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Planning on visiting Berlin’s iconic museums and sights? Here is our guide to the best, fashionable and hippest addresses in town – from breakfast time to the late-night cocktail.
From high culture to high-flying hedonism, Berlin boasts a dazzling array of attractions, not to mention a booming culinary scene and a fascinating history. It’s impossible to see everything this dynamic city has to offer in just two days – you would need a lifetime to truly explore it all – but don’t let that stop you from trying. When you only have two days in town, here’s how to make the most of it.
9 am: Try the classic German-style Frühstück breakfast of cold cuts, cheeses, pastries and müesli at the iconic Café Einstein Stammhaus.
10 am: You haven’t experienced Berlin until you’ve visited the Museuminsel – a cultural bastion located on an island in the middle of the Spree River. All five of the museums are treasure troves of priceless art and artifacts housed in grand edifices. Although you can buy individual tickets for each venue, it’s worth springing for the general admission ticket and taking it all in.
1 pm: Hop on a bicycle and head towards busy Rosenthaler Platz for lunch. Here, you’ll find DUDU, a sleek sushi joint serving inventive maki and nigiri. Afterwards, wander over to the iconic St. Oberholz cafe: the coffee is standard, but the people-watching is amazing. Many of Berlin’s successful start-ups trace their roots to this coffee shop-coworking space combination.
3 pm: Indulge in a little retail therapy in some of Berlin’s best shopping districts. A short walk from St. Oberholz is Torstraße – a shopping street with everything from design-forward home goods – to shops selling latex and leather S&M outfits. Grab a cab to Kurfürstendamm (or Ku’damm as it’s affectionately known) for big-name brands, or visit the legendary KaDeWe for all sorts of luxury goods.
6 pm: Stop for a pre-dinner aperitif at Grace Bar, located in the opulent Hotel Zoo in City West, where the sumptuous decor is matched by the clever cocktails.
7 pm: Treat yourself to a thoroughly decadent dinner at Grill Royal, where high-rollers rub elbows over spoonfuls of caviar and glasses of Champagne. It’s hard to go wrong with the menu, but since this is a steakhouse, break the bank and order one of the shockingly expensive, lavishly marbled Kobe steaks.
11 am: A few years ago, brunch was a foreign concept in this city. Now, all sorts of places around town serve terrific Bloody Marys and eggs Benedict. The options are endless, but Roamers in Neukölln remains one of the best. Expect avocado in everything you order in this popular joint filled with bloggers snapping a Valencia-filtered photo for their Instagram of the dreamily decorated interior.
2 pm: Berlin makes no effort to excuse or cover up the sombre side of its history. Pay your respects at the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, then delve into the human stories behind the Holocaust at the Jewish Museum, housed in a visually arresting structure by starchitect Daniel Libeskind.
7 pm: Syrian refugees have played a formative role in shaping Berlin’s new identity as a progressive, global city. Enjoy terrific mezze at Yarok, which boasts some of the most authentic Middle Eastern Cuisine in town, as well as a multikulti staff that includes Palestinians, Kurds and Syrians. The dishes are delicious, but it’s the message of hope and tolerance that really makes this place stand out.
9 pm: Two of the city’s best cocktail bars are within walking distance of your dinner destination, so choose the appropriate nightcap that best matches your mood. If you’re ready to party, head straight for Neue Odessa Bar for outstanding Moscow Mules. Should you prefer a calmer scene, try to find the elusive Buck & Breck, a secretive speakeasy hidden behind an “abandoned” storefront.