1. Brandenburg Gate, 2. Berliner Dom, 3. East Side Gallery
Berlin is a huge city with a vast, tumultuous history. If you are interested in immersing yourself in World War 2 and the Cold War facts, then Berlin is the place to visit.
Personally, Berlin was probably the least beautiful European city I have visited, but what it lacks in beauty it sure makes up for in culture and education.
Apart from the historical aspect of Berlin, the city’s social life is in a whole league of it’s own. If you like to drink party hard into the wee hours of the morning, you need not look any further than here. You can always find something to do in Berlin!
4. Memorial to the Murdered Jews, 5. Secret hang outs along Rosenthaler Straße, 6. Potsdamer Platz, 7. Checkpoint Charlie,
What to do-
- Amplemann traffic lights- I could write a whole paragraph on the traffic lights in Berlin and how much I loved them, but I’ll keep it short. I personally think that the Amplemann traffic lights could be in the running for the best tourist attraction, possibly, ever even if they did derive from a dark moment in history. Whilst you’re in Berlin, make sure you go to where the East side once was in order to see them in all their glory!
- East Side Gallery- This is the largest part of what is left of the Berlin Wall. It is an international memorial for freedom after the fall of communism in Germany. It is located near the centre of Berlin on Mühlenstraße in Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg. Artists have been permitted to paint political statements along the wall.
- Brandenburg Gate- During the Cold War this was the divide between the East and West. It is now the symbol of freedom in the city.
- Berliner Dom- This is a beautiful cathedral located in Museum Island. Definitely worth a wander here to grab a picture.
- Museum Island- This is where most of the museums in Berlin are situated. There are quite a few to choose from, so do your research before you come!
- Reichstag- This is the German Parliament. If you wish to visit and go up the dome, you must register two days in advance. Check out the link here.
- Memorial to the Murdered Jews- As you are walking through the city of Berlin, make sure you make your way here. It was designed by architect Peter Eisenman and engineer Buro Happold.
- Jewish Museum- I thought this was going to be just another Holocaust museum, but it was a museum all about Jewish people; their history, culture, struggles and achievements. It cost 8€ for an adult, or 3€ if you have a student card.
- Topography of Terror- This was about the Third Reich, Gestapo and SS during Nazi Reign. The museum was very educational, and best of all it was free.
- Tränenpalast (Palace of Tears)- The Tränenpalast is the Berlin colloquialism for the former border crossing at Berlin Friedrichstraße station. This was where East Germans said goodbye to visitors going back to West Germany. The museum informs you of life during the Cold War in Germany. It was also free.
- Checkpoint Charlie- This was the crossing point between East and West Berlin during the Cold War. It has turned into a tourist attraction, but if you’re in Berlin you may as well walk past it and see!
- 6 Hour Walking Tour- We went on a 6 hour walking tour with Brewers Berlin Tours. I suggest doing this on your first full day in Berlin, as by the time we did it, we had already seen almost all the stops on the tour. However, it was very informative nonetheless and I definitely recommend it if the history of Berlin interests you (which I assume it does if you are visiting the city). You meet at 10:30am, just outside Friedrichstraße station, on the corner of Friedrichstraße and Georgenstraße.
- Friedrichshain- This was a super cool district in Berlin filled with lots of cafes and bars.
- Rosenthaler Straße, Mitte- There are a few cool secret hangout spots along this street for a chill beer or two.
- Day trip to Potsdam or Dresden- While there is a lot to do in Berlin itself, if you have a lot of time in Berlin it’s nice to be able to visit another city for the day. Potsdam or Dresden are the two most popular options. We visited Potsdam.
8. Trees along the Memorial, 9. Reichstag, 10. Rosenthaler Straße
- Maps.me- Germany does not really have any free wifi around the city. If you are lucky a restaurant or cafe might have some, but it is rare. If you don’t want to spend lots of money buying a sim card with credit, download maps.me onto your phone. Download the city while at your hostel, then you can use it around the town without the need for wifi!
- Cash- Most places in Berlin seemed to only take cash, not card! There are plenty ATM’s around the town to ensure you always have some cash on you.
- Trains- The metro system is really good in Berlin. I caught a bus and train from the airport to Mitte where my hostel was for 2,40€, so don’t waste money on taxis!
- Student card- If you are a student, make sure you bring your student card with you as you can often get discounts for the museums.
- Walk- I find walking is the best way to view a city, so just walk through the streets! There are a lot of courtyards in Mitte, you just have to wander around and find them.
11. Tränenpalast, 12. Pink trees, 13. Wandering around Berlin, 14. Baked goodies, 15. Jewish Museum, 16. Rosenthaler Straße
I stayed at the Generator Hostel Mitte. It was an excellent location right in the centre of town surrounded by restaurants. It was ten minutes from the main train station, and walkable distance to everything I wanted to see in Berlin. The beds were comfy, and the shower was good.
The only downside to this hostel was that it was huge, and it was a party hostel. I only spoke to one person in my room as everyone slept in the afternoon, and went out to party at night. You could go down to the bar/foyer but I was recovering from jet lag and didn’t have the energy.
But, if you’re more worried about location then an uninterrupted sleep, this place was great.
17. Museum, 18. Konzerthaus, 19. Wandering Berlin, 20. Bode Museum, 21. East Side Gallery, 22. Potsdam, 23. TV Tower, 24. Unprotected part of the Wall,
When you visit Germany there are a few things you cannot leave without eating:
- Wiener Schnitzel
- Currywurst mit Pommes (with fries)
25. Streets of Berlin, 26. East Side Gallery, 27. Berlin Victory Monument, 28. East Side Gallery, 29. Brandenburg Gate at night
Day Trip to Potsdam
We went for a day trip to Potsdam. It had a nice little town to walk around, and then you can walk up through a few extravagant palaces. I wouldn’t say it was a must-do, but if you have the time, it was nice.