the blocks are grey and anonymous and each one you pass is just one of very many. Although the day was sunny it did give me a bit of chills and an unsettling feeling. Perhaps it´s meant to symbolize the gruesome way jews were regarded as for Nazi Germany; just numbers to be executed one by one. No feelings, no personality, no bonds, no relations, no history. Just a number.
Probably the most known landmark in Berlin and is what the Eiffel tower is to Paris. As it was close by the Holocaust memorial site I decided to go and check it out. Like the Eiffel Tower the square is super crowded with tourists and I was there only a few minutes or so before deciding to move on to the next place. Still, it was a nice thing to have in my Berlin agenda.
I really liked Mauerpark! Not only was the market a fun activity to do on a Sunday, it´s also the perfect place to hang as I wasn´t really too strict in terms of my plans. I did some great people watching (we found a hippie dude who MADE OUR DAY), watched the brave souls who dare to sing their hearts out at the Sunday kareoke and chilled with a beer while watching bands and singers perform in and around the park, chatted with the local grafitti artists painting on a little slice of the old Berlin wall and just sat and enjoyed the sun.
Nearby there is also another fun market on Sunday, Arkonaplatz market is rather impressive. Everything from helmets from WW2 to vintage suitcases and maps. I HATE that I forgot to bring cash, so please learn from my mistake and bring cash instead of card, they´re not going to accept it unfortunately.
I wanted to squeeze in some art museums as well and made plans with a friend to see the Mario Testino expo at the Helmut Newton Foundation but OF COURSE the place is closed on Sundays. Who keeps an expo closed on a Sunday???? But if you happen to be in Berlin soon this could be a fun activity. König Gallery should also be good. I also heard the graffiti at Holzmarkt is a good place for art in an urban setting.
Allans Breakfast Club and wine bar
I wanted to try this place as it sounded like a fun place where cocktails are allowed at any hour. I instantly liked the atmosphere of the place but I have to admit that the service and the food for that matter didn´t quite live up to the expectations. The salmon toast was good enough but being from Norway I know a salmon on toast can be just so much more. The mimosa was tasty though, just too bad I almost finished the drink before my food was *FINALLY* served.
I read about Father Carpenter being a cosy little place to sit down for a coffee as it is located in one of the cosiest little alleys in Berlin. You can either sit outside and enjoy the fresh air or sit inside the restaurant or cafe. Their brunch is supposed to be well worth your money, unfortunately my belly only allowed a croissant and a cappuccino. I brought my book and sat inside as it was full outside and enjoyed my little break. The coffee is quite good, but like Allan´s Breakfast Club and Wine Bar the service isn´t great.
Superfoods is located in the heart of Mitte and is a cute little cafe perfect for Sunday brunches. The food is healthy, fresh and inexpensive and I left on a full stomach. Good service as well 🙂
If vegan food isn´t really your thing then Cafe Fleury is right next to Superfoods and is a great option for a Sunday brunch.
Betty’n Caty 26
My first morning in Berlin I woke up and felt like going for a nice breakfast. I read that Bety´n Caty 26 was a pretty alright place to enjoy the first meal of the day and went there to check out if the rumors were true. Well, I was definitely happy with my choice. The place has tables inside and outside and both options were tempting. So I went for a table inside but with open doors to be able to do some people watching as well. I really enjoyed this place, the food and service were great and the place is just so beautiful, just my style. Would definitely go back there again.
Other good brunch places I heard about are No Fire No Glory, Cafe Einstein, Spreegold and Pasternak. Cafes that are supposedly worth the visit are Refinery Coffee, Commonground Coffee Shop & Bar, Oslo kaffebar and The Barn Coffee Roasters.
Ice cream joints
Oak and ice
SOOOOO GOOOOOD! This ice cream place/cafe has such a delicious selection of ice cream, including lemon and basil sorbet. It´s also a great place to hang with friends on a Saturday afternoon.
California Pops Berlin
Passing by here I couldn´t resist the ice creams. I had a hard time picking out just one but finally went for this one, strawberry covered in chocolate with coconut and almond drizzle. YUM!
If you´re looking for a relaxing activity that includes ice cream head to Auguststrasse for a little stroll and check the the art galleries and swing by one of the ice cream shops. Such a nice litte area and the perfect place to enjoy this icecold slice of heaven. I also passed by Clärchens Ballhaus which looks like a really welcoming and homey beer garden under the trees. If you are not too into art galleries but still fancy a nice city stroll Kastanien Alle is not a bad choice either.
I also made a little stop by Mon Plaisir to treat myself with a macaron. Everyone needs a little sugar rush right?I was also invited for dinner at SOHO house. After carefully going through the menu we decided on greek salad, grilled octopus and some other greek meze and of course like one should in the summer; Rosé wine. Not only was the food very tasty but the view from SOHO house is just so beautiful and the waiters are just so polite and friendly. I only wish I could go back again and spend a warm afternoon by the poolside there.
And the drinks!!! One picante de la casa just for me!!! (I don´t really have any photos to show for my nice experience unfortunately as SOHO house doesn´t allow for photos to protect it´s clientelle so you´ll have to take my word for it)I also tried some 5 euro tacos at Alexanderplatz. If you are out sightseeing and happen to be nearby this is a quick and cheap option that serves its purpose. Otherwise stay away from the madness.
What´s a holiday in Berlin without some dancing and something delicious and slightly strong in your cup. I loved being in Berlin in the middle of the summer when the weather was perfekt and people were sitting outside and enjoying their drinks. Mitte has a lot of nice bars around. I met my friends at Bar Milano for some Aperol Spritz and finger food. YUM!
And then, one crazy fun night in Berlin at the Madonna Mania. I was planning to test the nightclub Berghain which is supposed to be pretty epic but it seems it´s been pretty hyped up and therefore queues are insane making the clubbing not worth the hassle in the end. Also, my friend had me at Madonna songs all night, trans DJs, photobooths and pink drinks. YES, I am IN!!!!
Danke Berlin, I had an excellent time.
I´ll be back soon!!!
- Stil in berlin
- i heart berlin
- Berlin´s official travel website
- Abandoned berlin (such cool spots for a day trips if you have some extra time in the city)