Hello! This week I did my first solo trip ever, 3 days 2 nights in Berlin, Germany. Safety and loneliness were definitely concerns when I decided to book this, but I found neither of these to be an issue and it was actually one of the most freeing and liberating things I’ve ever done.
For those curious, when I originally told my mom I was thinking of traveling alone she was definitely skeptical at first. I don’t know if she realized, but if she had really freaked out or tried to stop me, I wouldn’t have gone. I did quite a bit of research and found that Europe is actually quite safe for travelers. Most of the information I read said to follow a lot of the same precautions I would in the US: don’t go anywhere alone at night, don’t walk with headphones, be aware of your surroundings, and let people know where you’re going. After giving my pitch, she was actually quite encouraging of the whole thing. I definitely got my fair share of lectures to use common sense, be aware, and keep her updated. But she said she understood why I wanted to do it and since I was paying, she said she “couldn’t stop me” (I honestly didn’t have that attitude but I was glad she felt that way). And I promised her I was staying in an all girl dorm in the hostel, I wouldn’t walk by myself after dark, and every night I made sure to text her that I made it safety in bed.
Accommodations: St. Christopher’s Inns Berlin Mitte
I stayed in the St. Christopher Hostel in Berlin and absolutely LOVED it. I’m actually going to try to stay in hostels as often as I can based on this experience. My stay was about $40 a night, and the hostel had a bar and restaurant below that had drink specials and 25% off everything for hotel guests. The food was seriously delicious, three of the meals pictured below are from there and I didn’t have a complaint about one of them. I chose to stay in an all female dorm because I was worried about being by myself (sorry dudes), but honestly after my experience, I think staying in a mixed dorm would be fine too. Because of the bar/restaurant it was super easy to meet people as I hung out there a lot and made friends.
Pretty much everyone staying here is also young, on a budget, and looking for adventure so immediately we all have a bit in common. The bed itself was quite nice and there was an area for me to lock my belongings, I would DEFINITELY recommend bringing ear plugs as it was quite noisy with people coming in/out or below in the bar. On my last night here, I had a little liquid courage and walked up to three girls and in true “grade school trying to make friends” fashion, I asked if I could join them. They turned out to be some of the friendliest gals out there and I went out with them on my last night. It’s experiences like that that I don’t think you would get in a hotel/air bnb.
Things to D0
Berlin is packed with history, I didn’t really know what to expect but most of the city and attractions revolve around WWII. It was quite interesting and the architecture was beautiful. I was by myself and walked pretty much everywhere–about 20 miles in two days: partly because I’m cheap, partly for the exercise, and partly because its a better view of the city. The tram and trains were easy enough to figure out though if you prefer to do it that way. I was worried when I was by myself I would feel lonely but it was actually quite fun. I was able to go totally at my own pace, pop into shops and restaurants as I pleased, and do everything I wanted to do. In two and a half days I felt like I saw everything I wanted to so if you have a few days, Berlin would be a great city to cram a lot in. I didn’t go inside a lot of the museums/buildings but there was a lot of reading and sites on the streets and I felt that was enough for me. These are the things I did do, and I am listing them in order from my hostel if you are interested in walking a similar route:
Berlin TV Tower-16 euros to go inside, 13 euros with a student ID, would definitely recommend
East Side Gallery
Memorial of the Murdered Jews
Markthalle Neun– Street Food on Thursdays, Best Empanada of my life
Jewish Museum Berlin-I went inside of this one, 3 euros with a student ID. Amazing art, artifacts, and storytelling of the Jewish culture and Holocaust. I would definitely recommend this one.
And while you’re in Berlin, try some of the chocolate!
My first night I stayed in the bar/restaurant here and just hung out with other people doing the same. I was EXTREMELY hesitant to go out and there was a 0% chance I was going by myself but it was actually quite nice conversing with some of the other travelers and getting their recommendations. The last night, my four British friends invited me out and boy was it an ~experience~. 212 most certainly did not prepare me for this, back in little St. Charles the bars close at 1am. Here they call 1am “early” and people literally go until 6am, the stamina of these people is incredible. We started at a bar, and it was so bizarre . When we walked in, there were DJs playing “music” but it sounded more like when your radio is staticky, and people were standing by themselves just swaying. After about 15 minutes we decided that was not our scene, so we Ubered to a bar across town and it was WILD. I swear people in Europe just don’t care–the outfits are crazy (in the best way possible), you can take drinks to go, the music doesn’t really have words, I literally watched someone whip out a fan and do choreography, and the clubs are so huge the individual rooms had different DJs so its a different experience everywhere you go!
I love it here! Thanks so much for reading, and if you get the chance to go, happy traveling!:)