10 best things to do in Berlin, the capital of Germany, and one of Europe’s leading hubs for history and art. Here are our top 10 picks
10: The Berlin Wall & Checkpoint Charlie
Berlin Wall was a 12 ft. or 3.6 m high and more than 87 mi. or 140 km long physical barrier dividing East and West Berlin. What started just with a wire fence to divide the city between the Soviet-run and Western-controlled zone, evolved into the wall in 1961. While most of the wall has been demolished after the 1989 revolution which led to the unification of both parts of Germany, you can still see parts of the wall all over Berlin. Visit Checkpoint Charlie which was the only checkpoint that allowed foreigners and members of the Allied forces to cross. Many East Germans used the checkpoint to escape from East Germany. Berlin is full of museums and other places linked to terrors that happened there during the 20th century. One of the must-see places in Berlin is the East Side Gallery, which is one of the longest open-air gallery in the world with over 0.8 mi. or 1.3 km of a preserved portion of the wall. Over 100 artists took part in the creation of art. Don’t forget to stop in front of the famous graffiti “The Kiss”.Visit also The Berlin Wall Memorial and The Wall Museum. In front of The Topography of Terror museum, you will find a well-preserved section of the Berlin wall. Check our travel guide for more information.
9: Brandenburg Gate
This former gate to Berlin from the 18th century is one of the most famous icons of the city. The top of Brandenburg Gate is crowned with a statue of a chariot drawn by four horses representing the Goddess of Victory. In 1918, the gate was open for use by everyone, not only the German Royal Family. The gate has been the center of attention in many historical events, from royal parades to Nazi ceremonies and marches. When the Berlin Wall fell, people gathered at the gate to celebrate.
8: Markthalle Neun
Also known as Market Hall Nine, the iconic covered market was constructed in 1891and reopened in 2011. Whether you want to get an original German meal, buy fresh organic vegetables, or something from the flea market, or soak in the atmosphere, visiting Markethalle Neun is a great experience. If you visit on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, you’ll be right in time for the traditional weekly market offering fresh produce, meat, and even craft beer or maybe you’ll be there in time to explore their other thematic festivals dedicated to anything from beer to coffee.
7: Reichstag Building
Home to the German parliament from the arson under the Nazi regime to the official reunification of Germany in 1990, the Reichstag has seen histories unfold. Full of interesting architectural elements, Reichstag is famous for its inscription on the facade, “Dem Deutschen Volk,” meaning “to the German People” as well as a giant glass dome, offering great panoramic views of the city and you can see right through the parliament. The glass dome is also an example of eco-architecture because of its sustainable use of energy. You can see art collections and permanent exhibitions in the building or have a picnic on the grass in front of Reichstag. If you want to visit the glass dome, make sure to reserve your ticket to visit Reichstag in advance since they often run out. And don’t forget to visit the Soviet War Memorial and Victory Column with the panoramic view of Berlin, both located in the area.
6: Museum Island
Museum Island is a complex of five museums located on an actual island in Berlin. The five museums are the Pergamonmuseum, Altes Museum, Neues Museum, Bode Museum, and the Alte Nationalgalerie. The island is listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and was reopened in 2009after being badly damaged in World War II. The very first museum was the Altes Museum, which opened in 1830, and all five were completed in 1930. The James Simon Gallery serves as the entrance building with its collection of art and exhibition areas. Each museum has a different collection, from Islamic art to sculptures from the medieval period and works from artists such as Monet, Renoir, and others. Berlin offers many other fascinating museums. Check out our travel guide for more suggestions. When you’re on the Museum Island, visit the majestic 1800s Berlin Cathedral located close to Altes Museum and don’t miss out on cruise in one of Berlin’s canals on River Spree. By the way, did you know that Berlin has over 112 miles or 180 kilometers of waterways, which is more than Venice or Amsterdam? Don’t miss other attractions located near the Museum island. Check out our travel guide for more suggestions.
5: Berlin TV Tower
Berlin tv tower at the height of over 1,200 ft. or 368 m, Berlin TV Tower is the highest building in Germany. Located in what was East Berlin, the tower was created in 1969as a
symbol of the superiority of the German Democratic Republic, the Soviet-run part of Germany.
Visit the observation deck with amazing panoramic views of the city.
And if you’re hungry when you’re overlooking the city,
you can visit the Revolving Restaurant “Sphere” with literally 360 degrees views of Berlin.
And below the TV Tower, don’t forget to explore Alexanderplatz,
the biggest and most popular public square in Berlin, with the famous World Time Clock,
a clock that shows the time for all 24 time zones of the globe.
4: Jewish Museum
The largest Jewish museum in Europe is a place that highlights the German-Jewish relationship. The Jewish Museum boasts exhibitions on personal stories from the Holocaust and issues on persecution and migration in Germany. It strives to be “a place to remember” from its striking facade to its zigzag designs. The building itself is rich with symbolism and tells different Jewish stories, even though architecture like Garten des Exils, Holocaust Tower, and other art installations like Fallen Leaves in the Memory Void. There, visitors are encouraged to walk on iron faces creating an echo in the room. Don’t miss other places in Berlin, dedicated to the Holocaust, for example, The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe where you’ll walk along colossal memorial rows of concrete slabs. It stands as a place of remembrance for the fallen Jews of Europe.Memorial to Homosexuals persecuted under the Nazi Regime, located close to the Jewish Memorial.Or Memorial to the Sinti and Roma Victims during the Nazi regime, located close to Brandenburg Gate.The Topography of Terror: a site portraying the photos and evidence of the crimes and persecution committed by the Nazis. The place is built on former headquarters of the high command, the Gestapo, and the security service of the SS. By the way, the museum is free of charge.
3: Charlottenburg Palace
Charlottenburg is a summer place commissioned by Sophie Charlotte, the first queen consort of Prussia. While it was initially named Lietzenburg Palace, when Sophie Charlotte died in 1705, although not entirely completed, the palace was named after her. The palace was well maintained, but a big part was damaged during World War II. The castle is built in a baroque style. Charlottenburg offers many spots that you can visit and experience what life was like for royals of that time, including the museum, a collection highlighting the Prussian royal house and the king and queen who resided there. English-style gardens: a popular venue for concerts and other social events.Belvedere, a tea-house and small garden with a view of the River Spree. Mausoleum built for Queen Louise, another queen of Prussia, dubbed the “queen of hearts” because she was so beloved by her people. River Spree and Lakes, where you can rest and spend your day by the water. By the way, did you know you can visit the gardens free of charge?
2: Botanic Garden and Botanical Museum
Constructed in 1910, Berlin Botanical Garden was built with a purpose to have “the world in a garden.”The site now includes over 20,000 plant species covering over 100,000 acres or 40 hectares of land.75 ft. or 23 m high and almost 200 ft. or 60 m long, the tropical greenhouse is actually one of the largest greenhouses in the world. There are currently 16 greenhouses altogether, each offering a different plant collection, as well as a botanical museum. You will not regret visiting the botanic garden no matter the season. There are other impressive parks and green areas in Berlin. Check out our travel guide for more suggestions.
1: Alternative Culture
Berlin is one of the world’s main hubs of alternative culture, which includes street art, nightlife, as well a vibrant underground scene. The city has continuously reinvented itself since the fall of the Berlin Wall, and this can be seen in the abundance of subcultures and the presence of street art in communities such as the Friedrichshain or Kreuzberg district and other places. Numerous areas were gentrified. Here are some of the best places and neighborhoods connected to the alternative culture you should not miss when you are in Berlin: RAW TempleA former railway complex with bars, graffiti, and more. By the way, don’t miss the Urban Spree Gallery while you’re there. Graffiti – which most likely started because artists saw the Berlin Wallas a big blank canvas for spreading their message. There are many places with great graffiti all over Berlin, for instance, the Graffiti Corner. World Trash Center – one of the venues of Holzmarkt Christmas MarketCheck our travel guide for more information which are some of the best places to visit and experience Berlin’s underground culture.