“Paris is always Paris and Berlin is never Berlin!”
The beauty of Berlin is of a quality like no other. Rustic and rich, with life and vibrancy, Berlin is a city, pulsing with creativity, history and culture, which attempts to remember the past, yet to not be held back by it.
We found ourselves participating in the Free Alternative Berlin Walking Tour on the second day of our stay in Berlin. Rated on trip advisor as the number #10 and recommended by friends as one of those ‘must do’ activity while in Berlin, we spent a good part of 3 hours staring at intrinsic walls, walking to hidden bars and experiencing the underground culture for what Berlin is known for.
And with that I’ll like to share….
Val’s top 5 things to do while in Berlin
1. EAT a Doner Kebab
Berlin has the second largest population of Turks outside Turkey in the world, hence the number of kebab shops and the creation of the infamous Doner kebab. Pretty much a pocketful of juicy and tasty goodness, this kebab is packed full to the brim with lettuce, meat, sliced from a rotating skewerand optional chilli sauce and is perfect for a cheap snack on the run. For the authentic traveller, don’t be afraid of eating supposedly ‘non German’ meal, the creator of the Doner invented the Doner kebab especially for busy Berliners so they could have a meal they could carry with them.
2. VISIT a Market
Berlin is known across the world as the hub of vintage markets and vintage sellers. We unfortunately were unable to catch some of the more famous markets, but managed to get to a Turkish market which had delicious Turkish delights, live music and lots of cheap food! I also tried my first Ginger Shot. Which literally made me cry, but acted as a quick remedy to a cold I had caught in Hamburg.
3. WALK to the East Side Gallery
Such a beautiful place of culture and art, this section of the Berlin Wall remains as a momentous reminder of the divided and difficult past following the Cold War. Acting as an outlet of hope, with messages of peace and freedom for a better future, the East Side Gallery is the largest open air gallery consisting of 105 paintings by artists from across the world. Walk along and be amazed by the talent and the messages of the human spirit .
4. FREE walking tours
The alternative Berlin tour was my personal favourite, but there are many walking tours around Berlin on a daily basis. Sandemans FREE walking tour is also great quality. Informative, witty and very caring guides, the FREE walking tours are probably one of the best way to get your bearing around a new city. Some things to look forward to; Hitler’s bunker (which is now a carpark), the last Nazi architecture building, Check Point Charlie and Peter Eisenman’s Holocaust Memorial.
5. GET LOST in the streets
Finally the best thing to do is get lost and wander the streets. A recommendation for many cities, but more so in the city of Berlin, where each street corner is alive with art, cool cafes and quirky shops. Just a little tip, bring a guide book or a map after you’ve had your wander, Berliners were not very helpful when we asked for help (would could just have been our own experience) as many did not speak English or pointed us in the wrong way! Definitely one of the best cities to have a casual wander in!
This by far is not the best summary of what to do in Berlin in 24 hours. But I give you my humble recommendations coupled with my own pictures from the Alternative Berlin Walking tour ! How stunning is the street art? Can you pick out your favourites?
Valerie Bong – Founder & Content Executive
Val is an Arts/Commerce student currently based in Leeds, UK. As a photographer and documenter she loves celebrating the beauty of the world. With her love for capturing special moments she specialises in fashion, wedding, family and event photography.