Well, where do I begin with this post. For those that have followed my travels to Berlin are well aware of the complete nightmare it’s been. Between 2 cancelled flights and down hundreds of Euro, even before all that neither of us were really mad about the city as it was.
In this post I’m going to be as honest as possible. I’d never try turn anybody off going to a place they want to see so I’m just giving my experience of the city.
Travel/ Where We Stayed
So we travelled with Aerlingus from Dublin to Tegal Airport. The flight was just under 2hours and was grand. Our hotel was the Derag Living Hotel in Mitte. It was pretty basic. They did supply us with free Pilsner so I mean, that’s always great. Also it came with a mobile device called ‘Handy’ that had apps which showed places around the city to do, and eat etc. You were allowed leave with it and use it. It really was so handy. Everywhere should have it.
When I looked up where to stay in Berlin Mitte came highly recommended. It wasn’t too far a walk from many places you’d be going. This hotel was just a short walk from Musuem Island. Another thing: we walked everywhere. Didn’t bother with the S/U Bahns.
Things To Do/See
Since we weren’t far from Museum Island that’s where we headed for. I really love this whole area. First day we went to the Berlin Cathedral. It was €7 to go inside. It was beautiful. You got to walk around the top of the dome outside which was cool, and gave greats views of the city. Quite a few steep steps but manageable.
We then headed over to Pergamon Museum which was just across the street. There’s a heap of museums along here, but again Pergamon was one which kept popping up while researching. I paid €6 with student card, €12 regular. Honestly, I’m glad I only paid €6 because I wasn’t really impressed with it. Likewise you could go to Bode, Neus, the Galleries.
We went to Gendarmenmarkt. Just a historical square, nothing happening at all hah. Nice to look at though and a nice area. There’s a very fancy concert hall, and a parliament building. We headed into the parliament building as it’s free of charge, but nothing was in English so we only walked one floor. Disaster.
After this we headed to Checkpoint Charlie, the famous Berlin Wall crossing point between east and West Berlin. Get a photo with the lads for €3, they were great buzz. I actually really like his area, it’s quite touristy and just a good atmosphere. Grab a coffee at Einstein Kaffee while you’re there and watch the world go by.
After here we went to Topography of Terror just around the corner. Along this building is also the Berlin Wall. We were surprised to see that this exhibition was really one of the only ones that dealt with the war. It was really informative. I found it really interesting. And it was free, bonus.
Then we headed over to the Memorial of The Murdered Jews. This is just a big old street of blocks, ha the only way to describe it. It’s just ones of those things you ‘have’ to see when you’re there but I didn’t give me the feels like I thought it would.
Then the Brandenburg Gate was up next. It is quite a monument. Even better at night when it’s lit up. Again, could take it or leave it….can you tell how I felt about Berlin…
Just by chance we passed an exhibition of Versace pieces in Kronorinzenpalais. I got it for €7 with student card, poor Johnny paid €14…sorry love. Honestly, it was so over priced for €14. There’s a lot of outfits, some worn by celebrities, scarfs, menswear but I just felt the price was too much….for Johnny anyway haha.
Earlier that day we went to the Reichstag Building. We had to book ourselves in to actually be able to go inside. It was free of charge to do so we booked in for that evening, to watch the sunset…cute. It was so fab. You could walk around the outside of the dome which was so gorgeous. Then inside the dome the structure was amazing. Def one to do, especially in the evening to see everything lit up.
Alexanderplatz is kind of the transport hub of the city. There’s also shopping and a cinema here. I honestly hated this area. There was something so grubby about it. Shit for food too, and shopping not great either.
I’m a Salvador Dali freak. He’s my all time favourite artist. There was an Museum of his I had to go to. Students paid about €9. It’s not a huge museum but was packed with pieces of his I’d never seen before. A lot of sketches mainly.
There’s also East Side Gallery, basically the Berlin Wall with some graffiti on it. Ok, ok…nicer than graffiti but you get what I mean. It’s a really long stretch of road. With nowhere to even grab a coffee as you wander down, which pissed me off as I didn’t have my coffee fix yet and was quare cranky. Great for some photo op’s…yano yourself now ha.
Food and Drink
Ok, this is where we struggled. First night we used Google Maps to get us to Kruezberg, street full of bars and restaurants. Annoyingly we were led 40mins away to the shittest place. Turned out not to be the actual street we were looking for.
If you’re off to see the spots mentioned above, you’ll find that food choice is just shocking. Also, if we wanted to day drink there are like zero pubs. Anywhere that sold drink was somewhat of a restaurant place. So very annoying. I was really surprised by this.
Think we only found 2 actual bars. One a tiny little place the corner of Alexanderplatz. Another was along to same street just called The Pub. Very trendy. Order food and drinks off a system at your table, where you can also pour your own pints. Def worth going to.
Eventually we went back to Kruezberg (on our last night…typical) and saw the massive selection of places they had. It’s def somewhere you would go every night because there’s nowhere else really. Def go to Ora for drinks and Santa Maria for some Mexican food.
Anywhere we are then really was just in the food court at the Mall of Berlin. This place is fucking massive. Such choice of shops but true food court had EVERYTHING. But the pizza freak I am, I got a full pizza at one place for €3…ideal. So yeah, Berlin isn’t great for food, so you’ll probably find yourself going there alot.
There was a spot close by us called Chipps where we went for breakfast twice. It was divine, and reasonably priced imo. Quite a cool little spot too in an affluent area. Get the pancakes and the Lumber Jack.
Things to note:
- Maybe avoid going in colder weather. It was -10 most of our time here and it did make things difficult. You just want to sit in somewhere and hide from the cold. Since it was sunny though I do think it would be gorgeous in the summer as there’s lots of places to sit outside and eat.
- You have to pay 50c for using the toilets anywhere. Ok 50c isn’t a lot but to pay for a human right I was not cool with hah. For anyone that likes to know what toilets are like before using them…they’re all grand and not dodgy haha.
- Be wary walking across the street. It may be a green man but they have no real regard for that.
- In some places we noticed that there’s add on prices when paying for things, like a tax. Only under €1 depending on what you buy but something to note for sure.
- Maybe it’s us, or the cities we go to, but generally we’re very good at finding our bearings early on, but here we had to use our maps a lot. We did walk everywhere though. Everything is kind of spread out in Berlin so it’s not the easiest.
- They don’t speak much English here.
- Not many establishments have wifi.
- Shop cosmetics. I found that in a store DM the skincare was so cheap. Most brands cheaper than Ireland.
Like I said, from day 2 we were a bit meh with the city. It just didn’t have a buzz and didn’t blow us away.
We didn’t have any interest in the big clubs Berlin is famous for, maybe that’s why people come here?!
I don’t think any of the main attractions were really worth seeing either. Sure I have a big list above of what we did but nothing was really amazing, in my opinion. There’s few things to see, get your photo outside but not a lot to actually do.
So we were ready to go home by the time came. Then our flight got cancelled for another 2 days which was really upsetting. So we got on with that, but then for that flight to get cancelled again was really a killer. We were broke in another country, which we didn’t like…it was really hard.
If we had found Kruezburg like planned on the first day, and our original flights went ahead with, we still wouldn’t be totally crazy about Berlin. Then since the snow fiasco and cancelled flights twice we really just hated the place. Wouldn’t be as bad if we had money, or we’re in a gorgeous hot country haha.
Make up your own mind if you’d like to check out the city. It just wasn’t for us. We struggled to see why people loved it. Certainly not the atmosphere or things to do like other cities we’ve been. It might be for you though.