The minute I stepped out of the Berlin airport, I knew I was about to embark a very cosmopolitan travel experience while also seeing world history at every angle. I was born and raised in Chicago, so I’m used to a very diverse and vibrant city culture, but I immediately acknowledged that Berlin offered an energetic vibe that I couldn't resist falling in love with.
Transportation in Berlin is very accessible. You can book a private chauffeur, take a cab from the airport, or even order an Uber from your cell phone. Throughout the city, public transportation can sometimes be faster than driving so you always have that choice as well.
I arrived at the Ritz Carlton Berlin, conveniently located near the Potsdamer Platz, steps from the 500+ acre Tiergarten and a leisurely 7 minute walk to the Brandenburg Gate. I was happy to call this my home for the next three days as I walked into the grand lobby with its extravagant staircase. We were warmly welcomed by the office staff and our check in process was handled superbly. To my surprise, we were upgraded from a Deluxe Room to the Grand Suite. It was music to my ears.
We checked into our suite and really loved the decor of the room. The soft feather beds added a luxurious touch to our experience and it was very hard to want to leave the room after seeing the signature Ritz tub in the marble bathroom. Once I saw the gorgeous view from our window, the traveler in me was motivated to step out. I knew I had some exploring to do!
Naturally, I walked out and visited the Potsdamer Platz on my own, which is one of the major public squares with access to shopping, restaurants, nightclubs, and more. The glorious thing about Berlin is that there truly is something for everyone. I primarily wanted to visit Berlin because I am very interested in history but you don't have to love history to be fascinated with this city.
Afterwards, I met with a private tour guide who showed me all of the historical sights like the Berlin Wall, the Reichstag, the Holocaust Memorial, Brandenburg Gate, Checkpoint Charlie, the Ku'damm avenue, Berlin's Victory Column, and the Presidential Palace just to name a few. Touring Berlin with a knowledgeable guide made the history much more interesting because you can actually understand what you are seeing rather than just taking a photo near an old building that might not make sense to you once you develop your photo. This 3 hour tour of mine was so informative, yet, there was so much to see beyond that so if you want to grasp the full historical experience of Berlin, you could stay for a week and probably still not see everything. For a first time traveler to Berlin, at least 3-4 nights is a great recommendation.
Dining out in Berlin can be a trip on its own. Because Berlin is such a contemporary German destination, you never have to worry about being bored of what you eat. While my dining experiences ranged from traditional German, to Pan-Asian, and Greek, I recommend also doing some research and visiting a Michelin restaurant, perhaps Reinstoff or Fischers Fritz.
The nightlife is unique to Berlin compared to other German cities. Whether you are in the mood for a jazz bar, a cabaret show, or a dance club, you can find it all in Berlin! The city doesn't seem like it sleeps but if it slept at all, most bars don’t close until 3 or 4 am. For the young and adventurous in both mind and spirit, you have options and that’s why Berlin is always a great time.
My trip to Berlin was as memorable as I had hoped for. 3 days wasn't enough time to be able to appreciate the ultra hip ambiance. As I mentioned earlier, there is something for everyone. You can do as little or as much as you want, and you’d still have a great adventure in Berlin so I hope you consider it for your next European getaway.