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A Venezuelian free-thinker in Berlin
Edited by Emma White
Famous for both its troubled past and its all-accepting present, Berlin is one of the most diverse and culture-rich cities in Europe and beyond. There are infinite things to see and do in Berlin for both locals and tourists. I came to Berlin three years ago and I’m still discovering all that this exciting city has to offer! Since living here I’ve had my fair share of visits from friends and family and having been their personal tour guide each time, I think I’ve figured out the perfect ‘Berlin in 2 days’ itinerary. So read on for my advice on how to do Berlin in 48 hours by skipping the tourist hot spots and instead experiencing this European metropolis like a local!
Want to experience the best of Berlin in 2 days? It's possible and I can show you how, with the best things to do in Berlin. With so much to do and so little time you’ll need to fuel up in the morning to give you enough energy to last the whole day, so we’re starting our 2 days in Berlin in the South of the city at one of the best breakfast spots - Cabslam. This cosy hipster dive in Neukölln has a friendly vibe and its witty menu offers a great selection of breakfast options. The French toast is to die for!
Located next to Neukölln is one of my favourite spots in the city and one that I love taking visitors to, especially on a beautiful summer’s day. Tempelhofer Feld (Tempelhof for short) has an interesting history and is one of the largest inner-city open spaces in the world. Originally an airport, the area now has a six-kilometre cycling, skating and running track, a large BBQ area, a picnic area and a dog-walking field for all visitors. It’s definitely worth heading to if the weather is nice and you’ll most likely get chatting to some friendly locals while you’re there.
It’s time to delve into the city’s sombre yet fascinating past. My advice is to avoid the most touristic spots such as Checkpoint Charlie and instead head to the Jewish Museum. From Tempelhof you can either walk or hop on the U-Bahn and get off at Hallesches Tor. This conceptual museum is a one of a kind experience that is artistically and architecturally designed to make visitors feel the same isolation and disorientation that the Jewish community felt. The more traditional history tracing European Judaism is really captivating and brings you right up to date. It truly is a most emotive place and one that, for me, beautifully combines Berlin’s history and artistic flair.
A traditional German evening meal is an absolute must during your 2 day trip to Berlin. For no-frills, hearty German food head to Augustiner. Located just off Friedrichstraß in the Mitte district, this traditional pub has heaps of character and serves good quality, home-cooked German food washed down with great beer. Try the classic schnitzel with potato and cucumber salad or the popular pork knuckle dish.
Finish the day off in the central district of Mitte where you’ll find an array of unique neighbourhood bars waiting to welcome you in for a late evening drink. If you have any leftover time (and energy!) I’d recommend an evening walk along Unter den Linden Straße – At night time the buildings along the avenue are brightly illuminated and pave the way to the majestic Brandenburg Gate at the far end. This significant Berlin monument should certainly feature somewhere on your Berlin sightseeing list – but I think it’s best at night!
Day 2 starts off in Mauerpark – a public park in Prenzlauer Berg and former part of the Berlin Wall where families, musicians, visitors, street vendors come together creating a mishmash of the best of Berlin! Part of the original wall still stands at the eastern edge of Mauerpark but is now covered with colourful street art which reflects Berlin’s individualistic spirit. The park is most popular on Sundays when locals and tourists come to sift through the knick-knacks on offer at the park’s flea market. Private sellers set up here every Sunday selling anything from vintage clothes to old furniture, vinyl records, fabrics and all sorts of other treasures.
Pop up street food stalls join the vendors here at Mauerpark, offering up tasty food to enjoy whilst you explore the flea market. This is the perfect time to sample one of Berlin’s must eat foods – the humble döner kebab. Succulent meat, crunchy vegetables and tangy sauce make for the perfect on-the-go lunch. Mauerpark is also well-known for its Sunday afternoon karaoke sessions that take place at the amphitheatre at 3pm from spring until autumn. I love bringing visitors to the karaoke sessions, it’s such a unique and fun experience!
After Mauerpark, head south to Torstraß to discover the Berlin art world. As an art lover myself, I couldn’t create an itinerary of what to do in Berlin in 2 days without including Berlin’s world-class art scene! Berlin’s art scene has been rapidly developing on and around Torstraße with galleries and fashion boutiques opening up all along the street. Believe it or not, gallery hopping has become a popular activity for art lovers who like to mingle on the weekend! Check out the area’s collection of galleries such as Fata Morgana Galerie, Galerien Berlin Mitte and Janine Bean Gallery, all showcasing Berlin’s ever-evolving artistic identity.
Aside from traditional German food, another cuisine type that you have to eat while in Berlin, and my personal favourite, is Asian food. Berlin just does it so well! One of my favourite restaurants is Transit in Mitte. This trendy hidden gem serves Asian food with a twist. People usually order a few tapas-style dishes per person and then everyone tucks in and gets to have a taste of anything – my kind of meal! It’s right near Torstraß so why not check it out for yourself?
No trip to Berlin is complete without sampling the city’s world famous nightlife! In my opinion it would be wrong to visit the Techno Temple of the world and not make time to see what all the fuss is all about, right? End your second day at one of Berlin’s best night clubs – Tresor, Berghain or Club de Visionaere. But be warned if you have an early flight the next day, once the Berlin techno fever takes over you it rarely lets go until the morning! If you’re starting your Berlin 2 day trip on a Friday then you might want to switch this activity to the Friday night, just make sure you’re in good shape the next day to make the most of wonderful Berlin!
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