12 min read
Last week, BRB's Founder Greg shared his top tips on how to make the most of your 48 hours in Lisbon. This week, our Travel Expert Roxana, gives you her highlights from her last trip to the city she now refers to as the ‘3B’ – for Beers, Bratwurst and Beautiful Views – the magical city of Berlin!
Known as the capital city of Prussia, the Brandenburg State, The Germanic Empire, The Third Reich and now modern day Germany, Berlin is a city positively steeped in history.
During the Second World War, Berlin was the centre of the Nazi regime. It was heavily bombed and suffered severe destruction. Following the war, the city was split between the allied forces as part of peace agreements and in 1961, the Soviet forces erected a wall to concrete the divide, inhibiting freedom of movement and separating families in doing so.
However, out of this dark past, a magnificent modern metropolis has been built. Traces of the complex history remain to be observed within the city which is now characterised by its new optimistic, liberal, and energetic attitude. Berlin truly is a one-of-a-kind place, and it belongs on your Bucket list.
But don’t be fooled, there's more to this than meets the eye!
This unique capital city is also home to a vibrant art scene, fascinating countercultural phenomena, mesmerising architecture, and an energetic nightlife.
There are enough activities to fill weeks, let alone a weekend, in Berlin. To help you out, I have lovingly curated a guide that will help you navigate the city without missing any of the major highlights. You’re welcome! Just read on to find out how to squeeze the absolute most of your 48 hours in Berlin.
After a 1 hour and 45 minutes flight from London, hardly enough time to watch a full episode of Ozark and drink my much needed black americano, I land at Berlin-Tegel (one of the two major airports in Berlin). I want to make the most of my time in the city so I jump in a taxi and head straight to the Westin Grand hotel to drop off my bag.
The amazing design of the hotel makes you feel as if you have just stepped into a palace. Centrally located at walking distance from main sights such as Brandenburger Tor, Checkpoint Charlie, Museumsinsel and Gendarmenmarkt, The Westin Grand is one of our BRB favourites in Berlin.
After a long day of walking and admiring the wonderful city of Berlin, you can relax at the hotel's spa with a private swimming pool.
If you enjoy a morning workout even during your holiday, you'd be happy to hear that the hotel's guests also have access to a private fitness room. Now there's no need to worry about eating too much amazing local food!
To kick off your perfect weekend in Berlin, we are heading to the important and impressive Reichstag building - Germany’s house of Parliament.
Photo Credit: @alteryourvision
The building is a stunning feat of architecture so take a few minutes to admire the external beauty. The cherry on the cake of this particular site is the rooftop dome which is accessed by a magnificent spiralling ramp. From within, you get an incredible view of the city skyline and you can also look down on the seats of power below.
Photo Credit: @travelsofrimzim
The visit is free, but it is vital you book in advance, otherwise you will be given an entry time two hours after your arrival. You best believe with only 48 hours we do not have time for waiting around!
From here, stroll down the road to the iconic Brandenburg gate. The title ‘gate’ here is an understatement, this is a majestic 26m tall and 65.5m long double row of Doric columns.
Photo Credit: @travellingwithlogan
The sight of Ronald Reagan’s famous speech imploring, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”, the Brandenburg gate was once an emblem of war and division but now it symbolises peace and unity for Berliners. The landmark only requires a quick visit, but it is definitely worth a look and a few pics for good measure.
Continue walking south and you will reach the site of The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe.
Photo Credit: @attis_1
Dedicated to the Jewish holocaust victims, the memorial is a sobering place of contemplation, remembrance, and warning. It is quite a harrowing experience to walk amongst the 2,711 concrete slabs remembering the 6 million individuals who were killed but it is a vital part of your trip to Berlin.
After that heavy end to your morning, what better way to pick up your spirits and rekindle your faith in humanity than chocolate! The world-renowned brand Ritter Sport has its flagship store in Berlin and here you can create your very own chocolate bar.
Photo Credit: @snjeza_88
It’s the perfect sweet treat to break up your tour of historical sites.
With the big kid inside you satisfied, it’s time to explore Museum Island. Located in the middle of the Spree river, this UNESCO heritage site is home to the largest museum complex in the world.
Photo Credit: @travelarchos
There are five museums which could all individually take up an entire weekend, so chose the most appealing from the list below and focus on just that one for your afternoon. Your choices are: The Pergamon which holds Islamic art and Middle Eastern artefacts; the Bode, dedicated to Byzantine art and sculpture; the Neues with its collection of ancient Egyptian art; the Altes, home to a vast range of ancient Greek and Roman artefacts; and the Nationalgalerie, which displays Neoclassical, Romantic, Impressionist and early Modernist artworks.
Photo Credit: @arunimakumar
Whilst you’re here, also make sure to check out the Berlin Cathedral, another truly gorgeous building which is nestled between the museums.
Photo Credit: @brunettediscoveries
If you’re anything like me, your stomach will be howling for some attention right about now and your feet will be in need of a rest. The solution is a fabulous little establishment called Zur Letzten Instanz.
Photo Credit: @zurletzteninstanz
This is the oldest restaurant in Berlin dating all the way back to 1621 and it has stood the test of time due to its homey atmosphere and delicious cooking. The dishes will give you a proper taste of authentic German cuisine and come in perfect hearty portions – it’s a good thing that calories don’t count on holiday, right!?
Photo Credit: @vika_tielemann
Berlin is pretty wicked during the day, but it steps it up another notch when the sun goes down. This city has been called the nightlife capital of Europe and it is certainly a strong contender for that title.
Photo Credit: @_lodani75
Whether you fancy dancing until the sun comes up in an underground club or would prefer to listen to some live music with a sophisticated cocktail in hand, Berlin has something for you. Luckily, Zur Letzen Instanz is in the Mitte district which is one of the best places to find some of the Berlin’s most popular bars. Get the party going, the drinks flowing and enjoy where the night takes you!
Photo Credit: @sombrero_berlin
After a night out in Berlin, you might be feeling a little worse for wear. I’m sympathetic, I really am, so I’m going to let you start the morning a little slower than we would normally allow at BRB with breakfast from café Annelies in Kreuzberg.
Photo Credit: @anneliesberlin
Indulge in something sumptuous from their brunch menu and enjoy the fresh morning sun as you sit overlooking the beautiful Görlitzer Park.
Photo Credit: @adambatterbee
How’s that for a hangover cure! Feeling rejuvenated, take a walk across the river to the East Side Gallery. At 1.3km, the East Side Gallery is the longest piece of The Berlin Wall that is still standing and is now covered in paintings from 102 different international artists.
Photo Credit: @zorzettomarta
Walk along the whole thing admiring the amazing and colourful artwork that has reclaimed this once oppressive landmark and turned it into something beautiful.
Not far from the end of the East Side section of the wall you can find a vibrant flea market called the Flohmarkt am Boxhagener Platz. Rummage through the trinkets and treasures the market holds, soak up the atmosphere and maybe find yourself a souvenir.
Photo Credit: @igorjosif
Make your way back across the city heading for the DDR Museum. I can guarantee that you will pass tonnes of stalls selling the classic Berlin delicacy curry wurst en route and don’t miss the opportunity to try one!
Photo Credit: @leaguekitchen
Essentially a sausage with sauce made from ketchup and curry powder, this meal may not sound particularly impressive but a trip to Berlin isn’t complete without one and you might just be surprised by how much you enjoy it.
When you reach the DDR Museum, expect an immersive and interactive experience that demonstrates what everyday life behind the wall in east Berlin was like under the regime of the German Democratic Republic.
Photo Credit: @ddrmuseum
This museum provides a truly fascinating window into all aspects of Berlin’s past from school, entertainment, and cars, to the military.
As the sun begins to set on your final full day in Berlin, make sure you have the best seat in the city to view it from at the top of the Berliner Fernsehturm.
Photo Credit: @berliner_fernsehturm
Otherwise known as the Berlin TV Tower, this building is a staggering 368m tall and offers mesmerising views of the city below. The tower is also home to an incredible restaurant which slowly rotates so you can view Berlin from every angle whilst enjoying a top of the range meal.
Photo Credit: @visit_berlin
This place is seriously bringing the phrase ‘dinner with a view’ to new heights! We recommend you book this one in advance to make sure you get a window seat.
We are really making sure we make the most of every second we have in this wonderful city so no early bed tonight! Instead, hit up Berlin’s IceBar. This is a really cool (I’m sorry!) bar where your drinks are accompanied by a German Polar expedition!
Photo Credit: @kirstin_xoxoxo
They will provide you with warm layers and three complimentary drinks which will help you survive the cold as you travel through this bar made of ice! If you aren’t quite finished with Berlin after your arctic tour, we recommend The Rivabar for a fancy cocktail to bring the night, and your trip to a classy close.
If like me you love taking short weekend breaks across Europe and spending 48 hours in cities like Barcelona, Prague, Porto, Split, Bologna, Stockholm or Venice, but if like me you hate wasting hours trawling travel sites to plan and research your next weekend break, only to be hit by increased flight prices just before booking, then BeRightBack is for you!
The team at BeRightBack believes that the mission of a travel company should be to save you both time and money.
With BeRightBack, you get three trips a year to three surprise European destinations, all for the monthly cost of £49.99, which includes your return flights and your hotel.
With BeRightBack, creating a trip takes 60 seconds. Simply tell us how you like to travel when you create your account, and our concierge service does everything else for you. You won't have to lift a finger.
Best of all, you always pay the same price for your trips, no matter when you go away and we help you spread the cost of your travel, thanks to our monthly subscription.
I hope you enjoyed my 48 hours city guide to Berlin and do not hesitate to use our website chat or to email us if you have any questions!
Roxana (Travel Expert at BeRightBack)
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