How can I explain what Berlin means to me? In the past 18 months, I have been three times. I first visited in April 2014 for Virtuoso's Symposium, returned for the 25th Anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall, and again last summer when I rented an apartment with all of my siblings. Somehow, Berlin helped me find myself when I was so lost, so alone, so confused. I fell hard, not in the romantic, beautiful way of many European capitals (though Berlin is much more beautiful and green than I expected), but for an energy that I have not felt anywhere else - Berlin is always in motion. For me, it almost felt like home right away. Plus, it's relatively cheap compared to other major cities. I can't wait to be back.
Gorlitzer Park, Kreuzberg
Chapter One Coffee
Goldhahn & Sampson
Cafe Anna Blume
Zum Durnbrau - You have to stop at the Hofbrauhaus on a first visit to Munich, but this traditional beer hall and restaurant - just two minutes away - has all of the Bavarian charm without the elbow-to-elbow madness.
Brenner Grill - The classic spot I want to return to every time I'm in Munich. For the BEST minestrone soup, homemade pasta, and cheery ambiance - the space is housed in former stables and feels equally modern and historic.
Viktualienmarkt - Honighaus'l
Eisbach at the Englischer Garten
Seehaus im Englischer Garten
Kreutzkamm - Originally from Dresden, this classic coffee-cake spot has delicious treats. It's warm and nice, but not overly decorated.
Manufactum + Brot & Butter
Christmas Markets - Residenz, Middle Ages, Marienplatz
I have been lucky to spend quite a bit of time in Germany at Christmas. Nuremburg has one of the more famous Christmas markets and it's also just a charming German town.
Here are some tips:
Nuremburg (and Germany) is famous for Lebkuchen. I don't love it as it often tastes like cardboard. But if you're going to get it, get it from the supermarket on the main square - Norma-Rodi - all the lebkuchen is made from the same factories here, and you don't want to overpay in the market.
I think its important in Nuremburg to spend time with a guide, to understand the history and WWII sites. Almost all of the city was rebuilt after the bombings in the war. You can see Hitler's colosseum (creepy) and where the famous trails were held.
Here is the guide I used - he is fantastic:
Geschichte Fur Alle e. V.
Institut fur Regionalgeschichte
Cafe Lucas - great salads in Nuremburg
Barfusser Beer Cellar - a typical, huge German beer hall.
Bratwursthausle - We shared sausages and pretzels (they are hard, not soft - but good dipped in mustard) here with a random German biker named Klaus. If you don't want to stop here, you can get a "Little Mac" sandwich with sausages to go - you can't get this if you sit down.
There is an awesome outpost of Käthe Wohlfahrt in Nuremburg - the best Christmas shop in Germany, if not all of Europe. I always come back with a few ornaments and more from this shop!! Some guides will have a 10% code. It's touristy but really worth it and everything is really authentic and local.
In Passau, don't miss Cafe Simon in Passau!!!! Apple strudel=delicious. I didn't love the gingerbread though they're known for it.