Berlin, Germany

I stayed in COSMO Hotel Berlin Mitte for three nights, priced at approximately £89.00 a night with breakfast included in my rate.

The hotel is in a central location which makes it easy to get around the city; nestled between Spittelmarkt station and U Hausvogteiplatz station. It is also close enough to all of the famous sights and Christmas markets if you fancy exploring Berlin on foot.

 

I landed at Berlin Schönefeld Airport at around lunchtime, and made my way to the train station which was just a short walk from the airport terminal. I purchased a ABC ticket for €3.40 and took the RB14 train to Alexanderplatz, where I changed to the metro line U2 to Spittelmarkt (in the direction of Ruhleben). COSMO Hotel Berlin Mitte was just across the road from Spittelmarkt station.

I spent the afternoon at Gendarmenmarkt Christmas Market, which was just a 5 minute walk from the hotel. Entrance to this Christmas market was €1.00 each, and it was super busy!

I had my first taste of German street food at the market, and tried the popular Currywurst washed down with a glass of Glühwein.

Despite it being extremely busy, I felt very festive walking around the market with my Glühwein to keep my hands warm listening to carol singers.

Dinner that evening was at Augustiner Am Gendarmenmarkt, which was a traditional Bavarian restaurant. I didn’t make a reservation, so I joined the queue out the door and waited for a table to become available. The wait wasn’t too long, and before I knew it I was eating a delicious bit of roast pork, accompanied by sauerkraut and German dumplings. The restaurant had a cozy feel to it, and the food was reasonably priced.

On Sunday, my plan of action was to tick off some top sights in Berlin and visit some more Christmas markets, and I did just that. I started the day off by visiting Checkpoint Charlie, just a 10 minute walk from the hotel. Located at the junction of Friedrichstraße with Zimmerstraße and Mauerstraße, you can visit the former border checkpoint between East and West Berlin.

Although I didn’t pay to visit the museum, I did check out the bit which was free to enter and it taught me about the Cold War.

I then continued to walk along Zimmerstraße which became Niederkirchnerstraße, where Topography of Terror is located. Topography of Terror is an outdoor exhibition and a place of remembrance.

Next up was Panoramapunkt at Potsdamer Platz, which is an open-air observation deck. To reach the top, you have to ride the fastest lift in Europe! Panoramapunkt was recommended to me by the staff at my hotel over the more well-known Fernsehturm Berlin (TV Tower). Entrance was €7.50 each for adults, and it wasn’t too busy. Visibility wasn’t that great when I visited but on a good day, you should be able to see the Brandenburg Gate, the Reichstag, the Cathedral, the TV Tower and the Victory Column. There’s also an open-air exhibition at the top which was quite interesting to read.

Just a few steps from Panoramapunkt is Winterwelt (Winter World) Christmas Market. Although it isn’t one of the bigger Christmas markets in Berlin, it was still worth a visit as I was passing. Entrance was free. It was here that I tried Eierpunsch – warm egg nog – to warm my hands up. Unlike Gendarmenmarkt, there were rides for children at Winterwelk and the large toboggan looked fun!

I continued walking along to the Holocaust Museum, which is a Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. Here you will find a field of dark grey blocks which is free to visit.

Not far from the Holocaust Museum is the iconic Brandenburg Gate. This is Berlin’s only surviving historical city gate, and it symbolised Berlin’s Cold War division into East and West before the fall of the Wall. Today it symbolises a reunified Germany.

After I had spent some time at the Brandenburg Gate, I walked through Tiergarten along to Siegessäule (Berlin Victory Column). I decided against climbing the column for a €3.50 fee due to the poor visibility.

I walked back through Tiergarten, which looked stunning covered in fallen orange leaves and back towards Gendarmenmarkt Christmas Market, where I stopped in for a delicious cheese flatbread for late lunch at €4.00.

I spent the evening at Berliner Weihnachtszeit Christmas Market at Rotes Rathaus before heading for my dinner reservation at Braufactum Hausvogteiplatz. The market was extremely busy and it was hard to shuffle around the little log cabins selling food, drinks and gifts. It was almost a little too busy to enjoy. The market also has a 50-metre-high Ferris wheel, as well as an ice skating rink and carousel rides.

Dinner was at Braufactum Hausvogteiplatz. I had the “Big Fire” which was a massive selection of different German sausages, with sides for €29.00 each! The food was really good and I recommend this restaurant if you’re looking to try German sausage during your trip!

Monday was a little more chilled; I had already ticked off most of the things that I wanted to do in Berlin on the previous day so all I really had left to do was visit the Berlin Wall at the East Side Gallery. The East Side Gallery is a leisurely 40-minute stroll from COSMO Hotel and is the largest open-air gallery in the world with over 100 original mural paintings over a 1.3 kilometre stretch. Some of the best known paintings such as “The Mortal Kiss” by Dmitri Vrubel have transformed the grey concrete wall to a colourful tourist attraction.

After spending some time here and taking in the paintings, I walked towards Alexanderplatz where I re-visited the Berliner Weihnachtszeit Christmas Market. It was less busy than the night before and I could comfortably browse the market stalls. I purchased a hand painted decoration for my Christmas tree back home as a reminder of my weekend in Berlin.

I stopped off at one of the heated log cabins for a glass of Glühwein before trying some local delicacies such as Gebrannte Mandeln (roasted almonds) and Schmalzkuchen (lemon flavoured doughnuts). Both tasted incredible.

Once I had finished looking around the Christmas market, I purchased an AB ticket for €2.80 and took the S5 train from Alexanderplatz Bahnhof Station to Berlin Zoologischer Garten to pay the Hard Rock Café a visit for my pin badge. From the Hard Rock Café, I walked down to Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church Christmas Market. The Christmas market was bigger than what I was expecting, and there were plenty of stands selling Christmas decorations and winter delicacies under a sea of fairy lights.

I took the U2 Metro line back from Berlin Zoologischer Garten station to my hotel, getting off at U Hausvogteiplatz station for €2.80.

The last supper wasn’t a traditional German meal this time; of course I had to find a Thai restaurant! Just a short walk from my hotel was GoodTime Restaurant and I had a delicious Pad Thai for dinner, accompanied by chicken satay. The food was really good. I visited Gendarmenmarkt Christmas Market for a Glühwein for one last time.

The next morning, I took a taxi from COSMO Hotel Berlin Mitte to Berlin Tegel Airport for my flight back to the U.K. The journey took approximately 30 minutes, and cost just under €30.00.

I had a really good weekend in Berlin, and returned back to the U.K. feeling very festive!

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