How to Spend a Perfect Christmas in Berlin

Christmas in Berlin is magical. In fact, I had such a memorable and amazing time in the city during Christmas that I even recommend it as one of the Best Countries to Spend Christmas in.

For our trip, Daniel and I spent December 18th through the 26th in Berlin and seriously could not have planned it better. The city is chock full of festive, fun, historical and interesting things to do, and I compiled a list of them all just for you! I hope this helps you make plans to spend your own Christmas in Berlin, and enjoy this unique city just as I did!


Visit the Christmas Markets

Obviously this is the number one reason to spend Christmas in Berlin! These quaint and cozy Christmas markets are spread throughout Germany, and of course as the capital Berlin has some of the best. These markets are full of hot drinks, beer and gluhwine, meats, sausages, cheese, snacks, popcorn, nuts, candy, pretzels… pretty much anything you could need for a picturesque European Christmas experience is sold here. Some of my favorites are…




This one is great because its set between two massive ornate churches. They sell lots of crafts like homemade ornaments and jewelry, and of course amazing foods. My favorite was this cheesy bread thing pictured above… delicious! ALSO if you come here don’t miss the Rausch Schokoladenhaus just down the street. The awesome chocolate store has massive chocolate carvings of Berlin’s monuments and sites, and is definitely worth popping into when you’re in the area.


Winter World at Potsdammer Platz 

This small Christmas market isn’t the best in Berlin, but is great to visit if you’re in the area. Daniel and I walked here for lunch when we visited Tiergarten, a HUGE park in the middle of the city. This also contains memorials and historical information about the city, as well as a zoo, trees, trails, and beautiful landscapes. It’s worth visiting if the weather is nice, and you should checkout the Winter World Christmas market while you’re there.


Alexanderplatz Christmas Market 

My favorite Christmas market in Berlin! Alexanderplatz is huge, and features an ice skating rink, ferris wheel, and tons of stalls and food. It’s also within walking distance of the Nikolai Historic Quarter and Berliner Dom Cathedral, so group them all together for an awesome day.



Go Christmas Shopping

My two favorite places to go Christmas shopping in Berlin when I was hunting down the perfect (ok, and touristy) gifts for my husband were the Nikolai Quarter and the Kreuzberg Neighborhood.



Nikolai Quarter

The Nikolai Quarter is a must visit during Christmas in Berlin. This little area in Mitte is the oldest part of Berlin, and looks just like it did when it was built hundreds of years ago. The houses are colorful and quaint, and the cobblestone streets are lined with art galleries, cafes, and shops selling tons of unique and cool gifts. Definitely a must see when you spend Christmas in Berlin.


Kreuzberg Neighborhood

The second place I enjoyed wandering the streets of and shopping the small businesses in was the Kreuzberg neighborhood. We stayed here too, and loved the relaxed vibe and easy access to bars and restaurants. The area near Oranienstrasse especially had some cool storefronts worth popping into and browsing around, as well as lots of locally owned restaurants to relax in afterwards.



Take a Day Trip

Berlin is a huge city and can be a bit overwhelming after awhile. Thats why I recommend taking a day trip while you’re in the city. During our eight day stay in Berlin for Christmas, we took two. The first was to Potsdam, and the second to Sachenhausen Concentration Camp.




This town is about an hour outside of Berlin on their subway/train system and was fairly easy to figure out the directions too. We got off at the Babelsberg stop (mostly cause we kinda had no idea what we were doing) and walked through a small town and a large park with a lake and castle in it before we actually even made it to Potsdam itself. I thought both were kind of cool and worth seeing, but it’s not the most efficient way. On the way back we boarded at Potsdam Park Sanssocci stop, so this is probably where you want to get off as well.

In Potsdam, we of course walked through, ate at, and thoroughly enjoyed their Christmas market. We also visited the giant Sanssoci park. This is one of the best features of the town. It has fountains, ornate buildings, and the Nues Palace (google it, it’s beautiful!). If you want a taste of the traditional European Christmas feel you don’t get in modern Berlin, this day trip to Potsdam will be right up your alley.


Sachenhausen Concentration Camp

This isn’t the best way to get in the Christmas spirit, but visiting a concentration camp is an essential part of understanding the history of Germany when you visit. Daniel and I went to Sachenhausen, the closest one to Berlin. This concentration camp was an extremely sobering experience. The camp was one of the first in Germany, and used as a “model camp” to build the rest. Thousands of people were killed there, so plan to spend time reading at the memorials and in the museums, because there is a lot to take in.



Check Out The Museums & History

The history in Berlin is different from most of Europe. It’s not old churches and cobbled roads. Most of the city was destroyed in World War II and was rebuilt, so it’s more modern. But the super recent history means the museums and memorials are fascinating. Some of the must sees are…



East Side Gallery

The East Side Gallery is my favorite place in the city. If you spend Christmas in Berlin, definitely do not miss it. After the wall fell and unity was restored, artists from around the world were invited to Berlin to paint it. This long stretch along the river hosts murals, quotes, and beautiful pieces of art.


Black Box Cold War Museum & Panorama  

This museum has so much information about the lead up to the Cold War and its aftermath. My favorite part, though, was the neighboring “Panorama” next door. Buy a combo ticket and you can enter it as well. First, see some of the most interesting and striking photos from the fall of the Berlin Wall. Next, add your name and a message to the colorful array of thousands covering the walls. Finally, step into the panorama. Here an artist recreated the view of East Germany from the wall almost exactly. You’ll be surprised how long you stand mesmerized by the accurate and life size piece.


Checkpoint Charlie 

This iconic part of history is right near the Cold War Museum. The still standing checkpoint carries the ominous message “You Are Leaving The American Sector” in English, German, French and Russian. It marked the strict border between East and West Germany and is one of the most important pieces of history in the city.


Holocaust Memorial

The Holocaust Memorial is a must visit in Berlin. Plan to spend some time here reflecting. One of the reasons we decided to spend Christmas in Berlin was to see and understand the city and country’s recent history, and the Holocaust memorial is a sad but important aspect of it. Visit it along with the Brandenburg Gate and Tiergarten park, because they are only one block apart.


Topography of Terror

This museum is located next to a still remaining stretch of the Berlin Wall. It is a super in depth look at why and how Hitler was able to take charge of Germany, and the details behind the Axis regime and the Holocaust.


Brandenburg Gate 

The Brandenburg Gate is a memorial built in the 1700’s. It is giant and imposing, and a cool piece of German history involving Napoleon, the Nazis, and the Cold War. Now it stands as a symbol of peace.



Eat and Drink

Berlin is one of the best cities in Europe to eat and drink in. The nightlife is also totally on point so if you’re into a party scene this is the place for you. Some of our favorite restaurants from our Christmas in Berlin were the little cafes dotting the neighborhoods, the kabob shops for a cheap and filling meal, The Bird burger restaurant, Hafbrauhaus (of course, it’s a must visit), and the super strange trance club we spent a night in called Tresor. There is so much to eat, drink, and explore in Berlin!




Stock Up For A Cozy Christmas

One thing you need to keep in mind when you spend Christmas in Berlin is that this isn’t the same as the US. The country almost completely shuts down for the holiday. They take their Christmas Eve celebrations seriously, so stock up on food, drinks, and (in our case) alcohol before December 24th! We hit up the Markthalle Nuen in Kruezberg and bought some meats, cheeses, breads, pesto, fruit, pretzels, and beer for a delicious Christmas Eve dinner in our Airbnb. We also bought some amaaaazing little breakfast pies to warm up on Christmas day. It was cold and cozy and just perfect 🙂



Take in the View

When I visit a new city, one of my priorities is getting an awesome view. In Europe especially there are plenty of high points to soak in the cities and Berlin is no different. During your Christmas in Berlin, check out the view of this strange, sprawling city from these two places!



Berliner Dom

Visit the Berliner Dom along with the Alexanderplatz Christmas Market and Nikolai Quarter. The Berliner Dom is another name for the Berlin Cathedral. This massive church is worth exploring because it has beautiful paintings, architecture, and some historical tombs. My favorite part of the church was taking in the view from the roof!


TV Tower

The weird TV Tower in Berlin dominates the landscape. The circular top holds a restaurant and bar. We thought about visiting multiple times, but when we finally decided to there was a long line and the price was kind of high for us. Visit the website here to buy online and skip it, and check out the prices as well. I know this is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Berlin, though, so consider checking it out just for what I am sure is a stunning view.



Christmas in Berlin…

… is magical! I had the best time celebrating Christmas here and really can’t recommend it enough. Take in these sites, check out my list of recommendations, explore the day trips, and eat, drink, and be merry for the holiday season!









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Why You Need to Add Porto, Portugal to Your Bucket List

Daniel and I ended up in Porto, Portugal kind of as a fluke. We had bought roundtrip flights to spend Christmas in Berlin, and had three weeks in Europe we needed to fill. I decided to compare prices on flights with Skyscanner and I found that RyanAir flights to Porto were crazy cheap, so we decided to check it out. Tuns out, Porto is an amazing, unique, beautiful, and interesting place! Here are the top six reasons why you need to add Porto, Portugal to your bucket list!



1. Port Wine

Did you know port wine comes from Porto? The river that runs through the city is lined with wineries who make and bottle their own port wines. The wine is sweet and the views are phenomenal, make these waterside restaurants the perfect place to spend an afternoon day drinking (I mean, wine-tasting) in the sun. You can even take tours of the cellars and do paired tastings, so you’ll even learn a little something as well!


2. Beach Life

Porto is a beautiful European town set on a picturesque river, but it also has a nearby beach as well. Daniel and I rented bikes and rode down the river, past the rocks, and onto a beautiful bike path along the beach. It was winter, so it was quiet and peaceful to watch the sunset over the waves. In the summer, the town lights up and the crowds come in to enjoy the sun and surf. In any season, it’s beautiful!



3. Porto is a World Heritage Site

The historic center of the town is full of cobbled streets, quaint shops, and beautifully painted houses. The colorful homes are painted in bright yellows, pinks, blues, and every color of the rainbow. The center also features monuments and churches over 2,000 years old for the culture lovers, because the port city was founded in 1 BC!


4. Seafood Lovers Paradise

The seafood game in Porto, Portugal was insane. I know Europe isn’t technically looked at as a backpacker or budget destination, but the seafood was plentiful and surprisingly affordable. We enjoyed some delicious and fresh salmon, fish, and other seafood platters during our stay, and none of the meals broke the budget. Plus, we were right on the river and got to enjoy amazing views as we ate. Usually places like that aren’t affordable, but in Porto they have options for every budget.



5. The Amazing Nightlife

Porto is seriously the last place I expected to find a hoppin’ bar scene, but I was so wrong. We arrived late at night and decided to go for a quick walk before we passed out. That quick walk turned into hours out drinking, partying, and dancing because the nightlife there is so welcoming.

The streets were absolutely packed and all the bars were overflowing. Vendors rolled kegs and carts to pour beers and make mojitos for drunk passerby, and the street food options were topnotch. All of this while surrounded by the beauty of Porto’s historic center! It was surreal, amazing, and shouldn’t be missed.


6. The Duoro Valley

This is the one thing I missed while in Porto, Portugal, and I definitely regretted it. Porto lies next to the gorgeous Duoro Valley, where a lot of Porto’s vineyards grow in the hillsides. There are options to take bus or boat tours through the valley to tour the wineries, and I know it’s lush, green, and a beautiful escape from the city. If I ever return, I definitely won’t miss this day trip from Porto.


Lisbon is usually the first city to come to mind when people think of Portugal, but Porto should be added to your bucket list as well. It’s the home of port wine and has an amazing nightlife and seafood scene. It also has a nearby beach for the sun worshippers, a world heritage site for the culture lovers, and the Duoro valley for the outdoorsy. Whatever you want in a vacation, Porto has it. Add it to your bucket list today!

All my love,


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