For those studying abroad and squeezing in a weekend trip, or maybe you just graduated and are trying to fit in as many countries as possible into a 2-week backpacking Eurotrip, here’s how to check Germany off the list. While I don’t necessarily recommend bouncing from country to country as quickly as you can, I understand the urge to see as many places as possible in a limited amount of time. After all, once you’re on the Euro side of the world, it’s much easier to “bounce around.”
Warning: Itinerary not intended for those with a liver condition.
Start your day off with a FREE walking tour that meets in front of the infamous Starbucks at Brandenburg Gate. Normally, I’m 100% for exploring a city on my own and believe getting lost is half the fun, but…..Berlin is a HUGE city, and if you only have a short period of time, you probably don’t want to spend it lost and staring at a map. Do yourself a favor and follow a guide. They have tours at 11am and 2pm, and they last about 2-3 hours. You get to see all the main sites: Brandenburg Gate, Berlin Wall, Checkpoint Charlie, Holocaust Memorial, and so much more, plus learn about the rich history of Berlin. Don’t worry, they stop at a coffee shop for a little break if you start to die of thirst or starvation. The guides are passionate, so pick their brains! and did I mention it’s free? Don’t forget to tip, though. $5 is good.
Afterwards, stroll around Mitte and grab lunch. It’s the most central neighborhood in Berlin (a lot of where the tour takes place) so it’s a great place to peruse. According to some local “Berliners?” there’s not really typical Berlin food. He said they eat a lot of Thai; not sure how I feel about that, so we weren’t too worried about eating at any place in particular. If it’s a nice day, find a place to dine al fresco, preferably a place on the Spree. There’s something I just love so much about European cities and paths by the rivers. Grab McDonalds if you really want, or if you’re set on eating “Berlin food”- go for currywurst. I can’t speak from personal experience, but from what I’ve heard, that’s the best bet for “typical Berlin food.”
Catch the train (warning: trains get extremely crowded here, so you may not even fit on the first one that comes, but just suck it in and squeeze yourself on) to Prater Garden and enjoy some pints of beer in the beer garden before enjoying dinner at the restaurant there. They have food outside, too, if you want to go the more casual route. It was a little chilly when we were there in April, so we decided to sit down inside for some Weiner Schnitzel, and obviously, more beer.
Finally, head out for a night on the town. Berlin has at lot to offer as far as the clubbing scene goes, just make sure to dress nicely, and don’t travel in a pack of testosterone if you want to ensure your admittance into a club. We opted for Watergate, which offered incredible views right on the river, but prepare yourself for lung cancer. (Smoking was prohibited, but that rule wasn’t exactly enforced inside the night club.) FYI – Most night clubs charge about 10 euros to enter.
Stop for late night doner kebab on the way home to make sure you’re alive for the next day’s adventures.
Extra time? Check out the Berlin Zoo!
On to Munich. Train or Plane. We did the plane route because it got us there quicker (flight is about one hour), whereas the train takes 5-6. Both options should cost less than 100 euros depending when you’re traveling and how far in advance you book the tickets. We traveled during Easter in April and booked ours about 2 months in advance. Air Berlin was great. Check out my article on The 5 Best Budget Airlines in Europe!
Head straight to Viktualienmarkt to stroll and chow down on brats and sauerkraut and…..beer. That should be a given by now. There are plenty of stands to choose from so don’t feel like you need to get in line at the first one you spot. Shop around and see all the “farmers market” has to offer.
One word. Hofbrauhaus. Touristy? Yes. Worth it? 100%. This beer hall is gigantic and oh so wonderful. Waiters walk around in lederhosen, the hall is filled with giant picnic tables, and everyone around you is holding/drinking/chugging liter beers. And, someone is probably puking nearby, too. Anything goes in this place. Really. People were standing on the tables, throwing objects, screaming, chanting, chugging beers, and then proceeding to puke back into the mug they had just chugged from. It’s quite the experience. So sit down, order a giant pretzel from the boys in lederhosen, and join ’em. I recommend the Hofbräu Original and the Original HB Sausage Platter. Just be warned that you may lose your appetite. Make some friends with the people around you, and you’ll have a jolly good time. We happened to run into a group from our home town – what are the odds. Feel free to keep the night going with a bar crawl. The Irish Pub Dubliner is a fun, nearby option.
Make it to Marienplatz by noon – that’s not too ambitious 🙂 Explore the plaza and enjoy the show at the Glockenspiel. Head towards Englischer Garten, and take your time enjoying the river and alllll of the green space. It is bigger than New York’s Central Park, so a few hours can get away from you here, but it makes for a great afternoon walk, especially on a sunny day. Be sure to check out the surfers on the river there, even in cooler temperatures. Andddd, if you’re up for it, there is a beer garden in the middle – Chinesischer Turm (Chinese Tower). Just sayin’.
Alternative Option: See the city in style with this beer bike option. Drinking + pedaling + site seeing = unbeatable combination.
The last night wouldn’t be complete without a biergarten, so check out another one, like Augustiner Keller, for a nice bavarian meal, German dancing, and ____________. You fill in the blank.
Extra time? Head to Neuschwanstein Castle for a fairytale day trip.
What to Eat?
Giant pretzels – Brats – Sausages – Sauerkraut – Potato Salad – Currywurst
What to Drink?
Giant Beer – and lots of it.
Where to Stay?
AirBnB (Private room, shared room, or entire place, depending on how many people you’re traveling with) Mitte Neighborhood in Berlin and close to Marienplatz in Munich. OR Hostelworld.com. We went the hostel route and stayed at Helvetia Munich City Center, but had just 2 to a room. And in Berlin…we stayed here. Be sure to check out Priceline for deals on hotels, too – never know what you might find!
How to get around?
Munich was made for walkin’, but Berlin on the other hand…is a teensy bit bigger. Make use of the underground, and get yourself a day pass or multi-trip ticket. There are a variety of options, and you can buy them at any underground/train station. Find one that best suits your needs. I vote the Day Ticket for 6.90 Euros and gets you all the places you want to go. The machines are yellow and pretty self explanatory.