A huge multicultural, dynamic, and unique modern metropolis, beloved of many a digital nomad and one of my favourite cities in the world, the German capital beguiles a great portion of its many visitors. It may take a while for Berlin to really get under your skin or sometimes you’ll just fall in love with it in just a matter of seconds. If you’re planning a weekend break in the German capital, here are some of my favourite great ideas on how to spend never-to-be-forgotten 48 hours in hip Berlin…
Start your break with breakfast at KRONE, kitchen and coffee
Located next door to the world-known Mauerpark, KRONE kitchen & coffee is a friendly place for a leisurely and relaxing start to a new day. The menu includes all manner of breakfast meals featuring amusing names such as Home Sweet Home or Veggie Soul. The majority of the dishes are exclusive and you will not find them in any other cafe in Berlin. KRONE also serves excellent desserts and homemade cakes ideal to be paired with aromatic coffee. Smiling and helpful waiters will make sure that your morning is spent in a homey and cosy atmosphere.
Mix Beer and Art at KINDL – Centre for Contemporary Art
If your interests include modern art and beer, then KINDL – Centre for Contemporary Art is a must-go spot. 15 years ago, this huge red-brick building housed the world-famous brewery Berliner Kindl AG. Its legacy is still seen throughout the Centre’s exposition. Today, Kindl Brauerei is comprised of four facilities: a three-storied machine workshop, a 20-meter boiler shop with an ever-changing art exhibition, a seven-story tower resembling a belfry, and one of the largest fermentation shops in Europe featuring 6 copper boilers. When you are done looking at the exhibits, linger for a couple of minutes to taste fresh beer that is made right here in a small private brewery.
Healthy and Tasty Lunch at Katerschmaus restaurant
There are three major reasons to drop in Katerschmaus restaurant for lunch. First of all, it is a great opportunity to see an eclectic Berlin crowd on a small scale. Katerschmaus has a room for everyone, whether you are a businessman or street musician. Secondly, the restaurant takes pride in a tastefully decorated interior and friendly ambience that becomes even more intimate in the dim light. Finally, if you are a connoisseur of healthy and more importantly, delicious food, then go ahead and find Katerschmaus inside the Ubahn bridge and treat yourself to a couple of dishes made from fresh organic ingredients.
Chill out at Badeschiff, swimming pool in the spree
Amazingly Berlin is an excellent place to spend a day at a beach while sipping an exotic cocktail and admiring the sights. If you are lucky enough to visit the capital of Germany in the summer, indulge yourself by swimming in the invigorating water of the huge floating open-air Badeschiff pool over the Spree River. In a past life, it was an old barge but today, it is a magnet for hundreds of tourists and city dwellers who desire refreshment on a hot day. While in the pool, you can gaze at the panorama of the Berlin TV Tower and the Oberbaumbrücke. If you are tired of swimming, just chill out on the artificial sandy beach and have a cocktail or two at the bar.
Explore Berlin by bicycle
You’ll be able to take in much more of this spread-out city on wheels, and its flat, wide streets make it very bike-friendly. Some great cycle routes of the city include Tempelhofer Feld (a decommissioned airport with 386 hectares of open space), Treptower Park, the Landwehrkanal in Kreuzberg and make sure you include a cycle along the East Side Gallery and the Berlin Wall. Cycling in the city is not difficult, but make sure you do get some insurance. SafetyWing is a convenient and affordable choice for both short holidays and long-term travels. This travel medical insurance originally developed for digital nomads is easy to subscribe to and can cover your trip for just a little over one dollar a day.
Dine in at NENI Berlin
The NENI restaurant, located on the 11th floor of the 25hours Bikini Berlin, serves an incredible combination of Eastern Mediterranean, Spanish, Russian, Moroccan, and German cuisines. The concept of Chef Haya Molcho is that every visitor can try a little bit of everything. Alongside delightful food, NENI is known for its creative atmosphere filled with light pouring through huge panoramic windows, colourful chairs, and an abundance of plants turning the restaurant’s hall into miniature jungles. Although arguably the most captivating highlight is the stunning view of the city.
Call it a day with a cocktail at the 20s-inspired speakeasy Prinzipal
It takes just a few minutes to switch the fashionable ambience of the NANI restaurant into a relaxing, intoxicating, and spellbinding setting of the Prinzipal Kreuzberg. Stylized as a speakeasy of the 1920s, this is the best place in Berlin to celebrate the evening with a delicious cocktail. Whether you like drinks generously flavoured with syrup or bitter pick-me-ups offering an original aftertaste, you can boldly rely on the bow-tied bartender to create an explosion of taste in a fancy glass. If after the first busy day in Berlin you still have some energy left, stay for the exquisite burlesque performance – you won’t regret it!
Start a new day with a hearty breakfast at 1900 Cafe Bistro
There are not many better stars for the day than a tasty breakfast in a charming café. Located in the heart of Berlin, 1900 Cafe Bistro is a cosy place that amalgamates friendly smiles with wholesome and hearty meals. The interior is adorned with antique furniture, grandmother’s tablecloths, cute paintings, curious knick-knacks, and fresh flowers that create a relaxing atmosphere for breakfast and chatting with friends. Choose a table just off a quiet street before digging into a tasty apple crumble and wash it down with a cup of piping hot coffee. This extremely popular café offers only a few tables so make sure to call and reserve a spot before you visit it.
Get to know Berlin at Berliner Unterwelten Tour – Berlin Bunker Tours
Now that your belly is pleasantly full, it’s time to get to know Germany’s capital. You will have plenty of time to get acquainted with Berlin of the present but the picture won’t be complete if you don’t see Berlin of the past. In the very city centre, under an unremarkable building adjoining the subway station, exists a bomb shelter from World War II. In these dark and damp catacombs, time seems to have remained still for the past 70 years. You will get a chance to witness these labyrinths the same as Berliners saw them when hiding from bombardments, hear the frightening sounds, and wade through the long-forgotten tunnels in complete darkness. Here, you can vividly imagine how a siren goes off waking people in the middle of the night prodding them into the shelter, and how a massive door closes cutting them off from the outside world.
Have Lunch – Markthalle Neun (street food)
Many years ago, Berlin accommodated 14 covered markets (Markthalle) but only three of them survived until today. The building of Markthalle XI, located in Kreuzberg, is considered the most beautiful and elegant of all fourteen marketplaces. After years of neglect, the market was fully restored and re-opened in October 2011. Once again it became a place of trade for regional products, fresh vegetable and fruits and of course, street food. Weekly, it hosts the Street Food Market, which gathers talented cooks and thousands of fast food enthusiasts. Here, you will be able to discover new national cuisines and munch on the experimental, rare, and surprising delights of modern street food.
Window shop in the Mitte district and then relax in Hackesche Höfe courtyard
Right after reunification, the Mitte district was just a heap of ruins and semi-abandoned buildings. On the other hand, due to the scant rent, there was a resulting influx of young, poor, yet creative artists, sculptors, designers, and musicians. Today, the district houses the bohemian stratum of modern Berlin. Here, you will come across various art installations, graffiti murals by world-class artists, art galleries, cosy cafes, and authentic shops. One of the Mitte’s strongest tourist attractions is Hackesche Höfe courtyard, 27,000 square metres of art space, galleries, night clubs, movie theatres, cafes, and shops.
Try German Cuisine with an Asia hint at Parker Bowles
Conveniently sitting on Moritzplatz, this conceptual cafe wows with its stylish setting, unique menu, and mind-blowing cocktails. Interior design is a mix of industrial elements in a discreet grey palette and Asian motifs. Asian notes are chosen for a reason since the food served at Parker Bowles is a fusion of modern German cuisine and Asian gourmet. A huge selection of meals changes every month adjusting for seasonal ingredients. All the dishes are beautifully decorated, although the portion sizes are on the small side. But the restaurant won’t leave you dissatisfied because it mixes the most delicious cocktails in Germany. The bottom line: if you appreciate original concepts, tasty food, and friendly service, you should definitely give Parker Bowles a shot.
Watch the sunset at klunkerkranich
If you happen to be in search of rooftops with grand views, then Klunkerkranich is a perfect spot to behold Berlin in all its glory. A spacious outdoor area nestled on the roof of the Neukölln Arcaden shopping centre’s parking lot, this project mingles gastronomy with city farming and nightlife. Klunkerkranich hosts a huge number of events for all tastes: open-air film screenings, seasonal fairs, parties, food festivals, etc. This is a great place to grab a bottle of German beer, watch the last rays of the setting sun, and take a farewell look at this mesmerizing and unique city!