Berlin, Germany, is full of rich history with plenty to offer for all types of tourists. No matter what you’re into, there will be something to suit your tastes in Berlin! Here are the ten best things to do in Berlin, Germany!
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Why should you visit Berlin?
Why should you visit Berling? Simply because Berlin has so much to offer! Berlin has many tourist attractions across the city and its surrounding area. The common theme is “everything goes”, meaning that whatever your interest, cultural background, ethnicity or disability, the city will welcome you with open arms. The city was also once separated into East and West, and there are many symbolic buildings and tourist attractions that symbolise the city’s turbulent past. More specifically, the West of the city is modern, considering the East of the city had its development halted under socialism until 1990.
The 10 BEST things to do in Berlin:
1. Jewish Memorial (Memorial for the murdered Jews)
Around 350 metres from the Brandenburg Gate is the memorial for the murdered Jews of Europe. The memorial is listed on signage, such as directions towards it however, when you arrive at the memorial, there is no plaque or signage to dedicate it to the people that were murdered within National Socialism during World War 2. The memorial is simply a set of concrete blocks in the middle of the street. I would recommend this attraction, but advance research is required to understand the reason it was placed there.
Nearest Public Transport Stop(s): Unter den Linden (U5 and U6), Brandenburger Tor (U5 and S-Bahn).
2. Reichstag (Bundestag, Parliament)
At number 2, we have the Reichstag Buildings, which are currently the active German Parliament buildings where Germany’s decisions and politics are held. This attraction would be higher on my list; however, the booking and entrance process is somewhat complicated, and what you get to see is also fairly limited to some tourists (but not all).
The booking process is complicated; you do require a booking to enter the building. To book a visit, you have two options, booking in person or booking online. Many tourists prefer to book in person because you can book around 24 hours in advance of your planned visit, whereas online, you have to book a week in advance at least.
When booking, you’ll need to ensure that you bring one piece of photo and Government approved
identification for safety reasons. You cannot bring a Private Health ID card (like an AXA insurance card) or a credit card as ID as it must be Government approved. On the day of your visit, bring with you the online ticket or physical printout provided at the time of booking and your ID. This will be checked; you’ll then pass through an airport-style security check and wait for the rest of the booked group to join you. A member of Bundestag Tourism staff will then take you up into the building.
For visitors, there is a large terrace, a famous glass dome (which is laid out with a timeline at the bottom, and you can walk around and up to the top), and a restaurant which you can pre-book by email. The time up the dome is luckily unlimited, and there is a souvenir shop on the 1 st floor near the exit.
Price: Reichstag is free. The restaurant from €60 per person.
Nearest public transport stop: Bundestag (U5)
Score out of 10: 7 ½
3. Checkpoint Charlie and Museum
The Checkpoint Charlie is a wonderful attraction that signifies the end of the former GDR autobahn corridor into central West Berlin. The original checkpoint booth and signs are still intact, and there is now a museum to mark the checkpoint; this contains artefacts from Germany’s past, particularly within the time between 1949 and 1990 when Germany was officially two countries.
The museum also looks at people who were brave enough to attempt to move from the socialist East to the capitalist and ‘free’ West. It is worth a visit, particularly if you want to review the history of the city and is one of the best things to do in Berlin if you’re a history buff!
Price: Free to view signs and outside of the museum, €17.50 per adult to enter the museum, €11.50 for students and €9.50 for seniors and young children.
Nearest Public Transport Stop: Kochstraße (U6).
Score out of 10: 9
4. KaDeWe (Kaufhaus des Westens)
For those that want to splash the cash, KaDeWe is the place to go. Over seven floors, there are many designer mini-shops plus a deli and rooftop restaurant. The shop as a whole is good for all and is fairly reasonably priced depending on your taste and/or interest in clothes. Some sections of the shop can become expensive seeing as it is designer.
The store is massive both in terms of floors but also how wide the floors are, it is exceptionally easy
to get lost as I did on several occasions.
Nearest Public Transport Stop: Wittenburgplatz (U1, U3).
Score out of 10: 8 ½
5. Alexanderplatz Area & Rotes Rathaus
The Alexanderplatz and Rotes Rathaus Area of Berlin are simply stunning. There is urbanisation combined with small streets that have small bars and local businesses. In terms of shopping, everyone is catered for, and there are also many vegan-only cafes which is something to look out for as many restaurants do not have menus displayed outside the doorway.
This district of Berlin also homes the famous TV Tower, Galeria Department Store and Alexa Alexanderplatz shopping complex so that everyone is catered for.
Nearest Public Transport Stops: Rotes Rathaus (U5), Berlin Alexanderplatz Bhf (U2, U5, U8, S-Bahn, DB Regional and Intercity, Tram).
Score out of 10: 10
6. Kurfürstendamm, Europa Center and Zoologischer Garten
The area around Kurfürstendamm, the Europa Center and Zoologischer Garten are full of busy shops, bars and restaurants that stretch from KaDeWe at the entrance of Wittenburgplatz U-Bahn Stop all the way up to the Europa Center and Zoologischer Garten.
The shops along the Kurfürstendamm itself range from Zara to Polo Ralph Lauren, and so are, as a rule of thumb, designer shops. The area is also packed with stunning architecture that ranges to the modern day, along with some 1950’s buildings in the mix.
This part of Berlin is generally associated with shopping and nightlife because of its central location.
7. East Side Gallery
The Berlin Wall was a staple of recent history when Germany was split into two countries, East Germany and West Germany. Berlin was also divided into 2, East and West. The East Side Gallery is the longest part of the former Berlin Wall and is amazing to see.
There are so many characterful murals along this former part of the Berlin Wall, it was so amazing to see something from a former socialist nation recreated into something that shows that the Berlin people and, moreover, the Germans got through the division and the majority of the citizens of the time got through alive. The East part of the wall also shows the memory of those who were killed when leaving the East of Berlin and attempting to enter the West through the Landmine-stocked ‘death strip’ as it was then known.
A lot of people were trapped in the East of the country under a socialist regime partly run by Russia. These people wanted to leave to lead a better and freer life in the West of Berlin/Germany. There were many failed attempts, and this wall contains many tribute-type murals of the failed attempts to cross the wall.
Nearest Public Transport Stop: Ostbahnhof (S-Bahn, Intercity and Regional Rail Services).
Score out of 10: 10
8. The Mall of Berlin
The Mall of Berlin is yet another place on this list to splash the cash. Filled with many well-known shops, the Mall of Berlin is a trendy place for some retail therapy. There are many international shops like Gant, Abercrombie and Fitch as well as German shops that are not international. The Mall is spread across three floors and has an amazing patio in the centre between the East Mall and the West Mall.
The Mall is central to the city, particularly near Potsdamer Platz and the famous Checkpoint Charlie, so it is an easily walkable way to avoid crowded trains and stretch out your day; this is nice, particularly in the summer when it can reach higher than 30°C in the day. It is one of the best things to do in Berlin if you love shopping!
Nearest Public Transport Stop: Potsdamer Platz (U2 and S-Bahn lines).
Score out of 10: 8
9. Brandenburg Gate
The Brandenburg Gate is one of the most famous tourist attractions in the world, and for a good reason. The architectural structure is simply amazing, the reason being it had stood in the same spot for over 200 years and was principal when Germany was split into East and West. It was said that after the wall came down, the Brandenburg Gate was the symbol of newfound unity in Germany as one country.
You can walk through the gate from the Eastern Side (near the exit of the U-Bahn station) into the
Western Side, which brings you to the main road. It is definitely one of the best things to do in Berlin!
Nearest Public Transport Stop: Brandenburger Tor (U5 and S-Bahn).
Score out of 10: 10
10. Spree River and Landcanal Cruise
The Spree River Cruise takes in many districts of Berlin and explains Eastern and Western landmarks
as it goes round. It is more than worth the price, in my opinion. Across 2 ½ hours, you take in the
following districts: East Side Gallery, Neukölln, Charlottenburg Bridge, and the cruise ends in Bellevue.
The cruise runs through the River Spree and Germany’s Landcanal, which has many parks and buildings that run alongside the river/canal. Each was explained to passengers in German (so you might need to do this one with someone who can translate German 😉 ).
The cruise boat has two decks, an inner deck and an outer deck on top of the boat. Please note that taller passengers will have to lower their heads, if not their whole body, as there are many extremely low bridges that the cruise takes in.
Price: €14.50 for an hour journey or €20 for a 2 ½ hour journey.
Score out of 10: 7
Have you ever been to Berlin? What were your favourite things to do in Berlin? Are there things to do in Berlin that you think deserves to be on this list but isn’t? Let me know! If you liked this post, you might also like:
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This post was kindly written by: Luca Joe Azim
Contact Luca here: [email protected]
Luca’s Instagram: @bhxluca
*Some links on this page are affiliates, meaning if you buy from them, I get a commission – at no extra cost to you 😉