If you have ever been in Berlin, you know there is plenty to see. For all of you who have no clue what to do in Berlin, I have compiled a list of my favourite highlights you cannot miss.
If I miss any of your favourite highlights, let me know in the comments!
1. Brandenburger Tor
To begin with the absolute tourist highlight of Berlin, you cannot miss the Brandenburger Tor. This gate was constructed in the 18th century and even survived World War II. It is also the entry to the famous street Unter den Linden in the centre of Berlin.
2. What to do in Berlin: Unter den Linden
Secondly, all the way from Brandenburger Tor in the West to Berlin Palace in the East runs a boulevard lined up with lime trees (“linden” trees in German). This boulevard is known as Unter den Linden and connects a few of Berlin’s major highlights. Examples of these highlights are the State Library, Historical Museum, State Opera and the river Spree.
3. Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe
Every time I am in Berlin, the clouds seem to pack together as soon as I get to the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, also known as the Holocaust Memorial. This site of almost 20.000 square metres is packed with 2711 concrete blocks, organised in rows, holding the names of approximately 3 million Jewish Holocaust victims.
Please, when you are here, be respectful. Tip: Climbing on the concrete blocks is and jumping from one to the other is disrespectful.
Good to know: The Holocaust Memorial is located one block away from the Brandenburger Tor in the Mitte neighbourhood.
4. Reichstag building
From the Brandenburger Tor you can see the Holocaust Memorial on the one side, and the Reichstag building on the other. The historic building itself is beautiful, but even cooler is the glass dome that you can visit free of charge. The only requirement is that you book in advance here, because you cannot book on the spot.
The Central Park of Berlin is Tiergarten. It is just in front of the Brandenburger Tor, the Reichstag building and the Holocaust memorial. You can walk through just a small part of it to get from the Reichstag building back to the other highlights, or actually take a leisurely stroll through the park. So, book a bike tour, relax in the grass or take in some of the city’s major sights.
6. Potsdamer Platz
Potsdamer Platz is an important public square in Berlin. During my last stay in Berlin, I stayed at Motel One right next to Potsdamer Platz. This design hotel with rooms from a mere €79 euros per night is perfectly located in the middle of the city centre.
Potsdamer Platz is a great place for shopping, and don’t skip the Sony Centre while you’re at it. Especially at night when the lights turn on, this feels like a magical futuristic world.
7. Checkpoint Charlie
Sometimes you get so mesmerised by the beautiful architecture of Berlin, that you need to get a reminder that horrible things happened here during WW II. Checkpoint Charlie is one of these reminders. Serving as one of the many checkpoints between East and West Berlin, it served as a Soviet method to restrict emigration. Hundreds of people, mostly men, were shot here when they were discovered to illegally emigrate to West Berlin.
8. Museum Island: Berlin Cathedral Church
The name Museum Island pretty much gives away what you can find on this small island in the river Spree… Museums! But, you can also find the Berlin Cathedral Church here. I remember the first time I saw this building, I was totally mesmerised by its beauty. Also the second time around, it is still my favourite building in Berlin.
Just like Potsdamer Platz, Alexanderplatz is a square in Berlin known for its commercial centre. A few of the attractions you can find on Alexanderplatz are the television tower, the world clock and the Red City Hall. This largest public square in Germany was located in East Berlin during the second World War, and is still of big importance to the east side of the city in terms of transportation.
10. What to do in Berlin: Walk along the river Spree
From Alexanderplatz, you can walk to Spree in just 10 minutes. Walking along this river, you will see a lot of buildings from former East-Berlin. Moreover, there are some very cool outside bars and art spaces right next to the river, such as Radialsystem V (click here for the exact location).
11. See the Berlin Wall at East Side Gallery
Last but not least, you cannot leave Berlin without seeing a piece of the Berlin Wall. Even though you can still find smaller pieces all throughout the city, the largest, still-erected part of the wall is at East Side Gallery. Here you can for instance find the famous “The Kiss”.
The Kiss depicts Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev giving the East Germany President Erich Honecker a passionate kiss on the lips. You might think this is a complete joke, but in fact, it is based on a real photograph taken of the two men greeting each other in 1979.
If you enjoyed this blog, you should check out my blog about another major European capital: My Top 10 Tips for Madrid.
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