Berlin's best pitstops
Berlin is one of Europe's largest cities, and it can be difficult to get an overview of everything there is to see.
If it's your first trip to Berlin, however, there are a number of must-see attractions that most people would like to see.
Here you get an overview of the attractions - both the big and well-known and the more secret and local ones, so you can plan an exciting trip to Berlin.
The symbol of Berlin
When you are on a weekend trip to Berlin, you must go through the Brandenburg Gate. Besides being one of the most visited attractions in Berlin, the Gate has been a landmark for Berlin and Germany for over 200 years.
Initially a symbol of Germany's division and later a symbol of freedom. The Gate was part of Berlin's city wall and served as a customs point for the city's traders.
At the top, you will find the goddess of peace in a huge copper-cast chariot. The fierce chariot flies atop twelve 15-meter high columns. When your neck starts to hurt from staring up at the impressive city gate, which has survived quite a bit, you can take a well-deserved break at the Starbucks right across the street and recharge for the next pit stop.
This is one of the attractions in Berlin that is always open. Additionally, it requires neither ID nor special attire to go through.
Find the Brandenburg Gate at Pariser Platz, 10117 Berlin.
The petrified forest
"It happened, therefore it can happen again," wrote Primo Levi. Levi was an Italian author, chemist, and Jew who, during World War II, was imprisoned in Monowitz, a subcamp of the Auschwitz concentration camp.
One of the more significant attractions in Berlin is the Holocaust Memorial, which resembles a forest of concrete, serving as a reminder of the Nazis' systematic murder of up to 6 million Jews.
The gray memorial is situated in the heart of the city among embassies and ministries to signify its importance to the German people and Germany.
There is no deeper explanation for the monument, but for many, its 2,711 concrete pillars symbolize a cold and petrified forest. Beneath the cold ground is a museum that describes the Holocaust and the life stories of selected victims in words and a few pictures. It is an extremely touching visit that provides food for thought.
The Memorial is one of the most popular attractions in the city and is therefore often crowded, so be prepared for some waiting time.
Experience the Holocaust Memorial at Cora-Berliner-Straße 1, 10117 Berlin.
Come closer to the Cold War
Today, there are no borders for crossing between the former East and West Berlin. However, historical remnants remain at Checkpoint Charlie, which was the most famous border crossing when the city was divided into east and west from 1945 to 1990.
After the fall of the Berlin Wall, it has become one of the more talked-about attractions in Berlin and a symbol of the division between east and west during the Cold War. Today, you can see a replica of the barracks one had to pass through when crossing the border.
Right next to it, you'll find the Mauermuseum (Wall Museum). It houses documentation from the many spectacular escape attempts from east to west and tells the story of the wall. Over the years, 5,075 people fled from east to west, but only 4,067 survived. If you turn down Zimmerstrasse, which crosses Friedrichstrasse, you can see historical fragments of the wall. Checkpoint Charlie and Mauermuseum are two attractions in Berlin that both give you a piece of Berlin's grim history.
It is an exciting, but also very overwhelming experience to check in at Charlie. But definitely a must-see attraction on your weekend trip to Berlin.
Experience Checkpoint Charlie at Friedrichstrasse 43-45, 10117 Berlin.
Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church
A contrast in churches
When shopping on Kurfürstendamm, make a special beauty stop along the way. Here you'll find a Berlin attraction colloquially known as the Lipstick & and the Powder Box - namely the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church.
When the church was bombed during World War II, the bell tower took a hit and now resembles the top of a lipstick. At that time, it was decided not to undertake any major surgical interventions, so the church still stands with its cosmetic damages.
In contrast, the tower can powder its nose in the new church next door, which presents a strong yet well-balanced contrast to the old one with its blue glass panels covering both the church building and the 53-meter-high bell tower with chapel.
The church is open every day, and there is no admission fee, so there's no excuse not to visit the memorial church, which is simultaneously a symbol of destruction and renewal, as war brings.
Visit the church at the following address: Breitscheidplatz, 10789 Berlin.
Thailand in Germany
One of the attractions in Berlin known as a well-hidden gem is the small park, Preussenpark. Even though Berlin is brimming with delicious restaurants, here you will land in food heaven and be transported directly to Thailand for just 5 euros.
Indulge in noodle soup until you're breathless, eat sticky rice you'll never forget, and enjoy fresh spring rolls that will make you want to move to the East forever.
When your pants are about to burst, you can relax in the cozy green park with a good book or a game of chess with the family Thailand.
Remember to mark this Berlin attraction in your calendar, as the food market is only open on weekends from 12:00 PM to 6:00 PM and only in good weather. Remember to bring cash and your Thai mini phrasebook.
Visit Preussenpark at Brandenburgische Str. 10707 Berlin.
East Side Gallery
Politics in art
In the middle of Berlin stand the surviving remnants of the wall that divided East and West Berlin during the GDR era. This has formed the basis for the art project, East Side Gallery. The wall has become a canvas stretching over more than 1,300 meters. It was decorated by artists from 21 countries shortly after the fall of the wall, and in 1990, the outdoor exhibition officially opened. Today, the East Side Gallery stands as a protected monument.
As you embark on the poignant journey along the wall, you will be struck by over 100 paintings that portray political changes from around the time of the wall's fall. It is a visual experience that is worth the walk.
Over the years, the wall has unfortunately been affected by weather and graffiti, but in 2009, some of the paintings were repainted and today stand sharply defined. So, you don't have to worry that only poor remnants are left. However, in 2012, 60 meters of the exhibition's wall course were removed. If you wonder how this could happen when the monument is protected, it has not been without protests. The wall may be further removed to make way for parking lots and new buildings, so it's all about visiting the outdoor art gallery while it still stands fresh.
Find the East Side Gallery at Mühlenstrasse 3-100, 10243 Berlin.
Lavish church visit
It is undoubtedly a royal experience to visit Berliner Dom, Berlin's magnificent cathedral. The cathedral is the largest Protestant church in Germany in terms of area, so there is plenty to see.
The building was completed in 1905, and it is constructed in the styles of Italian High Renaissance and Baroque, which has given the church's interior and exterior its utterly extravagant details. However, this doesn't mean that the church has had an easy life in its more than 100 years. It was rebuilt after bombings in 1944 and has undergone a later restoration.
When you're done observing the impressive decorations, if one can ever be, you can take a trip up to the church tower or a quiet look at the crypt, where the royal family rests.
The beautiful cathedral is also the site for musical events, art exhibitions, and state church services, attended by heads of state and influential political figures – in addition to regular church services.
Visit Berliner Dom at the address: Am Lustgarden, 10178 Berlin.
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Berlin's TV Tower
Berlin's 368-meter-tall landmark
When you're in Berlin, you can't miss spotting a tall tower with a spherical platform. This remarkable part of the city's skyline is the Berliner Fernsehturm, which is Berlin's TV tower.
The 368-meter-tall TV tower is a well-known landmark of Berlin, offering both great views and authenticity. It was built between 1965-69 and has stood since the reunification of East and West Berlin in 1989.
Today, the tower is not just for show. It is still operational, broadcasting radio and TV channels to the citizens. If you're not afraid of heights, you should head to the top.
An observation deck is located 203 meters above the city, offering a fantastic 360-degree view of the German capital, and here you'll also find Bar 203. In this stylish restaurant and bar, you can enjoy a quick meal or order a local drink while admiring the cityscape.
Each year, more than a million people visit the TV tower, so it's advisable to book your ticket in advance to avoid long queues.
Visit Berlin's TV tower at Panoramastraße 1A, 10178 Berlin.
German Museum of Technology
Technology for kids and adults like
Today's children and youth find it hard to imagine a world without computers, and they may never learn what a pencil and a cassette tape have to do with each other.
Whether you remember the Commodore 64 or not, take an exciting journey through the history, development, and importance of technology at the German Museum of Technology, Deutsches Technikmuseum. The museum has a total of 14 different departments that bring you close to technological development in Germany and around the world. Here, you can see genuine models of ships, hot air balloons, and steam locomotives. You can also learn about the famous printing press of the German goldsmith Johann Gutenberg. In the museum park, you can also look at windmills, watermills, and a brewery.
The museum has a science center, Science Center Spectrum, which is the oldest of its kind in Germany. There are more than 150 stations where you can experiment with various technological machines. It's ideal for children, who can unfold their creativity.
Visit the German Museum of Technology at Trebbiner Straße 9, 10963 Berlin.
The German Parliament
The building of the German people
Germany's parliament, the Reichstag, is an important and magnificent building in German democracy. It's easy to understand why this historic gem is a popular tourist attraction in Berlin.
On the building's facade, it says: "Dem Deutschen Volke," meaning "For the German People," but the building served as the parliament for the empire under Emperor Wilhelm II when it was constructed in 1900. After World War I, the German Republic was proclaimed, and the building then housed the parliament for the democratic government. This lasted until the Nazis took power in Germany in 1933. In the same year, the Reichstag was set on fire, which the Nazis used as one of the arguments for tightening their grip on Germany.
During a reconstruction after World War II, several repairs were made. At the same time, a beautiful dome was constructed behind the facade of the building, which you can visit today.
When you visit the Reichstag, you will be security-checked before being allowed entry. Therefore, you should make sure to have identification, such as a passport, with you.
Visit the Reichstag at Reichstagsgebäude, Platz d. Republik 1, 10557 Berlin.
Ta’ flugten ind i Berlins baggård
Haus Schwarzenberg's backyard is Berlin's street art hotspot. Once you walk through the entrance, a true treasure trove of street art, galleries, cafes, and even a monster cabinet unfolds. The backyard exudes authentic Berlin atmosphere, taking you beneath the surface and away from the neighborhood's otherwise neat residential areas.
Enjoy the ambiance and a cool refreshment in the courtyard before exploring the walls' street art and the galleries' experimental art. In the Der Neurotitan gallery and shop, you will always find new, exciting exhibitions, a wide selection of electronic music from underground artists, and unique design effects.
Don't miss a visit to the monster cabinet, where the local artist group, Dead Chickens, animates computer-controlled robots and mechanical monster figures to provide entertainment. In the basement, you are led through a playful universe where the figures come to life, singing and dancing through a dead amusement park that is revived. A new show starts every hour.
Set aside plenty of time for a visit to Haus Schwarzenberg. There is much to see in the house, which also offers a cinema, bars, underground clubs, small gallery workshops, and unique shopping with new, unknown brands you won't find on either Kurfürstendamm or in Kaufhaus des Westens.
Address: Rosenthaler Strasse 39, 10178 Berlin.
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Check in and chill out
Berliners know how to repurpose landmarks from a tumultuous history into new symbols of freedom and community. Tempelhof is a prime example of this. The former airport, once a colossal monument to Nazi Germany's grandeur, has been transformed into a vast open space, Tempelhofer Feld.
The runways, where planes once took off during the Berlin Airlift with supplies for West Berlin, have been converted into a large public park. Here, you can go roller skating or skateboarding, and on the grass, you can meet with locals, fire up the grill, and fly kites if the wind allows.
Besides the alternative park, you can also explore the history of Tempelhof Airport with guided tours in the impressive building, exhibitions at the rooftop gallery, and further up in the control tower, which is also open to the public.
Tempelhofer Feld is like a trip out of the city without having to leave it. And how cool is it to be able to zoom on roller skates down the runway?
Address: Platz d. Luftbrücke 5, 12101 Berlin www.thf-berlin.de
Ballhaus Berlin og Kleine Nachtrevue
Berlin, boheme, burlesque
Take a trip back to 1920s Berlin with everything it entails: poker games, Charleston, swing, pearl necklaces, headbands, and dance, dance, dance. The roaring twenties are alive and well, and there are plenty of opportunities for you to join the party.
In the 1920s, Chaussestrasse in Berlin Mitte was swinging, and it still is. Here lies Ballhaus Berlin, which rightfully calls itself the home of the twenties. The place has existed since 1905 and creates the most original setting where you can experience variety shows, cabaret, and of course, lots of dancing!
If you're into the more pure and daring burlesque, it's worth finding your way to the theater bar Kleine Nachtrevue. Here, the culture of burlesque is practiced with great enthusiasm and a good dose of liberation.
Ballhaus Berlin, Chausseestraße 102, 10115 Berlin www.ballhaus-berlin.de
Kleine Nachtrevue, Kurfürstenstraße 116, 10787 Berlin www.kleine-nachtrevue.de
Singing in the park
One of the things you must see in Berlin is Bearpit Karaoke. 1 microphone, 2 speakers, 5000 songs, and really many people. That's the recipe for Bearpit Karaoke and a festive Sunday afternoon in Mauerpark.
The weekly singing party started as a small thing in 2009 by Joe Hatchiban, who traveled around with his mobile sound system, giving people the chance to bring out their inner entertainer. Since then, it has grown immensely, and today more than 2000 people gather in the park every Sunday around 3 PM. Everyone can grab the microphone, and regardless if you are a true crooner or just a happy and brave amateur, the audience is with you all the way.
Bearpit Karaoke is often described as the absolute best free entertainment Berlin has to offer. The atmosphere becomes truly magical when the crowd cheers and responds with standing ovations to nervous starlets who turn out to have huge singing talents.
Grab a cold Weissbier under your arm, and go to Bearpit Karaoke in Mauerpark. It's every Sunday from April to October and is only canceled if it's pouring rain.
Address: Mauerpark, Gleimstraße 55, 10437 Berlin