Berlin from Within: Beers, Beauty, History, & House
Foodies and history buffs alike will be delighted when stumbling upon Germany’s capital. Many well-known treats like Currywurst and Schweinshaxe will be enjoyed to the fullest, while Museum Island, and the Berlin Dungeon will provide a dive into the past…Oh, and of course, there’s an unlimited amount of beer! Prost!
To truly explore all of Berlin, you may want to start from the bottom. The Berlin Dungeon educates visitors about the city’s dark past in an interactive way. Be enthralled by 11 live shows, two rides, 360° sets, and a whole lot of history to uncover! Ride on a raft through secret tunnels as you escape soldiers in the 14th century, and experience a 39-foot drop into pitch black darkness on the Freefall Tower Exitus ride—Berlin’s only indoor freefall tower.
Next, lighten up the mood with some thought provoking art at Museum Island. This art lover’s haven is a UNESCO World Heritage site that grants visitors access to the Pergamonmuseum (Pergamon Museum), Bode-Museum, Neues Museum (New Museum), Alte Nationalgalerie (Old National Gallery), and Altes Museum (Old Museum) with the purchase of one inclusive ticket. While all are must-sees, The Neues Museum is home to the original bust of Egyptian queen Nefertiti, as well as housing artifacts from the Stone, Bronze, and Iron ages, making it a definite highlight.
By now, your inner foodie is most likely dying to dig into some of the good stuff. Start off small with a street food treat: Currywurst. This must-try pork sausage is covered in ketchup and curry powder, served with bread or fries. Prepare to eat this more than once on your trip, as you won’t be able to resist. The best place to try this favorite is at Konnopke’s Imbiss; they’ve been serving it here since the 1930’s, where they’ve mastered the recipe to perfection.
Continue your walk through history by visiting a special palace. Schloss Charlottenburg was built as a summer solace for Queen Sophie-Charlotte by her husband Friedrich I in 1695-1699. Today much of the palace is up for public visitation and admiration, including the gorgeous gardens behind the grand building. Once you’re done gazing at the intricate decorations inside, stroll around the lush gardens and take in all of the colorful flowers abound!
Follow up with a much needed cool-down as you begin your drinking early at Weihenstephaner Berlin. This Bavarian-style tavern serves Austro-German cuisine and has an extensive beer menu that will impress even the most critical beer aficionados. They receive their brews from the Bavarian State Brewery Weihenstephan, which has been around since 1040, making it the oldest brewery in the world. Try a good variety which includes the renowned Weihenstephan Hefe Weissbier, a wheat beer that has a smooth malt background, complemented by spicy flavors and fruity banana overtones.
It’s time to get ready before planning your night out! Check into The Patrick Hellmann Schlosshotel, a luxury boutique hotel located near Grunewald Forest. Each of the 43 rooms and 10 suites were designed independently, so each room has furniture pieces that accommodate a varying style. Stay at the exquisite Kaiser Suite which has a living room, two bedrooms, an antique library, and dining area. When you book the Kaiser suite, you will also receive a welcome drink, a one-time limousine transfer to and from the airport, a minibar, and access to the spa.
Now that you’ve unpacked your bags and put on your most dashing attire, it’s time to get dinner. Turkish people are the largest non-German population in the country, and subsequently have affected not only the culture, but the food as well, in a dangerously delicious way. Thus, when in Germany, try Turkish food! At Fes Turkish BBQ, a variety of meats come raw to your table after being marinated in herbs and spices, where you can grill them to your liking on the communal grills. Vegetarians will be pleased with their nineteen mezze options; all mouthwatering dishes for the non-meat eater. Don’t forget to order a bottle of Yeni Rakı, a typical Turkish spirit that will complement your meal nicely.
When you finish a bottle or two of that Yeni Rakı, get a feel for the nightlife! The city has become known as a party capital over the last couple of years due to their underground clubs … Famed club Berghain is notorious for their wild escapades that go on inside; guests receive tape to place over their phone’s camera as photography is strictly forbidden. However, you don’t have to wait in a long line at the most popular clubs to have a great time. Almost all clubs are 24/7, with partiers dancing from night to morning!
Test your stamina to see how it pairs with the Berliners’ at Week End Club. Sleek, upscale design and a charming rooftop terrace will make your night here a memorable one. The main music genre in the city is undoubtedly House music; it started to boom after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Abandoned buildings from the war were used to host illegal parties full of lots of loud dance music, the bass pulsing through the newly freed city. At Week End, it’s no different, with House and Techno flooding the main dance floors. When you finally hear your bed calling your name, call it a night, or a morning, or an afternoon, and head back to your hotel for a good rest. When you wake, there will still be much to uncover.
On your second day, take advantage of some fun in the sun at the Badeschiff. This beach bar consists of a pool that floats on the Spree River, giving swimmers fantastic views while they relax. There’s also an area for lounging on hammocks, playing volleyball, and sitting in the soothing sand. Order some summer cocktails and lip-smacking BBQ; you might even meet some locals as you chat during the bright day.
Berlin has many buildings and destinations that have a history due to the constant changes that the city has faced over the years. A revolution was staged there, it was the HQ for Nazis during WWII, it was bombed, divided into two under Communist influence, and finally reunited to become stronger than ever. Witness a bit of that long history at the East Side Gallery, where a section of the Berlin Wall runs more than 4000 ft. outwards, making it the biggest stretch of the wall left in the city. When it was officially torn down in 1989, artists celebrated by drawing murals on this remaining portion. It became a symbol of liberation and still is today, with over 100 murals, graffiti artworks, slogans and tags painted all over.
When the evening sneaks around the corner, take the opportunity to get your beer craving satisfied at Brauhaus Südstern. At this upbeat bar, listen to live music, and socialize at the outdoor beer garden. Many brews are offered here, including “The World’s Strongest Beer” at 27.6% alcohol by volume; you probably should only have one of these! Make sure that when you drink with other guests at the bar you give a traditional German toast. Zum wohl! (To your health!), and Prost! (Cheers!) work best.
Next, take your high spirits to a bar that will serve up cocktails shrouded in mystery: Schwarze Traube. Atalay Aktas, the owner of the bar, won the title of “Germany’s Best Mixologist” in 2013, and that still rings true today. There’s no menu; just tell Aktas what flavors and ingredients you favorite, and he’ll whip up special creations just for you!
Wrap up your activities for the day by getting that credit card cocked and ready. KaDeWe is Europe’s largest department store, almost giving New York City’s Herald Square Macy’s a run for its money. It’s over 100 years old and is home to eight floors of not only fashion, but makeup, jewelry, electronics, toys, and more. The sixth and seventh floors are dedicated to food, and it’s not your typical mall food court. The sixth floor boasts over 30 gourmet counters, and the seventh floor even has a full blown restaurant!
For your last culinary endeavor on this trip, savor real German cuisine at Zur Haxe. The staff dresses in traditional wear, making it a cutesy experience; guys in Lederhosen, girls in Dirndls. Order the Schweinshaxe, their signature dish, to bite into some of the most tender meat you’ll ever have. This whole pork knuckle is cured and baked, producing a crunchy, crispy outer layer, and a soft, juicy inside. It’s also served with Semmelknödel (German bread dumplings) and Sauerkraut, which means after this hearty meal you won’t be hungry until the next day!
Finish off your last night the true Berliner way by partying until the morning hours! Watergate is one of the most popular clubs in Berlin, and this is why it makes for an appropriate night cap. Its expansive LED lighting panel takes up the entirety of the ceiling, changing colors for a hypnotic effect. The club sits perched on the Spree river’s edge, with large floor-to-ceiling windows that allow for a mesmerizing look at the city lights hitting the water.
After experiencing two days in one of the most travelled destinations in the world, you’ve surely realized why it’s so popular with tourists. Not only is there an endless amount of sights to see, and activities to do, but there’s incredible food, warm people, and a booming nightlife. Hopefully you’ll be back soon to visit another city in Grand Germany, where the adventures will be different, but one thing will stay the same…the love for beer! Zum wohl!
By Aaliyah Pasols