Things To Do in Berlin
Berlin City Guide
No other city in the world is like Berlin, but that’s because none have had a century as eventful! A city that was the party capital of the world during the 1920s to be razed and cut in two! One half rebounded as an economic juggernaut while the other languished in oppression and a sea of concrete. Thankfully, the two eventually reunited and Berlin was reborn! Now a fun-loving, disarmingly scruffy, cool and socially conscious hotbed of ideas! All photo opportunities in Berlin have the ability to capture the drama over the last 100 years!
Now, whether you’re looking for 10 excuses to visit Berlin or are actually planning a trip there, there are countless things to do and see while you’re here!
1. Brandenburg Gate
A neoclassical monument that has stood through the city’s most important history since the 18th century. The Brandenburg Gate should be at the top of your list of things to do while in Berlin. But did you know, the gate is a symbol of separation between East and West Berlin? A very significant landmark in this city.
2. Appreciate art on Museum Island
Museum Island, located in the middle of the Spree River. was awarded UNESCO World Heritage Site status. This little district and the wider notion of a museum as a venue for public education is a product of Enlightenment and plans were set in motion during the 19th century! The museums were the opportunity to show off the sophistical of the Prussian royal collections and the fruits of its 19th-century victories.
The museums that can be found here are:
- Pergamon museum – One of the most visited museums in Europe! You will find the Ishtar Gate, the Processional Way, the Market Gate of Miletus, and Islamic art there, among other things.
- Bode museum – go there to see impressive sculptures, Byzantine and Antique art
- Neues museum – this one is great if you are interested in Ancient Egyptian art
- Altes museum – for fans of Greek, Etruscan and Roman art
- Alte Nationalgalerie – a National Art Gallery with Neoclassical, Romantic, Impressionist and early Modernist artwork
A landmark that sums up the drama of 20th century Berlin, is the meeting place of the German Parliament, Reichstag, This building dates from 1894 and held the Imperial Diet, until it was damaged in a fire in 1933. The ruins were merely maintained until after the Berlin Wall fell. It was restored to act as an emblem of a unified Germany! The plans included a new glass dome in which you can look down on the debating chamber and take in Berlin’s cityscape, all while hooked up to an audio-guide.
4. Tiergarten City Park
After visiting as many of the iconic landmarks of Berlin, use the Tiergarten as respite. A large belt of thick foliage, coursed by the Landwehr Canal and spreading west from the Brandenburg Gate and Reichstag. Like many European city parks, it was once a hunting ground! Tiergarten is woven with monuments like the Bismarck memorial, and pretty spots like the Luiseninsel and rose garden. It has to be on your list of things to do, after all, you have to rest up somewhere!
5. Memorial to the murdered Jews of Europe
This memorial is not far from the Brandenburg Gate, a solemn and powerful memorial to the holocaust designed by the New York architect Peter Eisenman. Set on what used to be the ‘death strip of Berlin Wall’ are 2.711 concrete blocks, varying heights in a grid pattern on an undulating open space that lends the memorial a wavelike form. The blocks are on 54 north-south rows, and 87 perpendicular east-west rows. The memorial encourages you to interact and reflect, and there’s also an underground gallery: a network of themed rooms offers background on Jewish victims of the holocaust, with biographies, letters and personal effects of some of the victims.
6. Admire the Berliner Dom
This Cathedral Church is one of the main landmarks in Berlin’s cityscape. Pompous, yet majestic, the Italian Renaissance style former royal court church transforms into a museum, house of worship and even a concert hall. With the elaborate decorative and ornamental designs, you can’t miss catching a glimpse of what’s inside. The inside holds a lavish marble and onyx altar, a 7269-pipe Sauer organ and elaborate royal sarcophagi. Climb up the 267 steps to the gallery for glorious city views.
7. Topography of Terror
The Topography of Terror is located on the site where between 1933 and 1945 the principal instruments of Nazi persecution and terror were located: the headquarters of the Gestapo, the high command and security service of the SS, and from 1939 the Reich Security Main Office. The two headquarters of these institutions, bombed in the war and pulled down after. All before being abandoned on the course of the wall that stands here.
8. Fernsehturm – Television Tower
The Ferneshturm, otherwise known as the television tower, resurrected next to Alexanderplatz in the 1960s. It acted as a highly visible symbol of communist power in Berlin! Did you know it’s the highest building in Europe opened to the public? Make sure you plan your trip, as the 40 second ride, 200 metres to the top is something you do not want to miss.
9. East Side Gallery
Formerly the Berlin Wall, now the longest open-air gallery in the world. Take a walk along the East Side Gallery and immerse yourself in the history and art of the Berlin Wall. Holding more than 100 paintings, artists from 21 countries have commented on the political changes in 1989/90. With a wide range of painting styles, you’ll find everything from New York graffiti to classic Japanese paintings.
10. Transport Hub, Alexanderplatz
Alexanderplatz, obliterated during the Second World War and owes its appearance to a GDR project during the 1960s. During 1989, it was the scene of many protests and gatherings against the wall. Since the wall came down, ‘Alex’ is now the largest square in Germany and is an energetic transport hub. Also acting as one of the most dynamic and exciting corners of Berlin.
Obviously, there are more fantastic things to do in Berlin, but we just wanted to showcase our favs! Why not plan a trip there, and visit some other cities while you’re in Europe! Have a look at our packages!