We recently packed our bags and headed to Berlin for a four day break. The weekend was packed with great places, interesting culture, good food and good friends. So here, in no particular order, is a little insight into our top 5 must-visit places in Berlin.
1. Jüdisches Museum Berlin
This museum is by far one of the most interesting museums we have ever visited. It is packed with history of the Jewish people in Germany that is presented in an interesting and diverse way that we have never seen before. The architecture of the building lends a lot to how the museum impacts on you, parts of it small, narrow and claustrophobic, other parts with high ceilings, trees and even some parts outdoors.
The exhibitions there are really something, even if you are not one for museums, they will catch your attention and make you stop and read. Some parts need no explanation; there is nothing quite like walking over thousands of metal faces with the clanking noise of metal on metal echoing through the high ceiling to give you a shiver up your spine.
In addition to the history and exhibitions which you could spend up to two hours experiencing, if you visit this museum on a sunny day (like we did) you will be pleasantly surprised to find a garden at the back of the museum, with shaded seating for the café and a little stack of deckchairs to lie back in the sun and contemplate your walk through the exhibitions.
2. YAM YAM
Staying true to our love of food, our second must go place is a restaurant. The food we ate while in Berlin was some of the best we’ve ever had. An amazing range of international restaurants and really great options for vegetarians/vegans.
Yam Yam is a Korean restaurant in a fairly central part of Berlin, quite near to Alexanderplatz. Before visiting Berlin we had been recommended to hit it up for lunch so of course we had no choice. We were not disappointed. It took us a while to decide what to have, mostly because we wanted to try most things on the menu. When we finally decided, the food was amazing. We even gave eating with chopsticks a go, which went about as well as you would expect. If you’re looking for a lunch place while exploring central Berlin, this cannot be missed.
3. Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe
This is a hard one to write about as it really is something that should be seen and experienced for yourself. 2,711 grey blocks of concrete, set into the ground at different heights, honouring the up to six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust.
Walking around the memorial, the ground is uneven and it is very easy to lose your footing, even easier to get lost and disoriented. While this memorial did receive mixed opinions, we feel it is very powerful and effective. The artist who designed it has said little about its intended meaning and you will find very few signs around describing what it is, which leaves the memorial open to your own interpretation. Standing around the edges, it is very hard to believe that there are almost three thousand blocks in it. Walking through gives you a very claustrophobic and isolating sensation.
If you have time while visiting, you are able to go underneath where there is a museum giving details about the victims and the period of the Holocaust. A very silent and sobering experience.
4. Prater Garten
Our next recommendation is slightly more upbeat: the best beer garden we have ever visited. We were very blessed with the weather while we were visiting Berlin and as such were drawn towards places with outdoor seating. After finishing a lovely dinner outside a little Indian restaurant (called Khushi) in an area of North Berlin we had yet to explore, we turned to Google Maps to see if there were any bars with a beer garden close by. This one was a short walk and promised an ‘extensive beer garden with local brews’. It did not disappoint.
A wide open area, with fairy lights strung up through the trees, lighting the tables and benches below. As we walked in we were met with the chatter of old friends catching up and new ones meeting for the first time. Two pints of beer, sitting on a bench on a mild evening, chatting about nothing in particular… nothing could be better.
Last but definitely not least is Mauerpark. This was quiet possibly the highlight of our trip. A recommendation from the same friend who told us to eat at Yam Yam (we probably owe her a pint), Mauerpark on a Sunday has something for everyone.
A large flea market you could spend hours browsing through, bands busking, people dancing barefoot in the grass and the biggest karaoke you’ve ever seen. We ended up spending an entire day there, eating food, drinking beer and listening to music. It was the perfect way to end our trip. If you’re going to go anywhere in Berlin, this is the place to go.
If you enjoyed our list please feel free to let us know on Twitter (@aman_abroad) or share your recommendations for our next visit!