ThirdYearAbroad.com (7 December 2015)
So you’re in Germany’s capital for one day, and one day only. You want to have the most fun possible, and gain that true “Berlin” experience – and luckily enough, you’ve got me as a tour-guide! The following itinerary might not be everyone’s cup of tea (or glass of schnapps) – but with me leading the way, here’s how our perfect 24 hours in Berlin might pan out…
First thing: a jog around Volkspark Friedrichshain
I know, I know. But we’ve got an indulgent day lined up, so hear me out. I grew up in Lincolnshire. For those who aren’t familiar: this is the UK’s farming capital. We’re talking fields, small villages and winding country roads. So when I touched down in Berlin, the country bumpkin in me freaked out. But happily, Berlin has more than 2,500 public parks and gardens (I know, right?!) At VF, you can rock up any old morning and see joggers making their way around the wooded park. It doesn’t matter whether you’re sprinting, walking or crawling – you’re in excellent company. Plus it’s flipping gorgeous.
Breakfast: anything bakery-fresh and wickedly unhealthy
After our dawn cardio session, we’ll probably want to refuel. Considering we’ve got a long (and expensive) day ahead, I’m more than happy to grab a croissant / donut / anything pastry-based and sugar-filled from a bakery. That cool with you? Fabulous. It’s ok, guys: in Berlin no-one’s going to judge you for eating donuts for breakfast. I’ve done some careful cultural observation, and it’s definitely the done thing.
Mid-morning: Check out some sights
There’s obviously tonnes to see in Berlin – but if you’re my guest for one day only, my mission is to give you as much Instagram material as possible. The most photogenic landmark in Berlin? Probably the Brandenburg Gate. Extra Kudos if you take a selfie from below while walking through it like my little sister did.
We’ll also visit the Holocaust Memorial just down the road from the Gate. Then if you’re feeling up to a walk, we’ll wander down the East Side Gallery (see pic below) for a bit. Maybe take a few selfies. All this stuff is way more interesting and loaded with history than I’m making it seem – but hey, we’ve only got a day! *pleads with you to stay longer so we can properly appreciate all these cultural and historical landmarks*
Lunch: Café Fräulein Dietrich
After a tiring morning, there’s only one place I’m heading to rest my weary legs and comfort my frazzled soul. Fräulein Dietrich is a local legend in Prenzlauer Berg for her mouth-watering homemade soups and freshly baked cheesecakes. But more than that, this is simply a lovely place to be. At Café Fräulein Dietrich, you feel fabulously looked after. It’s warm, it’s cosy, it’s homey – and it’s got the most eclectic playlist in the whole of Berlin. Electro & Deep House followed by the Sugababes?! Yes please.
Afternoon: up to you
We could carry on with the sightseeing, perhaps dropping in at Checkpoint Charlie, the Cathedral and Alexanderplatz. Alternatively, we could visit one of Berlin’s many museums. Or even take a boat ride down the River Spree! But if I have my way, we’ll grab a drink and find a park to chill in for the afternoon. Anywhere in the Tiergarten would be fantastic (Berlin’s Central Park), or if we’re still in Prenzlauer Berg it has to be the Mauerpark.
Let’s people-watch, plan our evening and just take a second to remember we’re in the coolest city on the planet.
Dinner: Street Food Thursdays
Hopefully you’ve worked up an appetite again now. But if not, no panic: we’re hunting for our food tonight! Ok, not literally. But once you’ve battled your way round the crowded indoor market at Markthalle Neun and squeezed onto a table with your Currywurst or vegan courgetti, that adrenaline’s gonna be pumping. Street Food Thursdays are a big deal in Kreuzberg. As the name suggests, you can only do it once a week – so grab as much as you can stomach from the various international stalls, and soak in the buzz. It’s brilliant:
Sunset: Admiralbrücke (Admiralstraße, 10967 Berlin)
Time to start feeling like a proper Berliner now. I’ll be honest: it was August when I last visited Admiralbrücke for a balmy evening of beers, friends and people-watching. But I can’t imagine this place ever loses its electricity. Picture chilled out good-timers clustered on and around the bridge, chattering and drinking while a street musician flings sweet melodies into the evening air, swans gliding gracefully along the canal below… oh, it’s just dreamy. But if it’s winter, we should definitely do this bit before dinner. This isn’t a sunset you want to miss.
Cocktails: Monkey Bar
Ok: here’s where it gets expensive. But if we’re having our dream day, money’s no object, right? Monkey Bar‘s definitely luxurious. Atop the 25Hours Bikini Berlin Hotel, this exotic rooftop bar has the nerve to charge you around €14 per cocktail – but you do get your money’s worth. These drinks burn when they go down. But once you’re accustomed to the fire, they’re wickedly tasty. And you can actually get some fairly cheap bar snacks to soak up the booze. Once the rum’s warmed us up, we’ll wander onto the terrace to grab some dramatic rooftop pics. You can see the whole world from up here. No, really. I’m 90% sure that’s not the cocktails talking.
Dancing: Soda Club
Congratulations: you’ve survived a full day in Berlin with the most accident-prone YA student in ERASMUS history! Time to get our dance on. So you’ve probably heard of Berlin’s legendary techno clubs. But if you want an achingly cool night at Berghain or Tresor, I’m not your girl. We’re going to a place where you can dance to the Macarena, Blue (da ba dee) and Barbie Girl. A place where the shots are flowing, you can wear what you like, and entry’s free for ladies before 1am on Fridays and Saturdays. (Questionable ethics, but why turn down a good deal?!) With six floors and just about every genre of music under the sun (or moon), Soda’s very close to my heart. Where better place to say “Tschüß” to a perfect day – and night – in Berlin?