10 things to do in Berlin

img_7209-copy

Berlin has been on my ‘must visit’ list for a long time and I finally got the chance to go in mid November. There is so much to explore in Berlin, I wanted to put together a list of my must-dos to help anyone planning a trip…

1. Take a Fat Tire Bike Tour

Berlin is very spread out due to it’s former division into East and West, so cycling is one of the best ways to get around and see the city. The Fat Tire Bike Tour covers all of the key landmarks at a leisurely pace including a stop at a beer garden for lunch. Our guide Merren shared a wealth of information at each stop, I came away feeling like I had learned so much about the history of Berlin during the 4 hour tour.

Berlin

2. Run or walk in Tiergarten

Tiergarten is the largest park in the city at 210 hectares; it was created from a former hunting reserve at the end of the 17th century and soon became a popular place for Berlin residents. The park is full of sculptures, lakes, monuments, gardens and trails making it a perfect place to run or walk. Tiergarten was at it’s best when we visited in Autumn with golden leaves falling from the trees and frost crunching underfoot.

Berlin

3. Visit the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe

The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe (also known as the Holocaust Memorial) is a 4.7-acre site which is covered with 2711 concrete slabs or ‘stelae’ arranged in rows on an undulating surface. The installation was built by American architect Peter Eisenman and opened in 2005. The meaning of the memorial is open to interpretation by the individual, but the slabs are commonly thought of as unmarked graves. Walking between the slabs is like entering a maze and it’s easy to get lost and feel a sense of unease and claustrophobia. There is also an information centre containing the names of six million Jewish holocaust victims, but unfortunately this was closed when we visited.

Berlin

4. Browse the shops at Bikini Berlin

Bikini Berlin is a concept shopping mall next to the zoo in the west side of the city. It’s full of an eclectic mix of fashion, furniture and lifestyle boutiques from independent brands and upcoming designers. After you’ve browsed the shops, grab a smoothie from ‘Funk You’ and watch the monkeys from the large windows overlooking the zoo enclosures.

Berlin

5. Go up the Fernsehturm

The Berlin Television Tower (or Fernsehturm) is visible from almost every point in Berlin and stands as the tallest building in Germany at 368m. Construction finished in 1969 and it still operates today with over 60 radio and television programs broadcast via the antenna. The lift reaches an altitude of 200m in 40 seconds and it’s well worth going up to the observation deck for panoramic views across the city.

Berlin

6. Walk along the East Side Gallery

The Berlin Wall divided the city into East and West between 1961 and 1989. After the wall was torn down, artists were invited to paint a remaining section of the wall alongside the River Spree. The East Side Gallery is covered with colourful murals and graffiti which have political or peaceful messages.  It’s the largest and longest-lasting open air gallery in the world and stands as a memorial for freedom.

Berlin

7. Pop in to the Currywurst Museum

Currywurst is Berlin’s traditional streetfood dish which consists of a steamed, then fried pork sausage covered in curried ketchup. The museum is a fun look at the history of Currywurst with interactive exhibits and games. It’s very kitsch and light-hearted which makes a change from some of the more sombre sites in Berlin. We loved the sausage shaped sofa!

Berlin

8. Learn more at the Topography of Terror

The Topography of Terror is an exhibition documenting the history of the Nazi regime throughout Europe. The museum was built on the former site of the Gestapo and SS headquarters and the Reich Security Main Office. The documentation takes an in-depth look at the propaganda and methods of control which were used during the Nazi reign of terror. It’s quite an intense and harrowing experience, but very much worth visiting.

9. Wander around Friedrichshain and Kreuzberg

Friedrichshain is a trendy neighbourhood full of boutiques, coffee shops, restaurants and nightclubs. On the opposite side of the river, Kreuzberg was inhabited by immigrants, hippies, artists and squatters during the time of the Berlin Wall. It still has an alternative vibe with entire buildings covered in graffiti. Spend an afternoon wandering around the streets soaking up the atmosphere.

Berlin

10. Check out Checkpoint Charlie

Checkpoint Charlie was a crossing point between East and West Germany during the Cold War. The name comes from this being the third crossing and Charlie being the third letter of the international spelling alphabet. It’s a popular tourist attraction now (with McDonalds and KFC right beside the guard house), but you can’t leave Berlin without seeing this iconic landmark.

Berlin

 

Have you ever visited Berlin? What were your favourite things to do?

Share:

4 Comments

  1. December 11, 2016 / 6:08 pm

    Berlin always looks so intriguing, with loads of interesting places and so much history. There’s some great ideas here, will be pinning for later!

    • December 12, 2016 / 11:21 am

      It is really interesting. Hope you get a chance to go at some point 🙂

  2. December 6, 2016 / 7:21 am

    I went in May a few years ago, and would like to go back for the Christmas markets, although it’s a bit too far to get the train to. I found the history so interesting- I didn’t know a lot about the practicalities of how people lived on the other side of the wall, and that sort of thing. There was a big park on a former landing strip but we didn’t have time to go there as we only had a couple of days- next time.

    • December 6, 2016 / 10:00 pm

      We were a bit too early for the Christmas markets, they were still setting up when we went, but I’d like to go back to them again. Yes I heard about that park on a former airport runway, but we didn’t get a chance to visit it either- hopefully next time!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *