Berlin, Germany Travel Guide: Top Things to Do and See in Berlin
Anyone who is keen to explore would be mesmerized by Berlin. The capital of Germany and the country’s largest city that dates back to the 13th century. Divided during the Cold war, the city is full of reminders of its turbulent 20th-century history. However, this is not all - Berlin has cultural flair and is home to many of the galleries, museums, and monuments.
WHAT TO VISIT
- Brandenburg Gate: It is the most iconic landmark in Berlin. It was meant to be the royal city gate, but after the World War II, it became the part of the Berlin wall dividing East and West Germany. It is also a symbol of the reunification since this is the place where people celebrated the tearing of the Berlin wall.
- The Berlin Wall: Take a walk along what’s left of the 155 kilometers Berlin wall. Along the course of the wall stretches the Berlin Wall Memorial where you can learn how the wall impacted on the daily lives of the people. On the east side of the Berlin wall is the East Side Gallery that consists of more than 100 paintings by artists from all over the world. This is possibly the largest open-air gallery in the world.
- Checkpoint Charlie: Visit the Checkpoint Charlie, the best-known crossing point for foreigners and diplomats between East and West Germany. The Checkpoint Charlie is also the place where US and Soviet tanks briefly faced each other in what was believed to be the start of another war.
- Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe: This Holocaust Memorial commemorates the six million Jewish victims. It is as big as the football field, and it consists of 2711 concrete columns arranged in rows and rising to various heights. Walking among them creates an unsettling atmosphere.
- The Tiergarten: The Tiergarten used to be hunting ground for noblemen, but in the 18th century, it was turned into a park with numerous statues and monuments. It’s one of the world’s largest urban parks.
IF YOU HAVE MORE TIME
- Museum Island: A complex of five museums (Pergamonmuseum, Bodemuseum, Neues Museum, Altes Museum and Alte Nationalgalerie) that have Unesco World Heritage status on the little Spree Island. Treasures from the Middle East, royal treasures, and 19th-century paintings are just some of the highlights. Combination tickets are available.
- Reichstag: Visit the Reichstag, the home of the German Parliament. The roof of the building is made of glass, which allows you a panoramic view of the city. During the visit be sure to plug into the audio tour.
- The Victory Column: The monument with a statue of the goddess Victoria is designed to commemorate the Prussian victory. Climb its 285 steps for a breathtaking view of the city. Today it is, also, a symbol of the gay community.
- TV Tower (Fernsehturm): It is Germany’s highest structure and the fourth tallest in Europe. Enjoy stunning views from the panorama level at more than 200 meters from the ground or from the revolving restaurant.
- Berliner Philharmoniker: If you are a classical music enthusiast, check if your visit to Berlin coincides with the Orchestra playing at home, since they are consistently ranked as one of the best in the world. The concert venue has the supreme acoustics and for comprehensive insight join guided tours.
EAT AND DRINK
- Pretzels: You can easily find them at numerous street food vendors, bakeries, and cafes. There are many varieties, so you can have them plain, with chocolate, cheese, etc. It’s a good snack while you are on-the-go.
- Currywurst: You don’t want to miss trying currywurst regarded as one of the most popular local fast food. It is actually a sausage served with spicy sauce. You can find currywurst stands all over town, and they are so popular that there is even the Currywurst Museum dedicated to it.
- Beer: If you are a beer lover, bear in mind that Germany is, also, a land of beer. Don’t leave without trying some of the most popular beers in a beer garden or exploring micro breweries for exciting brews.
- KaDeWe: KaDeWe (Kaufhaus des Westens) is a unique shopping paradise with over 100 shops. The sixth floor is worth a visit since you can find delicacies from all over the world.
- Mall of Berlin: This shopping center is close to Potsdamer Platz. It was opened in 2014 and has more than 270 shops and large brands.
- Hackescher Markt: This is one of the best shopping locations. There is a large area with clothing shops and restaurants, and you can also find a flea market.
- Language: German, although many Berliners speak English.
- Currency: Euro.
- Weather: Bring warm clothes if you are visiting in winter, and a waterproof jacket and umbrella if you are coming in spring or autumn. Don’t be surprised by a sudden rain shower.
- When to visit: In May, June, September and October tourist crowds are a bit smaller.
- One ticket is valid for all public transportation (S-Bahn, U-Bahn, buses, trams, and ferry
- If you are coming by plane, take the S-Bahn or regional train to the city to avoid traffic jams.
- Always have enough cash on hand or ask if they accept credit cards before you order.
- Watch out for pickpockets in tourist areas or when using public transportation.
- Avoid the tourist trap and T-shirt sales at Checkpoint Charlie.
- Make sure to book a visit to the Reichstag and bring some ID.
- There is an area in the Tiergarten, where you can sunbathe in the nude.
- Explore Berlin on foot so you could enjoy the city’s atmosphere and architecture. Use public transportation only if sights you want to see are a bit far away.
- Berlin has more bridges than Venice.
- There are nine castles in this city.
- The German capital has the biggest train station in Europe.
- There are 180 museums in Berlin.
- There are over 180 kilometers of navigable waterways.