Have you booked your weekend in Berlin and still not know what are the main attractions to visit in the German capital? Which museums to visit, which landmarks to see and where to eat?
To better organise your travel itinerary, do not miss this guide on things to see in Berlin.
Berlin is a young and vibrant city, a point of reference for artists of all kinds, where there is an avant-garde atmosphere. But this does not diminish the historical aspect. Indeed, the metropolis on the river Spree is a true testimony of modern history, first at the centre of the Nazi regime and the Second World War, then of the Cold War up to the fall of the Berlin Wall.
One could therefore describe the German city as a reality in constant evolution and transformation between current events and the past, as can be deduced from its landmarks and its architecture.
What to see in Berlin:
What is the first image that comes to mind when you think of Berlin? The Brandenburg Gate is known throughout the world as a symbol of the city and from its history we can understand why! Inaugurated in 1791 as a gateway to the city, it became the symbol of the division between East and West Berlin until the collapse of the wall, when it became the emblem of the united New Berlin.
Beyond its link with the history of the city, today, the Brandenburg Gate is the first obligatory destination for tourists, it is also a meeting place for citizens and a place for great celebrations.
A few minutes from the famous Gate, there is another fundamental symbol of the city: the Reichstag, this is the residence of the current and previous parliaments, and at the time of the German Empire, of the actual Reich.
Even if you are not interested in the political history of Germany, it doesn't matter! It would be a shame to miss the huge glass dome that dominates the building: 23 metres high and 40 wide, it offers an extraordinary view of the Brandenburg Gate and of the TV Tower up to the river Spree!
Of course, waiting times can be a bit long, but when dealing with the most visited parliament in the world, there must be a good reason!
Speaking of wonderful views, let's review another one immediately: the view from the Berlin Television Tower.
Built in 1969, not only to provide the city with a television system, but above all to impress the still divided West Berlin. The Tower reaches a total height of 368 metres, ranking 4th among the tallest buildings in Europe. In short, it was essential that the landmark be seen beyond the wall, to highlight the technological development of the German Democratic Republic!
But that's not all. In addition to allowing a view that can reach 40 kilometres on a sunny day, the circular internal path that overlooks the large windows, allows a 360° view of the whole of Berlin.
And on the top floor, there is an even more extraordinary place: the revolving restaurant!
Among the things to absolutely see in Berlin, how could one not mention the well-known wall? The construction of the Berlin Wall started in 1961 and continued until its fall on the 9th of November 1989: until that day, the wall crossed the city, dividing it into east and west.
The traces of this long masonry snake are still visible today due to sections that are still intact and via a double line of pebbles that indicate the route.
Starting from the East Side Gallery, the most extensive testimony still standing: 1.3 kilometres of reinforced concrete entirely decorated with murals, drawings and graffiti to celebrate its collapse and crowning of freedom!
Another point of interest along the traces of the wall is Checkpoint Charlie, the checkpoint on the border of the enemy zone complete with a wooden guardhouse and the famous sign, which read: "You are leaving the American sector".
Centre of urban renewal of the nineties, Potsdamer Platz represents New Berlin and the beating heart of the city, with shops, offices and green areas. This is where the Berlin International Film Festival takes place in the Berlinale Palace. This is where the ultra-modern Sony Center in glass and steel and the vantage point at the top of the Kollhoff Tower rise.
Museums in Berlin
After all this walking, it's time to shelter from the weather and wind down for a while inside a museum. And the museums in Berlin are certainly not lacking!
You'll be spoiled for choice when you reach the so-called Museum Island, the tongue of land surrounded by the waters of the river Spree.
Within this extraordinary monumental and artistic complex, the most visited museum is the Pergamonmuseum, the Pergamon Museum, with its unique collection focused on oriental and ancient art. What's inside the Pergamon Museum? The Market Gate of Miletus, Assyrian and Babylonian works, Greek and Roman coins and testimonies of Islamic and Asian art.
A stone's throw from the Pergamon Museum, you can see an imposing building with a neoclassical flavour: the Altes Museum, or the Old Museum. Inside, there are sculptures, jewels and weapons dating from Greek times up to Roman times.
Another must-see stop in Berlin: the monument to the memory of the Holocaust victims. With its 2711 rectangular concrete blocks, this monumental work is the reference point for all the German memorial sites.
The vastness of the site and the monotony of colour aim to recreate the labyrinthine disorientation of those who suffered the Nazi atrocity and to commemorate the victims of the genocide.
A dramatic but fascinating visit that gives everyone the urge to reflect.
Moving on to something lighter and more recreational: a dip in the recent past of East Germany and the former German Democratic Republic. Even if the historical frame is always preponderant, the museum's interactivity encourages you to lighten the mood of your visit and enjoy a little entertainment. In fact, the motto of this permanent exhibition is: "A hands-on experience of history". Prefabricated with wardrobes, boxes and doors, and in addition, an original kitchen, the well-known Trabant car; all the pieces can be touched and used.
Finally, it's time to refresh yourself and enjoy some typical dishes. This begs the question: where to eat in Berlin?
Here are some ideas.
The food that is symbolic of Berlin is certainly the currywurst, the grilled and sliced sausage, with tomato sauce, curry and fries: a delicious street food made in Germany! Try it at Curry 36 if you don't have much time and don't want to sit down, or at Currymitte Berlin in the Mitte district.
If it is true that in Berlin many traditions and populations of different origins live in harmony, this also applies to the cuisine. So, why not try a döner kebab, the Turkish meat or vegetarian dish? As for fast food kiosks, you will be spoiled for choice, so I recommend: Mustafa's, Imren Grill or Hakiki.
Last but not least, is the famous slice of pork, breaded and fried: the schnitzel! Try it with a side of potatoes or sauerkraut. Where? You'll find it in the menu of any restaurant: you just have to try them all!