2 weeks ago my cousin and I spontaneously booked to go to Berlin. We had a few other places in mind like Iceland (but decided against because we've heard it's super expensive), Paris and Budapest.
Berlin was the good medium we agreed on, and was only a 2hr flight from Manchester Airport!
When it comes to city breaks, Berlin has something for everyone. Fascinating history, to the vibrant infamous nightlife and multicultural vibes of the street art.
Most of Berlins' landmarks are free to visit, one being the Brandenburg Gate. The Brandenburg Gate is an 18th-century neoclassical monument in Berlin, built on the orders of Prussian king Frederick William II after the successful restoration of order during the early Batavian Revolution. Surrounding the area are restaurants to eat and tourist shops. We decided to go for a sit down meal and head over to an upmarket restaurant/hotel called Hotel Adlon overlooking the Brandenburg Gate. The view at sunset was incredible, so kinda explained the price of food in terms of quality and location.
We both ordered a traditional German dish called Curry wurst, usually fried pork sausage typically cut into slices and seasoned with curry ketchup, a sauce based on spiced ketchup or tomato paste. Cooked perfectly and super juicy with an authentic German draft beer to wash it down with. For the past day we'd been snacking from cafe's and fast food places as it's cheaper and quicker, but this was a treat and well worth the €26. Yummy.
The Victory Column is a monument in Berlin, Germany. Designed by Heinrich Strack after 1864 to commemorate the Prussian victory in the Danish-Prussian War. It sits in a large traffic circle on a main boulevard in the Tiergarten, Berlin's largest park (and is also just down the road from the Brandenburg Gate).
For the small price of €2.50, you can climb the couple thousands flights of stairs to reach its peak and see the spectacular view that is central Berlin.
In the distance, you can see the Brandeburg Gate at the top of the road and the TV tower (left). If you're not scared of heights and are up for a leg workout I'd definitely recommend paying the small fee to see how beautiful it is up there!
The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, also known as the Holocaust Memorial, is a memorial in Berlin to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust, designed by architect Peter Eisenman and engineer Buro Happold. It opened in 2005 and brings thousands of tourists to Berlin ever year.
From the first image the pillars only look short, but it's a sort of optical illusion. As you walk in to the maze like structure, before you know it you're surrounded by 12 foot pillars! Maybe best to follow your travel buddy or else you'd be sure to get lost. When we visited it definitely cast a somber mood on our morning, and generally selfies aren't allowed to be taken out of respect. It's a place to reflect on the devastating genocides that happened during the Second World War.
The Berlin Wall, a symbol of the Cold War, was a wall that separated the communist Eastern side of Berlin from the democratic Western side.
The site we visited had a lot of graffiti and quotes written along it, one being ''Please don't be angry when I'm not there for you. Love me like I love you always and forever.'' I wonder what that person may have been thinking and/or going through to write such a quote along a piece of history...
There's also a second site called the East Side Gallery located nearer the city centre. What was once part of the Berlin Wall is now the longest open-air gallery in the world. It’s here where international street artists come to paint on the wall. It gives the feeling that something that was so divisive and evil is now a symbol of peace, celebrated through art.
Berlin is famous for it's massive techno, electronic and house scene.
If you don't already know, Watergate is one of the most well known clubs in central Berlin- located right by the River Spree in the heart of the surrounding clubs and bars.
It features floor to ceiling windows, a terrace, LED ceiling lighting and top international DJ's. The dress code is formal and be prepared to show ID before you get to the door! It can also cost up to €10 to gain entry depending on what day of the week it is.
Other noteable clubs in the same area are Suicide Circus, Ipse and Matrix. They're definitely worth a visit to experience nightlife in a foreign country and see how it compares to what you may be used to in the UK, but make sure you pre-plan your route back to where you're staying to ensure getting there quickly and safely.
Google Maps is a great tool to use whilst abroad to find train, tram and bus routes!
As far as slightly more low-key bars and clubs go, Cassiopeia is a nightclub with a subculture edge & live music program in a former industrial hall with a courtyard. There's also 2 or 3 other places to dance and drink within the courtyard, so it's pretty different and cool to take a look around and see what there is! Entry to Cassiopeia is €6.
Susswargestern is good for people that fancy a drink amongst relaxed vibes. There's plenty of comfy seating around tables and there's hue lighting (meaning the lights change colour), with a DJ booth and visuals screen situated by the bar. Entry to this bar is free, so if you're on a budget- this is one for you! You can still have a fab time without having to compromise price for experience.
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