Thursday, May 9, 2013

How to Make the Most of a Day in Berlin

Berlin is the capital of Germany, and a lively city buzzing with energy you would expect from a major tourist hub in Europe. To soak up the vibe, begin your adventures from the Jewish quarter in the central Mitte district where you can find various budget hotels such as the Circus Hotel - or more expensive establishments with modern comforts such as Casa Camper.


Start your day with a breakfast at your hotel; you’ll need the energy for the morning’s activities. From there head over to Museumsinsel, a UNESCO recognised collection of museums which houses 6000 years of treasure found from around the world. Doors open at 10 am so queuing won’t be a problem. While you could easily spend an entire day just exploring these museums, focus your time in the Pergamonmuseum to check out the Greek Pergamon Altar and its Babylonian Ishtar Gate, which are both spectacular. From there head over to the Neues Museum where Egyptian artefacts decorate the galleries. After the early mornings brain straining, head over to the DDR museum where you’ll find the Spree River cruises set off to glide down the river. Sit back and enjoy the views of Berlin’s oldest buildings, beach bars, the government quarter and the central train station before disembarking to head for some lunch.


Take a taxi over to Fischers Fritz where you’ll be treated to Michelin Star chef Christian Lohse cooking up some fantastic fish and seafood dishes. Three course lunch meals are 47 Euros which is great value for such good food or, alternatively, get two courses for 35 Euros and visit the nearby chocolatier Fassbender & Rausch which is famous for making chocolate models of Berlin’s landmarks. Then it is time to take in some of the attractions of Berlin. Head over to Gendarmenmarkt, which is a graceful square sandwiched between German and French cathedrals and the brilliant Konzerthaus, Berin’s main concert hall. Detouring from here, head over to Checkpoint Charlie and the infamous Brandenburg Gate, both important Cold War sites for their respective reasons. Nearby to the gate is a Holocaust Memorial site consisting of 2711 sarcophagi like columns that rise up in sobering silence. With so much to do in the day and quite a distance to cover, it would be easier to rent a car in Germany to get from site to site.


Make your way back over to the Jewish quarter of Scheuenviertel to properly explore its vast array of winding lanes where you’ll find various gifts and accessories such as glasses, bags and local artworks. When it is time for dinner, Bavarian cuisine served up with a cold local beer at Schwarzwaldstuben is a great way to load back up on energy to finish off your day. Evening entertainment in Berlin is varied but the cabaret at Charmaleon Variete is a must. From there if you still have the energy and wish to sample some of Germany’s nightlife you can head over to Clarchens Ballhaus where locals will be dancing along the floor to tango and disco. For those with a more modern taste in music such as techno and house, Hit Weekend is your destination and during the summer months you can enjoy the beautiful sunrise from the rooftop lounge.

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