Ich bin ein Berliner: Guest Blogger Ellis’s Berlin Top 10

I’m excited to welcome another guest blogger today. Ellis from Ellis Goes on Holiday has a great blog with lots of lists and guides to places across the globe. Hailing from the UK and having spent some time in Berlin, Ellis is here to share some of her favorite things to do in Germany’s Spree City along with some great pictures. So without further ado, here’s Ellis!

Last summer, I was lucky enough to spend August in Berlin and within a few days it had quickly become my favourite place, with its masses of street art and quirky, relaxed atmosphere. Even after a month, I’m sure that I still didn’t see everything there was to see and it’s hard to recommend just ten things to do, but I’ll try:

Free walking tour (the Brandenburg Gate)
Free walking tour (the Brandenburg Gate)

#1: Free walking tour

Walking tours are a fantastic way to get to know any city. In Berlin, there are various different tours you can take; I took a general one, looking at historical sites with the guide telling us about each place, and an alternative tour looking at street art. In two afternoons, I’d marched around the city and seen two very different sides to it. Now, nothing actually comes free and you are expected to tip your guide at the end, but the beauty of it is that you only give what you can afford and how much you think it was worth, so it is available no matter what your budget is.

Mauer Park
Mauer Park

#2: Mauer Park

When the weather allows it, Mauer Park hosts a free karaoke session at the open air theatre on Sundays. This attracts a massive crowd and anyone can join in (although for me this was purely an observing activity). Watching it was like watching the X Factor auditions but in the sun and with the option of beer. Some people were amazing and others just entertaining. Either way, it was one of the best afternoons I spent in the city. To put the cherry on the sundae, there was also a flea market, so you can shop, find some food and watch the music all in one day.

Tempelhof
Tempelhof

#3: Tempelhof

Berlin is full of abandoned places. Tempelhof was an airport once upon a time but, since being closed down, it is now used as a park with people skating, cycling and land-surfing up and down the runways. I even saw what appeared to be a Segway class. You can still go and spot the terminal, a plane and some of the old buildings or you can just relax on the grass.

 

Spreepark
Spreepark

#4: Spreepark

Once an amusement park, Spreepark has since been abandoned but still draws in tourists- just for different reasons. In recent years, the owners have stopped people from just wandering around so now you can either go on one of the tours (which only run at certain times during the week) or take a cheap train ride around the outside, which is what I did. I didn’t get to see loads but it was still worth the money and I did have fun climbing about on the swan boats and cars by the entrance. The site is also close to a beer garden, which you have to visit in Germany. Our visit to the park was followed by a glass of Berliner Weisse- a beer which comes with raspberry syrup, which is perfect if you want to drink beer in Germany but are not a massive beer fan as it tastes much sweeter.

Beer festival
Beer festival

#5: Beer festival

A trip to Germany wouldn’t be complete without a decent amount of beer. I’m not sure how many beer festivals there are in Berlin but I went to one at the beginning of August. Being on a budget meant that I couldn’t try as many as I would have liked but I did discover that Duff is a real beer (although admittedly not a great one) and tried passion fruit flavoured beer and beer mixed with crushed raspberries. In this setting, Germany’s famous bratwurst is a must. I had mine watching a brass band with the whole crowd singing and dancing along. Alternatively, try currywurst- one of Berlin’s local cuisines. It’s a sausage covered in curry sauce and, if you think that that’s a weird combination, I can assure you that it tastes magnificent.

Badeschiff
Badeschiff

#6: Badeschiff

Badeschiff is a swimming pool on the river and is perfect for a hot day- although this will inevitably mean that it is busy. I made the mistake of going mid-afternoon and by the time we arrived, the sun was starting to go down and was hiding behind the nearby buildings. The cold showers and swimming with the breeze from the water hitting you in the face is not as nice when you’re chilly to begin with. It is still a great experience though, even if you are just curled up on a deckchair with a book.

 

East Side Gallery
East Side Gallery

#7: The East Side Gallery

This is the longest stretch left of the Berlin Wall which has been covered in murals and perfectly encapsulates how I see Berlin- street art and history. It’s free to view and although I must have seen it 3-4 times, I always spotted something that I hadn’t seen before. At the far end is Yaams, a Jamaican beach bar. After strolling down the wall, we stopped for a drink before walking back down the other side which had pictures of other walls and conflicts from around the world. The bar is the perfect place for refreshment and even some food and is definitely worth a visit in itself. It certainly makes you feel as though you are on holiday.

 

Museum Island
Museum Island

#8: Museum Island

Museum Island contains 5 museums and galleries, several of which contained impressive antiquities exhibits (which I personally love). For a fixed price, you can buy a pass to the whole island that lasts for a couple of days. I think it took me about 3 days to look around all of them but I wasn’t exactly rushing so it could probably be done before the pass expires if you are particularly dedicated. Two of my highlights were the beautiful bust of Nefertiti in the Neues Museum and the huge Pergamon Altar in the Pergamon Museum.

Reichstag Dome
Reichstag Dome

#9: The Reichstag

Tours of the Reichstag’s glass dome are free but do need to be booked in advance. From the dome, you get fantastic views of the city whilst you wander around with an audio-guide which tells you about the place and about some of the things you can see.

 

 

Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe (aka the Holocaust Memorial)
Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe (aka the Holocaust Memorial)

#10: WWII museums

Everyone knows about the history of World War II but learning about it in school just isn’t the same as visiting places like the Holocaust Memorial and its museum. Although it is sobering and heavy-going, you cannot go to Germany without learning about its history and this is probably as close as you can get to understanding what happened. I also found it interesting to see how people interacted with the large stone blocks that make up the memorial itself on a day to day basis. Other museums include the Topography of Terror, which focuses on the role of the Gestapo and the SS and looks at the propaganda used by the Nazis, which is also well worth a visit.

7 thoughts on “Ich bin ein Berliner: Guest Blogger Ellis’s Berlin Top 10

  1. Very interesting! I went to Berlin last year, only for a weekend, but I did not know about a few of these things! The abandoned airport sounds awesome! Maybe if I make it back there il check it out and write a post about it as well haha

    Like

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