Backpacking through Berlin was so much fun! Personally, this was our first time backpacking and I was a little worried I wouldn’t have enough stuff and it would be a mess. In all honesty it rained 90% of our trip so we really only needed a sweatshirt, jeans, sneakers, and a raincoat and we were all set! Germany is such a clean and friendly place where tourists are welcomed. I’ve taken a few German courses throughout high school and college but am not fluent by any means, but most German’s speak english which was a HUGE help for us. Before arriving, we booked a reservation with a tour group called Sandemans. If you’re looking for a tour by foot that isn’t too big, provides a ton of historical background, and is affordable, then this is the group for you! They have locations all over the place and the best part is, it’s free! Basically, people who live in the city give tours and tips are encouraged at the end. Not that we’ve ever experienced a bad tour, but if you didn’t enjoy your tour guide you wouldn’t have to tip. But if you loved them, you give them whatever you felt they deserved. All you have to do is register for your tour and they offer several different language options.
Taylor and I enjoyed doing these tours our very first day. This way, we can scope out the city and find out what’s worth it and what’s not. When we stumble upon places we really like we make a mental note to visit during our following days. Most tour guides are willing to tell you anything you want to know and because they get paid through tips, they will be very honest. They will let you know where you should invest your time and about those hidden treasures you typically wouldn’t find near the tourist attractions.
Our tour started right in front of the Brandenburg Gate. We had some time to kill before the tour so we got some Starbucks and met a new friend! Taylor is really great at meeting new people and making friends everywhere we go. It must be a southern thing 🙂 but it’s always a great thing because locals are always willing to tell you hidden secrets about the city.
Our tour guide took us to a German chocolate shop! If you go to Germany and don’t try their chocolate, you’ve failed…at least in my book ;
The tour lasted about 1.5 hours and gave us a lot of valuable information!
Berlin offers a lot of history but is also very modern. I think I could definitely live in Berlin and adjust just fine.
If you’re ever in Berlin, you will more than likely stumble upon the Holocaust memorial which is dedicated to the Jewish victims that lost their lives. Peter Eisenman and Buro Happold are the designers and they didn’t want to specifically say how we are supposed to interpret the piece. They wanted everyone who came to leave with their own interpretation and understanding. It’s truly remarkable.
Beneath the memorial is a holocaust exhibit which is free of charge and we’d definitely recommend it.
You can’t go to Germany and not take a picture of the Berlin wall! There are several pieces still up and a line drawn on the streets where the wall used to be.
Don’t forget about Checkpoint Charlie either!
German food is SO GOOD. Taylor wasn’t a huge fan, but German is in my roots and I loved everything I ate. Don’t get me started on the sausage sandwich I had…TWICE.
The next day we had plans to visit the Berlin zoo! You can read about it here.