When you find yourself in Germany for a work trip, what’s a girl to do but add on a weekend of eating, drinking, shopping and culture in Berlin? We’re pretty sure Saskia has one of the best jobs around!
What brought you to Berlin?
lastminute.com.au’s European team attended the ITB tourism tradeshow in Berlin, and this was of course too good an opportunity to miss, so my Australian friend Natasha (who was also attending ITB) and I stayed on for a weekend of exploring Berlin.
What are the best things about Berlin? Why should travellers go there?
Berlin is a very impressive city! You’re reminded of its history everywhere you go, and many historical sites have become major tourist attractions. Checkpoint Charlie, Brandenburg Gate (and its markings of where the wall used to be), the Reichstag and the Gedächtniskirche were all on our list of must-see sights. We were also keen to indulge in some typical German cuisine, and of course no city trip is complete without a mild spot of shopping.
Where did you stay?
I stayed at the Adagio Berlin Kurfurstendamm. These self catering apartments are in a great location, just off the main shopping street of Berlin. I chose an apartment because it was cheaper than most hotel rooms in the city, and the Adagio is nice and new – bonus! Adagio’s big thing is the fold-out bed. This seemed a bit gimmicky to me at first, but it is actually very practical. In the morning, I folded in the bed and set up a breakfast table – plenty of room! The staff at reception were so friendly, and very helpful with all my touristy questions.
We flew with KLM (the Dutch national airline) to Berlin Tegel airport. KLM service is always great, but then I might be biased because I am Dutch . The flight is only an hour from Amsterdam, and Tegel airport is right in the city so getting to the hotel by public transport was a breeze.
Sadly, Berlin’s smaller airports are due to close soon, as one large airport will open up on the outskirts of the city. When we arrived there was actually a big group of people with banners walking through the terminal to protest against this and I agree it will be a shame to lose this convenient little hub.
Any insider tips on this destination?
We discovered quite a few little gems within 10 minutes walking distance of our hotel. The best coffee hands down is from Berliner Kaffeerosterei. They roast the coffee themselves in the shop, and in the cosy café there are endless options available for both coffee and tea – any obscure variety from anywhere in the world seems to be served here. They also serve the most amazing cakes – be prepared though as they are so huge!
For dinner I recommend LUBITSCH which is very close to the hotel. It ranks highly on all reviews sites and this is completely justified. It’s definitely a great place to try famous German dishes in a posh looking but affordable restaurant.
The local delicacy is Currywurst, a sausage with curry sauce and powder. You can find this on every street corner, and there are quite a few places famous for theirs.
The best place to relax after a day of shopping is the top floor bar of the famous KaDeWe shopping centre. We enjoyed our glass of Veuve Cliquot (10 Euros each) with a bowl of olives from the salad bar and some bread, which cost 2 Euros!
What other activities should visitors have on their must-see list?
If you are in Berlin before 30 September, 2012, I highly recommend a visit to the Pergamon Museum where they have a temporary exhibit called ‘Panorama’.
It is hard to describe but basically consists of an enormous 360 degree painting of ancient Pergamon in the year 129. You really feel like you are standing in the centre of this metropolis, where you can see a festival honouring the god Dionysus, and also witness the emperor Hadrian on a visit to an ancient construction site.
The museum itself is a must-see anyway; it houses original-sized, reconstructed monumental buildings such as the Pergamon Altar and the Market Gate of Miletus, all consisting of parts transported from Turkey.
What is your number one travel tip for visiting Berlin?
Our feet were killing us after three days of walking the ITB tradeshow floor, so we opted for a ‘Hop On Hop Off’ bus tour.