I was 15 when I first went to Berlin, my father took me out of school for 5 days because he thought it would be a great educational visit much to the schools chagrin! They couldnt argue with his logic, with the exception that we were studying British social and economic history at the time not WW2 like many others. Still they granted permission and off I went. From that moment on its safe to say that it is one of my favourite places to visit, and I have many times since both on my own and with travel buddies.
To help you choose where to start exploring you will need to think about your favourite things to do when you travel to any city, as there is something for everyone. Whether you are exploring food, music or art or even something more extreme you will not be disappointed.
With that in mind this is post one in a series of 4 posts extolling the virtues of Berlin and why you have to visit.
Top 5 Hotels & Hostels (in no particular order)
- Amstel House Budget Hostel £ – for those of us who are not averse to a hostel stay or our budgets are restricted this great little hostel lives up to its claims of best budget hostel in Berlin – definitely one for students – the party vibe is infectious and they have a 24h/7 reception and bar extra long breakfast hours for their buffet, bike rental, free Wi-Fi and even a guest kitchen not to mention other services you wouldnt normally get from a hostel. Based in Mitte it is easy to get to and has a bunch of lovely cafes, bars and restaurants to explore including a particularly good Turkish kebab place which has some of the best falafel I have ever had. Having not been for some time I imagine that the vegan options have increased tenfold since the increase in popularity of plant based diets.
- The Alexander Platz Hostel – St Christophers Inn £/££ – I haven’t stayed here but it is by far the best reviewed hostel on booking.com – although it pays to book direct with them as they often have special deals. Another place where you can either share with people or have a private room, they even have some apartments available so if you are a group then definitely worth a look. Alexander Platz is well situated to explore Berlin with a plethora of great restaurants and site seeing within walking distance.
- Intercontinental – Tiergarten ££££ – from hostels to 5 star hotels it was my accommodation for my first trip when I was 15 with my Dad, it is truly the most stunning place, and looking at the pictures it doesnt look like the standards have dropped. 5 star luxury and it doesnt come cheap however when you have a phone and a TV in the bathroom and speakers in the 360 shower you wont be thinking about the price. It now boasts a DIY cocktail service in your room for relaxing after a long day and a Michelin starred restaurant.
- Art Hotel – Charlottenburg ££/£££ – A smart hotel with fabulous pop art, the metro is easily accessible and its a 10 minute journey to the city centre. It has the feel of a high quality chain hotel and the staff are friendly, I didnt eat at the hotel itself so cant speak for the food, the rooms are well presented and beds are comfy.
- Casa Camper Berlin – £££ – Another one I havent stayed at but as it has a 9.75 on booking.com I really feels like it needs a mention, great facilities, beautiful rooms at not massively extortionate prices and a free airport pickup with certain prices you wont be disappointed. The Finnish sauna and gym are included in the price and very well reviewed.
It is important to experience German food – even if its only once, their breakfasts are very continental with a mixture of boiled eggs, cooked meats, breads and salads, their main meals as we all know are largely fried foods – vegans and plant based peeps can enjoy the local German beer and pretzels with aplomb as they have been and always will be animal product free.
- Thai Elephant ££/£££ – not German but some of the best Thai food ive ever had – the staff are lovely and so is the food, I wasnt paying for this meal but its good value and within walking distance from the centre of Berlin.
- Fautus Restaurant ££ – slightly salubrious looking place with very traditional German food, sadly no real vegan offerings other than a mixed salad but they serve plenty of proper German beer so always worth a try. Its smack in the middle of town next to the KaDeWe so you cant miss it.
- Pretzel Stalls £ – they are everywhere the smell is usually too tempting to keep walking so make sure you indulge.
- KaDeWe £££/££££ – this very special department store boasts a range of different restaurants and cocktail bars, much like a trip to Harrods its something to experience, bonus points for going in to buy a hat because you are cold and finding yourself stuck in the champagne bar.
- Currywurst £/££ – available everywhere much like pretzels there’s even a currywurst museum this traditional German sausage is served all year round but probably made most famous by Octoberfest.
Next time I will be writing about art galleries and museums – I hope I have given you some places to consider, it is truly one of the nicest cities I have ever been to, it always feels like home hopping off the plane at Schönefeld and jumping on the train into town.
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