Travelers: Lydia and Johan
Budget: Budget ($500-$1000)
Where did you go? We went to the German capital city Berlin for five days.
We mostly chose it because, living in the Netherlands, it’s relatively cheap to get to for us. But also because we have some friends who live there, it has great museums and (FOR SHAME) we had never been there before — and we always like exploring new places!
What did you do? Lots! We like museums, pretty and/or historically significant places and funky shops, so that’s mostly what we went for…
Berlin is a city of hipsters: especially in the neighborhood of Kreuzberg, which was right around the corner from our hotel. You almost can’t take a step without tripping over an artisan coffee bar, a craft beer pub, or a vegan snack bar. It was amazing. We ate out every night, rarely spent more than € 40 for the two of us, and ate GREAT food. It was fabulous, dahling.
We got Berlin Museum Passes — tickets that give access to all the state museums over a three-day period. They give real bang for your buck if you like museums, because they’re only € 24 and most museums have entrance fees around € 12. We visited the Neues Museum (New Museum), Gemäldegalerie (Painting gallery), Alte Nationalgalerie (Old National Gallery) and Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart (Museum for the Present). This provided a good mix of archaeological artifacts and classic and modern art.
We rode the U-Bahn (subway) a LOT. Very few Dutch cities have a subway, so visiting ones in foreign cities always provides an instant vacation feel. And the Berlin U-Bahn was a very efficient way to visit places all over the city quickly and easily (Berlin is BIG, y’all).
And then there was the inevitable history stuff. We saw bits of the Berlin Wall, Checkpoint Charlie, Brandenburger Tor and the monument to murdered Jews. Very impressive places.
What would you have done differently? I would have timed our trip a little better. We were there from a Sunday to a Thursday, but lots of places are closed on Sunday and Monday, so that limited our options a little. Next time I’d probably arrive on a Tuesday so I can fully take advantage of the Museum Pass.
I’d also arrange visits to the Reichstag and Pergamon Museum — one requires registration beforehand, the other uses time slot tickets, and we didn’t get to visit either on this trip because of that. And finally I’d stay for more than five days because there is still SO MUCH to see and do.
What’s your best travel advice for other offbeat travelers?
- Eat out ALL THE TIME. It’s so cheap, there’s so much good food to be found, and it’s more much fun than staying inside your hotel for the regular continental buffet.
- Also, get the Museum Passes if museums are your thing. They provide great value for money.
- Finally, pack layered clothes, because those subways get stuffy.
Enough talk, show us the vacation photos!