Sights & Attractions – Your All-Inclusive Insider Guide to Berlin, Germany

An Overview to Berlin

Berlin, the capital of Germany, is one of the most visited cities in Europe. This city is so unique because of the deep history. The fall of the Berlin wall was in 1989, this means that many parts of Berlin have been restored very recently unlike other parts of Europe. There are also many canals you can travel through in Berlin, so feel free to take a boat tour if the weather is nice. Although, the weather will most likely be cold since it is North and close to many parts of Eastern Europe. In addition, Berlin is very hip, there are many vegans and young people who have seemingly taken over the culture there.

Sights & Attractions of Berlin, Germany

Brandenburg Gate

The Brandenburg Gate is one of the most notable attractions in Berlin. It was built on the site of a gate to the city and now stands as a symbol of freedom. The Brandenburg Gate is also the site of many protests and political events because of its symbolism. Make sure you keep this in mind when you decide to visit the Brandenburg Gate.

Reichstag Building

The Reichstag is probably the most historically significant building in Berlin. It used to be home to meetings for the leaders of the German Empire. Now, after restoration soon after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Reichstag serves at the German Parliament Building. It has an extremely unique glass dome which you can visit for a 360-degree view of Berlin. Although, tickets are in high demand so make sure you book in advance. The tickets are free but it is strongly recommended that you register online here. More information about the Reichstag Building is available here.

Berlin Wall & East Side Gallery Memorial

The Berlin Wall is one of the most well-known attractions in Germany. The first wall was erected by East Berlin in 1961 to separate themselves from the liberal, West Berlin. There was a huge no man’s land between the walls where guards watched over on towers to shoot anyone who tries to cross. In Berlin, there are two parts of the Berlin Wall that still stand and I highly recommend visiting. The first is the Berlin Wall Memorial, where there is an outdoor exhibition for the history behind the wall and also a museum you could visit. Second, there is another section called the East Side Gallery. This part is more famous and there are many more tourists because of the beautiful murals. Painted in 1990, this over 4,000-foot section of wall was completed by over 100 artists. Unlike the Lennon Wall in Prague, there have been no new pieces added since first painted in 1990.

Museum Island

On the island where the city of Berlin was born, Spree Island is now home to 5 museums and the Berlin Cathedral. There is the Pergamon Museum, Bode Museum, New Museum, Old National Gallery, and Old Museum. All of the museums can be visited for one ticket for one day for 18 euros. The New Museum and the Pergamon can be visited with a single ticket for one day for 12 euros while the other three may be visited for 10 euros. If you have other plans for later in the day and aren’t super interested in the museums, I recommend the Pergamon and New Museum ticket. The Pergamon has one of the most unique collections I’ve ever seen including beautiful Egyptian, Islamic, and Middle Eastern art. One of the coolest pieces is one of the eight gates into the ancient city of Babylon, the Ishtar Gate. The New Museum also has many Egyptian pieces. Since I had never been to museums that displayed so much Egyptian and Middle Eastern art, I chose to visit these museums. The Bode Museum has a large collection of sculptures and old Byzantine artifacts. The Altes Museum contains pieces from ancient Greece and the Roman Empire. Finally, the National Gallery has many sculptures and paintings by renowned German artists.

Berlin Cathedral

The Berlin Cathedral is also on Museum Island and is an amazing place to visit. The cathedral was restored in 1993, so it still has the beauty of when it was constructed in 1905. Tickets cost 7 euros which include a visit to the walkway around the dome, giving you a panoramic view of Berlin. The ticket also includes a visit to the crypt, where many members of the German royal family are buried.

Alexanderplatz & Berlin Television Tower

I believe that the Berlin Television Tower has the best view of Berlin. It is in the middle of Alexanderplatz, a wonderful area to hang out in if it is nice out. Tickets to visit the Berlin Television Tower are 16.50 euros and 9.50 euros for children (4 – 14 years old). Make sure to buy tickets online before your visit so you can book your time slot. One of the best ways to visit the Berlin TV Tower is to eat up there. They have a large breakfast buffet from 9 – 11:30 am every first Sunday of the month. I had dinner up here one night, the reservations cost 22.50 euros just by themselves, but the food is reasonably priced because of that reservation fee. It was one of the best and obviously most unique meals I had in Berlin.

Memorial to Murdered Jews of Europe

Also known as the Holocaust Memorial, the Memorial to Murdered Jews of Europe is a must see site in Berlin. Construction on the memorial finished in the Winter of 2004. There is also an exhibition on the East of the Memorial. I highly recommend the free exhibition but be prepared for around a 30-minute line outside. There are many different interpretations of the memorial. I believe the most interesting one highlights the contrast between the tall gray stones and the blue sky. You walk through and can still see over the stones, over to the other side. Then as you continue, you lose sight of the end and begin to see less and less of the hopeful blue sky. It’s supposed to put some perspective on those victims of the Holocaust.

Topography of Terror

If you’re interested in anything related to World War II and the Holocaust, then the Topography of Terror will be the best museum you’ve ever visited. I believe that being educated on the Holocaust is essential, so I highly recommend the museum. The Topography of Terror is housed on the foundation of the former Gestapo Headquarters and construction for the museum was finished in 2010. Admission to the Topography of Terror is free, take advantage of this opportunity. There are also many free exhibitions outside of the museum highlighting some of the architectural elements that were found when they excavated the former Gestapo Headquarters. The museum itself tells many different stories of the Holocaust, with permanent exhibitions about the timeline of the Holocaust, the actions of the Gestapo, and history of the site of the Topography of Terror.

Checkpoint Charlie

Checkpoint Charlie is a large tourist site, especially for Americans. There are many touristy shops around and you can even take pictures with Cold War-era “American Soldiers”. Checkpoint Charlie used to be the crossing point from Soviet-controlled East Germany to the Allied

3 Day Itinerary for Berlin

Day 1 in Berlin: Victory Column, Bellevue Palace, Reichstag Building, & Brandenburg Gate

I always like day 1 to be a day of exploring the city and looking at some of the most famous sites. This route will take you through the beauty and rich history of Berlin. Make sure you eat a larger breakfast at your hotel/Airbnb before today. I also recommend bringing lunch to eat, if possible. First, take the bus over to admire the beautiful Victory Column. You can take a trip up to the observatory if it’s not too busy. Afterward, walk north towards the Spree River. Right before the bridge, you will find the Bellevue Palace. For us Americans, this is basically the white house for the German President, which makes it cool to see. Afterward, walk through the beautiful large park named Grober Tiergarten. On the other side of this park are multiple German Parliament buildings including the Reichstag Building. You can eat your lunch in front of the Reichstag before the entry time for your tickets. Once finished, you can visit the infamous Brandenburg Gate. Make sure to explore the surrounding areas, grab a drink, and find a restaurant for dinner.

Day 2 in Berlin: Memorial to Murdered Jews, Topography of Terror, (Checkpoint Charlie), & Berlin TV Tower

When I was in Berlin, I liked doing everything that related to the Holocaust in the same day. I chose to pair the Memorial to Murdered Jews and Topography of Terror together. The first stop will be the Memorial to Murdered Jews and the exhibition they offer in the morning. From here, you can walk to the Topography of Terror. Depending on how much time you spent at the Memorial to Murdered Jews, you may want to grab lunch in between these spots. Once finished with the Topography of Terror, you can walk to Checkpoint Charlie if you would like to check it out. Before wrapping up your day, go to the Berlin TV Tower to catch a sunset or dinner there if you would like. If you’re not getting dinner there, there’s plenty of good options in the area surrounding Alexanderplatz.

Day 3 in Berlin: Berlin Wall Memorial, Museum Island, Berlin Cathedral, East Side Gallery

Both the Berlin Wall Memorial and East Side Gallery aren’t very close to other sights, so you will be taking the train a lot this day. The first stop in the morning is to visit the Berlin Wall Memorial. You could most likely walk here depending on where you are staying, but it is easier to take the U8 towards Wittenau and get off at Bernauer Strabe (Berlin Wall Memorial Stop). Walk around and read all of the outside exhibitions, then visit the museum across the street if you would like. Take the train back to central Berlin to museum island. Visit the Pergamon Museum and New Museum if you want, then go to the Berlin Cathedral next door. Explore the cathedral then traverse up the steps to the 360-degree view. Get lunch after visiting the Berlin Cathedral. Before sunset, make sure to take the trip out to the East Side Gallery. To visit, you will have to take the 300 bus South along the river to Tamara-Danz then walk a couple of minutes to the East Side Gallery. You can get dinner in this area or return the area around your rental for dinner.

Where to Eat in Berlin

For Quick Food: Curry 61

When you go to Berlin, you will find out that one of the greatest things ever invented is currywurst. It is a steamed then fried pork sausage, which is then covered with curry ketchup and this amazing curry seasoning. It is usually served with fries which are also topped with the curry seasoning. After getting off my train from the airport, this was my first meal and it was the best decision I made during my stay in Berlin.

Madami 2 – Mom’s Vietnamese Kitchen

Berlin has a large amount of Asian restaurants which are all extremely good. I went to Madami 2 in Mitte and was very impressed with their food/service. Although, it was very busy on a weekend night in the offseason, so make sure you make reservations in advance.

For a Special Experience: Berlin TV Tower

When I wanted to get tickets to the Berlin TV Tower, it was unfortunately sold out, but I was able to make reservations at the restaurant. The food is fairly priced because of the reservation fee but it will feel very high end. I recommend doing brunch/breakfast here if possible instead of dinner if you’re on a budget.

Where to Stay in Berlin

Above is a detailed map of the districts of Berlin. The central area you should stay in is Mitte. There are many different types of lodging in Berlin, but I found hotels to be the best for my budget. The hotel I booked was Hotel Hackescher Markt, near a central train station, the Berlin TV Tower and Museum Island. Here is a link to their website to book.

Transportation: How to Get Around Berlin

As you can see above, Berlin has an amazing public transport system. You should take advantage of the metro, bus lines, and tram lines that frequently run through Berlin. Tickets will usually cost 1.90 euro one way if you are not traveling outside of your zone (which you most likely won’t need during your stay). If you plan on using the train often in one day, there are day passes available as well. More information about Berlin transportation found here.

Currency in Berlin

Berlin uses the Euro and will be about slightly higher than average for tourist activities and dinner. A meal for two will most likely cost around 40 euros or $44 USD.

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