Planning a short trip to Berlin? Well, after reading my blog about what this capital city has to offer, I am sure you will be bound to extend your vacation.
Berlin is unarguably Europe’s coolest and the most happening city. There’s never-ending nightlife, international culinary variety, unparalleled fashion, cutting-edge art, all that you wish to see in one city, but hardly ever do. This historic city (now with a refurbished soul) is a haven for the creatives and hippies of Europe.
Its independent galleries are mecca for the budding artists; and the nightclubs are such that every DJ wants to show his talent here. And god bless it’s huge size and magnanimous diversity, it has something to offer to every visitor!
So let’s track down all the interesting things to do in Berlin.
Every city has a purpose of visit. Like if you are a history and architecture fan, you’d probably make Rome your first choice; or for Northern Lights, you’d want to head on to Norway or Sweden; or make Italy your next spot if you wanna check out Leonardo and his folks.
Similarly, Berlin is a mecca for growing artists and party animals alike. So there are really not many touristy attractions around, although there are a few iconic structures to see. The fact that it was divided earlier and only recently reunited does give the historians something to talk about.
The Museum Island is a must-see for art-lovers
This one is a cluster of five museums on a tiny island in the River Spree. These are Alte Nationalgalerie (Old National Gallery), the Altes Museum (the Old Museum), the Neue Museum (New Museum), the Bode Museum and the most popular Pergamonmuseum.
Pergamonmuseum is fraught with Greek, Roman, Islamic and East Asian art. Eminent pieces of architecture like the Ishtar Gate and the Pergamon Altar are centered here. Many art buffs compare it to the Egypt’s Cairo Museum. So that’s something!
Visiting this area makes you feel like you have traveled back in time; so much of old architecture and columns!
Denkmal für die ermordeten Juden Europas, or simply put, Germany’s Holocaust Memorial is a grid of 2711 cement blocks. This monument was constructed in memoir of the Jewish victims of the Third Reich.
The place has an underground visitors’ center for the more intrigued souls. You can visit the place anytime of the day, but the visitors’ center is open only for a few hours on specific days.
The Brandenburg Gate of Berlin is a simulation of the Acropolis’s entrance in Athens. It’s located in Pariser Platz and is the most photographed sites of Berlin. A lot of history is hidden here too. So walk up to the Tourist Information Center to know about the vast history of Napoleonic invasions and Nazi parades here.
The German Parliament Bundestag is a labyrinth of unique architecture located in the Building of Reichstag. This monument is open to public and you can easily visit the latest addition of a Glass Dome (designed by Norman Foster).
You will have to enter your personal information to register online and go through a great deal of security to enter. It’s the Parliament after all.
This building is obviously crowded. The visiting timings are 8am until midnight, although they stop taking in visitors around 10pm.
Berlin’s East Side Gallery is the longest intact portion of the Berlin Wall. It is located near the U-bahn stations and is surrounded by a barren wasteland. Also, it is the largest open-air gallery in the world, and opened in 1990.
Many rate it as an over-exaggerated place. So the choice is yours.
This museum is located at the Gestapo and SS Police’s earlier Headquarters during the World War II. It has a recently opened Documentation Center, where you will get an idea of the atrocities committed by German Officers on this very land.
The place involves a lot of reading, a quite intriguing one. Whether you are a history buff or not, you will enjoy it.
Fernsehturm, or the Berlin TV Tower is a great place to go to to have some panoramic views of the city. It will not take you more than 40 seconds in the elevator to reach the top of the tower. There is a Telecafe on your way up to grab a light meal. Entry is paid.
8.Get a touch od royalty at the Charlottenburg Palace
This 17th century building served as a summer-home for the royal family of Scholls Charlottenburg in the former years. In 18th century, the palace was redecorated by Frederick the Great. Today, it is huge and intricate enough to consume a whole day from top to bottom.
Berlin is, for all the right reasons, Euope’s greenest city. Naturally, parks are gardens are inevitable here. Every neighborhood (Kiez) in Berlin has its own public space to celebrate festivities, attend the weekly farmer’s market and have a cup of gelato everyday.
This massive 630 acres park is situated right in the center of the city. It is the perfect time-out from this bustling city’s hoo-ha. Rightly named as the animal garden, you might come across some not-so-harmful wildlife while sauntering through the lush green meadows and lakes.
Entry to the gigantic park is free, and you can visit it any time of the day.
Zoologischer Garten Berlin is located in the southwestern curve of Tiergarten. You can get to see 14,000 varieties of fauna here, including, lions, roadrunners, zebras and hippos. There’s a nice aquarium located parallel to the zoo. Buying a combo ticket will save you a few bucks.
This Park is for all the hippies and druggies who are looking for some good marijuana deal in Berlin. If you know San Fransisco, you’ll know Dollar Park. So this one’s pretty much similar to that.
Although, drug supply is an illegal affair, but Gorlitzer Park is an unquenchable open-air emporium for drugs. So if you are sober, don’t go here. And if you are looking for what sells here, make sure you have your insurance done, and you know some self-defense techniques.
Badeschiff isn’t exactly a park; it’s all the more fun. It is actually a floating swimming pool in the river Spree. The place gives you a panoramic view of the TV Tower. In summers, there are Yoga and Standup Paddling classes going on. Entry ticket is only 5 €.
This former Airport has now been converted to a Public Park. After the Tempelhof Airport shut down in 2008, this massive 386 hectares of land was divided into various parts to create a mini Golf course, organic community gardens, roller-blading, kite boarding, cycling and jogging track, a huge BBQ area and a separate dog-walking field.
It is a perfect picnic spot for the locals. Many people engage in kite-surfing here. So rent a bike and race with some!
Entry to this park is free of cost.
If you are here in Berlin on Saturday, don’t miss it farmers’ market held in Winterfeld Platz. You will get freshly reaped veggies and fruits, besides many good restaurants serving delicious snacks.
This hippie shopping market sells everything from apparels to classic furniture, to books and vinyl records.
In Berlin, to be a popular Hotel, you need to have a very popular Bar. And so Berlin hotels have some of the most happening bars.
Alexanderplatz is the area where maximum number of hotels are stationed. As far as the designer hotels are concerned, you will find them dotted all over the city. Kreuzberg, Friedrichshain and Prenzlauer Berg are the most convenient places to stay, if you would be using the public transportation a lot. Neukölln is another great place of you are looking for a more local, more boho experience.
Check out Airbnb.com for best deals if you are on a budget trip. Look for a stay along the U1, U2 or U8 U-bahn lines.
Some Off the Track Berlin’s Points of Interest
Berlin is all about fun! There are many offbeat things, hidden from the popular eye, that will make this vacation the most memorable one for you.
Like the Photoautomaten Studios. Posing the ritualistic four shots at one of things is a compulsion while your visit to the city. This black and white are scattered all across the city and open at all hours. You can pose behind a curtain and get yourself a fun set of snaps as a memoir of your time in Berlin.
Berlin is best explored on foot. But I feel bike riding is a better option, in that you can speed up through the places that don’t interest you much, and save yourself a lot of time. Especially if your sojourn is quite hard-pressed, bikes are the best.
There are ample bike-rental outlets in the Central Berlin. Also, the city is very bike-friendly; there are separate cycle lanes and cycle traffic signals. All the main touristy spots are situated close enough to be explored on bike, while not panting your lungs out.
You can begin at the Reichstag, and then head on the lush gardens of Tiergarten. Then on your way to the Brandenburg Tor, followed by the Holocaust Memorial, Potsdamer Platz and finally ending at the Topography of Terror.
We talked about partying in Berlin. When in Berlin, there are no weekends. You can party whenever you wish to, without worrying about the ‘Boring weekdays’, as there are none. We have Panorama Bar between the border of Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain, playing amazing European Techno. Wategate is a centrally located Bar showcasing fantastic lights and sounds. The downstairs Water Floor is gives you a spectacular view of the city and the river.
Alternatively, there’s this decrepit Salon Zur Wilden Renate that has the most convivial underground party vibes. Not to mention the iconic Clarchens Ballhaus. This hall opened in 1913 and since then, has been one of the ultimate romantic dance experiences for Berliners. The place hasn’t changed much since its inception. Today, it seems to be the only real dance hall in Berlin, offering theme dance nights for Salsa, Tango, Foxtrot, etc. The epic ‘schwoof’ parties take place every weekend, where there is live music and dance until dawn.
Berlin has some amazing Microbreweries, though not as famous as theBavarian ones. Eschenbraeu is one such place, known for its home-brewed beers and Flammekuchen pies. Hops and Barley is another brewery, attracting mostly the youth crowd. Then there is Bar Tausend and Cantina,with a ravishing bar menu.
Berlin has changed pretty much since its ‘Behind the Wall’ times. The Eastern and Western Berlin still have a lot uncommon among themselves. West is for hippies and party hunters, while the East has all the real Berlin.
Do take the boat ride in the Spree. It’s totally worth your time.