Berlin in Two Days.
Berlin is Germany’s capital and the largest city in the country. It has one of the most turbulent histories of any European capital but has emerged as one of Europe’s most popular destinations in recent years. There is a lot of history and art here. Berlin is an old city with a young heart and one of the most fun, coolest, most diverse and eclectic cities in Europe. There’s a constant sense of motion here.
Itinerary & Things to See:
Day 1: City center and landmarks
Alexanderplatz and Fernsehturm TV tower
Day 2: Hipster Berlin
East Side Gallery (Berlin Wall)
The biggest and most impressive cathedral in Berlin, The Dom was built at the turn of the 20th century as an expression of imperial power. It’s located next to the museum island in Mitte and you can climb to the top of the dome for a beautiful view over Berlin’s center.
Am Lustgarten, +49 30 20269136, berlinerdom.de. You can visit The Dom daily. Open from 9am-8pm on weekdays and 12pm-8pm on Sundays, Admission is 7 EUR.
The Brandenburg Gate is perhaps one of the most iconic sights in all of Germany. It was built on top of the former city gate, on the orders of the Prussian king Frederick William II in the late 1700s. About fifteen years later, Napolean has even passed through the Brandenburg gate, after the Battle of Jena-Auerstedt. So just think, you’ll be passing through a place where Napolean once stood
Checkpoint Charlie & Berlin Wall.
This is the infamous gateway between former East and West Berlin. There’s a reconstruction of the checkpoint here, complete with fake soldiers (and lots of tourists taking pictures). The nearby museum was created in 1963 by Rainer Hildebrandt. It has a lot of pictures, information, and video about people’s attempts to flee the East. A word of caution, though: the museum is really tiny, making it hard to maneuver around due to the big crowds. Avoid going mid-day and on the weekend.
Friedrichstraße 43-45, +49 30 2537250. The checkpoint itself is open every day and free to the public, while the museum is open daily from 9am-10pm. Admission to the museum is 14.50 EUR for adults, with discounts available for students and families.
East Side Gallery
A giant section of the Berlin Wall was left standing, and artists were invited to paint a section of it that represented hope and violence. Now, the East Side Gallery is one of the best outdoor art exhibits in Berlin. I was really moved by some of the paintings.
Use your student card – In this city, your student identification card will come in handy to purchase meals, drinks, accommodation, and visit museums at a discount.
Germany’s most famous city square contains the 368-meter high Fernsehturm TV tower. You can visit the tower’s observation deck for brilliant views of the city. (You can also see the tower from everywhere in the city.)
Hostel prices – There is a great social, backpacker culture in Berlin. Dorm rooms cost between 10-30 EUR per night and private rooms start around 45.00 EUR per night. The cheapest beds usually disappear quickly, so book ahead! All the hostels come with free WiFi and many include breakfast. For those traveling with a tent, there are a few campgrounds outside the city. Prices start at 5 EUR per night for a basic plot. My suggested places are:
Budget hotel prices – You can find cheap budget hotels starting at 35 EUR per night for a double room with a bathroom and (usually) breakfast. Nicer, brand name hotels will begin at around 70 EUR (but I suggest you stick to the local, family owned businesses whenever possible). Airbnb is hugely popular in the city and shared spaces (i.e. a place on the couch) starts around 20 EUR per night. If you want your own apartment/home, expect to pay 40 EUR or more per night.
Average cost of food – Food in Berlin is super affordable. There are a lot of little shawarma and sausage stalls (try the famous currywurst) that offer cheap food for around 4 EUR, as well as an abundance of pizza-by-the-slice spots that cater to the growing Italian population for 1-2 Euros. Turkish food is going to be your cheapest bet (and it’s delicious!) if you head south to the neighborhood of Kreuzburg. Fast food (i.e. McDonalds) usually costs around 7 EUR for a value meal. Nicer, sit down restaurant meals with table service range between 15-25 EUR for food and drink. You can buy a week of groceries for between 35-50 EUR depending on how much you eat and what food you purchase.
Transportation costs – Berlin is a huge, spread-out city, so you’ll find yourself using public transportation to get around. A standard single journey ticket in zones AB costs 2.80 EUR and a short distance ticket is 1.70 EUR. A day pass is a better value if you are making three or more trips in a day (a day pass for zones AB costs 7 EUR). A special ticket good for four trips (zones AB) is 9 EUR. You can use the same ticket on trains, buses, and trams. A 7-day pass is 30 EUR. Bike rentals cost around 15 EUR per day and are one of the best ways to get around (it’s what the locals do). For intercity trains or buses, expect to pay between 36-160 EUR, depending on the distance and when you book. A train to Munich, for example, will cost between 100-160 EUR, while a night bus for the same journey will set you back around 36-46 EUR; a bus to Frankfurt will cost between 28-50 EUR while the train will cost up to 140 EUR. Book in advance for the best prices.