Words: @oliverinstead • Photo: Myself & David
As you may have noticed from my Instagram (follow me), I spent my last Bank Holiday weekend in Berlin and as with all my previous Euro trips, I’ve returned with five tips (?) I’d like to share with those of you who may be planning on a trip there or have always been curious about what the city is really like…
one It’s huuuuuge!
The size of Berlin is no joke. If you’re going there soon, make sure you prepare yourself and your feet (bring comfy shoes) for lots and lots of walking and transferring between S- and U-Bahn. Be sure to allow ample travelling time between one tourist spot and another, especially if you’re only there for a short period of time and aiming to hit all the major attractions in one trip.
two Vegetarianism is not a thing
Maybe I’m asking for too much here because the Germans are known for their carnivorism, or maybe I just didn’t know where to look… but honestly, I struggled to find many restaurants that served decent vegetarian options.
However, I did stumble upon a ‘vegetarian butcher’ on my first day in Bergmannkiez called Der Vegetarische Metzger (check out their website) They serve a selection of very tasty, very convincing cruelty-free ‘burgers’ and currywurst (!) – something I really wanted to try but wasn’t sure if I’d be able to find a veggie version but I did.
three The Sunday flea market at Mauerpark is a must
I love checking out local markets when I’m travelling, and this particular flea market is possibly the best one I’ve ever visited in all of Europe – it’s a good mix of indie makers and food vendors, and vintage clothing and antique furniture. Again, it takes at least a good hour or two to see it properly so remember not to make other plans for the day.
four …so is Potsdam
Potsdam is a city bordering Berlin about an hour train-ride away from Alexanderplatz… providing that the train runs smoothly. The area is famous for its complex of palaces and parks, which is a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site so you can be assured that it’s as magnificent and beautifully quaint in the flesh as it is in photos. It’s also completely free to have a wander around the parks and the Sanssouci Garden, so if the weather permits, it makes for a great day out away from the city. Yes, it is outside Berlin so if you have a day to spare, you should deffo consider the option of visiting Potsdam – it’s worth it.
five You can do Berlin on the cheap
There are so many free things that you can do in and around Berlin – including all the attractions I’ve mentioned, and more… such as the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe (aka the Holocaust Memorial), the Reichstag dome, the historic Tempelhof Airport, etc. etc. etc.
Transport-wise, we paid for a 72-hour Berlin Welcome Card (for Zone AB and C, so we could visit Potsdam), but I was under the impression that many people didn’t bother with tickets… which was shocking to me considering Germany’s reputations. What’s even more surprising was that we did not see an ticket inspector throughout the entire trip. So if you’re ever in Berlin, it’s up to you whether you want to risk getting caught on the off-chance for travelling without a valid ticket or you want to be a good tourist… I’m not saying it’s right, I’m just saying that a lot of people do and successfully get away with it.
If I must be honest, Berlin is not my fave European city ever – I mean the weather treated us well and all but would I rush to return? Probably not, at least not by choice. I know many people who’ve been who’d happily go back at the drop of a hat, so I’m glad I went and made up my own mind and I’d recommend anyone to do the same!
What about you? Have you ever been to Berlin? If you say “Ja!“, what did you think of it? If you say “Nein…“, would you like to go? Let me know!!