So happy to finally be able to sit down and write this post. After all the craziness of traveling, blog parties, TV appearances, and holidays over the past two weeks it’s been chaotic to say the least, but I’m so excited to write about one of my newest favorite cities in Europe–Berlin!
Not only is Berlin this cosmopolitan international city with a complex and fascinating history, but it has this edgy, alternative underside that is surprising and impressive all the same. First impression of the city was while googling touristy things to do, all the top search results were turning up suggestions like “Underground Music Scene,” “Alternative Art Walking Tours,” and “50 Must See Vegan Restaurants.” How cool right? I spent a little over a day in that city and I can tell you it (not surprisingly) wasn’t nearly enough! In general, I think I’ve got a love affair with the entire country of Germany and can’t wait to go back. But in the meantime let me satisfy my wanderlust cravings by detailing how to spend an incredibly fantastic day in Germany’s capital city.
Wake up and go for walk (or a run!) in Berlin’s Tiegarten park. I weaved my way through 6 miles of pathways filled with ponds, fall foliage, and monuments like the Siegessäule Victory Column and the Berlin Zoo. Back in the day, this park used to be the reserved hunting grounds for the Germanic royalty.
Next, climb up to the dome of the Reichstag. It’s free to get in but you’re going to need a reservation before entering the German Parliament building (apply here!), so be sure to plan a few days ahead to get tickets (no need to print out – I was able to get in with a picture on my phone). The Reischtag (also sometimes called the Bundestag) is by far my favorite part of Berlin. It’s this incredible dome that you get to walk around and includes a free walking tour that really grounds you in the city and its history. Since you’re taller than most buildings in the city, you get a panoramic rooftop tour of all the important highlights in the city. Definitely a MUST!
After the Reichstag building, be sure to snap a pic in front of the Brandonburg Gate–probably one of the most iconic spots in Berlin. Check out the Hotel Adlon in the plaza–Obama recently stayed there as well as Michael Jackson when he pulled that-baby-off-the-balcony stint. As well as the eerie, tomb-like Holocaust Memorial across from the US Embassy.
Stroll through the city and head to Alexanderplaz with the towering Fernsehturm (TV Tower). On your way, pass through Museum Island and snap a pic in front of the Berliner Dome cathedral church. If you’re the museum type this literal island and UNESCO Heritage site in the city has a bunch of places to visit like the Pergamon Museum filled with Egyptian and Grecian artifacts.
However, if you’re like me, there’s too many places to see and so little time (after all you’re trying to see the whole city in under 24 hours!). I hopped on the train at Alexanderplatz and took it to Warschauer Strausse to see the East Side Gallery–the longest surviving section of the Berlin Wall. It’s a 1.3 km stretch of wall with all of these fairly politically charged paintings on it from the 1990s when the wall was commissioned. It’s fascinating.
After walking so much, you’re probably looking for an excuse to rest your feet. Head over to Five Elephant Coffee for a cup of tea or warm espresso. This hipster AF coffee shop is a Berlin favorite. I picked up a few souvenir bags of their signature roasts to bring home for friends.
At some point you’re going to want to eat. And if you’re near the East Side Gallery there is a whole plethora of cafes and restaurants just south of the river on Falckenstein Strasse. Also, if you can bear to wait a few minutes the Restaurant Bastard has a fantastic menu and a full house at all times–even at 3pm when I walked by!
A great walking tour through the city can include tracing the path of the former Berlin Wall and stopping by Check Point Charlie. To be honest, I didn’t make it to this spot–I got distracted by dinner at this vegetarian friendly diner called Chipps, and heard it was wildly overrated anyways. I did however make it to the Mall of Berlin and did some work on my credit card. I bought myself two pairs of Wolford tights. This hosiery brand is a bit of cult–even in America–and the tights are cheaper in Germany so I decided to hop on board the bandwagon and splurge on two pairs. I’ve worn them a few times since then and find them to be of excellent quality. Definitely worth the $40 price point.
Nearby is Potsdamer Platz with strategically placed graffiti segments of the Berlin Wall. You can also see the bricks in the ground at this point marking the former border that snaked its way through the city decades ago. For dinner, I ended up getting Indian food at Bombay Spice and enjoyed my Malai Kofte with a nice big Berliner beer. Had I stayed a little longer, I would have been sure to try a Berliner Wiesse which is a super traditional drink that is beer mixed with lemonade or raspberry juice.