What I will remember about Berlin? Long distances, few cars and a lot of green. When you are in a city just for a couple of days you need to make choices of what to see and what to skip. My advice on what to do in Berlin:
- Get out of Mitte (the central part of Berlin). Berlin felt like a big city. So it is unlikely that just by strolling around you will find yourself in the places that you wanted to see. I felt quite a contrast compared with Paris where you can just walk and walk and visit everything you need. And indeed, it appeared that Berlin is eight times larger than Paris. So it makes more sense to plan your route beforehand and to use public transport.
- Visit a museum. And not necessarily the most famous ones (Neues Museum, Pergamon Museum, Bauhaus Archive / Museum of Design), but select the one that matches your mood of the moment. In such young and lively Berlin, I longed for some luxury and oldness and went to Charlottenburg Palace. Only the story of the museum director, who after the war just moved to live in the museum in order to avoid it diminishing is so remarkable. Or go to the cinema museum and see Berlin Walk of Fame with movie starts names under your feet (I did not recognize anyone except Til Schweiger from famous German movie “Barfus”).
- Buy tickets for a concert in Berliner Philharmonie. My friend who is a good judge and lover of music had this place on his bucket list among Sydney Opera and Carnegie Hall. And his evaluation of the experience was very good (mine also, but mine does not count that much). And again there is a place, there is a story. A story of how important the choice of the main conductor of Berliner Philharmonie is for the city. The choice is discussed and anticipated. Can you imagine such a city?
- Go up to the rough of Reichstag. You need to sign up for the visit in advance, you need to have your passport when you come there. On the roof, there are stands and posters that tell a story of Reichstag. There I saw that Soviet soldiers directed their attack to this building by mistake. Well, then I thought I am also here by mistake, just following their story after years.
- Use one of the many possibilities for swimming. There is a lot of water in Berlin. For example, here are the options:
- The city swimming pool was renovated into a hotel, but still with the same swimming pool. Anyone can come there to swim (according to the timetable and by paying a regular fee).
- Swimming pool in the center on the quay.
- Liquidrom is a sauna and swimming pool in the center of the city (Potsdamer square) with music and lights underwater and DJs.
- And if not swimming pools, then you can try lakes. For example Wanzee
- Feel the story of the Berlin Wall. The more time will pass, the more unreal the story will seem. Now thirty years have passed from the time the wall fell and its story feels so strange already. Cut off transport connections, closed metro station which trains were just passing by, successful and unsuccessful escapes, people from the West Berlin coming to climb the viewing tower in the hope to see their relatives.
- Learn what Biergarten is. I never thought I will recommend something like biergarten (a place for drinking beer in the open air), but when I came there, I did not want to leave. Summer, river, cold beer, simple tables, benches near the water, warm evening, boats on the river.
- See what you can do out of an old brewery. Kulturbrauereu, a cultural brewery in Prenzlauer. This is an old industrial complex which is now a cultural center. And culture does not go without a beer in Berlin. Concerts, festivals, exhibitions, and Christmas Market is all here as well.
Always check out the hidden courtyards in Berlin, you will find nicest restaurants and cafes and breakfast in the city is mandatory. There are a lot of nice breakfast places and you can even have it during lunch:). My place to visit for breakfast is “Pasternak”. And the last thing to do is to take a photo of Berliner Weisse, look at this Instagramish color.