If you plan everything just right, 48 hours in Berlin will give you a great taste of all the amazing experiences the city has to offer.
Where to Stay
Alexanderplatz is the easiest point to find in the city because of Fernsehturm or the TV Tower. Whenever I felt lost wandering through the city, I would always look for the structure towering over the city. With that in mind, it makes perfect sense to book a hotel in an area that is easy to see and find from anywhere in the city.
With that in mind, Hotel Indigo Alexanderplatz is the perfect place to base your adventures out of.
The decor inside the room is designed to reflect what makes Berlin, Berlin. From the concrete headboards making reference to the Berlin Wall that once divided the city for decades, to the art and murals reflecting the Neptune statue in a nearby fountain.
After a long day exploring the city, what could be better than hopping in a spa-inspired rainfall shower to unwind?
What to See
Starting off at Alexanderplatz, book an early ticket to see the sun rise over Berlin from the top of Fersehturm. After your sunrise viewing at Fersehturm, take off down Unter den Linden stopping at all the major sights along the way.
Next up on down the road is the Berlin Cathedral. The cathedral is an impressive building that survived WWII by some stroke of luck. Underneath the building is the Hohenzollern-Crypt. You can tour the building for a small fee.
From Berliner Dom meander your way under the linden trees until you come to the Brandenburg Tor. Along the way, you can find tourist and coffee shops waiting to sell you something.
The gate was built in the late 1700s on the order of Freidrich Wilhelm II. During the Cold War, it was the site of President Raegan’s speech where he issued a stern command to Gorbachov, “Tear down this wall.”
Off to the right from the Brandenburg Tor is the Reichstag Building. The building housed and still does house the German Parliment. During the Nazi period, the building mysteriously caught on fire. Hitler blamed it on his opposition, but many believe that Hitler most likely was the cause of the fire.
The massive green space was once used as royal hunting grounds during the Prussian Empire. Nowadays the space is comparable to Central Park in New York City. There are numerous paths through the thick forest it is easy to get lost and spend your whole day wandering through the greenery.
The East Side Gallery is the remaining stretch of the wall that formerly separated the city into East and West. Not long ago, the pieces were touched up and the bits of graffiti was removed. The wall now has it’s own fenced wall to protect the art from other graffiti artists trying to wreck the pieces.
The site was given the name Checkpoint Charlie because it was Checkpoint C between East and West Berlin during the Cold War. It was the most well-known crossing point between the Wall. After reunification, the checkpoint became a tourist spot apart of the Allied Museum.
Wander the City
Spend the rest of the day wandering around the city. You might stumble across something you would never have found otherwise.
What to Eat
Currywurst mit Pommes
Currywurst with fries is the street food icon of Berlin. It is quick and easy to grab and go. And delicious. Just don’t ask my mom what she thought of it… she doesn’t like curry all that much.
The currywurst is a sausage topped with ketchup and a sprinkling of curry powder. You can also sometimes find varieties that have a curry-flavored ketchup instead of the curry sprinkled on top. Either way, delicious and a must try!
One of my favorite historical German phrases (that I learned in English class while the German teacher was our substitute) was “Ich bin ein Berliner” which translates to “I am a jelly-filled doughnut.” The phrase was spoken by President Kennedy during the Cold War as a way to show solidarity with West Berlin which was cut off from the free, democratic parts of the world at the time. What Kennedy thought he was saying is “I am a Berliner.”
Berliners, the pastry, are quite tasty and similar to the American Bismarck doughnut.
There is plenty of food to try in Berlin. I had my first bowl of ramen from a very authentic looking ramen shop in Mitte. They even spoke Japanese behind the counter! Sorry, language nerd that took two years of Japanese in college.
You can find just about any variety of food you are looking for in Berlin. Like falafel. How could I forget about my new love affair with falafel?
Long story short I tagged along with a friend to a literal hole in the wall restaurant that was supposed to have some of the best falafel in Berlin. I had no idea what to order or a what a falafel even was or if he was even still speaking English, so he ordered for me and from then on it was falafel foodie love.