When visiting Europe and especially Germany, there is one very traditional and vibrant city a traveler can not miss – Berlin. The capital city of Germany is conveniently situated in the northern part of the country and houses about 3.5 million people. Being a German myself, but from a smaller city, it almost seems unbelievable that a city this multicultural, big and fast-paced is still part of my country.
Discovering the city can be a challenge if you are visiting for the first time. That’s why I’m sharing with you these 7 things you should do when visiting Berlin.
Berlin has a rich history, which can be seen throughout the whole city. Marked by the first and second world war, it offers multiple sights for travellers that enjoy Berlin’s history, art and culture.
Recommended number of days in Berlin, Germany: 4
What to do, see and eat in Berlin, Germany
1. Brandenburger Tor
The Brandenburger Tor is one of the most visited landmarks in Germany and the most famous icon of the city. Formerly known as ‘no man’s land between East and West Berlin it now represents Germany’s unity. Tip: Visit the Brandenburger Tor by night to enjoy the monument with evening lights and to avoid the crowds while taking a picture.
The Reichstag is the seat of the German parliament and just a short walk from the Brandenburger Tor. The building merges the rather outdated appearance of the stone structure with a modern glass dome, which offers a panoramic view of central Berlin.
Tip: I definitely recommend visiting the Reichstag on a sunny day. There are plenty of green areas and you can even take a boat ride on the Spree River. You can either make a reservation online or try to get a spot by visiting the service center spontaneously.
3. Checkpoint Charlie
Checkpoint Charlie is a symbol of the Cold War and used to be the border crossing point between East and West Berlin. It now holds a museum in which travelers will find spine-chilling stories of people that tried to escape the East via the Berlin Wall.
Tip: If you want to understand more of the German history, the Museum is definitely a must.
4. The Holocaust Memorial
As one of Berlin’s newer sights, the holocaust memorial serves as a reminder of the murdered Jews of Europe. 2,711 concrete blocks that vary in height are spanned over more than one square kilometre.
Tip: The underground visitor center offers public guided tours, which last about an hour and a half and are free of charge.
5. Eastside Gallery
Berlin is well known for its creative scene that attracts many small and big name artists, musicians and actors from different parts of Germany. They all swarm into the city with the hopes of making it big or just to connect with like-minded. A part of Berlin’s street art can be seen along Mühlenstraße, the so-called ‘East Side Gallery’, where you will find the world’s largest open-air mural collection. Amazing art, featuring more than 100 artists from 21 countries, sprayed on the longest intact part of the Berlin wall.
Tip: In summer you can enjoy a beautiful walk alongside the Spree while enjoying the murals.
6. Carnival of Cultures
If you are visiting Berlin in early summer you shouldn’t miss the Carnival of Cultures. The festival celebrates the city’s cultural diversity on the Pentecost weekend in June and transforms the nation’s capital into a colourful street parade with music and dance. For four days, Berlin Kreuzberg becomes a mecca for culinary delicacies, traditional costumes, and exotic dances.
Tip: Berlin offers a big variety of open air festivals close to the Spree during summer. Have a look which festivals are on once you know your travel details.
7. Eat a “Currywurst” or a “Döner”
For me, a city trip wouldn’t be complete without trying out the local food of a country and just like the pasta in Italy, Berlin as well has its popular foods. And trust me these two won’t disappoint.
The Berliner Currywurst is very popular inside and outside of Berlin. It includes a classic German sausage with sweet ketchup and curry powder on top. It is served as a hot dish and can be combined with fries. You will find Berliner Currywurst being served all over the city and especially by food trucks.
Tip: Find one of the best Berliner Currywurst at ‘Konnopke’s’ in Prenzlauer Berg
The Döner was first introduced by the Turkish immigrants in the late 60’s and is a spin off the traditional Turkish kebab. The dish is made of pita-style bread stuffed with meat and salad and will fill you up for hours. Nowadays there are many different versions of the Döner, including vegetarian options with Falafel or salad only.
Tip: Find one of the best Döner at ‘Mustafa’s vegetable Kebap’ in Berlin Kreuzberg.
Of course Berlin has even more to offer than the tips on this list. While you can easily fill up a full week discovering the city and immersing yourself in Berlin’s history, these 7 things to do in Berlin can be done perfectly over a long weekend.
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