Visiting Berlin had been on my travel to do list for years and I finally made it last October. I mostly spent my time wandering around the city, visiting Berlin’s top museums, taking endless photographs of the street art and making many caffeine and refuelling stops. After just a couple of days in the city I was considering signing up to do a course in German and moving there for a couple of months, Berlin does that to you. Following are my favourite finds which you could totally squeeze into just 24 hours in the city. And do share yours below! I’m already planning my return trip…
Michelberger Hotel Warschauer Strasse 39/40
I’m not really a fan of those boutique hotels where there’s a minimum of ten perfectly-positioned pillows on the bed and you feel like you can’t touch anything for fear of an expensive breakage. I much prefer a place like the Michelberger Hotel, which is more a lo-fi but stylish, slightly bonkers home-from-home with super-friendly staff, cosy rooms, a chilled out café that transforms into a buzzy bar at night and The Big Lebowski playing on a loop. Check out is a civilized 12pm (great if you have one too many cocktails in the bar the night before).
Weekday Friedrichstrasse 140
If you want to get your shop on you can find pretty much every European high street brand in Berlin. New to me (and not yet in the UK) is Weekday, a jeans-focussed brand from the H&M family. The Berlin branch was packed with enough tees, vests, sweatshirts, knits and of course denim to keep this casual-at-heart and low-on-budget shopper happy.
YamYam Alte Schönhauser 6
Whether you’re looking for somewhere to refuel midway through a day of shopping and sightseeing, or you’re after a laidback spot for a relaxed dinner, head to YamYam in the hip Mitte district. The small-but-perfectly-formed menu of modern Korean dishes offers plenty of choice for meat eaters and vegetarians alike. Dubu Bokum, a tasty and filling dish of rice, fried tofu and fresh spinach in a salty sweet sauce, for a bargainous €7.50, was so good I had it twice.
Kuchi Kanstrasse 30
If you’re in need of a sushi fix when you’re in the city, Kuchi comes highly recommended. I can’t personally vouch for the sushi, but I can vouch for the Kuchi Mix, a huge bowl of tofu, vegetables and rice, washed down with a Little Virgin Monk, a refreshing non-alcoholic lychee cocktail.
Helmut Newton Foundation Jebensstrasse 2
Showcasing work by Helmut Newton, his wife June and other handpicked photographers, I happily whiled away a couple of hours here. I particularly loved Helmut Newton’s Private Property, a permanent exhibition, which includes a recreation of his Monte Carlo office, many of his cameras, and letters of condolence to his wife after his death in 2004. The only reason I didn’t leave the shop weighed down with several bags full of fashion and photography books is the fact I was travelling with hand luggage only. My coffee table still hasn’t forgiven me.