Let’s take a trip down memory lane… Back in the glory days of January 2015 when I was still living a glorious student life, my housemates and I decided to take a little trip over to Berlin before starting a new semester. Just like all of my other mini-breaks, it was of course a cheap deal which we found on a bargain site! For flights and hostel accommodation in Kreuzberg we paid under £200 for a Thursday-Sunday visit.
We stayed in the Kreuzberg area as we heard that this was a very student-y and urban part of the city so ideal for what we wanted. There’s some great street art around here so I’d urge anyone who isn’t staying in the area to at least take a walk through to check the graffiti out.
Our hostel was good, for some reason they put our group of 4 in a room that could’ve slept 8-10 – we weren’t complaining though and it was obviously really spacious. The staff were mostly friendly and were particularly hospitable when we returned late from a slightly boozy evening dinner and subsequently decided to take over the front desk reception area!
As for daytime activities, we saw a lot of the main sights – Brandenburg Gate, Checkpoint Charlie, Museum Island, Holocaust Memorial, Gendarmenmarkt, the Reichstag Building… The list goes on as there is so much history and sites of significance in the city that it really is difficult to fit them all into a couple of days but I’d recommend just researching all of the points of interest, prioritising the ones which interest you the most and save the rest for another time – you don’t want a packed itinerary and of course, this just gives more reason to return! When visiting Museum Island, I’d advise going to as many museums as possible, given the amount of history that Berlin has – there is a pass available which provides discounted general entry and it is therefore an affordable way for those on a tight budget to learn more about the city.
One place which I missed out on seeing due to an unfortunate incident involving a lost purse and a trip to the local police station was the East Side Gallery. We had saved this for our last day but circumstances meant that we ran out of time so that was really disappointing.
Now onto the nightlife of Berlin – it’s certainly eclectic, that’s for sure! We did entertain the idea of going to the legendary Berghain but we ultimately decided that we didn’t fancy queuing for hours for a club that we probably wouldn’t even get into. I’m sure it would have been an absolutely amazing night but instead we had a look online and went to a club called Matrix. It was such a striking venue set in an old basement train station and unlike anywhere I’ve partied before – there were cage dancers, flames and acrobatics so it definitely made for an interesting night out! The drinks were pretty average prices but I believe that they offer 2-4-1 on certain nights. There didn’t seem to be any particular dress code which I liked – I went in a jumper, jeans and coat but equally there were more dressed up people there too. That ethos can be applied for the whole of Berlin really: the city has a really relaxed sense of ‘anything goes’.
We also explored some other bar/clubs in the Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg area, including Cassiopeia which is a really cool old factory. It felt like a confusing maze with different sounds and sights around every corner. Although I’m glad we went to these places, it all just feels very cool and far too alternative for a mainstream and basic girl like myself! Quite honestly I’ve never felt less hip and trendy in my whole life than in the East Berlin scene as I was surrounded by so many effortlessly beautiful people who I thought only existed within Instagram… Apparently they all live in Berlin.
We did of course have to partake in a Berlin rite of passage, and get some snaps in a photoautomat. I don’t think it is supposed to fit 4 people but we gave it our best shot (and failed miserably, but had fun trying). These historic photo booths can be spotted out and about in the city and create a sweet keepsake.
That just about covers our trip to Berlin, all-in-all I don’t think I’d be in a rush to go back any time soon other than to visit the East Side Gallery but I’m glad to have experienced all that the city has to offer!
Be sure to tweet me @evierosetravels or comment below if you’d add anything or have any Berlin recommendations.