Whilst 24 hours isn’t enough time to get fully acquainted with a city, that’s all I the time I had on my recent trip to Germany’s capital city. I arrived in the morning at Circus Hostel and only had one day in Berlin to explore the major sights before getting a bus the following day to Oktoberfest in Munich. As you can imagine, I was keen to cram in as much as possible on my one night stand with Berlin.
I’ve heard a lot of backpackers rave about Berlin- mainly about the nightlife and the amazing kebabs. But aside from its complicated and tumultuous history, I really didn’t know much else about Berlin when I arrived.
The city is edgy and industrial-looking, and whilst I didn’t find it to be the most attractive city, I liked the cool vibe; the vintage clothing shops, the kebab places, the great Asian restaurants, the hostels and the non-stop party scene.
Lots of backpackers seem to stay in Berlin a while, which is understandable with the cheap food, the array of walking tours and the fact that the city never sleeps. If you really love it here you can always find English jobs in Germany and experience being an expat in Berlin.
Whilst I preferred Munich to Berlin, I’d like to go back and spend some more time there.
If you want to do Berlin in one day though, here’s what you should go and see:
Sights in Berlin
East Side Gallery- The East side gallery is a 1.3km section of the Berlin wall that is covered in artwork by 106 different artists. This memorial for freedom was painted in 1990 and it’s the largest outdoor gallery in the world.
Holocaust Memorial- The Holocaust Memorial was built to remember Jewish people who were killed in the Holocaust. It was designed by Peter Eisenman and Buro Happold and was finished in December 2004. It is a grid of 2,711 concrete slabs that vary in height and you can walk through them.
Checkpoint Charlie- “Checkpoint Charlie” was a crossing point at the Berlin Wall, which divided East and West Berlin. Today it is a popular tourist attraction and you can have a picture taken with people dressed up in military gear. Weirdly there is a McDonalds just on the corner!
Brandenburg Gate- Brandenburg is one of Germany’s most famous landmarks and a former city gate. Commissioned by Friedrich Wilhelm II, it was modelled on the Propylaeum of Athens’ Acropolis and finished in 1791. It was incorporated as part of the Berlin Wall and became a sad symbol of the division of Berlin, as it stood between East and West Germany. However, since the Berlin Wall came down, it has now taken on a different symbol of unity.
Berliner Dom-Berlin’s Cathedral is the largest church in the city and the centre for the Protestant Church of Germany. You can climb the 270 steps up to the outer walkway for fantastic views of the city, or visit the Hohenzollern Crypt where dozens of royals are buried. Browse the Cathedral Museum which contains drawings and models from the planning of the cathedral, and marvel at the large Sauer organ with its 7269 pipes and 113 registers.
Alexanderplatz- Alexanderplatz is a public city square and the main landmark here is the towering Fernsehturm (TV tower). Known as the ‘toothpick’, the TV tower measures 365m to the top of the spire. The sphere contains a revolving restaurant called the Telecafé at 207m.
Getting Around Berlin
You can get some great deals on flights to Berlin flying into Berlin Tegel Airport. To save myself some time I bought a day pass for the U-Bahn and S-Bahn which was well worth it for €6,80. I used it to get from the airport to my hostel in Rosenthalerplatz, and then to get to Warschauer Str. for the East Side Gallery. After I walked along this section of the Berlin Wall, I hopped on at Ostbahnhof and got off at Alexanderplatz. From Alexanderplatz I walked down Karl Liebknecht Str. past the Berliner Dom all the way to the Brandenburg Gate, then turned left to the Holocaust Memorial. From there I walked to Checkpoint Charlie. I got back on the U-Bahn at Kochstr. station to take me back to my hostel.
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Great for dinner
I can really recommend Good Morning Vietnam opposite Wombats Hostel if you like Vietnamese food. My friends and I had some delicious cocktails and yummy food there.
Fab Coffee Shop
Sankt Oberholz, which is right by Circus Hostel and Rosenthalerplatz, is an airy cafe serving bagels, quiches, sandwiches, coffees and juices with free Wi-Fi and lots of plug sockets. You’ll find entire rows of people on Mac laptops.