Berlin is a gritty city with a dark past. It is certainly not beautiful by any stretch of the imagination, but the history from medieval times through to WWI and WWII as well as the division of East and West Berlin make it an extremely interesting place to visit. Bullet holes line any of the original buildings that are still standing and the memorials around the city are a sobering experience to witness. That’s not to say Berlin is all grey clouds and sorrow, young Berliners have helped make this city the party capital of Europe. So whether you’re visiting for the history or you wanna go clubbing in an abandoned bunker till 6am, Berlin has everything you need in a great city break.
Fly in to Berlin from your chosen city, the flight from Amsterdam is about 1 hour and if you choose a budget carrier you will land at Schoenefeld airport for about €35. Take the S9 light rail to Alexanderplatz and make sure you validate your ticket before getting on the train.
Check in to your hotel, get rid of your bag and walk to the East Side Gallery which is the mural section of the Berlin Wall via Alexander Platz. If you’re around during the festive season, stop and grab a pretzel from one of the many Christmas themed stalls. The Berlin Wall is a great photo op, make sure you take the time to read up on the infamous slab of concrete to really appreciate what it means for it to no longer be standing.
You’re only here for the weekend so go big and indulge in huge portions of pork and sauerkraut washed down with good German beer. If you walk a block or two away from Alexanderplatz you will find options that are bit less touristy. Be sure to finish with an apple strudel because Germany!
Now if you’re not too full, there are plenty of bars and clubs to suit every taste. They all have varying dress codes and rules so read up on your venue of choice before lining up.
Hopefully you’re not too hungover this morning because you need to be up early to fit in a packed itinerary of sightseeing. Grab some breakfast from your hotel and checkout. Berlin is a large city so follow this guide if you are staying around Alexanderplatz and you will cover everything you need to see.
- The Reichstag
- The Berliner Dom
- Museum island
- Bebelplatz – Observe the memorial to the book burning
- Check Point Charlie
- Berlin Wall and SS headquarters
- Hitler Munker
- Jewish Memorial
- The Brandenburg Gate
There is a train station about 15mins walk from the gate so use this to get back to Schoenefeld airport. Be warned that the S9 is a slow service so allow plenty of time to make it to the airport and pass security.
To make the most of your quick trip to Berlin, read up on the history of these monuments before you arrive. Also, if waking tours are your thing there are a number of free tip based ones to choose from. Prost!