VISITING WEIMAR & BERLIN W/ GERMANY TOURISM
Last month, I enjoyed a few days in Germany. Aside from a very brief trip to Dusseldorf back when I was at university, Germany is not somewhere I really know or have explored at all. So when the German Tourist Board invited me on a trip to Discover Germany, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to get a taster.
Coinciding with my visit was the 100th year celebrating Bauhaus (which I’ll touch upon more below) and the German Travel Summit which discussed Germany’s highlights as a travel destination. It was taking place in Weimar which just so happened to be our resting spot for a few nights. As the Summit took up a substantial amount of time in Weimar, I have to disclose now I can’t give you a thorough guide on what to do in Weimar but in all honesty, it’s a small town so I guarantee that you’d be able to explore and discover for yourself in no time. What I will say about Weimar however is that it is extremely pretty and is well worth a visit should you be having a roam around Germany. For anyone that loves Wes Anderson (as I certainly do) then Weimar should be on your list, if only for a day or two.
WHERE TO STAY IN WEIMAR
As I mentioned, you don’t need long in Weimar but there’s no need to rush your trip so you’ll need a place to rest your head so Hotel Elephant it is.
When we visited it had literally just re-opened after a refurbishment. Some rooms were complete, with an art deco touch to them, but I think there were still a few more to be done. However the real beauty is the lobby lounge as you’ll see below - it’s worth a peek even if you’re not staying.
Ideally located in the heart of Weimar in the main square, Hotel Elephant is the perfect resting spot and it won’t break the budget either.
A LITTLE WEIMAR HISTORY
Weimar is known as the birthplace of Weimar Classicism, a humanistic cultural movement, and was the focal point of the German Enlightenment as well as being home to two of the leading personalities of the literary genre of Weimar Classicism, the writers Goethe and Schiller. During the 19th century, music and architecture movements made Weimar a hub of culture, including Walter Gropius who founded the Bauhaus movement, one of the most significant German design schools. Whilst it is the birthplace of Bauhaus, many of the buildings in Weimar themselves aren’t Bauhaus designed but that doesn’t make the game of ‘is it Bauhaus or not?’ any less fun.
DUCHESS ANNA AMALIA LIBRARY
If you’re visiting Weimar, you’ll want to make sure you see one its main attractions - the Duchess Anna Amalia Library.
Home to a major collection of German literature and historical documents, the library is part of the UNO designated Classical Weimar. Parts of the main wing and the collection were destroyed by a fire in 2004, with restoration taking over 11 years with still some of the collection to be replaced.
You’ll need to book your visit ahead so do so online.
Bauhaus - which translates as ‘house of building’ in German - was born in 1919 when founder Walter Gropius founded The Bauhaus school, the most influential modernist art school of the 20th century. The school brought a number of disciplines together including art, architecture, furniture design and typography and changed the way in which its students were taught - no longer were skills taught by a specific teacher but rather through a collaborative way of working together.
After our stay in Weimar, we made our way to Berlin but first stopping along the way in Thuringia to explore and see some examples of Bauhaus architecture along the way.
It quickly became clear what was and wasn’t Bauhaus as anything that fell into the former category usually ticked the following boxes:
See if you can spot the odd one out below!
20 HOURS IN BERLIN
As you’ll guess from my sub-heading, I didn’t have much time whatsoever in the capital, Berlin, but saying that I did manage to discover quite a bit in a short space of time. Berlin isn’t huge and it’s possible to do everything by foot which I strongly recommend as that’s the best way to see things and stumble across hidden gems. For a more thorough guide, I’ll have to come back and have a few nights in Berlin but should you find yourself in the city and need a few starter tips of things to see, eat & do, here are mine…
Argot - A tiny independent store stocking clothing & homeware, all edited for someone who loves good quality, clean aesthetics and the minimal life.
Hay design - interior design. Practical like Ikea but way prettier.
Do you read me - a magazine meets coffee table bookshop. Small but I guarantee you won’t leave empty handed.
Fête de la boutique - a cute boutique stocking indie brands and all things a girl needs.
RSVP - stationery addicts head here. The most wonderful assortment of paper goods. Quirky envelopes, cards and wrapping paper are just some of the things I parted with my money for.
Aesop - yes there’s an aesop everywhere but this one is just SO pretty, therefore obligatory visit required.
Das Goodhaus - an interior design store with a mix of French and Scandi influence. If you’re into the likes of Rifle Paper Co etc then you’ll love DG.
The Store - attached to Soho House Berlin, it’s a store you’ll wish you had deep deep pockets for.
EAT & Drink
The Barn - a small coffee shop perfect for a pick me up caffeine hug.
Betty ‘n Caty - a beaut of a neighbourhood cafe, popular at weekends so I’m told.
Das Lokal - a farm to table restaurant with beautiful interiors.
Ora - a restaurant within an old pharmacy. Didn’t get to try but well and truly on my list for next time.
My trip to Germany was sponsored by the German Tourist Board but all words and photos are my own.