I recently spent a long weekend in Berlin for my hen do. Mine wasn’t the typical hen do, my friends and I aren’t the biggest drinkers or party animals, so instead spent a long weekend taking in as much of Berlin as we could! Berlin is definitely a cultural city, especially one to visit if you are a history lover and I’m going to take you through all my highlights of the city in this post.
The evening we arrived we went for a meal at a little Vietnamese restaurant just a few doors down from our hotel called Co Chu. It was honestly the most incredible meal I have had in a really long time. They have an open kitchen, so you can see that everything is made completely fresh to order. Vietnamese isn’t a cuisine I eat often, but it really is delicious and I wish that there were more Vietnamese restaurants near home! We shared the most delicious spring rolls to start and I had a beef and rice noodle dish (Bun Bo Nam Bo) for my main. It was exquisite, the perfect balance of flavours with a little bit of a chilli kick!
For our first full day, we kicked it off with a walking tour of the city so we could learn a bit about our surroundings. This was a great way of covering all the big land marks in one swoop, but if you like to take your time exploring each place then this style of tour probably isn’t for you. Our guide was great and very knowledgeable, but it does help to know a little background knowledge about the city beforehand (I hadn’t done much reading up before we flew out!) as otherwise some of the information will go straight over the top of your head! The best bit about this tour though is that it was free, so if you like to travel on a budget and are partial to a bit of exercise then these tours are definitely worth looking into.
The tour included Alexanderplatz, which is home to the TV tower and the town hall. You can go up the TV tower but we didn’t get a chance to, so it’s on my list of things to do if I ever go back. Museum Island was another stop – we didn’t get time to visit any of these either, but the architecture in this area was to die for! If you are a museum junkie then there are plenty for you to choose from here. I was particularly taken by the pink buildings, if I didn’t have to keep up with the rest of the tour I would probably would have spent half the day snapping away for my Instagram feed!
After this we moved onto the Humboldt University and Checkpoint Charlie and on a more somber note we also visited some of the remains of the Berlin wall and the Holocaust Memorial. This part of the tour certainly makes you think, and it definitely made me appreciate the life I am able to live today – albeit not a very jolly thing to be thinking about on your hen do! The final stop was the Brandenburg Gate which was definitely a sight to behold.
After all that walking, we needed to take some time to chill out and warm up, so we spent the latter part of the afternoon chilling in our hotel room and later in the evening ventured out for the next thing on our agenda – The Reichstag. For those of you who don’t know The Reichstag is the German parliament building, and has a glass dome built on top of it that is open to the public. From this dome you can see all across Berlin, and you are given a headset on entry that explains each thing you are looking at as you walk around. We probably could have seen more had we done this during the day, but it was lovely to see all of the lights of the city in the dark. We finished the evening off scoffing down curry wursts and drinking german beer flavoured with fruity syrups (a must try, even if you aren’t a beer drinker).
Our second day in the city was definitely a bit less cultural, but it was certainly good fun! We started off at the German Spy Museum, this is a great museum for someone that isn’t really into museums (could I say museum any more times in one sentence?!). It’s got loads of super informative displays to read, but has lots of interactive bits to try out too. Our personal favourite was the laser maze, and we had quite a lot of fun in their dressing up area trying out different disguises! As far as museums go, it was a fairly light hearted one and easily do-able in a few hours – so great for anyone find museums a bore as it can be broken up with the interactive activities.
Next was the part of the trip that my sweet tooth enjoyed the most! We visited Rausch which is a whole shop and cafe dedicated to chocolate (my kind of place!). On entering the shop I was a bit gobsmacked, it is full of beautifully intricate chocolate sculptures and there are counters with hundreds of handmade chocolate pralines – apparently it’s the longest praline counter in the world. We had booked a table in their cafe so we got to try out their delicious chocolate drinks and mini tortes. I had a white chocolate and raspberry torte, along with a milk chocolate milkshake of sorts and they were incredible! Chocolate lovers rejoice, I have officially found heaven on earth! We left feeling very full, and a little bit sick with all the chocolate we’d consumed!
If you are partial to a city break, Berlin is a trip to consider. I thoroughly enjoyed my visit (shout out to my sister Jess for organising it) and I feel like I definitely could have spent a lot longer exploring the city. It’s full of history, culture and great food, which is the perfect recipe for a great city break in my opinion!