Beautiful Berlin

Published on 22 April 2024 at 14:56

How our trip to Berlin began... 

Firstly, let me be honest...Berlin was not actually on our bucket list of places to visit, and I will be truly truthful, we chose it because the flights just happened to be reasonable priced and good flight times during the period we had highlighted to travel ‘somewhere’...I find searching flight to 'anywhere' a good starting point! 

When I was sat at home researching what I wanted to see and do during our visit to Berlin, I did not truly grasp just how big the city is. Yes, I knew it was the capital of Germany but was not expecting there be so much to explore. Fortunately, we had planned to visit for 3 nights and 4 days which makes for a doable and worthwhile trip. As a result, planning our ‘flexible’ itinerary so that we were not wasting half the day on the subway was a challenge. And with so many things to see and do, how can you fit everything into our short trip? Berlin has been the stage for a lot of world history and has a-lot of historic landmarks, museums and culture that tell this cities story. 

This blog shows what we got up to in Berlin and will hopefully give you inspiration if you are planning a trip to Berlin.  

Up, Up and Away

The airport and flight... 

We flew from East Midlands Airport with Ryanair. Our flight was around 11am so we arrived at the airport around 9am on a Sunday morning...I have never seen an airport so quiet. With our credit card we were eligible for free fast track security but as we were the only ones in the security hall we just went straight through...very surreal! 

The EMA Escape lounge is the only lounge option for this airport. Unsurprisingly, we were there on our own and had our choice of tables. I wanted to charge my phone but the plug by our table didn't work so we moved...several times. As we were the first to arrive so I am sure the food was fresh but, it all was Luke warm at best and of poor quality. The selection was limited and the cutlery was so small I think it was made for dolls. The nearest coffee machine was broken so we had to walk across the lounge with full drinks. The best part was the pastries. Unfortunately, not a great experience...I am glad I didn't pay for this (it is included with our LoungeKey membership)

The flight itself was a regular Ryanair flight without upset or incident!

Transport Network

Traveling around Berlin 

The transport system in and around Berlin is excellent. Whether you are travelling by car, by train, by coach -  you can get to Berlin easily and comfortably. We flew into Terminal 2 at Berlin Brandenburgh Interntional Airport (BER). The main terminal is 1 and this is where the transport hub is located however, it is only a short 5–10-minute walk from T2 to T1.   

Once in the train station, there are lots of boards indicating which trains depart when and from what platform. This, along with google maps, made it extremely easy to identify which train we required. The ticket system is straight forward and resembles the London underground zone system. To get from the airport into the centre of Berlin you need to purchase a zone ABC ticket...make sure you VALIDATE THE TICKET before you get on the train. That being said we didn't realise we needed to do this as this stage (although it probably did say when we brought the tickets at the machine on the platform). The conductor looked at our tickets and did not say anything. I'm sure he's used to tourists travelling from the airport making this mistake. If we had been travelling from any other stations than the airport, I think this may have been a different scenario. Once on the train, the next 3 stops are displayed on an electronic board in each carriage so there is no excuse to miss your stop.  

As we like to walk and explore, we got off at the Alexandra Platz stop which was a 20-minute walk to our hotel. The walk to the hotel ticked off many of the ‘big sights’ without us intentionally heading that direction. A quick stop for lunch along the way made the walk a lovely the sunshine! 

Later in the trip we also took the subway...same system and just as easy to navigate. In general, the trains and subway system are clean, frequent, efficient, and safe to use. We didn't travel on the transport system at night but the city generally seemed extremely safe so I would have no hesitation using it at night on future visits. 

The Establishment

The Hilton Berlin hotel... 

As we are 'Hilton Honors' members, we often stay at Hilton branded hotels. I have to say the  Hilton Berlin was one of the best. It was reasonably priced for a city centre hotel...and I do mean centre! Nearby landmarks such as Gendarmenmarkt is literally outside the front door Reichstag Building 0.8 miles and Museum Island just 0.6 miles away. Many of the ‘big sights’ are within walking distance of this hotel. We spent most of the time walking the streets, taking in the sites rather than using the underground, however there are lots of underground stops nearby if you are not keen on walking or have more limited time to explore the wonderful city of Berlin. This makes Hilton Berlin a wonderful place to stay when visiting this city. 

We had booked a room with executive lounge access. This gave us access to the executive lounge located on the ground floor, for evening complimentary drinks and buffet. The wine and beer selection on offer were lovely with a beautiful dry white Riesling wine. If you are more inclined to drink beer, spirits or just want a soft drink there is a vast selection for everyone. As we had dinner reservations, we only had cheese and cracker before we left but the hot and cold selections looked amazing and proved immensely popular.  

Breakfast was served in the main dining room on the first floor with views looking over Deutscher Dom... amazing! The self-serve breakfast buffet offers a wide selection of pastries, cold meat, and cheese selection, a cooked breakfast, and my favourite...a freshly cooked omelette station. Breakfast can be accompanied with self-made Bloody Mary's or Prosecco...if you wish but, the coffee hits the spot first thing in the morning. 

I can't emphasise enough how beautiful the view out of the restaurant window is... Deutscher Dom, Konzerthaus Berlin and Französischer Dom ( I would recommend climbing the tower of the last cathedral, the views are amazing) 

The Hilton Berlin is really that central! 

Sleeping Quarters

The room... 

The room itself was lovely also. Comfortable bed with pillows that hug you. Clean, well-equipped bathroom with great toiletries. The only improvement that could be made is the shower screen as this did not quite close. We had to use the bathmat to minimise flooding. Tea and coffee selection was enough for a coffee before breakfast and the usual amenities you would expect from a Hilton such as a safe, air conditioning, towels, robe slippers etc... A welcoming place to rest during our visit.


The ‘big sights’ 

We like to walk and explore. This way, we see all the main sightseeing attractions but discover unexpected gems along the way. I would recommend doing a bit of research before you leave and putting together a walking tour. I find making your own ‘walking tour’ on google maps particularly useful. You can then send this to your phone and follow it set by step, so you do not get lost...I always leave room for a detour as we invariably see something we want to explore down a side street.

This city has so many attractions, it’s hard to know where to start. The Mitte district is home to many of Berlin's most famous sights.  

When we arrived in Berlin we got off the train at Alexanderplatz station. Also known as the "Alex", is one of the most visited and most famous squares in Berlin. It is not only the location of the famous and widely visible TV Tower, the square itself has also repeatedly been the scene of historical events. 

The TV tower is a striking structure with its base located on Alexander Platz. The tallest building in Germany can be seen from anywhere is the centre of Berlin and is particularly striking when lit up at night. The spherical observation deck of the tower offers a wide panoramic view of the city. 

The world clock is a photo opportunity for any tourist finding themselves in this area. Also close to the 'Alex’ is the Red City Hall which gets its name from its striking facade made entirely of red bricks. The building is the official residence of the Governing Mayor and the Berlin Senate. 

A short stroll from the ‘Alex’ and you will find yourself on Museum Island. At least five museums are located on the world-famous Museum Island on the Spree River. The complete ensemble of historical buildings is a World Heritage Site. 

One of my favourite buildings was Berlin Cathedral. Located opposite the City Palace with its eye-catching dome. Again a popular photo opportunity for tourists made this a crowded area but worth stopping and taking in its beauty as the river flows past.

Continuing over the river you can't miss the Reichstag building. Many momentous events in German history are associated with the Reichstag building. Today, the German government operates from here. Tourist can tour the building taking in the views from the roof terrace and the dome. 

As you then stroll down Under der Linden looking at all the amazing architecture along the way, you will eventually come across the most iconic landmark in Berlin, the Brandenburg Gate. For decades, this monument was in a restricted zone directly on the border between the GDR and the Federal German Republic. After the reunification, it became the most important symbol of the unity of Berlin and Germany. It really is beautiful, but you will need to dodge the tourists if you want to take a's a free for all! 

A day trip took us Charlottenburg and its beautiful palace. A short journey on the subway (28 minutes) and you reach this amazing building filled with history and artifacts that tell her story. The magnificent ball room has all the grandeur you would expect from a palace.  


Let's not forget the Berlin Wall...we walked out from our hotel (30 mins) to The Berlin Wall Memorial. Situated at the historic site on Bernauer Strasse, it extends along 1.4K of the former border strip. It is a fantastic preservation of parts of the Berlin wall. It is a powerful reminder of the Cold War and the history of the once divided city of Berlin. Located at the former border between East Germany and West Germany, the memorial is made up of a concrete structure that is both a memorial to those who died during the Cold War and a reminder of the oppressive border that once divided the city.  


Remembering a similar part of Berlins history is Checkpoint Charlie. This was a historic crossing point through the Berlin Wall which once stood here. The checkpoint post that we see today is a replica of the original sentry post manned by the American Army. The site can be terribly busy. I managed to get photos of the cabin...and all surrounding tourists! Also, be warned - it stands in the centre of an open road so traffic will try to come past. The full length of the wall is also demarcated by a double row of cobblestones. At certain intervals, there are metal plaques in the ground bearing the inscription: “Berliner Mauer 1961–1989” (Berlin Wall 1961–1989).

Eats and Slurps

Food and Drink 

When we visit new places, we like to sample their local delicacies. In berlin this was Currywurst which has been a German institution in Berlin since 1949 when it was introduced by Herta Heuwer.  She was given some ketchup, curry powder and Worcestershire sauce by soldiers who had brought it over from the UK.  Berliners had been used to limited post-war rations, so the tasty spicy sauce Herta created, poured over Bratwursts tasted amazing. Herta sold her Currywurst from food stands to construction workers working on rebuilding Berlin after WW2. When we got off the train station at Alexanderplatz we went in search of the infamous Currywurst, We found a lovely spot for lunch at ALEX Berlin am Alex. I have to say I was a little sceptical as bratwurst is not my favourite food but it had to be done. The Bratwurst with the Curry/ketchup inspired sauce and chips was quite delicious. My husband loved it so much he had it twice during our trip.  

We found a fantastic bar and restaurant round the corner from our hotel. The ERDINGER am Gendarmenmarkta typical German brewhouse.  On their menu I stumbled across the Flammkuchen which is translated as ‘tarte flambee’ The Alsace regional ‘pizza’ is a must. The Alsace region has gone back and forth on which country it is in between Germany and France. As a result, it is influenced from both by language and ingredients. The dough has no rising agent therefore is crispy and almost pastry like. The Flammkuchen is a flatbread with a sour cream base instead of tomato topped with bacon and onion that is light and tasty snack. It may seem like only a few ingredients, but they are transformed into an utterly delicious dish you will instantly love...and want again! 

The evening of our first day we visited Maximilliams A must for great traditional German food and drink. Family style meals served by helpful and friendly staff dressed in traditional dress which added to ambiance of this restaurant. My husband chose the meatloaf which for him wasn't the right choice but, from looking around it was popular with other diners. I had the meatballs and gravy served with mashed potato like you've never had before....AMAZING! 

On our last night we were in the mood for Italian food and found the perfect spot a short walk from our hotel at Restaurant Lungomare. The pasta putanesca was amazing and our entertaining waiter was so professional...apparently his first day working there but you could tell he was experienced...he had obviously worked in the industry for a while. I wish I took note of his name, he could not do enough to help us and made our dining experience special.

Follow us on our socials