Early August Szymon and I visited Berlin. We arrived Sunday around 12 in the afternoon and Tuesday we left in the evening with a flight back to Krakow. But we were mostly relaxing in a park during this day. If you don’t mind waking up early during a city trip here are my tips and tricks to get the most of Berlin in 48 hours!
We did not want to spend too much money on this trip so we tried to keep the costs low. Which means we don’t go out for dinners and buy a sandwich in the supermarket and eat this on our way. The same we did for our breakfast. Please note that supermarkets and stores are closed on Sunday and only bakeries at stations might be open.
I would also recommend arriving early in the morning, so you really have a full day. I will only show how our day looked like and what we were able to do in these 48 hours.
Sunday, 5th of August.
12 PM: Arrival in Berlin, we checked in at our hostel in Friedrichshain and left our bags in the storage. I can really recommend this district located in the Eastern part of Berlin. We booked our hostel via hotelscombined. We paid 150pln (37.50eur) for two nights for two people in a mixed dormitory room, we stayed at All in Hostels. Really nice place and they also offer twin rooms and family rooms in case you do not want to sleep in a dormitory.
After check in we headed towards Alexanderplatz, during our trip, there was a beer festival so we walked via the festival to the city center.
We decided that we were not in a hurry and wanted to do the Alternative Free walking tour at 15pm. We had two hours to get to the city center, had a short stop to eat a sandwich and continued on our way.
3 PM: Start of the Alternative tour, you can read all about this tour here. I fully recommend doing this tour and to see more than just the regular highlights. We both enjoyed it. The tour finished at 6.30pm and we had a meal at where the tour finished (between 7-8 euro per dish).
7.30 PM: We took the U-bahn to Friedrichstrasse to visit the Reichstag. For the Reichstag, you will need to make a reservation to be able to visit it – you can make the reservation here.
You should arrive the latest 15minutes before your tour starts. We had our tour booked at 8.30 PM, at the right time to see the sunset over Berlin. I recommend visiting the Reichstag (it’s for free) only for the amazing view. At the site, you also get an audio guide which will take you over all the buildings in the surrounding area.
We spend around 30-45 minutes at the Reichstag and had a really nice sunset and created a lot of nice pictures.
9.15 PM: We left the Reichstag and continued to the Brandenburger Tor. The Sky was still colorful from the sunset. We stayed here a bit to enjoy the views and to make some common selfies.
After the short session, we continued on our way to the Memorial of the Murdered Jews of Europe. We walked through the memorial, but a lot of people were jumping around the memorial side (on the stones) eating and sitting on them. I found it personally disrespectful and we did not stay too long.
When you walk from the Brandenburger Tor to the Jewish Memorial side you will also pass a Memorial for the Sinti and Roma. This is less known, but worth the visit. When you walk from the Jewish Memorial to Potsdammerplatz you will also come across a Memorial for Murdered homosexuals. In this memorial, they are playing a movie.
It was around 10.30 PM when we reached Potsdammerplatz and we took the S-Bahn back to our hostel to get some sleep.
Monday, 6th of August.
This day we did not buy any Day ticket for the S-Bahn, U-Bahn etc. And did everything on foot. This can save you 7 euros per person.
7 AM: We woke up, took our showers and left the hostel around 7.30. On our way, we grabbed breakfast at REWE and ate it on a bench. After having some food in our stomachs we grabbed a quick coffee/tea (2 euros). Around 8.15 AM we were ready to face the day (so not that early really).
The place where we grabbed coffee was closed to the East Side Gallery, a memorial of the wall on which a lot of street art is displayed. We walked along the wall (and this is very long) and observed all the different kinds of street art. Some were really impressive.
From the East Side Gallery we continued our way to Checkpoint Charlie, it is nice to see some of the old signs, that you are entering or leaving the American District. But I found it also very touristic. If you want to have a picture at Checkpoint Charlie you will need to pay for it. This is something we did not do. Around 12 PM we entered a Vietnamese restaurant and had lunch with one drink (15euros).
13 PM: We continued our way from Checkpoint Charlie to the Topography of Terrors and the Wall Memorial. This is located together in the same place. The entrance is for free and will display a lot of historical facts regarding the Second World war. We were here for around two hours, we read most of the information, went to the bathroom. If you are interested in historical facts this is a place to be. I learned something new even about the Netherlands – Apparently, a Dutch person had set the Reichstag on fire before the Second World war started, I was unaware. You can also find some information regarding the concentration camps Sobibor, Chelmno, Belzec, and Majdanek – in March we have visited Majdanek you can read about it here.
15 PM: we continued our way towards Potsdammerplatz, here the Sony center is located. This is a modern designed office building, with on the ground floor caffes, stores etc. The roof is open and you can see this building from the Reichs tag as well. After walking around here for half an hour we continued our way back towards Alexanderplatz and from there towards the Computerspiele museum where we arrived after 6 PM.
6 PM: Arrival at the Computerspiele Museum, the museum is after 6 PM 7euro per person instead of 9. We thought we would be able to visit the museum in 2 hours (we had 1hour and 53minutes) but there was a lot more to see and to do then we thought. You can play a lot of old games, new games. Different consoles and there is a lot of information. The museum closes at 8 PM and we did not have enough time to try out every game. If you like gaming this is really a place to be.
Why we chose this museum? Normally we would go to art galleries or a more historical museum, but we already visited the Topography of Terrors and we wanted to go to another kind of museum. This museum stood mostly put because of the low price. Some other museums cost around 15euro per person and this sounded like fun. We both really had a good time here and time went to fast. In the end, it felt I almost had to drag Szymon out of the museum.
8 PM: We left the museum. During the day we saw a flyer for an open-air cinema. Some people prefer to spend the money on the more touristic things like visiting museums etc, we wanted to get a more German experience. What do the younger people do on a free evening, and we decided to go. Tickets were 7.50 euro per person and they were showing a documentary about the protests in Hamburg in 2017 at the G20 top meeting (with English subtitles). Nice documentary and a really big crowd watching it. We returned to the hostel at 11 PM and went to sleep.
Tuesday, 7th of August.
We wanted to wake up early, but we did not manage. Luckily we already did a lot of things in the last two days. We packed our bags, checked out, headed to the supermarket for breakfast.
We bought a day ticket for the ABC zone because we still had to get to the airport that day. We took the S-Bahn towards Museum Insel (museum island) and walked around. There was one free museum – forum. We entered this museum and walked around. There was on the first floor a collection regarding the reconstruction of the Berlin Palace, which they are rebuilding now. Then two floors regarding sounds and recording sounds, on the first floor you could walk around and read the information. The second floor of this exhibition you got an audioguide (free) and the audio guide determined what to play based on your location. At the top floor of the building, there was a restaurant and a lookout point over the Museum Insel.
We could have visited this museum as well on Sunday, but we did not want to visit three museums in one day, this might be a bit too much.
After this museum, we took the S-Bahn to Treptower park grabbing some food along the way and buying some buns at the supermarket. On Tuesday it was 36 degrees, we did not feel like roaming around the city with our backpacks and relaxing in the park sounded like a good plan. In the park we found a spot in the shadow sat down and relaxed for 2 hours, eating our buns before heading to the airport.
On Tuesday we did not do a lot and it was mostly a rest day.
Highlights that we have visited:
– Alternative Free Walking tour
– Brandenburger Tor
– Memorial of the Murdered Jews
– Memorial of the Murdered Sinti & Roma
– Memorial of the Murdered Homosexuals
– Sony center
– East Side Gallery
– Checkpoint Charlie
– Memorial of the Wall
– Topography of Terrors
– Computerspiele museum
– Museum Insel
– Treptower Park
We have visited a lot of highlights, especially if you consider that we walked one of the days. The fastest can be to do it by S-Bahn, connections are very good, but we wanted to save that day some money on public transport and we are young enough to walk these parts. On Sunday if we would have bought the tickets earlier we could have made it to the tour at 1 PM, but then we might have been more hungry or stayed longer at YAAM where the tour visited. I do not believe we would have visited something else in these 2 hours. Now we still did a lot and had some time to relax, which was really necessary with the high temperatures (30-36 degrees).
Berlin was a very nice city to visit, but still not my favorite city in Germany. As a capital, I prefer it over Paris, Amsterdam and maybe even Warsaw. I must acknowledge that the German life always looks super relaxed compared to how my life felt in the Netherlands and maybe to my life here in Poland.
I cannot wait for my next weekend trip at this moment when I am writing nothing is planned yet. Maybe I will go to another city, maybe it will be a trip to the mountains. Time will tell.
Have you even been in Berlin? And if you have never been, would you like to visit this former divided city?