“Berlin combines the culture of New York, the traffic of Tokyo, the nature of Seattle, and the historical treasures of, well, Berlin,” Japanese political scientist Hiroshi Motomura once said. 72 hours to discover it all is too short a time frame, but it is enough to be fascinated by its main attractions. The important thing is to know where to go.
The tour we offer ranges from east to west, from imperial Berlin to what remains of the Wall, touching the main symbolic places of the city: monuments, squares and museums without forgetting the liveliest areas for evening and night-time entertainment.
Table Of Contents
Start your first day at the Urania Weltzeituhr at Alexanderplatz, the universal clock located in the center of the most famous city square. Looking around you will find mainly buildings built in the 1970s of the GDR. A real blast from the past to frame the continuous flow of people, tourists and locals, who leave the equally symbolic elevated underground station.
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Impossible from there not to notice the television tower located behind the station. From the top you can enjoy a phenomenal panoramic view of the city, moreover at a reduced rate with the Berlin Welcome Card . Enjoy the view over breakfast or brunch in the Sphere restaurant, which rotates on its axis at a height of over 200 metres.
Continuing west, on the left side, you can see the Rotes Rathaus, the red Town Hall, seat of the mayor and city government. On its side, in the direction of the Spree river, nestled between Rathausstraße and Mühlendamm, lies the Nikolaiviertel , or the old fishing area that maintains the colors and shapes of Berlin from centuries ago.
Continuing west you finally cross the Spree River to find yourself on Museum Island. On the right side you will find the Berliner Dom with its gigantic gigantic dome that can be visited as well as the rest of the Duomo. Inside are the tombs of the Hohenzollern imperial family and the bodies of some of the most important figures in Europe with about 100 coffins from the 4th century.
Museum Island is one of the city's major attractions and the area with the highest concentration of museums per square meter in the world. In addition to the Cathedral, it is made up of five museums: the Altes Museum, the Neues Museum, the Pergamonmuseum, the Bode-Museum and the Alte Nationalgalerie.
Everyone has their own admission ticket, but you can enter them for free thanks to the Berlin Welcome Card Museumsinsel. Especially in good weather, it is advisable to take a walk through the narrow streets that divide the museum, take a look at the right bank that overlooks Monbijoux Park and, in particular, walk along the flea market located along the Kupfergraben.
Arrive at the other side of Museum Island. Here you should visit Berlin's new forum for culture, art and science: The Humboldt Forum . After crossing the bridge you are already on the Unter den Linden. On the right side is the Deutsches Historische Museum , the German History Museum. The cost of the entrance ticket to the Museum is reduced if in possession of the Berlin Welcome Card.
Immediately after, always on the right, is the Neue Wache (New Guard), an evocative monument dedicated to the victims of war and despotism designed by Karl Friedrich Schinkel with the statue of a Pietà Käthe Kollwitz inside.
On the opposite side of Unter den Linden is the Staatsoper Unter den Linden (opera house) still under restoration. Adjacent are St. Hedwigs cathedral and Bebelplatz, the square where the Nazis burned the books on May 10, 1933. Behind the square, then further away from Unter den Linden, along a couple of narrow streets, you arrive at Gendarmenmarkt , probably the square most beautiful in Berlin.
Enjoy the harmonic atmosphere from the Konzerthaus squeezed between the twin cathedrals (French and German) and the many café-bars that frame the square.
Behrenstraße starts from here on the west side of the square. Going along it you arrive at the Komische Oper (Comic Opera Theater) and the Monument of Jewish Victims in Europe , also known as the Holocaust Memorial, 2,711 concrete steles placed at different levels capable of suggesting the sense of bewilderment of those who suffered the Nazi madness.
From there, walking along the Ebertstraße you will find yourself next to another of the symbols of Berlinç the Brandenburg Gate . There are few buildings linked to Berlin's history as is the former city gate, which, with the fall of the Wall, has also become a symbol of German reunification.
Cross it and visit the opposite and elegant Pariser Platz and then go back through the gate again and recognize the Siegessäule (Victory Column) from a distance and, this closer, the two wings of the Tiergarten park.
With your back to the Brandenburg Gate, on the right side we will have another symbol of Berlin: the Reichstag, or the seat of the German parliament with its beautiful dome designed by Norman Foster. It is possible to book a free tour of the dome from the Deutschen Bundestag website.
The Reichstag is the first building in a larger area, the Regierungsviertel , of only ministerial buildings such as its neighbors the Paul-Löbe-Haus, the Marie-Elisabeth-Lüders-Haus and the Bundeskanzleramt (Federal Chancellery) to the west.
To conclude the tour, we recommend a good drink at the Capital Beach, a bar on the bank of the Spree with a view of the Hauptbahnhof , the central station, or a beer at the Zollpackhof on the other side of the river.
From here head towards the Hackeschen Markt square where every day, until mid-afternoon, you can enjoy a small but original market while in the evening it transforms into one of the city areas with the greatest concentration of bars and restaurants where you can enjoy the end of day.
Heading to Charlottenburg Palace is a great start to your second day in Berlin. Summer residence of the Prussian royal family from the 17th to the early 20th century, today it is a magnificent testimony to the royalty of the time both by visiting the rooms of the structure (entrance ticket required) and by walking (free) inside the splendid park Rococo style.
You can also visit the Käthe Kollwitz Museum in the theater building of the palace complex.
South of the Castle are several important Berlin museums. Specifically: the Museum Berggruen, the Sammlung Scharf-Gerstenberg, the Bröhan Museum and the Villa Oppenheim.
From Schustehruspark, opposite Villa Oppenheim, continue towards Schustehrusstraße and Gierkeplatz, to arrive first at the Keramikmuseum and then at Richard-Wagner-Platz.
From there, taking metro line U7 heading east, you'll arrive at Adenauerplatz, right in the middle of the legendary Kurfürstendamm (often called simply Ku'damm), Berlin's renowned shopping boulevard.
Walking along it you will find both department stores and boutiques of the most prestigious fashion brands in the world. The charm of the boulevard is composed by the elegant buildings on its sides, not surprisingly the headquarters of some of the most beautiful hotels in the city.
At the end of the Ku'damm another attraction awaits you: the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtnis-Kirche church located on the infamous Breitscheidplatz due to the attack. The church is made up of two independent structures.
One, the one with the hole in the roof, is what remains after the Allied bombings of 1945. It has never been restored so that it is a reminder to the city of what war means. The one next door was built to replace it to represent peace and reconciliation.
Surrounding the church are several high-rise buildings and shopping centers such as the Europa-Center, the oldest shopping center in Berlin and the elegant Bikini Haus. From here, walk along the Tauentzienstraße until you find the Kaufhaus des Westens (KaDeWe), one of the best-known shopping centers in Germany, on the right-hand side.
A quick tour is enough to understand the quality of the goods inside. Not only fashion, but also objects, furniture and, on the top floors, even culinary delicacies to buy or eat on the spot.
Soon after you will find the beautiful Wittenbergplatz square. Take Ansbacher Straße on the left and then, immediately on the left, a small stretch of Kurfürstenstraße to arrive in front of the Berlin Zoo and Aquarium, both affiliated with the Berlin Welcome Card.
You can continue the rest of the day in the Monkey Bar on the top floor of the 25hours Hotel Bikini Berlin. The cocktail bar has a panoramic terrace from which you can admire the Tiergarten and the western part of the city.
On warmer days, you can alternatively stay at the Schleusenkrug, a lovely outdoor bar overlooking the Landwehrkanal canal inside the Tiergarten.
The last 24 hours can be used to immerse yourself in the daily life of the city, starting right from the late breakfast, the so-called (English) Brunch. Afterwards, you can stroll along the Spree, by the canal. It is worth trying one of the many Cafés along the Landwehrkanal in Kreuzberg or the Neuköllner Schifffahrtskanal in Neukölln. You can also enjoy the colorful Turkish market.
Stroll along the canal in the direction of Vor dem Schlesischen Tor until you find yourself in front of some of the coolest bars/clubs in Berlin: the Club der Visionäre, the IPSE, the Freischwimmer and, a little further down, the Badeschiff, the swimming pool Spree (open only in summer) located in front of the Arena club.
If it's too early to enter a club, take Schlesische Straße and then Falckensteinstraße on the right to get to the Oberbaumbrücke . From here you have a great view of the city, both towards the center and the Alexanderplatz TV Tower, and towards the east with the spectacular Molecule Men monument.
At the end of the Oberbaumbrücke, on the left side, the East Side Gallery begins , the longest piece of the Wall (1300 meters) left standing, decorated first in 1989 and then in 2014, with more than 100 murals by artists from all over the world.
The best known works are undoubtedly the fraternal kiss between Honecker and Brèžnev and the Trabant that breaks through the Wall with the inscription Test the rest.
If you want to escape from the hustle and bustle of the metropolis for a while, Berlin naturally also offers several alternatives. One above all is the one represented by Spandau and its picturesque Citadel surrounded by the Havel river.
Another valid option is represented by Marzahn, a typical district of East Berlin, home to the splendid Gärten der Welt (Gardens of the World) and a Skywalk . Also to the east, on the edge of the city, there is Köpenick, another town with its own center and a suggestive access to Lake Müggelsee and the starting point for various boat tours along the canals that characterize its surroundings.
Speaking of lakes: if the Wannsee offers the idea of being at the sea thanks to its fully equipped beach, the Schlachtensee instead has the advantage of an almost uncontaminated environment completely immersed in the forest.
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