Berlin = Phenomenal Architecture
My first impression of Berlin was that it reminded me of the film The Hunger Games. Divided into twelve districts, Berlin has more green space than any other city in Europe. The architecture is phenomenal. You can drink on the street and in the parks, but not on transport. It’s a laid back city. Everyone is in work mode during the day, but as soon as day to turns to night, the city lets it’s hair down.
My name is Sarah Barrett and I am a Journalism & Media Student at Dublin’s DCU (Dublin City University). My trip to Berlin was a bit of a last minute decision, but I fell in love with it. Find out why!
Berlin: you’ll have to see for yourself
So how did we choose Berlin? The trip was booked at the last minute for three days with my partner. We looked at a map of Europe and we picked Berlin instead of Paris for our city hop. Neither of us had ever been to Germany. We had been chatting to friends in the days before the trip asking them for their opinion and suggestions for where to dine and what to see. They all said “You’ll have to see for yourself.”
I was aware Berlin was an artsy and a very culturally diverse place before I ever stepped foot in it. When it came to the choice of going, we didn’t put much thought into it. I was looking to travel somewhere new, that would allow me to not just leave my comfort zone, but also have a bit of headspace.
Curiosity had already invited me in and led me to discover a distinctive online presence of Berlin. There is a strong character portrayed through social media platforms, Instagram for example. With the hashtag #Berlin, you are already invited into the modern landscape and creative scene that is Berlin. It’s visual presence online depicts what is a very young city.
Each borough has it’s own personality
As a lover of culture, art and history, Berlin was a no brainer for me. With a quick google search, I read lists of travel guides noting the best tourist attractions. Before flying to Berlin, I had learned already that the city was divided into Eastside, Westside and Mitte, which is the German word for central.
Each borough has it’s own personality and the buildings all vary in shape, size and design. I straight away felt Berlin was very new, but I didn’t know a lot about it’s history but upon learning about the reunification in 1990, I understood it was a young city.
Berlin has something for everyone
Berlin has something for everyone. It is a big biking city and they have scooters that can be parked any-where, within reason. My three days in Berlin consisted of travelling by tram which was very cheap at around €2 for each trip. I stayed in a Turkish neighbourhood in Mitte. Berlin is a very diverse, multicultural city.
An adventure. Alcohol is cheap, food is affordable and accommodation is wonderful. I spent most of my time strolling around to see what hidden gems I could stumble upon. Museum Island is a must see it has everything from Egyptology to modern history.
A place in Berlin where you can’t take selfies
We walked down alleyways in day time and we stumbled across some of the most beautiful street art murals I have ever seen. Rich and intense street art. There was even a mural of Anne Frank located on Rosenthaler Straße, just outside the Anne Frank Zentrum, where the entry fee is €5. The project tells of Anne’s life and how it affects the present.
It took me a little bit of walking around to find side streets where I even came across a very cool rock bar where you weren’t allowed to take selfies. Which one would think is non-existent in 2019.
You need to wear dark clothing to get in to this club?
Berlin has a world renowned music, art, culture and history scene. The most famous techno club in Europe “Berghain”, where you can allegedly only gain entry wearing dark clothing.
With the amount of abandoned warehouses that have been turned into night clubs, Berlin is the best city for nightlife.
My opinion was ultimately that the Germans do great beer, a cheap efficient transport system and great traffic management.
Berlin travel tips
1. Berlin fave eats
My recommendations for where to eat out would be around Alexanderplantz, Route 66 was my favourite place for dinner and drinks.
2. Berlin transport tips
By using the train I was able to see so much over my three days, including Humboldt University, The Museum of Natural History where you can even see a Bronchosaurus skeleton and many dinosaurs from the cretaceous period. Ireland doesn’t have that.
3. Reserve the Reichstag in advance
The Reichstag must be booked in advance of your trip if you want to attend a plenary session or receive a tour of it. For those of you who don’t know, the Reichstag is the former parliament of the Third Reich (Imperial). If you want to see it, book in advance of your trip to make sure you get a ticket for entry, as third party touts charge extortionate fees. The Brandenburg Gate, Checkpoint Charlie, and the Berlin Memorial Wall are also must sees.
Berlin on a budget
Berlin can be done on a budget – I brought €200 with me for my trip. This was my spending money for the three days and nights that I spent there.
If you want to see numerous tourist attractions, do a google search and price what you want to see as there are so many museums to see, the Berlin Zoo, Museum Island, the Brandenburg Gate, The Reichstag and East Side Gallery.
Upon my return to Dublin from Berlin, I immediately wanted to go back because I loved it so much. It honestly has something for everyone.
Berlin is also featured in Chris Price’s article about the best cities to see graffiti in Europe.
Getting to Berlin and transport in Berlin
For the duration of my stay, I booked three nights in a 4 star hotel that was located in Mitte. Many people I know who are students prefer to stay in hostels to save money but this trip I wanted a little more comfort.
The flight was 2 hr 20 mins from Dublin and turbulence free. A return flight will set you back €58 without added bags though. It should be noted that Aer Lingus fly direct to Berlin Tegel Airport which is 3 minutes from the city. Whereas Schoenefeld airport is a 45 minute train journey.
Berlin Schonefeld Flughafen Train station that is located in Schonefeld Airport is about a 10 minute walk from arrivals in the airport.
I learned immediately that U-bahn means underground station. Berlin uses a network of underground trains that are a rapid form of transport connecting the city. Berlin is divided in 3 transport zones. Zone A is where most of the tourist sites are, Zone B is the surrounding urban area and Zone C covers the greater Berlin Area.
If you find that where you are staying is in the central district and you would like to see the main typical sites, by purchasing an ABC single fare ticket will set you back €3.40 it will cover you for the airport too when you are departing. A 1 day ABC ticket will cost you €7.70.