Romance blossoms in Paris, Rome is the Drama Queen and London oozes sophistication. But Berlin is cool. Berlin’s got edge. And it offers much as its capital city counterparts, even if it doesn’t receive the same billing. If you’re wondering what to do in Berlin, Europe’s most under-rated city, here are some recommendations.
Buy The Berlin Pass if you’re staying at least three days (it’s my favorite museum city). For 82 Euros you’ll receive entry into greater than 45 museums and galleries and 10 additional attractions, public transport (to specific zones) and a 95-page guidebook of what to do in Berlin.
PROPELLER ISLAND CITY LODGE
If you like staying at unique properties, spend at least a night at the Propeller Island City Lodge for the thrill of it. You know it’s not your father’s hotel when there’s a sign in the display case at the front desk forbidding sex in the coffins. So much for THAT item on your bucket list.
They’re referring to the coffin beds (complete with lids) in the Gruft room, one of 30 habitable sculptures individually designed and custom-made by the artist Lars Strochen. The rooms range the gamut from kinky (Mirror Room) to creepy (Two Lions) to bizarre (Upside Down) to kitschy (Grandma’s) to minimal (Chicken Curry). I think if there’s one over-arching theme, it’s a sense of humor: if you take yourself too seriously, this may not be the best place for you.
I stayed in the peaceful Tempel, (one of the more sedate rooms, with a view of the tree-lined street below) because I’m worship-worthy.
KAUFHAUS DE WESTENS (KaDeWa) FOOD HALL
Kauhaus de Westens (Department Store of the West) is Europe’s second-largest department store, boasting a food hall rivaling Harrod’s. The 6th and 7th floors are entirely devoted to gourmet, and advertisements tout the place as having two football fields of food. The top floor includes a winter garden with a 1000-seat restaurant surrounded by windows. I had read that the herring sandwiches were to-die-for, but they looked pretty sterile and mass-produced to me. My grilled bratwurst, however, was heaven.
Dine in the dark at unsicht-Bar, Berlin’s “blind restaurant”. My NUMBER ONE recommendation for what to do in Berlin.
KAISER WILHELM MEMORIAL CHURCH
See the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church for contrasting architecture (it was originally built in 1890, and rebuilt in 1963 after suffering extensive damage in a WWII bombing raid).
Eat a currywurst, a fried pork sausage smothered in curry ketchup and sprinkled with curry powder, because everyone’s doing it.
Shop the Prenzlauer Berg neighborhood’s modish shops and galleries. Buy a Berlin Luxe City Guide before you leave home so you don’t miss a thing.