24 hours can seem short, but if well-prepared, one can make the best out of a day anywhere!
We were in Berlin a couple of weeks back, and, luckily or not, we stayed there for 24 hours (actually 23, but let’s not be so punctilious okay?).
So what the hell did we do in Berlin in a day? Here’s our story!
We landed in Berlin Schonefeld (the second airport of the German capital) right after midday and from there we took the so-called S-Bahn, which is a city train that’ll bring you to the center. Stay away from taxis or more expensive ways to reach the city, with only 3.60€ you can get there anyway and you can also see the Berlin suburbs. Depending on where your accommodation is, you might hop off in different stations (download the app of the Berlin metro and tram lines, top notch!). We got off near the Zoo, the Berliner Tiergarten, since our Hotel, Dormero Ku’Damm was located there (if you wanna know more about this extravagant hotel, click on the link to read our review!). Anyway, let’s skip the boring part and cut to the chase.
We tossed our bags on the bed and darted out, direction Brandenburg Gate (Spoiler Alert: it is not as big as you might think!). The cool thing though is that, within walking distance, you can see the famous gate, the Reichstag, the meeting place of the German parliament, and the Holocaust Memorial. If the first two attractions left us meh, the last one was very intense. The atmosphere there is somehow confusing, uneasy, but without any doubt, reflective.
Packed with thoughts, you might enjoy a long walk through the stunning streets of Berlin Mitte. Keep your chin up, as you do not want to miss out on amazing graffities and rooftops. From the Holocaust Memorial, we took the Französische Straße towards east, district filled with nice cafes, parks and buildings.
After crossing the river, we hung out there, as this part of the city is full of amazing things to contemplate: the dome, bridges, the Fernseherturm, churches. And that’s our piece of advice for you: just get lost and be curious, you have no idea where you can end up at! For example, we found ourselves in Hackescher Höfe, a warren of narrow streets in Berlin Mitte (on the east side of the river) where you can find flea and food markets, and where you can buy idiosyncratic objects of every kind.
All this walking made us hungry, so we headed to Kreuzberg to find a nice and original place to fill up our bellies. First of all, why did we pick this district? Also named X-Berg (as some of the people there proudly say), this borough is inhabited by a hipster and active population. Something that you’ll also notice is the typology of people hanging out there. It’s fantastic to see different generations walking around the same streets at night! Anyway, let’s get back to food. We ended up in this tiny street and a small yet colorful restaurant grabbed our attention, Chicha. For a full review click on the name (which we highly suggest), but, if you want the short story, it is mind-blowing! It is in our top 3 meal list ever, hands down.
After having foodgasms, we kept walking around X-Berg, contemplating the vibe of this borough. Something you can’t miss out on are the so-called Späti, 24/hour shops that basically sell everything. So in case you need carrots or fuel in the middle of the night, Spätis are there for you. Jokes aside, it’s pretty cool the fact that you can grab a beer or something to eat and keep walking. Especially if you have only 24 hours to get to know Berlin and want to use every second of it!
The day after, since the early bird always gets that freaking worm, we got up early and, after a galvanizing breakfast, we hit the road, direction Tiergarten. We’re not big fans of zoos actually, so we just took a walk through the immense and relaxing park located in the city center. After that, our plan was to visit the Berlin Wall, where history and art meet. Hit and destroyed by two world wars, Berlin seems to have taken these disasters to develop its own culture, its own style, if you will. I believe these are the pillars that make Berlin so different and sparkling at the same time. Paintings on walls are typical signs of vandalism and poverty (at least for western society), but in Berlin they aim at expressing feelings and situations. A city that has witnessed so much in the last 100 years has also matured its own way to survive and, actually, excel in the western scenario. I know, I lost the thread of the conversation again…
After that, we were struggling to decide what to do, not because we ran out of ideas, but rather because there were too many! The Bauhaus museum? Or a visit through the subterranean Berlin? The museum of Things maybe? For once, we were spontaneous and took a walk around Alexander Platz, visiting the Rotes Rathaus (red city hall) and St. Nicholas’ Church.
Exactly 23 hours later, we were back at the airport.
Did we underestimate Berlin before our short yet immersive visit? Very. Do we want to go back and spend more time? Hell yeah! In our mind, Berlin was the city that one should see throughout their life because of its name, rather because of its beauty. We were never so wrong! Berlin has managed to use despair and disaster to build its own shape. Vibrant and colorful, Berlin does not only showcase its history, but…well, go to Berlin and find it out yourself – totally worth it!
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