Over February half term we spent 48 hours in Berlin with kids. We packed in quite a lot in those 48 hours, and one of the reasons for that was the brilliant tour we did with Tours by Locals.
I’ve written a full review of our tour with Tours by Locals in Berlin but with Martin, our tour guide we did, the State Opera, Checkpoint Charlie, Brandenburg Gate, and remnants of The Wall plus Gendarmenmarkt (Fassbender&Rausch, the famous chocolaterie is nearby) and Museum Island.
We really really enjoyed it. It was exhausting (we packed a lot in at my request) and it wasn’t the most family friendly one we’ve done, but I am really really pleased we did it and we learnt so much from Martin. We saw far more of the main sights in Berlin than we would have done if we had done it alone and I found the nature of the things we discussed weren’t too harrowing for the kids. Most of it was over and above their understanding but then the history of the city is. To be fair it was a lot for the adults to take in.
Martin himself was warm and kind and very accommodating and I would highly recommend him for tours of the Berlin.
So what else did we do with our 48 hours in Berlin with Kids?
We arrived into Berlin by train from Hamburg where we had spent the previous 48 hours. If you want to check out our Hamburg posts you can find them all in this post I wrote about 48 Hours in Hamburg with Kids.
Train to Berlin from Hamburg
We connected the two cities easily by getting the train from Hamburg to Berlin (I booked tickets beforehand using my Trainline app actually) and it only took 1 hour 40 minutes.
The train was clean and comfortable, ran on time and despite it being a little confusing as to where the train might come into the platform and how big it would be, it was all really very easy.
For more ideas about City Breaks why not check out this post about the 32 Best European City Breaks.
Berlin Welcome Cards
On arrival at Berlin Central Station we headed upstairs to the Tourist Information Office to collect our Welcome Cards that had been provided to us by Visit Berlin. The Welcome Cards cover yourself and up to 3 children travelling with you.
There are two different Welcome Cards as Berlin is divided into the fare zones A, B and C. Section A comprises the Berlin inner city up to and including the S-Bahn Ring. Section B is located outside the S-Bahn Ring up to the city limits. Section C is the area around Berlin, including the town of Potsdam, the Sachsenhausen Memorial Site and Berlin’s Schönefeld Airport. You can buy Welcome Cards for AB or ABC.
We had been given two ABC Welcome Cards which allow you to travel on all public transport anywhere in Berlin for your trip. These tickets would have cost €23 per person and were fantastic value for money. If you book them beforehand you simply take the confirmation to the desk at the airport and they give you your ‘cards’ (more like a paper ticket). The card needs validation once, the first time you go to use it. This is done easily at the machines in all the stations.
Having collected our complimentary tickets we then had to decide if to purchase 2 more for my parents who were with us. We decided that yes, even with just the cost of a day ticket and travel out to the airport on our final day then it was worth it. If you add on top of that discounts at other museums and attractions you might do then it more than likely is too. If you’re pre-booking definitely spend some time working out what you might use.
It’s really easy to get around Berlin on public transport and we definitely got value out of our passes. It also made it so much easier than trying to buy new tickets every day.
Adina Apartment Hotel in Hackescher Markt
So having collected and bought all our tickets we took the train to our hotel which was the Adina Apartment Hotel in Hackescher Markt. It took less than ten minutes to get to the metro station near to the apartments and it was literally a couple of minutes walk from there. The hotel really couldn’t have been anymore perfectly located. Particularly when we realised that we could get the train back to the airport on our last day from that station meaning we didn’t need to do any transfers with all our things. We could simply get straight on the train and get off at the airport.
So we checked into the hotel early and one of the rooms were ready so we left all our bags in one room and head out for our tour with Tours by Locals. We grabbed some lunch and then that was us for the afternoon. Take a look at our mini room tour of the Adina Apartment Hotel in Hackescher Markt.
We had a huge two bedroomed apartment with a sofa bed in the lounge/dining area. Had we been in Berlin for longer we would definitely have taken more advantage of the cooking facilities. My parents had a one room apartment which was a really good size too and had similar cooking facilities.
Room tour of the Adina Apartment Hotel in Hackescher Markt
Family Friendly Tour with Tours by Locals
Check out our full review of our tour with Tours by Locals in Berlin but with Martin, our tour guide we did, the State Opera, Checkpoint Charlie, Brandenburg Gate, and remnants of The Wall plus Gendarmenmarkt (Fassbender&Rausch, the famous chocolaterie is nearby) and Museum Island.
We finished our tour shattered but happy and easily made our way back to the hotel from Brandenburg Gate. 4 of us got the metro and three walked (in about 20 minutes) and we all arrived back pretty much at the same time. The hotel really is very centrally located.
Dinner in Hackescher Markt with Kids – Trattoria Ossena
We ate that evening at a really lovely Italian restaurant Trattoria Ossena within less than 5 minutes walk of the hotel.
The food was good (as was the wine) the waiter was friendly and it wasn’t too expensive either. It was just what we needed after a long day exploring and meant we could get the kids home and crash into bed quickly too.
Breakfast at Adina Apartment Hotel
Breakfast was included in our room rate at the Adina Apartment Hotel and it was great to start you off for the day. It was better than average. Not a fully catered hotel breakfast but a variety of different options to choose from, and definitely more choice than a continental breakfast. Do take a look at our room tour video(above) to see what was included.
We had to be up and out fairly promptly on our second day as I had booked a tour of the Reichstag Dome.
Reichstag Dome with Kids
I had picked up the tip about the Reichstag Dome in this post 8 Awesome Hacks for Berlin
Schedule your Reichstag visit as early as possible – While it’s free, you need a reservation to see the historical building and seat of Parliament, with its striking Sir Norman Foster glass dome (we heard there is an opportunity to turn up on the day for some last-minute slots, but couldn’t find information about it on the official site). You have to submit all the names of the visitors beforehand and it gets booked up quickly. You can also book guided tours. Go to the visitor page for more information.
So because I had read this post I managed to apply for a slot for the seven of us which included providing our passport details and we got approved within 48 hours.
I wasn’t really sure what to expect at the Reichstag Dome but I was actually blown away. I think we were there for about 1hr and 30 minutes and could probably have been there a bit longer if it had been warmer and we might have spent more time outside on the roof.
It’s difficult to explain how architecturally cool it is, check out the full video where you can see us wandering around, but there is also a free audio tour in a lot of different languages and it was fascinating. The kids didn’t really listen but they did go up and down practically 3x whilst we listened to all the information and viewed all the sights you could see on the way up.
As we were already in that area we then made our way to the
Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe
The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe is a controversial holocaust memorial. Described as a place of contemplation, a place of remembrance and a place of warning. It’s on a site covering 19,000 square metres, and there are 2711 concrete slabs of different heights. The memorial is on a slight slope and its quite wave like in form. If I’m honest I don’t know what I think and I genuinely don’t feel qualified to comment.
We spent a little time there though, the girls struggling to comprehend the number of people killed simply for being Jewish. It was the start of a conversation on this subject, one that I’m not sure should ever end.
I struggled with people standing on the stones, taking fun selfies and seemingly not appreciating the space. Whatever you think of this as a memorial, it is and should be a place of rememberance.
You can read an article from the New Yorker on the inadequacy of the Berlin memorial.
From there we made our way to Potsdamer Platz.
We visited here because we were in the area but also because my husband had done a surveying project on it at university years ago and wanted to actually see it in real life. It was a good place to stop for some lunch as we were already there but not somewhere for you to go out of your way to visit. In reality it’s just a shopping area.
The Spy Museum Berlin
The Berlin Spy Museum was an unexpected hit. We had been looking for things to do that the kids would enjoy and this and the DDR museum kept coming up as options to try. The Spy Museum is located at Leipziger Platz, directly at Berlin Potsdamer Platz station. The Spy Museum is an interactive and multimedia exhibition showcasing the history of espionage and secret services worldwide.
We spent a good few hours in the Spy Museum and mine were the perfect age ( 8 and 7) to take advantage of all the activities.
We spent practically an hour in this area alone with the kids trying to beat the laser challenge. Eve finally did!
— minitravellers (@minitravellers) March 19, 2019
We used our Welcome Cards to get a discount on the prices.
Ticket prices for Berlin Spy Museum
(Children under 6 years free)
(Students, trainees, visitors with severely handicapped pass)
(From 10 persons up)
(2 adults and own children)
The DDR museum was close to our hotel so I ended up back at our hotel with my Mum who had walked a little too much over the last 48 hours, but Matt and my Dad took the kids into this interactive museum which demonstrates the conditions of life as they existed in the former East Germany.
The DDR museum isn’t large but kept the kids very happily entertained for just over an hour. Again we got discounts on our ticket prices with the Welcome Card.
Dinner in Hackescher Markt with Kids – BBQ Kitchen
Our dinner at the BBQ Kitchen in Hackescher Mark was really successful save for the lack of tap water but that seems to be a German issue than restaurant based. You can read my tripadvisor review below.
Adina Apartment Hotel in Hackescher Markt to Berlin Schönefeld
This couldn’t have been easier as the line that Hackescher Markt is on goes straight to Berlin Schönefeld
I can highly recommend 48 hours in Berlin with Kids – why not take another look at our video if you’re not convinced.