To say I fell in love with Berlin would be a huge understatement, I was infatuated with the art that seemed to decorate every building and not just random graffiti scrawled on a disused office or shop that was only fit for being destroyed, major shopping centres and bustling skyscrapers had incredible art work from floor to ceiling, a particular favourite of mine was a huge image of a monkey with ‘monkey say, monkey do’ written underneath it on a fancy office block I spotted on my way back to the airport. I was going too quickly on the train to snap it myself and I’ve scoured the internet left, right and centre but with no luck! Hopefully I’ll be going back soon for the Christmas markets and I’ll make it my mission to find it but I think out of all the awesome, awesome street art I saw that monkey was the one that truly made an impact. As a huge art, history and culture vulture I knew Berlin was going to blow my mind and luckily my colleague is from the grand city itself so she thoughtfully drew up this AMAZING itinerary for me which came in extremely useful. We purchased the Berlin Welcome Card as advised but we bought the wrong one! Our one was for transport and discounts, NOT free entry into the museums and the person who served us wouldn’t refund or change it for us so we were stuck with it so if you do purchase a Welcome Card make sure you get the right one!
I was only there for 2 days and we managed to do pretty much everything on the list although I was pretty sick (I got struck down with a cold the day I flew out, gah) and as drinking wasn’t on the agenda we didn’t hit up any of the bars. The highlights of the trip for me was definitely the cathedral and all the little markets by the canal, sitting on a deck chair there with a German beer in the sunshine watching the world go by was beautiful. I really liked the socialist museum and the Jewish museum was a real eye opener, everything we ate was really good and fairly cheap, the currywurst sausages are available on pretty much every corner and there’s a huge Turkish community so if kebabs are your thing you’ll be spoilt for choice! The little flurry of shops and restaurants by the Anne Frank museum was probably one of my favourite places to just walk around and admire the street art that adorned every wall, everything seemed to tell a story and the talent of these artists is just incredible. The weather was amazing when we were there and I would strongly advise taking an open top bus tour, especially if the sun is shining and you’re only there for a few days as you get to see a lot more than you would on foot in just under 2 hours. The bus is really good value for money, it’s around 10 euro with the Welcome Card and you can hop on and off as you please, we viewed a lot of the big attractions (including the hotel that Michael Jackson dangled his out of, out guide was really excited to tell us this LOL) and we got the best view of the holocaust memorial as well as the TV tower and it’s interesting hearing a guide telling you a bit of background history as and when you go past.
The public transport system is fantastic, with the Welcome Card all your journeys are included, you simply stamp your ticket before you make your first trip on a train, tram or bus and away you go. There’s no serious security like here in London, they seem to trust people to pay unlike over here… The trains run every few minutes, they’re clean, comfortable and it’s very easy to navigate your way around the city although we did use Google maps a lot of the time to direct us exactly where to go.
If art and history are you thing, you MUST visit Berlin.
Museum Island (Museumsinsel)
A unique ensemble of five museums in Berlin’s Spree River, UNESCO World Heritage site
Walk from S Hackescher Markt or S Friedrichstraße
|Pergamonmuseum||Three museums in one (Collection of Classical Antiquities, Museum of the Ancient Near East, Museum of Islamic Art), the best one on Museum Island||Am Kupfergraben 510178 Berlindaily 10-18, Thu 10-20|
|Bodemuseum||Baroque Museum, art from the middle ages to the 18th century||Monbijoustr. 310117 BerlinTue-Sun 10-18, Thu 10-22|
|Alte Nationalgalerie||19th century painting (Monet, Renoir etc.)||Bodestr. 310178 BerlinTue-Sun 10-18, Thu 10-22|
|Neues Museum||Egyptian Museum, Papyrus Collection, Museum of Pre- and Early History and Classical Antiquities (this museum displays the bust of the Egyptian Queen Nefertiti!!!!!)||Bodestr. 310178 BerlinMo – Wed 10 – 18,Thur 10 – 20Fr – Su 10 bis 18 h Uhr|
|Altes Museum||Berlin’s oldest museum, Classical Antiquities collection, Greek and Roman holdings||Am Lustgarten 110178 BerlinTue-Sun 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., Thu 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.|
|Anne Frank Zentrum||Safe house for persecuted Jews, Anne Frank’s Diary (German-born Jewish girl who wrote a diary while hiding with her family)||Rosenthaler Straße 3910178 BerlinS Hackescher Markt (S5, S7, S75)Tue – Sun 10-185,- Euro, red. 3 Euro,|
|DDR Museum||40 years of GDR, how life was in socialism||Karl-Liebknecht-Str. 110178 BerlinMon – Sun 10-20, Sat 10-22S Hackescher Markt (S5, S7, S75)7 Euro, red. 4 Euro|
|Checkpoint Charlie||Chronicle of the Cold War Years, escape attempts made by GDR citizens to reach the West||Friedrichstr. 4310969 BerlinMon-Sun 9-2212,50 Euro, red. 6,50 Euro (you don’t have to go into the museum, just seeing the checkpoint from the outside is enough)U Kochstr./Checkpoint Charlie(U6)|
|Jewish Museum Berlin||Two millennia of German-Jewish- history (impressive architecture!)||Lindenstr. 910969 BerlinDaily 10 am – 8 pm; Mondays 10 am – 10 pm8 Euro, red. 3 Euro.U Hallesches Tor|
|East Side Gallery||1,3 km-long painted stretch of the former Berlin wall||Mühlenstraße (near Oberbaumbrücke)10243 BerlinU Schlesisches TorU1U Ostbahnhof|
|Holocaust Memorial||Memorial honouring and remembering up to six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust (walk along the pathways into a claustrophobic maze!)||Walk from S+U Potsdamer Platz, S Brandenburger Tor or U Mohrenstraße|
You can easily see Berlin’s most important sights in one go.
Start your tour at U+S Alexanderplatz, where you can find the TV Tower (Berlin’s highest construction), the World Time Clock and the Fountain of Friendship amongst people.
Walk all the way down Karl-Liebknecht-Straße and you’ll pass The Neptune Fountain (Berlin’s most famous fountain), Berlin’s Red City Hall (home to the Berlin government and mayor) and Nikolaiviertel (Berlin’s oldest district).
Keep walking along Karl-Liebknecht-Straße and you’ll walk past the beautiful Spree river, on to Schlossplatz street and the Museum Island all the way down to the Brandenburg Gate (and the German Parliament is nearby too).
Just walk straight ahead from Alexanderplatz( first Karl-Liebknecht-Straße, then Schloßplatz, then Unter den Linden)
From Brandenburg Gate you can walk down to Potsdamer Platz (one of the most famous squares in the centre of Berlin) and pass the Holocaust Memorial. Another famous landmark is the Sony Center, also at Potsdamer Platz.
You can also discover Berlin by bus. The number 100 bus route is an ideal way to make your own sightseeing tour. Hop on the bus at Alexanderplatz and it will take you along Karl-Liebknecht-Straße towards the Brandenburg Gate. You’ll pass the Berliner Dom (Berlin Cathedral), Schloßplatz and Museum Island. Get off at “Unter den Linden” and enjoy the view of the Brandenburg Gate (really impressive at night!). And then walk to the Reichstag (German parliament).
Hop on the same bus at the “Reichstag/Bundestag” bus stop and travel past Bellevue Palace (residence of the President of Germany) towards the Victory Column (Siegessäule, monument to celebrate Germany’s victory over France in the Franco-Prussian war). The bus also takes you to Kurfürstendamm with the Kaiser Wilhelm Church. Ku’Damm (that’s how “Berliners” call Kurfürstendamm) is Berlin’s most famous shopping street (a bit like Oxford Street). The most prestigious department store “KaDeWE” is also on Ku’damm. The bus route 100 ends at Zoo (Berlin Zoologischer Garten).
Berlin has three fare zones: A, B and C. You can get tickets for AB or ABC. Most attractions are located in zone A and B, so I would recommend getting a ticket that allows unlimited travelling. Think about getting a Berlin Welcome Card Museum Island ABC (ABC since Berlin Schönefeld Airport is located in zone C), which includes unlimited travelling on public transport services for 72 hrs. This card also gives you free entry to the museums of the Museum Island. Also, you’ll get at least 25% and up to 50% discount for more than 200 tourist and cultural attractions. You can buy the Berlin Welcome Card Museum Island ABC at Schönefeld Airport (and you’ll get a free map and handy guide with the ticket). The ticket costs 40.50 Euros (about 31 pound).
Bars near your location (we stayed in Mitte)
|Aufsturz||Over 100 beers||
S Oranienburger Str.
S1 S2 S25
U Oranienburger Tor
|X-Terrain Bar||Great little cellar bar (and the last authentic one on Oranienburger Straße)||Oranienburger Str. 40 10117 BerlinS Oranienburger Str.S1 S2 S25U Oranienburger TorU6|
|Brauhaus Mitte||Good cheap German beer||Karl-Liebknecht-Straße 13S Hackescher MarktS5 S7 S75S+U Alexanderplatz Bhf|
|Wohnzimmer||German for ‘living room’ (and this is exactly how it looks like)||Lettestraße 6, 10437 Berlin,9 -4 amU Eberswalder Straße|
|Prater Garten||Berlin’s oldes beer garden||Kastanienallee 7-9,U Eberswalder Straße|
|Bar 3||Hipster arts bar||Weydingerstrasse 20 (backstreet of Torstraße)U2 Rosa Luxemburg Platz|
|Le croco bleu||Stylish cocktail bar||Prenzlauer Allee 242U Senefelderplatz|
|Konnopkes Imbiss||Berlin’s best currywurst||Schönhauser Allee 42U Eberswalder STraße|