Things To Do In Berlin
A visit to Berlin will make you feel as if you are inside a 3D book where you can discover history gazing at you every step of the way. As you walk around the city, you can't resist the opportunity to pass by incredible sights that reflect the important periods of its history.
The Brandenburg Gate and Unter Den Linden take you to the time of Prussian era; the totalitarian and oppressive rule of the Third Reich resounds through the Scheunenviertel, the old Jewish quarter. Checkpoint Charlie and the new Berlin Wall Memorial reflect the strained times of the Cold War, while Potsdamer Platz and the legislature quarter stand illustrative of a futuristic and post-reunification Berlin.
When To Go:
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The stories of Berlin's famously long and blustery winters send shudders up the spines of travelers before they've even arrived – however don't stress, they're not that much more awful than those in other European countries. Still, the favored time to visit is in the hotter months (April-September), when you can more easily walk around the city's avenues, parks, and the various lakes and sights that exist within the proximity of the city center.
Summer is the best season to visit Berlin. The city's inhabitants as well as its visitors enjoy the nice climate, as everyone tours the historical spots, waterways and lakes, and joins in the unlimited events around the city.
These are the things to do when in the city of Berlin:
In all senses – the Berlin Philharmonic is probably the best place for lovers of classical music in Berlin. It may seem too avant-garde for some, too old-fashioned for others -- but the acoustics here are lovely and so are the concerts. You can try to buy the cheapest ticket to the concert, but it is better to purchase it in advance from their website if you are not into long lines. However, tickets can still be purchased at the box office right at the Philharmonic; if you approach through the Tiergarten, the entrance is located nearby, which is convenient.
The building has an unusual roof and inside, the stage is located in the center with the audience sitting around the orchestra; this is also quite interesting and peculiar. The orchestra always sounds magnificent. In the lobby you can drink champagne and wine. People dress discreetly, but no dress code is enforced and you can see some people wearing jeans. The nearest metro station is within a leisurely 10 minutes away. It is a pleasant area to walk around and get acquainted with the local culture and life of the city.
The Pergamon Museum is one of the few museums in the world where you can admire ancient ruins of the Hellenistic period in excellent condition; in particular the Pergamon Altar, the Ishtar Gate, Uruk, and the Market Gate of Miletus. The admission fee gets you a ticket plus an audio guide in several languages. Enter and you will be immediately in front of the Ishtar Gate, with its ceramic brick, blue animal figures and wonderful decorations.
The whole museum is a marvel -- the altar of Pergamon, with its impressive friezes and the port of Miletus, recalling the art of ancient Rome that has been successfully rebuilt. The aisle of Islamic art presents a variety of carpets, some very valuable. There is always a crowded line of busy guests, eager to look at all the attractions of this site. A couple of hours can pass quickly here, because this museum is truly a wonder.
The seat of the German Parliament is really impressive. From a distance, the sight of the park on a beautiful sunny day and full of people is truly spectacular. You have the opportunity to visit a museum inside the Reichstag Building but you will need to arm yourself with patience because the line will be long. It is part of that tour that includes the Brandenburg Gate and the Holocaust Memorial. The tour is free but it is best to have it booked in advance online.
The Reichstag dome is modern and one of the most beautiful things built in Berlin after the reunification. The view of the whole of Berlin is accompanied by an excellent audio guide, which explains in detail what you can see from the top of the Parliament. The security level is really high but it is understandable given the scale of the structure. There is a magnificent garden in front, and even though the flowers are not always blooming, you will be amazed by its lush vegetation. At night and once it is all illuminated, it looks even more stunning.
The Gemaeldegalerie is situated in the heart of the city, not far from the Sony Center. There is a terrific website that can be accessed in German and English; it gives the user all the information needed before and after the visit. The building is beautiful and functional from the entrance. The exhibit rooms are spacious and brightly lit in terms of both direction and extent. Panels and captions can be found in both German and English, and all services are clearly marked. The list of the works is impressive; in a nutshell, you can admire European paintings from the 13th to 18th centuries by Italian, French, Spanish, English, and Flemish artists.
Be particularly fascinated by the works of Rembrandt, Albrecht Durer and Hugo van der Goes. You should spend more than two and a half hours, but for a serious examination it would take 4 or 5 hours more. This gallery is certainly one of the most important places to check out when in Berlin.
The tour of Museum Island is an awesome show. It begins at the Dall'Altes Museum, which overlooks the garden of the Cathedral (take time to stop here when it's sunny), and impresses with the bright red of its facade. It then continues with the Alte Nationalgalerie, hidden behind a beautiful colonnade and anticipated by another immaculate lawn; the Pergamon Museum, which already from the outside announces its majesty and greatness; and finally the Bode Museum, perhaps the most mysterious and fascinating -- which splits the river running through the whole Museum Island.
It is one superb adventure that must not be missed when you are in Berlin. Imagine -- 4 museums in a row, all totally worthy of being seen. The collection of works ranges from modern art to ancient art, both European and Asian -- and you can see everything right in front of you on this tour.
The Treptower Park has in its center the most important Soviet mausoleum outside the boundaries of the former USSR. Here lie many of the Russians who fell in the bloody and decisive battle of Berlin; inside stands an almost 40-foot bronze statue depicting a Russian soldier holding a rescued (German) child -- a broken swastika at his feet. This mausoleum holds the remains of 5-7,000 soldiers, and was built with granite removed from the bunker / mausoleum of Hitler in Vossstrasse 6. Everything is monumental and grandiose, from the esplanade (huge) to the colossal statue of the Russian soldier.
At the entrance, explanatory panels recount in English and German the various stages of the Soviet intervention in World War II, as well as the history of the construction of the memorial in what was then East Germany. It is an important document of history and should not to be missed. You can get here by S-Bahn, but also by riding a bike with a very pleasant route along the East Side Gallery, passing near or over the beautiful Oberbaumbrucke and close to the sculpture of the Molecule Man (located in Spree). This important sculpture depicts three bodies hugging each other, which symbolizes the reunification of 3 districts of the city, once separated by the wall.
German Historical Museum
This is a museum that will fully meet the highest of expectations. What makes the German Historical Museum interesting is the fact that it is easy to negotiate and the rooms follow one another along with the historical periods. It is a museum that is thoroughly German from start to finish, overflowing with its culture and rich history, and leaving no stone unturned. Taking the audio guide is highly recommend, because it will be very useful during your long journey from the Celts to the fall of the Berlin Wall. The property is huge and each historical period is represented in detail, starting from the first settlements up to the last colonization. The approach to educating guests is the classical one, but interspersed with video tutorials and interactive screens. You can find the "horned” helmet the Barbarians once used, and the German refrigerator or car design of the 50s or 60s. There are many documents that show the darker era of German history, and much from the '30's -- imagine seeing a film that shows the burning of books banned by the Nazis in Bebelplatz.
Memorial of the Berlin Wall
One of the top things to do when in the city is to visit this part of the Berlin Wall, which is actually the most scenic, beautiful, and touching. It is easily accessible by subway to the stop of the same name; from there you just walk along a large green lawn. On the way you can see the signs of old underground tunnels that have been involved in some of the most famous escapes from East Berlin; an unknown but beautiful modern church, together with a bell that is strange and fascinating; and a real portion of the wall bounded by oxidized metal supports.
This memorial of the Berlin Wall is not part of the painted murals that you often see in the photos. That part of the wall is in a different part of town. This memorial is located in the north, descending into the S-Bahn NordBanhof. These are the remains of the wall built in this street (Bernauer Strasse) with barbs that are also described in the stories of people killed by the Soviets who tried to cross the wall from east to west. In addition there is a park with another wall showing pictures and names of people (many children) killed during that turbulent era.
Brandenburg Gate (Brandenburger Tor)
Considered the symbol of a united Germany, the Brandenburg Gate is a poignant reminder of the areas adjacent to the Berlin Wall until 1989. This Gate was once surrounded by the strip of no-man's-land; now it is widely visited and photographed by numerous tourists from all over the world and the Berliners themselves. On the summit stands the imposing Quadriga, approximately 16 feet high and made of copper, representing the Winged Goddess of Victory in a chariot drawn by four horses that look in different directions.
From the Brandenburg Gate, along the famous boulevard called Unter den Linden (under the linden trees) and recently partly dismantled due to the construction of a new subway line, you will arrive at the Piazza del Duomo and the Alexander Plaz where an impressive television tower now stands -- another iconic symbol of the city.
The Holocaust Memorial - Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe
The Holocaust Memorial itself is chilling, the perfect metaphor to represent the cruelty of war and the horror of the death of the Jews in Europe. It is an amazing place and unique among its kind. The site is an architectural work of great power; you are meant to observe and immerse yourself in the true sense of the word as you walk freely between the many concrete blocks that form a regular grid; once inside the "maze," the experience is very reflective of the meaning of this memorial.
Discover the beauty, delicacy and urgent strength of this work of Peter Eisenmen, designed to evoke the sense of loss experienced by the Jewish people during the Holocaust. Exhibition rooms -- and a special chamber where the names of all known Holocaust victims (obtained from Yad Vashem in Israel) are read aloud -- are located underground.
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