For a European City Break steeped in rich history, cool culture, and chic style, I think of Madrid and Berlin. Both of these fabulous cities have their own unique character and an energy that invigorates you from the moment you arrive. From some of Europe’s best museums and galleries to thriving food scenes, and fantastic nightlife, a city break to either of these two cities will not disappoint. So, how do they differ when it comes to comparing the two?
Scenery / Activities
Both Berlin and Madrid have a distinct architectural design that matches the personality of each place. Madrid is a city of historic Gothic structures, pale hues, and beautiful buildings such as the city’s iconic Metrópolis Building.
Meanwhile Berlin is an ode to its history. Here you can walk through the ruins of the Berlin Wall and sip craft bears in stark eyeshot of Checkpoint Charlie. Though the city is also one of renewal, boasting impressive modern buildings in a Brutalist style.
Walk through Brandenburg Gate at the head of Pariser Platz, after a visit to the Reichestagg Building. See the city from above with unrivalled panoramic views atop the TV Tower.
Make the most of Madrid’s gorgeous weather, as you sip coffee al fresco in the Plaza Mayor. Here the streets come to life with locals and tourists alike in one of the city’s prettiest open spaces. For a break from the bustle, walk to Buen Retiro Park known as the green lungs of Madrid, and kick back in the sun. Madrid and Berlin
Connect with your spirituality at the beautiful Berlin Cathedral perched on Museum Island, where jaw-dropping architecture will take your breath away. Meanwhile, explore richly decorated interiors at the Basilica de San Francisco El Grande in Madrid.
Both Berlin and Madrid are havens for art enthusiasts. In Madrid, visit the Museo del Prado where you’ll find exquisite renaissance pieces. For something lesser-known, head to the Caixa Forum, a special space for creatives with monthly changing exhibitions.
Museum Island, as the name suggests, is home to some of the best museums in the world. For a chance to appreciate something niche, BQ Berlin’s exhibitions focus on new and emerging talent.
Both cities have so much to see and do. Even just a walking tour in each place is enough to steal your heart. Berlin wins this round with 9/10 for its unique character and so much to see, while Madrid comes close behind with 8.5/10 for its beautiful streets and spaces. Berlin and Madrid
Food and Restaurants
Both Madrid and Berlin have rapidly expanding food scenes, branching out to a growing patchwork of global cuisines, distinct flavours, and innovative cooking styles. With everything from excellent hole-in-the-wall eateries to fine dining restaurants, neither city leaves you short on choice. Madrid and Berlin
Roostiq is the sleek and trendy hotspot serving up sumptuous cuts of meat and fish, alongside some of the city’s best pizzas. For a taste of Madrid’s finest produce, head to Mercado de San Miguel where you can nibble your way through hundreds of stalls selling cheese, charcuteries, and champagne!
Berlin’s food scene is expanding from the local favourites, with new cooking styles and fresh produce at the forefront. Cookies Cream is Berlin’s Michelin-Starred vegetarian restaurant, focusing on seasonal and regional ingredients in an elegant setting. Enjoy an amazing meal of Japanese-Peruvian dishes at 893 Ryotei, with dishes such as veal heart skewers and grilled octopus on the menu. Madrid and Berlin
Madrid wins this round for me with 9/10, for diverse flavours and tasty tapas. Berlin comes close behind with 8.5/10 for its fresh culinary innovations.
Both cities offer incredible and eclectic nightlife scenes, but whilst nightlife is embedded in the culture and lifestyle of Berlin, in Madrid it is more of a digestif. Though don’t be fooled, Madrid residents are known for staying up until the small hours, with plenty of options to suit every kind of party goer. Madrid and Berlin
For something more relaxed, sip your way through a fabulous list of signature drinks in the cool cocktail bar, Salmón Gurú. For a bit of both head to El Sol and enjoy live jazz in the early evening and DJs and dancing from 1 am.
Whilst Madrid has plenty on offer, Berlin’s nightlife is world-renowned. It is one of the main reasons many people visit the city, and where the culture and people of Berlin really come to life. With over 4,000 bars and clubs, there are so many spots to spend the night. Hoe-Mies is a community space and club, where women, non-binary, and transgender artists take centre-stage. Tresor is a trendy spot for underground techno, located in an abandoned powerplant. Try your luck at Berghain, Berlin’s most iconic and exclusive club, where cueing for hours might not necessarily guarantee entry. Madrid and Berlin
Berlin wins this round with 10/10, for a world-famous night-time scene that beats through the heart of every local and visitor. Madrid comes behind at 9/10, for fantastic late-night options that are a little more laid back.
Accommodation Madrid and Berlin
Madrid and Berlin both have a wide variety of accommodation options to suit every kind of budget, style, and taste.
Madrid’s hotels, often situated in historic buildings showcase grandeur and elegance. Boasting nostalgia and quaint charm, book a room at the Gran Hotel Inglés, Madrid’s oldest hotel. Soft furnishings, pale tones and understated elegance make for a relaxing stay. For a splash of luxury, stay at the Palacio de los Duques. This centrally located and beautifully designed hotel is perfect for a special occasion.
Hotel Oderberger is an old public bathhouse that has been restyled into a chic boutique hotel. Original elements are preserved alongside elegant, modern rooms, overlooking the Prenzlauer Berg district.
For something special, book your stay at Hotel Adlon Kempinski. Its central location, three high-end restaurants, and opulent rooms make it a perfect choice.
Don’t watch TV in this tower – watch the city!
Berlin wins this round with 9/10 for uber-cool accommodations alongside luxury hotels. Madrid comes behind with 8.5/10 for its stylish and charming lodgings.
So which European City comes out on top? In terms of numbers, Berlin wins with a final score of 9.1/10 and Madrid close behind at 8.8/10. Madrid has better weather, and a slower pace of life, but Berlin is super cool, with so much going on. While Berlin is my top choice this time, Madrid is an undoubtedly wonderful city. Go to both for two different kinds of European City break that are sure to leave you satisfied. Madrid and Berlin