Back in December, I hopped on a plane from Stansted to Berlin to visit my other half who’d been out there working for a few weeks. I did a very similar trip last summer and had fallen in love with the relaxed atmosphere of Berlin, so I was intrigued to see if Berlin in December would live up to my memories of that trip.
Now, obviously Berlin in summertime with 30-degree heat (and in the midst of a victorious World Cup) was something special, but I’d heard so much about Christmas markets that I really wanted to go.
So, I packed my bags, had a quick glass of champagne and hopped on a flight.
My boyfriend already had a room at Hotel Casa Camper, which is I think a chain of Spanish hotels and was a really great choice. It’s in a good location, right in the heart of Mitte, which is the most central borough in Berlin. It meant we were only a short walk away from the very buzzing Alexanderplatz, and the massive Christmas market right underneath the TV tower. There’s also a pretty well stocked honesty bar, open 24 hours a day (ahem).
Now because we’d only been to Berlin just a year ago, we’d pretty much done all the touristy, necessary sights that you really have to see: Checkpoint Charlie, Brandenburg Gate, Museum Island, the Berlin Wall… I did however manage to score free tickets to go up the dome of the Reichstag building with a fabulous view across all of Berlin. In typically efficient German fashion, you need to fill out an online registration form (here) and submit a booking request, giving some dates and times that you’d like to go. It’s an incredibly quick process and I received confirmation back within an hour so it really is easy.
The dome itself is beautiful, designed by Norman Foster and built to symbolize the reunification of Germany. If you get the chance, I’d definitely recommend it.
Also on the list was Charlottenburg Palace, which I’ll happily admit I only insisted we visit because it has my name in it. There was also a pretty dreamy Christmas market there too. With gluhwein which is way more fun to say than mulled wine.
We also got the chance to see Sebbi & Rike, friends of my boyfriend’s from university, and their seriously cute baby, who I basically held for the entire night and didn’t let go of, even when she punched me in the throat. Ouch. She was still adorable though.
Obviously you have to eat German food at some point during your stay – I ended up getting a bratwurst from one of the Christmas markets – but some of the best restaurants we ate at were not typically German at all.
For the best burger I have ever eaten, I’d recommend Shiso Burger. It’s like a Japanese version of a burger, which I’ll admit sounds weird but it was absolutely amazing. I didn’t take any pictures because I ate it all within a few seconds. #NOREGRETS
We also went to Transit, an Asian restaurant right next to our hotel that was delicious and convenient.
On my final night there, my boyfriend and I went to an Italian restaurant, Vino & Basilicio, which made some of the best pasta I’ve had outside of Italy and made me very happy that I’m in a relationship with someone who lets me share their food.
But of course if you are looking for serious German eats, there’s a restaurant in Hackescher Market that does a sausage platter (I think it’s called Weihenstephaner). My boyfriend managed to persuade me last year that this was an acceptable breakfast although I’m pretty sure my arteries disagreed… Either way, it’s delicious.