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Berlin instead of Milan

By Saturday, January 12, 2013 , , ,

My husband and I were talking about going to Milan for our anniversary, but we've decided to go to Berlin instead.

A lot of the decision came down to not being able to find a good hotel. There are a lot of hotels at a good price, but none of them got consistently good reviews, nearly everyone got a "whatever you do, DO NOT stay here!" review on tripadviser.com. We read horror stories about hotels refusing to give patrons blankets, telling them their reservations were cancelled and either the visitors would have to stay in awful hotels at exorbitant last minute prices or sleep on the streets.

Nicer, 4 star hotels would advertise a low rate, but when we went to book the advertised price would only be valid for Sunday and Monday nights, and much, much more for Friday and Saturday nights.

Ryan Air flies only between Milan and Hamburg Tuesdays and Thursdays, so we were trying to go for 5 days, so we either had to be prepared to shell out a lot of money to stay somewhere nice or take a 4 night risk. I work part time and can be flexible with my hours so I felt like I could take 1.5 days off a week for two weeks more easily than three days in one week. We were really just looking for someone to sleep at night, but everything from not getting a good night's sleep, feeling ripped off to not feeling safe can really ruin a vacation.

We decided it just wasn't worth the risk. Maybe later we'll try to go during the week to avoid the high weekend prices.

But! We've decided to go the Berlin instead. I went once for work (very hectic and stressful) and didn't really get to see the sights, and my husband has never been.

Here's the plan:

  • Bus from Hamburg to Berlin: €36 or $48 round trip for the both of us. The normal ticket is about €30 each way, but we were able to get the "Action" price of €9 a way.
  • Hotel - Grand City Hotel Berlin Mitte- Interestlingly, this hotel is in the same building as Best Western Grand City Hotel Berlin Mitte, and the two hotels are owned by the same company but are different. Although both 4 stars, ours was cheaper, at €133.70 or $174.89 for three nights. - Less than $60 a night in a capital city!
  • Pass - We're planning on getting the Berlin WelcomeCard Museuminsel Card, which includes trains, buses and trams, as well as admission to the museums on Museum Island (these are great history museums, think the Gate of Ishtar and that famous bust of Nefertiti!), good for 72 hours- €36 or $48 each.
Total: €242 or $322.83, for two people for three days. -including admission to some museums!

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