Berlin is a city rich in history and culture. If you are only there for a short time, it will be difficult to see everything. Here are just the recommended 10 top attractions to visit in Berlin.
1) Brandenburg Gate
These gates were once the entrance to the city and it was also the place where the Berlin wall fell down in 1989. The gates now symbolize German unity, one side opening to the park and the other to the Pariser platz, one of the most exclusive areas of the city.
2) Potsdamer Platz
This is one of the most famous squares in Berlin, named after Potsdam, a nearby city (which you can visit on the Brewer’s Berlin walking tour). The square was completely destroyed during WWII and after Berlin Wall was built across it, earning it the title “No man’s land”. Since the fall of the Wall, there has been many new buildings constructed including the Sony Centre. Potsdamer Platz is also home to many theatres and cinemas including an Imax.
3) East Side Gallery
Head over to the wall and see the artists’ work on the east side gallery. This was part of the inner wall, not visible from West Berlin. It is now the largest open air gallery in the world, covering 1.3km and has about 106 paintings by different artists.
4) Museum Island
The island consists of 5 museums built on the island between 1824 and 1930. It was awarded UNESCO World Heritage Status in 1999. A day pass to all 5 museums will set you back around 19 euros which is a good deal considering each one costs around 10 euros each to enter.
The Reichstag, originally opened in 1894 was the home of the German Parliament until 1933. When Germany was reunited, the building was restored and renowned architect Norman Foster designed the glass dome which tourists can visit and see a spectacular view of Berlin. Tourists must register online at least 5 days before they plan to visit the Reichstag to allow for security clearance.
This square was in the centre of the former Eastern Germany. The Fernseturmor TV tower which is the tallest structure in Germany, has a restaurant and viewing platform. The TV tower is near the square and was the symbol of East Germany.
7) Berliner Dom
The German Cathedral is the largest church in Berlin, measuring 114m long and 73m wide. It was built between 1894 and 1905 but suffered extensive damage in WWII and went under a period of reconstruction between 1984 and 1993.
The German Cathedral is situated on the . It is open daily and costs 7 euros to enter. It is free for those under 18 years old and school groups.
8) Zoo – Tiergarten
Berlin zoo is is the oldest zoo in Germany, opened in 1844 and is located in Tiergarten, one of the world’s largest urban parks in the world. The zoo and aquarium are one of the most popular tourist attractions in Berlin, bringing in nearly 3 million visitors a year. Spend at least a day here to see all the animals, the reptile house and the aquarium. There are more than 15,000 different animals in the zoo and there are regular animal feedings which is popular with the children, along with its famous polar bear, Knut.
9) Holocaust Memorial
The Memorial located near the Brandenburg gate to remember the murdered Jews during WWII comprises of more than 2,500 pillars on a 4..7 acre site. There is a museum underneath, open every day except Mondays, which is free to enter. Peter Eisenmann designed the sculpture and the explanation of the different pillars has remained unexplained, leaving it to individual’s interpretation.
10) Topography of Terror
The headquarters of the Gestapo – The German secret police were located here between 1933 –and 1945. Now it is an open air museum adjacent to the remaining parts of the Berlin wall showing the history of the site. It is one of the most frequently visited places of remembrance in Berlin.
Berlin is a city full of history well worth at least 5 days to see all the attractions. There are many short term Berlin apartments for rent if you prefer staying in your own place instead of a hotel.