So…BERLIN! I spent 3 weeks in this wonderful city in July of last year in probably what was the absolute hottest month of the year! The German capital is one of the most vibrant, fun, captivating cities to visit in Europe and is a popular destination with students and families alike.
The best time to visit Berlin is from April to the end of July as it’s the peak point of summer and weather conditions are very agreeable to outdoor activities and sightseeing. Berliners are outdoor people and you can find a whole range of outdoor activities here in the summer – from swimming in lakes in and around Berlin to the many outdoor bars or “Beach Bars” as they are known. Not to say that Berlin isn’t a winter destination – it is! Berlin hosts some of the best Christmas markets, or “Weihnachtsmarkts” in all of Germany. There’s a whole range of activities from the annual Film Festival to the fashion shows in January. Also, Berlin has one of the best New Year’s Eve festivities in all of Germany. Berlin is a plethora of people of various ethnicities and nationalities and has something to offer for everybody. There are multiple food options available throughout the city and the street food will not cost you more that 5-7 bucks per meal per person, and is what I strongly recommend to everyone who wants to travel with a budget.
Some top things I recommend to do in Berlin:
Now, the top tourist attractions in Berlin are definitely worth a visit, but here are some activities that will help you feel like a real Berliner:
- Take a boat ride on the Spree: This is one of the absolute best ways to explore Berlin, or rather a part of it! The boat tour usually takes about an hour and shows you the historical sights of Berlin like the Berliner Dom, the Reichstag (German Parliament House), MuseumIsland etc .
- Alexanderplatz and the Fernsehturm: This is the largest square in the entire city and is lined with cafes and shopping outlets and is strictly a pedestrian zone. It is also where you can find the famous TV Tower, the tallest construction in Berlin and one of the most popular tourist attractions. There is also a rotating restaurant atop the TV Tower where you can enjoy panoramic views of the city.
- Visit a Biergarten: You can’t go to Germany and NOT visit a Biergarten! That’s like going to Rome and not seeing the Colosseum! Berlin has an array of Biergartens all over the city. I recommend Prater, which is the oldest and most popular one in Berlin but it CAN get crowded and you may not always get a table so easily. Some other popular Biergartens are Golgatha, Bierhol Rudersdorf, Brachvogel etc.
- Visit the Mauerpark Flea Market: The Mauerpark Flohmarkt is easily the most popular flea market in all of Berlin, being the oldest and the largest. It takes place every Sunday on Bernauer Strasse form 7 am to 5 pm. Here you can find everything from vintage furniture to vinyl records, to clothes and shoes to funky jewelry, along with food stalls selling yummy treats to snack on while you explore this market. Entertain yourself with live music and an open-air karaoke that takes place on the field behind the market!
- Take a tour that’s different: Now Berlin offers a variety of tours that are different than the usual hop-on hop-off ones. Bicycle tours are among the most popular with students and there are variety of different routes you can take on each tour. There are walking tours as well, like the “Little Istanbul” walk that takes you through the Turkish neighborhood, where you can try a variety of Turkish delicacies.
- Hang out at Tiergarten: Tiergarten is one of the most popular parks in all of Berlin. Centrally located on the riverbank, it is the perfect place for a stroll or go for a jog or even get in a good game of football.
- Beach Bars: Contrary to the name, these are not bars located on an actual beach. Berliners are obsessed with the outdoors and these are bars you can find on the banks of the river Spree. Sit back on the grassy riverbank on a hot summer’s day and soak up some sun while sipping on chilled drinks!
- Visit Tempelhof Airfield: This is one of the crown jewels of Berlin! In no other city will you find an abandoned airfield which was donated to the city as a picnic spot! Spanning over 300 acres, this is one of THE most popular parks in Berlin. Jogging, yoga, barbecues are some of the many activities Berliners enjoy at the airfield.
- The Burgermeister!: Now here is a treat for the soul that absolutely CANNOT be missed. The Burgermeister is a burger stand located at Schlesisches Tor station used to be a men’s urinal in the olden times (sound gross I know but it was really long ago!). This is unarguably the best and probably the most popular burger joint in all of Berlin. It doesn’t pop out of travel guides as one of the must-visit places in Berlin, but believe me, it will be one of the highlights of your trip. The burger of a lifetime will also be light on your pocket, because the most expensive burger with a drink will not set you back more than 10 bucks!
More information to follow in the next post!