Kimberlee Oo

I’ve always wanted to go to Berlin, so when I had a few days spare I jumped at the chance to head to the original hipster capital. I’m the complete opposite of a hipster, so I researched where to go, what to do and how to get into the Berghain (I even had a go at the online simulator). I booked an Airbnb in Kreuzberg and jetted off for a whirlwind long weekend. Here’s what I managed to get up to in 72 hours…

Day 1: Mitte, Tiergarten & Charlottenburg

I started off in the city centre, Mitte, where most of the famous attractions are like the Bradenburg Gate, Museum Island and Berliner Dom cathedral. It’s also where you’ll find the Reichstag building, the glass-domed home of parliament. It has a stunning panoramic view over all of Berlin, but you have to book your tickets online in advance and unfortunately it was completely sold out. Something to remember for next time! Personally, I’d give Checkpoint Charlie a miss – it’s more touristy than historical. The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe is breathtaking though – incredibly poignant and moving. 

Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe

From Mitte, I went to Kurfurstendamm, one of Berlin’s main shopping streets. I stumbled upon Bikini Berlin Mall, a new concept shopping centre with independent German designers and a cool rooftop café overlooking the zoo. After lunch, I headed out further to Charlottenburg Palace, a baroque summer home with gorgeous gardens and a lake.

Night 1: Burgermeister & Watergate

One thing Berlin is known for is its clubbing. Even if you’re not a big party animal, it’s a rite of passage when you come here. The three main clubs are the Berghain, Watergate and Tresor. They’re all very grungy, underground and play only hard-core techno until the very early hours of the morning (or even all weekend long). The Berghain is notoriously hard to get into – you can expect to wait up to three hours to reach Sven the bouncer, who will more than likely turn you away without a word. So, rather than waste the night, I went to Watergate instead. To be honest, it was partly because the club is just over the road from another well-known institution – Burgermeister. This famous burger joint is actually housed in old public toilets that have been converted into a kitchen and makeshift tables. It sounds a bit gross and not entirely hygienic, but the food is out of this world. After dinner (and after midnight), I headed over to Watergate. It’s right on the River Spree so I started off with a few drinks on the outdoor floating bar before heading inside to the two levels of nothing but intense techno tunes. 

Burgermeister

Day 2: Friedrichshain & Kreuzberg

I was staying in Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg, the kind of up-and-coming/cool area, equivalent to Sydney’s Darlinghurst or Paris’ Strasbourg Saint Denis. That morning, I found a great cafe called Nest that specialises in German and Mediterranean dishes and has a fantastic all-you-can-eat brunch for €15. After an hour or so of eating, I walked over the iconic Oberbaum Bridge to the East Side Gallery, a 1.3km stretch of the old Berlin Wall that features paintings from artists all around the world. It’s pretty crowded with tourists, but worth the walk.

East Side Gallery

Night 2: White Trash Fast Food & Club der Visionaire

That night, dinner was at a fun restaurant called White Trash Fast Food. It looks like an abandoned junkyard, but step inside and you’ll find sticky ribs, grilled on a real flaming BBQ pit, Jamaican jerk chicken, and pulled beef sandwiches. Just over the road is Club der Visionaere, by far my favourite Berlin club. It sits on the Landwehr Canal and has a great view over the water. It’s a bit more chilled than the other clubs but it’s still packed out until at least 6am.

Landwehr Canal

Day 3: Prenzlauer Berg & Badeschiff

If you’re in Berlin on a weekend, you have to go to Prenzlauer Berg in the north. Every Sunday, there is a big flea market in Mauerpark where you can pick up vintage clothes, jewellery and random finds like war memorabilia and taxidermy animals. However, the main attraction of Sundays at Mauerpark is the Bearpit Karaoke. I followed the crowds and came to a huge outdoor amphitheatre where thousands of people had gathered, beers in hand, to watch aspiring singers have a go at open-air karaoke. Some were surprisingly good, others… not so. It’s lots of fun though and you can spend hours in the sun watching (and judging) everyone.

It was a beautiful afternoon, so I headed back to the Landwehr Canal to relax at Badeschiff, Berlin’s only beach bar, complete with sand and a pool right on the River Spree. You can go swimming, stand-up paddle boarding or even do some yoga, but I was more about kicking back in a deck chair with a glass of Berliner Weisse.  

Badeschiff

Night 3: RAW Tempel

RAW Tempel is about as Berlin as it gets. It calls itself an ‘urban playground’, but it’s really a collection of concrete bunkers scattered around a ruined railway yard. It’s all been converted into bars, clubs and open spaces housing street art, contemporary galleries and pop-up tattoo parlours. It was the perfect way to finish off a hectic, surreal and one-of-a-kind weekend. Berlin, there’s no place quite like you, that’s for sure!

RAW Tempel

Things to know about Berlin

  • It’s really BIG, so don’t expect to walk everywhere. I recommend getting the Berlin Welcome Card – it gives you unlimited travel on the two train lines, the S-Bahn and U-Bahn, and 50% off major sights and attractions.
  • Berlin has two airports – Tegel is the closest and easiest to get into the city centre.
  • Rather than eating currywurst and sauerkraut, you’re better off trying some of Berlin’s international eateries – you’ll find delicious Indian, Vietnamese and Turkish restaurants all around Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain.

  

Kimberlee Oo is a freelance writer and French-English translator who moved to Paris in pursuit of the perfect croissant. Follow her French life on Instagram @kymbali20 and Snapchat kymbali20.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by the author and those providing comments are theirs alone, and are meant as travel inspiration only. They do not reflect the opinions of Cover-More Insurance. You should always read the PDS available from your travel insurance provider to understand the limits, exclusions and conditions of your policy and to ensure any activities you undertake are covered by your policy.