For my first time in Germany, I booked a long weekend to Berlin with two friends from London. Berlin is a vibrant city, filled with history, alternative cultures and bustling restaurant scene. I was drawn to Germany for the Christmas markets, and luckily a couple were open this mid November weekend. The weather during our weekend was very cold, so our activities and itinerary changed to ensure we could warm up inside every few hours.
I was intrigued by Berlins party scene but when the weather changes to -10 degrees, my friends and I prioritized warmth and coziness over the clubs. We left the weekend feeling like our return to Berlin would happen in the warmer season.
Where to Stay
Well located in Mitte neighborhood, the Social Hub is the perfect place for millennial & gen z travelers. It felt like an upgrade from a hostel I would have stayed at when I traveled in my 20s, with many social areas like the cafe/bars, coworking area, barber, and gym. Our room had comfortable beds, a hot shower with complimentary shampoo and body wash, and tea and coffee to help warm up after a long day sightseeing.
From Airport: Take the S-bahn from the airport to Jannowitzbrücke station (approximately 45 minutes and costs €3.40)
The best way to see a new city is the Free Walking Tours. We booked ours for 11am and started the day with bagels and coffee at Coffee Fellows, a popular coffee chain in Berlin.
The walking tour took us all around from East Berlin to West Berlin, hearing stories all about Berlin’s complex history. It was absolutely freezing cold so I only took limited pictures. The tour finishes at the Brandenburg Gate. We learned a lot about how Berlin was divided after the war and how it led to the wall being built and eventually destroyed and what it meant for the people of Berlin.
Our afternoon itinerary included a Pho stop to warm us up after walking outside for 3 hours in negative -10 degree temperatures. Then we headed back to the hotel to warm up even more, and then headed to Osteria Sippi, a lovely Italian restaurant with delicious plates of salads and pastas.
Today was the day we were determined to go to a Christmas Market (even though we were a little early in the season!), so go to a Christmas market we did. We walked to our brunch spot, Silo Coffee, and ended up at the local market on Saturday. While we waited for our table, we ordered coffee and tea from the market and enjoyed the local food vendors and art booths.
Before heading to the medieval Christmas Market, we walked over to the East Side Gallery to see how the artists spread their messages on the wall.
We finally arrived at the medieval Christmas market at the RAW compound. Those who want to enjoy the festive season in a medieval flair can purchase handmade works from blacksmiths, woodcarvers, potters and other artisans. More information can be found here: Medieval Christmas Market. We enjoyed Gluwein and watched the kids play on the medieval games and rides.
After the market, we went to find the best apple strudel and based on what Google said, it could be found at Einstein Coffee (anther coffee chain in Berlin). It was absolutely delicious.
After another warm up break at the hotel, we ended up eating dinner at the hotel and then headed over to one more winter fair. This one felt less Christmas-y, and more winter fair. The most popular game was trying to win life-sized teddy bears. We enjoyed some more gluwein!
The girls were leaving today so we went for brunch at annelies, which was another popular brunch spot. I ordered the eggs on toast which was so decadent that I was full for most of the day.
The ladies departed back to London and I had the afternoon to myself. I bundled up and embarked on yet another walking tour, the Alternative Berlin tour. The tour guide focused more on East Berlin and took us to the same neighborhood that Annalies is in, where we learned more about street art and the people of East Berlin.
And that’s a wrap on our cold, wintery weekend in Berlin. I look forward to returning for more shenanigans to ensue in this alternative city when the weather is warmer.