**Featured image is not mine, it is from the Lonely Planet.
Coming up in late November/early December I’ll be travelling to Europe with a few friends to check out the Christmas markets. Check out a quick summary here.
Taking an overnight flight means getting into the city in the morning and having almost the whole day to explore – this also helps with jet lag. We’ll be in Berlin for 2.5 days so it’ll be a whirlwind of being a tourist and spending time in the German Christmas markets.
Two of my favourite resources for planning a trip are Pinterest and Google Maps.
There are hundreds of lists for the “Best Things to do in Berlin” (and any other major tourist city for that matter). It’s a little overwhelming! How do you pick between “What to do in 48 hours in Berlin” or three different “Top 50 Things to do in Berlin”? Not including all the individual pins of beautiful scenery and drool-inducing food? I start by making a list and heading to my next favourite resource.
Google Maps (MyMaps)
I used this amazing feature MyMaps on Google Maps for my last trip to Europe. It really helps with visualizing a trip – you can add pins for things to do or see, places to eat or drink and even bus stations/your accommodations etc. Each pin can be colour coded for different “Categories”. I like separating mine with “Activities”, “Food” and “Accommodations/Travel”. You can check out the beginning of “MyMap” here.
The other thing I like about the MyMaps feature is, once you have things pinned, it’s easy to see what places are out-of-the-way. I like to do a ton of walking when travelling (it really helps you “get a feel” for the city) so if there’s one thing that’s an hour away with nothing else on the way/close to it, it’s hard to justify making the trip. If there are 10+ things in an area that’s a bit of a trek, it’s probably worth it to go!
I used MyMaps to help narrow down my “Top” list – the top places to visit in my limited amount of time, keeping in mind that I want to visit a ton of the Christmas Markets in the city. The rest of the list is filled with places found from various resources online. To help narrow it down, I first eliminate places if they’re too far away or are the wrong season to visit (i.e. checking out the beaches, visiting the Gärten der Welt: Gardens of the World for cherry blossom season or karaoke at the Mauerpark on Sundays). Next, I check out the times places are open. Some places have seasonal hours, others have limited hours (not open early or very late) so in relation to the other places near it, it might not be feasible. Next is to map it out! I haven’t finished the list yet, but I’ve narrowed down the top 10 things I want to visit while in Berlin.
- Christmas Markets: Gendarmenmarkt, Schloss Charlottenburd and Richardplatz are ones that keep popping up.
- Visit Museum Island.
- Climb the Siegesäule for a view over Berlin’s Tiergarte (I love good views of a city!)
- Monkey Bar. You can enjoy a cocktail while hangout out with monkeys!
- Climb the Kreuzberg for a panoramic view of the city. I’d do this near the end of the visit to try to see things I’ve already visited!
- East Side Gallery.
- Holocaust Memorial.
- A Sandeman Free Walking tour.
- Berlin Cathedral. I love cathedrals – they never get old for me.
- Bundestag of Germany. (I already have a tour lined up!)
If we had time, I’d make the trip to Rakotzbrücke (Devil’s Bridge). Maybe next time?
Do you have any suggestions of “Must Do’s” while in the city? I’d love to hear about your experience!