Since lately I don’t get a chance to see my best friend much, we decided to go for a little weekend getaway! I found super duper cheap offer for Berlin! For a long time I wanted to visit Berlin and since I came across a lot of Top things to do in Berlin Lists lately, I said lets do it! It was a little less super since our transport was a bus. Long, long bus ride. For me since I left from Slovenia that meant around 13-14hours on the bus on way and a bit less for my friend that got on the bus in Vienna. But well, that’s what you get for a price of 20euros per return ticket. It was just too good of a deal to miss it!
Well already before we left we both checked multiple posts about things to do in Berlin and there is tons of them. While most of the people go to Berlin to party, we did only sightseeing! Yes I know, we are boring. We did plan to go out but our friend fell asleep and at the end we didn’t go out. That’s one of the top things to do in Berlin and we missed it, well we decided next time we will go just to party!! We will see when this happens.
But now onto actual things to do in Berlin that we did and that we think we should do but didn’t had enough time!
VISIT REICHSTAG BUILDING AND CATCH A FREE LIFT TO THE
Germany’s Parliament is located in Reichstag Building in Berlin. Norman Foster designed large and beautiful Dome to which you can catch a free lift and then just relax and enjoy view of the city. On the way to the top grab a free audio guide and learn about the history and building itself. If you want to do all that you should book a spot way ahead here. If you don’t do a research before, then you are going to end up like us and that’s empty handed. So I guess we are going to book a spot for us next time! But for sure this is on top of every Things to do in Berlin list!
In summer months this would be perfect place for a little picnic or just to hang out.
ADMIRE BRANDENBURG GATE
Whenever you think of Berlin or even Germany, Brandenburg Gate is probably first landmark you think of, isn’t it? At least for me it’s first landmark i think of. Brandenburg Gates are built on the same spot as former city gates back from 1730’s and they connected city of Berlin with a town called Brandenburg an der Havel.
On the top of the Gates you can see Quadriga – which means a chariot drawn by four horses, and the goddess riding it is Eirene – Goddess of Peace. When Napoleon defeated Prussia, he used Brandenburg Gates for triumphal procession, and in the process he took Quadriga with him to Paris. But Quadriga was returned back to Berlin on top of the Gates once Prussia defeated Napoleon in Paris. They renamed the Lady on Quadriga to Victoria and they added Prussian Eagle and Iron Cross to her. Ironic enough the square in front of Brandenburg Gate is Pariser Platz, so translated that would be Paris Square. I’m sure French people are not going to be too happy, but I heard German’s like this and it serves them as reminder that they defeated France and that they are above it!
One inside info about Hotel Adlon located just next to the Gates! Hotel survived almost untouched all the bombings in Second World War, but … The word is Soviet Troops found a wine cellar in hotel, got drunk and burned the place down. Also this is hotel where Michael Jackson dangled his son Blanket out of the window!
VISIT CHARLOTTENBURG PALACE AND STROLL THROUGH THE PARK
Charlottenburg Palace is the largest Royal Palace in Berlin and it was built as summer residence of the first Queen of Prussia, Sophie Charlotte. As you can imagine palace got name after her, as well the whole district, Charlottenburg. It was built in the end of 17th century and then expanded in next century. Grounds consist of the Palace, Belvedere, Mausoleum, beautiful gardens, just to name a few.
You can pay admission and see some of the places, check for the prices on their page here. Inside the Charlottenburg Palace you can find furniture and decorations from many different periods of history, from rococo style all the way to baroque. Also in Belvedere Teahouse you can admire beautiful Chinese and Japanese porcelain!
BERLIN CATHEDRAL AND MUSEUM ISLAND
Berlin’s Museum Island is really one of a kind, we could say the least. On this Island in the middle of Spree River you can find 5 world renowned museums – Pergamon Museum, Bode Museum, Neues Museum, Alte Nationalgalerie and Altes Museum, but beside this there is also magnificent Berlin Cathedral! I’ve been only to Pergamon Museum and all I can say is I was impressed by massive Ishtar Gates of Babylon and Market Gates of Miletus, but unfortunately Pergamon Altar is under renovation so I couldn’t see that. Admission is quite expensive, but if you plan to visit 2 or more museums I would recommend you to buy Berlin Museum Pass! Also the whole Museum complex is listed as World Heritage Site by UNESCO!
Berlin Cathedral is massive and magnificent building! I always love buildings with turquoise roofs and this cathedral has it too! You thought that Berlin Cathedral is full name? You couldn’t be more wrong, Berlin Cathedral is just short for Evangelical Supreme Parish and Collegiate Church. Well that’s one really long name! It’s also the biggest church in whole Berlin. Hohenzollerngruft or in other words Hohenzollern Crypt is one of the most important dynastic sepulchre in whole Europe and it contains 94 entombments dating from 16th to 20th century!
To learn more about Berlin Cathedral visit their page here!
ADMIRE ARCHITECTURE ON GENDARMENMARKT
Many Berliners would say that this is the most beautiful square in Berlin and I can totally agree with this! Already when I said that Berlin doesn’t have any nice squares, like other European countries, I came across Gendarmenmarkt that changed my mind. This place is definitely on every top things to do in Berlin list! On this square you can find Konzerthaus ( Concert Hall) in the middle and then on sides German and French Church! There is also statue of German poet Friedrich Schiller in the middle of the square.
French Church was built for French Huguenots that got asylum in Berlin after being persecuted in France. Church itself was modeled after Huguenot church in Charenton that got destroyed in 17th century. French and German Church are almost identical, especially because of their domes that were designed by the same architect.
Some people say that they look the same cause King Friedrich first built a church for French Huguenots and then Germans complained that they want their church. The problem was King didn’t had enough money for new church design so he just used the same blueprints from French Church. Now if this is true I’m not sure since I didn’t find any data about it anywhere!
There is also Christmas Market and New Year’s celebration here!
TRY TO GUESS HEIGHT OF BERLIN TELEVISION TOWER
What do you think how tall is the Fernsehturm? Well it’s exactly 368m together with antenna! That’s pretty high. It’s conveniently located next to Alexanderplatz, Rotes Rathaus (City Hall), St. Mary’s Church and Neptun Fountain. Fernsehturm is one of Berlin’s most famous landmarks. You can go up to the sphere which is visitor platform with revolving restaurant in it! Visitor platform is on 203m and restaurant is on 207m. If the weather conditions are great, you could see 42kms far. That’s a view!
I would recommend you to book tickets before on their site here!
TAKE A WALK AT EAST SIDE GALLERY
When I first searched for remains of Berlin Wall I didn’t actually expect to be called East Side Gallery to be true. But once there I could see all the colorful graffitis on 1,3km long wall. Some of them are more famous then others, making graffiti named “My God, Help Me to Survive This Deadly Love” or “Fraternal Kiss” probably the most famous of them all! This kiss between Soviet Leader Leonid Brezhnev and East Germany President Erich Honecker actually happened in 1979 and it became kind of iconic. Soviet artist Dmitri Vrubel decided to paint this photo after wall came down in 1989!
This is just in my opinion the most iconic graffiti, but there is many more that you get to see on this 1,3km walk. East Side Gallery should definitely be on your list of Top things to do in Berlin! Unfortunately now there is fence protecting the wall at most of the 1,3km length! So it’s almost impossible to take photo without the fence in it, but I tried my best. maybe in the future they are going to take it away, but then the graffitis are gonna get destroyed for sure.
Just few meters away from East Side Gallery there is Oberbaum Bridge that connects Friedrichshain and Kreuzberg districts. They were long divided by wall and Spree River, so now the bridge is symbol of Berlin’s Unity!
PAY RESPECT TO PEOPLE MURDERED IN HOLOCAUST
For me Berlin is the city in Germany that reminds me the most of horrible things that happened during Second World War. Unfortunately that all those horrors had to happen, and hopefully it will never repeat! In Berlin there are few sights where you can pay your respect to murdered people of Second World War. I think all of these places should be on everyones Things to do in Berlin list!
If Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe and Topography of Terror weren’t on your things to do in Berlin list you should definitely add them. Memorial to the Murdered jews consists of 2711 rectangular concrete blocks organized in rows. Architect behind this masterpiece is Peter Eisenman, and he never explicitly said what it represents, everyone can interpretate it differently.
Most common people say it reminds them of graveyard, information that I got is that it reminds people of Jewish graveyard in Prague, where people had to be buried on top of each other for centuries! That’s why each block is different height. Under this Memorial you can find Place of Informations! Entry is free and there you can find names of around 3 million murdered Jews. Outside at Memorial you can also find a map that show you where memorials for other ethnical groups are!
There is a parking lot close by, nothing special from outside, but under it it’s actually Hitler’s bunker, the one were Hitler spent his last few days.
Topography of Terror is an outdoor and indoor museum and next to it you can also find part of Berlin Wall that was never destroyed. Museum is located on the site were during the Nazi Regime were standing headquarters of the Gestapo and the SS. Now there are few different exhibitions there that you can check out and it’s totally FREE!
CHARLIE’S CHECKPOINT OR CHECKPOINT C
Yes there is no Charlie actually like most of us probably thought. It’s named Charlie because of words that military uses for letters. For A they use Alpha, B is Bravo and C is Charlie! That’s how it got it’s name! This checkpoint is on everyones list of things to do in Berlin, but it doesn’t take you much time. Half an hour is more then enough to take a photo of the checkpoint and read the information boards close by. This checkpoint was used only by military and politicians.
There is also a photo of American soldier looking into East Berlin and Soviet soldier looking into West Berlin. Now at the checkpoint you have some guys dressed up as soldiers and if you want to take photo with them you have to pay 3 euros!
CLIMB BERLIN VICTORY COLUMN
One of the top things to do in Berlin is also climbing Berlin Victory Column! This column was built to commemorate Prussian victory in Danish-Prussian war back in 1864. Column together with the statue of Victoria measures 67 meters in height. You can climb hundreds of steps to the viewing platform from which you get great views of the city! Ticket costs 3 euros for adults!
OTHER THINGS TO DO IN BERLIN
There is so many interesting places to visit in Berlin. If I would write about all of them then this article would be even much longer then it already is!
Here are links to two great pages to experience even more of Berlin.
- Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church – was partially destroyed by bombing, but still stands as a reminder.
Garten der Welt – Garden of the World. Get lost in this beautiful garden
- New Synagogue – Main synagogue in Berlin
Treptower Park – beautiful park and monument for fallen Soviet soldiers
- Memorial of the Berlin Wall – to learn even more about Berlin Wall
Gedenkstaette Berlin-Hohenschoenhausen – if you are interested where Soviets held prisoners in East Germany
Berlin Philharmonic – if you want to listen to some nice music
Usually when I don’t have enough time I like to join free tours in the city! They usually give you so much informations and show you places that you wouldn’t find yourself!
So next time you travel to some big city google free tour and join one of them! In Berlin I joined Sandemans New Berlin Tour! And our guide Rochele was great!
Also if you are in need of a new backpack or you don’t know how to select the right one, I have a solution for you. Check Backpackhack page to learn everything you need to know about backpack! Click HERE!