There’s something so familiar about being in Berlin. The culture, the comfort foods, the weather! What I love most about Berlin is the way it continuously reinvents itself. Every corner is different and reveals something new about the place.
Berlin is one of those places that feels good any time of year. Even in the depths of the festive Christmas season the weather is only slightly chillier than in London…
Without further ado, a list of the 9 best things to do in Berlin.
1 | Climb the Reichstag
The 360 degree open air view from the top of one of Germany’s most important buildings is not to be missed.
Although entrance is free you will need to pre-book your admittance a few days in advance. If you forget or find that there are no allocated places left, as we did, the trick is to book a reservation at the rooftop café. Our hotel concierge at Hotel De Rome let us in on the secret and worked wonders with securing us a place.
Another tip – hotels like the Hotel De Rome have concierges that are usually better than most at getting their guests in to the most popular sites and restaurants. The hotel itself is pretty special too…
Stay tuned for a full review of Hotel De Rome.
2 | Visit the Zoo
Head to the Berlin Zoological Garden. The zoo is one of the oldest in Europe and houses a broad spectrum of life, with 16,000 animals across 1,500 species. There are dedicated predator zones, hippo houses, areas for nocturnal animals and a pretty fantastic aquarium. Make this a day visit with the kids, or see it from the penthouse restaurant of 25 Hours Hotel Bikini Berlin. From the indoor-outdoor penthouse restaurant and bar you can enjoy views over the zoo and Tiergarten park beyond.
3 | Dinner and drinks at 25 Hours Hotel Bikini Berlin
The hotel has one of the most popular penthouse bars with views onto the zoo and park, so even if you don’t book a stay you have to add this to the itinerary. Hang out at the Monkey Bar and sip an aperitif before dinner at the famed hotel restaurant NENI.
If you do choose to stay at 24 Hours Hotel Bikini Berlin then pick a ‘Jungle’ room for views on to the ape enclosure. Way up on the 8th floor, the first thing we hear when we open our balcony window in the morning is the sound of primates at breakfast. How wonderful!
4 | Get involved in festivities
Christmas is a wonderful time to be in Berlin, and the ancient markets are second to none. One of the best Christmas markets has to be at the Gendarmenmarkt, in one of the most picturesque squares of Berlin and just a stone’s throw from Hotel De Rome.
The Gendarmenmarkt showcases artisanal products from some of the most traditional craftsmen in the city. Look out for look wood carvers, belt makers, dressmakers and comb makers as well as works from photographers, stonemasons and painters.
The entertainment is equally as fascinating and ranges from children’s shows with Jugglers to fire-eaters, as well as classical and jazz ensembles.
Gendarmenmarkt charges 1 Euro entrance. Worth it.
5 | Visit the Chamäleon Theater
Catch a show at the Chamäleon Theater, where artists blur the boundaries between acrobatics, dance, music and theatre. We loved the dry wit and understated humour behind the UNDERART show, and the table setting where you can enjoy food and drinks alongside the art.
This has to be one of the best and most absorbing shows I’ve seen in a long while. I love it all the more for being acted out by an intimate cast in a humble setting. It’s pretty fantastic stuff.
6 | Have some quiet time at the Holocaust Memorial
There’s always space for contemplation in Berlin, and nowhere more so than at the Holocaust Memorial. The area is made up of modulating concrete piles that are reminiscent of tombs, with walkways in between. The area sends out a simple, powerful message, and a compelling reason to stop and take stock.
7 | Hot Air Balloon over Berlin
Climb to 150m above the city on the tethered Helium balloon that offers stunning 360 degree views over Berlin!
Its a quick 15 minute stay up there and is one of the best things we could’ve done. All for under €20.
8 | Unter Der Linden – The Brandenburg Gate to Museum Island
Just past the Jewish Memorial is the Brandenburg Gate, one of the most recognizable city monuments. After taking a quick selfie, walk down the Unter Der Linden boulevard which connects The Brandenburg Gate to Museum Island. The spacious parade is home to countless historical sites like the Humboldt University, the State Opera, and the State Library, and ends at the UNESCO World Heritage site Museum Island.
9 | The One Grand Show at Friedrichstadt-Palast
End your trip on a magical high with the uber-glam One Grand Show at Friedrichstadt-Palast. Acrobatics are mixed with the glitz of Las Vegas in one of Europe’s largest and most modern showhouse palaces. The cast numbers over 100 and costumes are from Jean Paul Gaultier!
We love the dreamscape quality of the classic Revue show, and the richness of each piece. The One Grand Show is an assault to the senses that hits you with opulent extravagence. A stunner…
Let me know where you’ve been in Germany too!