I think it goes without saying that after Oktoberfest we were looking for a little “down time”. I was still trying to get over an annoying cold and we were mentally and physically burnt-out after two days of “prost’ing” with everyone and anyone.
We took a quick flight up to Berlin and spent the next four days touring the extremely interesting and eclectic city, which is jam packed with history. If you’re fascinated with all things WWII and Cold War, Berlin is not a city to be missed.
Where you should stay:
As always, we used Airbnb for our lodging. If you’ve kept up with recent events going on with Airbnb, then you are aware of the new policies for Airbnb in New York City. In short, renters can no longer rent out their entire apartment to guests. The person who lives in the apartment must also be there while there are renters. (Completely annoying and a really big headache for people who depend on this income for their livelihood in NYC, but that’s another rant for another day).
What’s the point of me telling you this? Well, Berlin operates the same way. So while we could probably afford to stay in our own place in Berlin, we were forced into having roommates for the week. Keep this in mind if you plan to use Airbnb while visiting Berlin.
And we totally lucked out. Our hosts were an awesome couple who had also had a love for travel. They’ve traveled together all over the world and gave us great advice for places that we were planning to visit. They also gave us some really good suggestions of things to do in/around Berlin, which really helped to frame the rest of our time in the city.
What you should do:
Like I said before, Berlin is a history-lover’s playhouse and there is no shortage of things to see and do while you visit. Even with four days, we found it difficult to do everything that we wanted and we still got to see so much!
Something that I would 1000% recommend everyone do when they visit Berlin is some type of walking tour. Similar to Prague, we did a free walking tour that lasted about 3 hours and took us all around the historical parts of the city. We saw and learned so much and it helped us appreciate even more what Berlin & Europe went through in the 20th century.
Another really interesting thing that we did was visit the Topography of Terror, which is a museum dedicated to the Nazi Regime and their reign over Eastern Europe during WWII. It was very disturbing and wildly fascinating; perfect for anyone who finds it even mildly interesting.
Lastly, I would recommend just walking around the city. Berlin is comprised of several different “neighborhoods” that all have their own distinct personality and vibe. We found so many cool things (like an outdoor bar by the river) that we never would’ve stumbled across if we didn’t aimlessly set out on foot.
Also, public transportation is really good in Berlin so if you’re not in the mood to walk everywhere, you can easily hop on the train to get around.
What to eat:
Our Airbnb hosts gave us some really amazing recommendations for food. Food that I am still thinking about to this day.
If you like Thai Food, try Lemongrass. Their Pad Thai and Chicken Curry were ahhhhh-mazing and it’s located in a really cute neighborhood that reminded me of NYC.
If you like burgers, try Shiso Burger. It’s a Japanese take on burgers and damn they are good. But make sure you get there early! We arrived right before the lunch crowd on a Wednesday and were able to sit right down. It’s a small restaurant and it fills up fast!
If you like Ramen and you like to branch out, then you must visit the Dong Xuan Center. We never would have found it without the recommendation of our Airbnb hosts. It is well off the beaten path, but the public tram dropped us off right in front of it. The Dong Xuan Center is a Vietnamese market filled with nail salons, flower shops, clothing stores, plus a few smalls restaurants. Once you get past the downright weirdness of it all, you will find some of the best (and cheapest) Asian food that Berlin has to offer!
*In light of recent events in Berlin, I felt like this post was very important to do. If you’re debating on whether or not to visit now, 100% you should go! While we were in Berlin we felt extremely safe, however, it is a big city so exercise the same vigilance and caution that you would in any major city around the World. Our thoughts are with the victims and their families.