3 day Berlin itinerary with Christmas Markets!
My fiancé Barrie and I decided to get in the Christmas spirit and visit Berlin in winter.
We travelled from London to Berlin via plane and it was remarkably easy. Once you're out of the airport jump on the train and head into the centre of Berlin. My only tip is to remember to validate your train ticket. You buy your ticket at obvious booths but you have to stamp it before you go onto the train. You'll see these little red boxes on the platform and you have to stamp them there. We didn't know this and we almost got fined by an inspector but played the dumb tourist card (which we were) and he let us off.
Our hotel was in a lovely area of Hackescher Markt. We stayed in an Easy Jet hotel which was nice and cheap but be warned it was absolutely tiny and only stay in them if you're very comfortable with the person you are going with as the toilet is not very private! We then used the metro to travel around which was simple and easy to use (much like the London tube system).
On our first day, as we arrived part way though, we had just enough time to visit the Berlin Wall before it got dark and then went to the museum next door to it which was free and definitely worth a visit.
We then cheered ourselves up by heading to the Christmas Markets. We were expecting for them all to be a lot bigger than they were. We managed to do two markets in one night and we started with the Berliner Weihnachtszeit at Roten Rathaus. It has a big wheel which is lovely to go on and a great atmosphere. We then walked to Wintertraum am Alexa which had a similar vibe but worth a quick visit.
Once we had got our fill of these markets we walked back to our hotel nipping in pubs for warmth and beer!
Berlin Wall & museum
Berliner Weihnachtszeit at Roten Rathaus
Wintertraum am Alexa
The next day we thought we were pushed for time to try and fit everything in so we started out early and did an audio guided tour of the Reichstag building. You have to book well in advance because the tickets are free but it's easy to do so online. The audio tour was engaging and I think without it the Reichsatge would be pretty but dull. Just around the corner is the Brandenburg Gate, a lovely piece of architecture but yet again a quick visit. Just a bit further still (all of these are in 10 minutes walking distance from each other) you have the Holocaust Memorial which is an emotional and important landmark to visit.
We thought all these sights would have taken us most of the day but it wasn't even lunch time yet so we went into the Topography of Terror. Yet again another free museum which held lots of educational and fascinatingly scary stories but be prepared to take in a lot of information.
If you continue down the road you will then come to Checkpoint Charlie. A point which resonates in history but the sight itself is underwhelming and if your short on time a definite skip. As we still had the rest of the day to fill we made our way to Museum island where if you love art you could easily spend a whole day. Neither me or my partner are particularly keen (or wanted to pay all the entrance fees) so we walked around looking at the beautiful architecture that is within Museum island. We followed this by a late lunch by the river Spree and headed out to more Christmas markets. The only market we paid entry for was Weihnachtszauber at the Gendarmenmarkt. If you've only got time to do one market this is my favourite. It has a lovely balance of hand made crafts, outside entertainment and plenty of places to sit down and warm up. It was only 1 Euro entry and well worth it. We still had a lot of the night free so we went to lots of different bars in the area and sampled even more beer.
Topography of Terror
Weihnachtszauber at the Gendarmenmarkt
On our last day we were at a bit of a loss. We had so much time spare before the flight so we went to the Computerspielemuseum as Barrie loves computer games, it was only a 8 Euro entry and it was good fun but we only spent around an hour and a half there. We had so much time we decided to get the train to Charlottenburg Palace about (30 minutes away by train) where there was another Christmas market happening. It was great to see a new area of Berlin but the market and palace didn't out shine any of the buildings and markets we'd already experienced.
It couldn't be easier to get back to the airport, hopping on the train with no problems.
I was sad to leave Berlin and had a lovely Christmassy time but I did leave thinking if the Berlin markets weren't there we would have been stuck for things to do. If your interested in going to all the art museums you'll be busy but if not then I think you could do a flash visit of Berlin in 2 days easily.