What to do, see, and eat in Berlin, Munich, and London in mid-May?
April 28, 2016 5:07 PM   Subscribe

I'm taking a last-minute trip to Europe in a few weeks and will be flying into and out of Berlin. I'll only be there for 9 days, so it's a pretty quick trip, but I'll be hitting Munich and London while I'm there. Do you have any great suggestions for these cities? Some extra details inside.

I'm a woman in my late 20s, from the Bay Area, and my travel interests mainly focus on dive/neighborhood bars, good food, beers, cider, hot springs, museums, libraries, and the like. Most of my time will be spent in Munich, with a few days in London and Berlin as well. Any must-see/eat/do things in those areas? Any travel tips you might have too are super welcome! I'll be meeting up with my boyfriend, who's fairly fluent in German, and some of his friends once I get to Munich, so I'm not super worried about language barriers, but any tips re: train travel (I'll be taking the train from Berlin to Munich solo), etiquette, etc. would be wonderful.
posted by burgerrr to Travel & Transportation (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I enjoyed having a picnic and watching the surfers in Englischer Garten-- it made for a nice afternoon.
posted by gemutlichkeit at 5:30 PM on April 28, 2016 [1 favorite]

Lots of tourists, but it is worth getting outside of London and checking out Windsor or Hampton Court. Windsor is super close to Heathrow airport, so you could do it before heading to/from the airport. There is so much to do in London, its hard to go wrong.

In Berlin, do try the curry wurst! I did a bike tour once there, and found it a great way to see the city.
posted by troytroy at 6:09 PM on April 28, 2016 [2 favorites]

Berlin has the Pergamon Museum, and the Egyptian Museum well and the Dahlem. The Asiatic has Heinrich Schliemann's collections including the entire Pergamon Temple and Altar raided out of Cypruss I think, he collected a huge array of things, like all kinds of lions ancient Babylonian, ancient Roman, and then more modern. He brought over entire baths, and tile patterns from the ancient world, it is a very eclectic museum full of amazing things. I think the Kouros Boy is there, one of the earliest Greek standing sculptures. The Egyptian museum has the bust of Nefertiti, and a whole lot of Ancient Egyptian pieces.

There is something called The Berlin Pass that gets you into a lot of attractions. I love Berlin, it is a great city to explore. I like The Forum Hotel, right down town, great breakfast, enough for all day. The Berlin Pass sounds good.
posted by Oyéah at 6:10 PM on April 28, 2016 [2 favorites]

I really liked the Brohan museum and the Checkpoint Charlie museum, both in Berlin.
posted by jeather at 7:32 PM on April 28, 2016 [1 favorite]

If you like art, Prenzlauer Berg is a pretty hipster neighborhood to check out. There are a few flea markets each day of the week throughout the city; you might find a nice souvenir there. If you like funky flavors of chocolate, try the Ritter Sport flagship store; you can get chocolate by the kilo there at a discount. East Side Galley is also not to be missed. If you have time and like shiny palaces, Scloss Sanssoucci would also take up about one afternoon.

For me, the best part of visiting a place is learning about the general atmosphere and the activities of daily living there. In Berlin/Germany, that included noting the street graffiti (which is huge in Berlin!), wandering around the small cemeteries and visiting grocery stores. There, I would find things not specific to Berlin per se, but generally characteristic of German groceries, like herring in tomato sauce, milchreis, or quark. ... Currywurst and Berliner Weisse are the city's special offerings, and you should definitely try those, but there are also many foods that might not make it on a top tourist list that are still worth noting. Even observing styles of eating can be interesting-- German breakfasts generally come with a certain set of foods, for example, and the ritual of having the entire family eat breakfast together every morning without fail certainly stands in contrast to American grab-and-go breakfasts.
posted by gemutlichkeit at 8:26 PM on April 28, 2016 [1 favorite]

I've traveled solo by train in Germany without incident. Bless the bathroom attendant in Mannheim who retrieved my phone when I left it in a stall.
posted by brujita at 10:47 PM on April 28, 2016 [1 favorite]

Absolutely the British Library.
posted by kadia_a at 10:53 PM on April 28, 2016 [1 favorite]

I think my answer to an earlier AskMe about the best tourist sites in London still holds. Broadly, I'd say that London is a fantastic and safe city, and with the pound currently at a pretty low point, it will be less expensive than it usually is for an American visitor. I personally think Buckingham Palace is skippable, but you can choose pretty much any other tourist sites at random and have a great time.

If you're looking for good restaurants and pubs, and you have a smartphone with a data plan, I would recommend the Time Out app, which is a very good source of reviews. Even if you don't have a data plan, it's still worth getting, since presumably you can find WiFi in various places and look for restaurants near you. (You might also download Wifi Cloud Finder, which will help you find WiFi hotspots.)
posted by yankeefog at 3:02 AM on April 29, 2016 [1 favorite]

Given both your user name and your stated interests, you might check out The Bird in Berlin. It markets itself as New York style, which may make it seem less appealing (why seek out American food in Europe?) but no. It's burgers are really, really excellent. Good food, good atmosphere, good neighbourhood (Prenzlauer Berg, mentioned above). If you're looking for something a bit kitschier, try White Trash Fast Food. They're a bit more tourist-oriented but their Denglish menus are funny and make good souvenirs.

Berlin's big museums are all worth it, but there are some weird/quirky little ones as well. The Museum of Things is a design museum where you can check out all kinds of interesting and ordinary... things... from the twentieth and twenty-first century... to name just one example.
posted by bibliotropic at 7:24 AM on April 29, 2016 [1 favorite]

I don't know if this is still happening, but a few years ago when I was in Berlin, there was a large informal karaoke that happened in the really big park with the flea market every Sunday. Apparently a guy started bringing a boombox a while ago and it just caught on. Something like 200 people showed up on this normal Sunday and did karaoke at the theater steps. It was super fun to watch. The flea market was really great too.
posted by monologish at 9:02 AM on April 29, 2016 [1 favorite]

Berlin is a really big, sprawling place - getting around by bike is easy and convenient, but I've definitely had evenings when I've ridden ~ ten miles just to go have drinks with friends in another part of town.

To elaborate on monologish's comment, the flea market at Mauer Park is a great, sprawling, chaotic mess of a thing . And a wild busking scene.

The best dive bar I've been to in Berlin is called "Narkose Stübchen" it is in Schöneberg, right near the Rathaus(town hall - where JFK declared himself "a Berliner"). Check out the 'Yelp' reviews. The worst is around the corner from my house, it's called "Ofen Bar" and it is the strangest place I know of for a couple miles, but not in a good way. For that matter, "Strassenbahn-Kneipenkollektive" is a time capsul of early 80's lefty-conscientiousness. And there's a real tram car in the place. It's - strange.

-which is maybe the thing, in Berlin many many places have been able to just keep doing what they do because there's no financial reason to do otherwise. There are myriad pockets of 'oh, wow...what the hell is this'.

"White Trash Fast Food" moved, they're now down on the water in Kreuzberg. It's good food, good atmosphere, very 'Berlin'.

I like the restaurant in the Fernsehturm, right in the middle of town - for a coffee and cake and a good look at the city. You can see how it was split in half. You have to make reservations to get a table.

You should absolutely spend some time at Tempelhof - what used to be an airport (one of the first commercial airports anywhere) and is now an awesome park. It's kind of like a backyard for everyone who doesn't have one. There are beer gardens here and there (at least there's the two on the Kreuzberg side, by the Mosque) and it's generally a very relaxed place. If you're feeling ambitious, you can take a tour into the many subterranean levels. The main building is vast (and parts currently housing refugees.)

Have fun!
posted by From Bklyn at 12:29 AM on May 1, 2016 [2 favorites]

« Older I don't want to burn the midnight oil.   |   Gift for my son's (exceptional)teacher Aide who... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.