I bloody love a Christmas market, and to be honest absolutely any excuse to celebrate and feel festive. There’s something seriously special about visiting Christmas markets in cold European countries, going back to the warm cosy hotel bed and watching a Christmas film. I love a cold Christmas and we definitely have that covered in most of Europe! For this year, one of my very best friends and I decided we needed to tick a foreign Christmas market off our bucket list and decided to go to Germany. We actually first decided to this as there was one of those package deals on Wowcher and we thought we would give it a go. In hindsight I can safely say sometimes these offers can get you a really fab deal and they’re very rarely any more than you’d pay elsewhere, but it’s always worth checking out other holiday providers to see what deals they have. Sometimes you can find a more central hotel and flights for the same price – and whilst other times you won’t find a better deal, it’s always always a good idea to have a little check elsewhere before committing to anything. Let’s get into what we got up to in the beautiful Berlin!
We had pretty early flights on the way in which allowed us to squeeze one more day out of the city. After a relatively quick and easy flight, (lasting about two hours from London,) we headed straight to our hotel. We had planned to purely use public transport here and whilst most of the trains were clean and simple, it took a little bit of getting used to, so it’s worth double checking your route beforehand! We settled in to our hotel – and whilst the rooms were pretty, simple and clean, the location was a little further out of central Berlin than ideal. As we had bought train passes for our whole time here it wasn’t too much of an issue, but it would have been better to be a little closer to all the hustle and bustle – and something I’ll be sure to do next time! We went to a close by supermarkets to get some breakfast things as a way of saving money and eating this meal here, and then headed off for a spot of lunch and to see our first Christmas markets.
We bumped into the most stunning pasta place called Pasta Deli – which was very cheap made to order pasta dishes. You just choose your type of pasta, your sauce, and any toppings, and you grab a seat whilst they whip it all together. As this was a quick trip to cram as much in as possible, it was such a good way to get a quick yet delicious bite to eat whilst saving some money. We ended up returning here and I can’t lie to you guys, I think about it a lot haha!!
The beauty about the German markets (well there are absolutely a million reasons why), is how they are all connected in little ways. Each market brings something unique and different and has a different vibe – some better for kids, some better to drink in, some more romantic and some full of games and shopping, but they all add to each other and are so worth exploring all. There’s not one set location like with a lot of other Christmas markets, but they’re dotted over the whole city! Most hotels over this period will give you a printed map with all the different markets on them, combined with the tube stops they’re near and other landmarks. It’s a really cute (free) keepsake, and also really handy so you don’t have to go on your phone quite so often. There’s also something special about doing it old school with a map I think!
Our first market was so romantic, I can’t think of anything better for couples strolling around together, having a bite to eat and going in all the large indoor tents to grab some mulled wine and chat. We had a wander around all the little stalls and shops and took in the atmosphere. It was completely rammed full of people, but it also kind of made the vibe even more festive and cheery – it wasn’t like a bustle or rush to get anywhere, just people having a good time. (Until we needed to leave that is, and found ourselves actually stuck in a sea of people hahaha.)
I bought some delicious biscuits as some gifts for family, and two stunning copper candle holders. Years later I still have these and cherish the memory of buying them here at this market! I just wish I had bought even more of these copper candle slips as they looked so stunning all sat together. After a long first day travelling we decided to head back to the hotel ready to see more Christmas markets the next day.
The travelling definitely caught up with us the next day and we both felt weirdly tired, but set off exploring all the same. After staying on the tube for too long being distracted and talking away, we decided to jump off and see what was in the area; we were still fairly central. We bumped into the Berlin wall so had a little walk around, and then went off in search of the Jewish museum. I didn’t take a huge amount of pictures here but it was so very powerful. There were lots of art pieces depicting the history and things these people went through, and lots of facts and pieces from the time. Whilst I think it’s so important for everyone to learn and be aware of this history, I can definitely understand how it would be a lot to stomach for some people if you delve deep into it. If that’s the case though, I think it’s so kind and meaningful to still donate even if it’s not something you’d necessarily visit – to keep these places going and allowing people to learn.
Berlin has a huge amount to see with different districts and attractions, and some of the architecture is really beautiful. As an atheist I always end up in an odd amount of cathedrals and churches when I’m on holiday. I just think they have such gorgeous designs and there’s something very calming about them.
We spent this night heading out in search of some more Christmas markets. We ended up in the shopping district and got some real retail therapy and shopping done as Christmas presents. Some of these markets were slightly less romantic but still thriving and vibing!! So much music, games and stalls and people just having a great time. The shopping district area had more of a younger audience which was also lovely to see. The colours were more vibrant than the warming whites of our previous market and it was amazing to see the contrast.
There was even a full on ice skating rink! It was quite funny because it had definitely melted a fair amount with a serious layer of water on top – we chose not to skate think I would have died on that!) but it was super cute and festive to watch for a while.
We decided to take the next day relatively easy, as we knew we had to be up at 2AM on Sunday morning to make it home! We decided to head to the zoo to have a wander around all the animals. Even right outside the zoo we accidentally bumped into another Christmas market! They are everywhere and this is exactly what I signed up for!
We didn’t know beforehand, but actually Berlin Zoo has some shitty enclosures for some of it’s animals – most seem happy and kept in decent sized homes, but the big cats in particular were in cages far too small. (By the time we realised this we headed off as it was actually quite depressing – I wouldn’t go back to the zoo again purely for that reason!) I love a zoo and if they do donate and participate in conservation I think they can be really amazing – sanctuaries for all those furbabies. But when they are just to gain money and don’t treat their animals right there is something very wrong. I wouldn’t recommend anyone go here because of that and I’m always really careful when researching zoos now to make sure they are as kind as can be.
(Before the big cats,) we went to the little petting zoo part which was soo cute! The goats were happy as larry and greedy little fellas too! We brought in some food and made some new friends.
We flew home ridiculously early on Sunday, and I came home to eat and hibernate for a couple of days! Overall I had such an amazing time in Berlin and I’d definitely go again at some point in my life – although there are a few more places I want to tick of my list first! The Christmas markets were so stunning and definitely the highlight of this trip; I mean it makes sense being the real sole reason for going right? A lot of German cities have so much culture and things to do, along with some gorgeous scenery!