Berlin, often called “the most hip city in Europe” is also one of the world’s great cultural centers. It’s eclectic neighborhoods are filled with trendy cafés for foodies, it’s bars and legendary clubs attract a young group for all night parties and there are art galleries and vintage boutiques for the artistic and creative crowd. In Berlin’s historic district of Mitte, you’ll find luxury hotels, gourmet restaurants, exclusive high end shops, beautiful parks, endless museums, theaters, and cultural events that attract a chic European crowd, all of which makes Berlin one of the most talked about, vibrant and fascinating cities in Europe today.
As many times that my husband and I have visited Germany, Berlin was never on our radar as it was further north and east from where we usually travel. When our travel plans to Prague had to be altered because of Hurricane Irma, Berlin ended up becoming the first stop on this year’s trip to Europe.
The legendary Adlon Kempinski Hotel, on the famous Unter den Linden boulevard, and just steps away from the famous Brandenburg Gate, became our home for four nights. We loved its central location in the heart of the historic district of Berlin. We could easily walk to many of the city’s main cultural and historical sites such as the Reichstag and the Museum Island, which is a collection of five truly outstanding museums that would take days, if not weeks, to throughly explore.
We had a wonderful junior suite located just a couple of doors down from the hotel’s famous Presidential suite. After two days of traveling to get to Berlin, this very spacious and beautifully decorated room was one we didn’t want to leave. That was until we opened the balcony door and saw Berlin’s famous landmarks all around us .
Normally I do a lot of research before we visit a city and know all the sights and restaurants that I want to visit. Since Berlin was an unplanned stop, I relied on the team at the Adlon’s concierge desk for help and they were terrific. Since this was our first time in Berlin, they recommended we take a hop on, hop off bus tour to get a feel of the city.
We did take the bus tour for our introduction to this famous capital and I would definitely suggest it to any first time visitor to Berlin.
Berlin has 175 museums and during our stay we visited three. The Deutsches Historisches Museum is incredibly interesting, covering 2,000 years of German history. Upstairs covers a period from the 1st century to the end of WWI while the bottom floor covers the 20th century all the way through to the German reunification. The Neues Museum has outstanding pieces from the Egyptian Museum, the showpiece being the famous bust of the Egyptian Queen Nefertiti.
The third museum we visited was the Pergamon Museum which happens to be Berlin’s most popular museum. Because of long waits at the Pergamon Museum, the concierge at the Adlon highly recommended booking time slot tickets. That enabled us to skip the ticket lines and believe me, the lines were very long.
We saw the famous Ishtar Gate of Babylon with tiles painted in brilliant blues with reliefs of dragons and lions.
There is also the impressive Roman Market Gate of Miletus.
The museum also has a huge stone Mschatta Façade from one of the Jordanian desert castles as well as an interesting collection in the Museum of Islamic Art. Each room is filled with long buried treasures 2000 years old or more gathered from Iran, Asia Minor, Egypt and the Caucasus.
We had wonderful meals during our short stay in Berlin. The Adlon has three different restaurants in the hotel. The Lorenz Adlon Esszimmer which has a two star Michelin rating was fully booked during our stay. The Sra Bua, a modern Pan Asian restaurant was closed during our stay but has since reopened. Their more casual restaurant is the Quarré and we had an early dinner there one evening at a table looking out at the boulevard and the Brandenburg Gate. On our other two evenings, we left the hotel and enjoyed two very different restaurants that the concierge recommended. Il Punto, which is within walking distance of the hotel, is an excellent Italian restaurant and Heimlich Treu, a fairly new restaurant, is a true hidden gem. I’ll be writing about it in my next post, I think you will enjoy learning about the restaurant.
Berlin was a fascinating city to visit and if it hadn’t been for Hurricane Irma, it is a city we probably wouldn’t have visited. I do hope you get a chance to visit Berlin some day. It really is one of Europe’s most interesting capitols and yes, I would agree with all that call it “the most hip city in Europe” as well as being one of the world’s cultural centers.