We arrived in Berlin at the end of January and despite the cold we couldn't have asked for better weather. The sun was shining the whole time and there wasn't a cloud in the sky. It was perfect for our photos which were helped even more by some patches of snow that were still on the ground in the shadier spots.
Berlin has a reputation around Europe as a very trendy city, full of artists, exhibition spaces and pop up bars to eat and drink. It certainly lived up to that and more, we discovered new flavours and sights and sounds as well as experiencing some of the more established and well renowned vegan offerings in Germany's capital.
Where to eat
Berlin is made for vegans and I was living the foodie dream for the weekend. It was so easy to source fantastic food, and with great veggie and vegan variety the main issue we had was trying to decide which places to try out in our limited time there.
Our consensus number one place (and I didn't even have to force Tom to agree) was MoMos. This tiny vegetarian dumpling restaurant only serves dumplings and a few sides but the slightly limited menu just means top quality, delicious dumplings with incredible dipping sauces. We went at lunchtime so managed to get a seat right away (although we did accidentally jump in front of a couple of other people who were eagerly waiting!) If you are going at busier time you may have to be prepared to wait a while.
The best brunch spot we found we purely by chance as it was close to our hotel. It was called Father Carpenters and it turned out to be a nifty little find to give us plenty of energy for our long (but very informative) walking tour. The second photo below shows the great selection of food we had there.
For great cocktails and great food it doesn't get any better than Chaostheorie. They only serve one dish per night so it might be worth checking what is on before you go. We were there for vegan doner kebab night with a serious amount of fries. If everything is as good as this was there is no need to worry. We were also offered a shot of 'Berlin Air' while we were there, it's a delicious local spirit that ended the night perfectly.
Sfizy Veg is a little hole in the wall pizzeria just off Sonnenalle. Serving the highest quality vegan pizzas, they make it very easy to eat a whole pizza all to yourself (although this isn't something we often struggle to do if I'm honest!) It's definitely worth a visit if you are a lover of pizzas whether you are vegan or not.
Just round the corner from Sfizy Veg is Let it Be. If you are fat like us head here straight after your pizza to end the night with delicious (and brilliantly named) crepes and pancakes.
Our fanciest meal in Berlin was at Vaust. We arrived early to make sure we could get a table as we have heard it often gets very busy. Our highlight was definitely the vegan Currywurst with homemade curry sauce for starter which was delicious. They also do their home brewed beer with different fruity flavourings. Be careful if you are thinking of heading here though as it's closed on Sunday.
Below is a little list with a bit more information on the places we visited and how best to get there:
MoMos Dumplings (momos-berlin.de): Chausseestrabe 2, 10115 Berlin (U Oranienburger Tor station)
Father Carpenters (fathercarpenter.com): Münzstraße 21, 10178 Berlin (U Weinmeisterstraße station)
Chaostheorie (chaostheorie.berlin): Schliemannstraße 15, 10437 Berlin (Eberswalder Straße station)
Sfizy Veg (sfizyveg.com): Treptower Str. 95, 12059 Berlin (Karl-Marx-Straße station)
Let it be (letitbevegan.de): Treptower Str. 90, 12059 Berlin (Karl-Marx-Straße station)
Vaust (vaust-berlin.de): Pestalozzistraße 8, 10625 Berlin (Berlin Savignyplatz station)
MoMos dumplings - mouth-watering
Father Carpenter - brunch fit for a queen
Where to sleep
There are a lot of options for places to stay in Berlin and to be honest where ever you end up staying there is likely to be a more than enough going on within walking distance. We stayed in the Weinmeister Hotel in the Mitte district which allowed us to easily walk to most of the things we wanted to see and do and was also close to the Alexanderplatz station which has good connections to the places we couldn't walk to.
The hotel was great, the room was really nice and had everything we could ask for. I would say that you could almost certainly find similar places to stay within the area for less money but you could do a lot worse than the Weinmeister (which coincidentally is how Tom refers to himself on the weekends). The one thing we found a little frustrating was the fact we couldn't check in until 4pm (unless you paid!) which we thought was a little bit unfair. The room is either ready or it isn't! They do have free sweets though so every cloud...
Where to look
Great spots for great shots. The photo below is from the very poignant and also very beautiful Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. Wandering through the harsh concrete columns creates a very subdued and reflective atmosphere but it is still very difficult to comprehend everything that this city has been through in the not so distant past.
A walk along the long stretches of the wall that still stand today also gives a very interesting glimpse into what life would have been like in a city divided in two as recently as the late 1980s and early 1990s. There is so much to read and learn about at the Berlin Wall Memorial with fascinating photos of how the wall seperated two different ways of life.
World War Two museums - Berlin and Germany in general does a very good job of telling the story of how the Nazi party rose to power and set up a dictatorship that tried to take over Europe. There are many very interesting exhibitions such as the Topography of Terror (free entry) which do a great job of exposing exactly what happened, not only during the war but also in the lead up to it and the years following.
The Reichstag (German Parliament) is also open to all with great views of the city when you climb to the top (booking required) and also has a shorter but equally interesting history of German politic including the Nazi party's rise to power and how the government has evolved since to make sure there can never be a repeat.
Berlin was much cheaper than we were expecting to eat and drink which was a real bonus. A meal for 2 with alcohol was often less than 30 euros. Like most cities in Europe that aren't London you do have to pay for museums and exhibitions but the ones we chose to visit were very interesting and worth a visit.
We spent a morning in the Natural History Museum which had a nice collection of weird and wonderful things, We also visited the Topography of Terror and the Reichstag as previously mentioned. The Reichstag required booking in advance and security and passport checks before going in but it was really interesting and offers great views of the city when you reach the top of the dome. We also did a free walking tour (pay what you think it's worth at the end) which I always think is a great way to first get to know a city from the people who know it best. We used originalberlintours.com who were great but there are plenty of other options out there.
And here's a little bonus prize of a photo of some amazing vegan donuts we managed to squeeze in amongst all of the other eating we did!
Brammibals donuts, the best donuts in town (brammibalsdonuts.com)