It's very rare that I get to experience the same destination twice. Even more rare is it that I get to experience a city twice from two completely different perspectives. If you're traveling to Berlin, whether you're looking to pinch pennies or indulge, here are some ways to make it unforgettable.
Berlin on a Budget
If you're opting for the budget route, you can't go wrong with COSMO. The hotel has a modern feel, with clean lines and earth tone colors. It's modern-chic, with a very pleasing price tag, as rooms start at $96. COSMO is centrally located in the Berlin Mitte district (close to the Brandenburg Gate, National Gallery, Friedrichstrasse, and more).
See the Sights:
Berlin is a city to meander through. It's flat. Very flat. So walking (or biking) is a must. There are plenty of tours that cater to whatever your needs may be. Fat Tire Bike Tours is an awesome way to see the city by bike. Young tour guides lead you around the city's most notable attractions (and throw a beer garden or two in there). You'll hit the Brandenburg Gate, Checkpoint Charlie, the Tiergarten, Babelplatz, the Holocaust Memorial, numerous remnants of the Wall, and more. For those of you who aren't avid bikers: trust me, you will love this. I'm bicycle-challenged and I did just fine (aside from biking into a brick wall…but that had more to do with the liter of beer I consumed at the beer garden).
Street food is ubiquitous across all cultures, so why should Berlin be any different? If you're looking to go cheap without sacrificing taste, hit up one of the many currywurst stands that can be found across the city. Currywurst is a Berlin specialty made of pork sausage with ketchup and curry powder. (It tastes especially good at 3am with a belly full of the local brew.) Konnopke's Imbiß (has two locations) is said to serve up the best in town.
High Society Berlin
If it's luxury you crave, then it must be The Ritz-Carlton, Berlin. Right on Potsdamer Platz, the hotel is within walking distance to many of Berlin's best sights. From the hotel, guests can easily access the city's top attractions, like Brandenburg Gate, Checkpoint Charlie, the Tiergarten, and more.
See the Sights:
For something a little more high-end and customizable, look into Culture Trip, a tailor-made program that specializes in all things culture (think: architecture, museums, galleries, food, and more). Be sure to ask for Virginia Giordano, who is a fountain of useful information and tips.
Berlin is an epicurean playground, especially for discerning tastes. Check out Pauly Saal, a former Jewish girls' school-turned-European restaurant, which has quickly become one of the trendiest scenes in the city.
If you love seeing a city light up at night with clubs and bars, Berlin is the city for you. Cookies Cream and WaterGate are two firmly established venues that seem to please the "bottle service" crowd. By day, Cookies Cream is a vegetarian restaurant that serves an experimental menu that'll appeal to your inner foodie. Night owls flock to this hot spot during after-hours when it turns into a pulsing club. Also, be sure to check out Absinth Depot Berlin, a specialty shop selling and serving absinthes from around the world. This hipster-style shop takes its craft very seriously and will pair you with your perfect absinthe.
What are some of your favorite budget and luxury travel tips for seeing Berlin?