Berlin being a historically enriched city of Germany, is a preferred destination for history buffs. The capital city is a melting pot of cultures and can be intimidating at the first glance. But once you feel the pulse of the city, Berlin can be one exciting European capital city to explore. With its vibrant culture, finest architectural treasures, monuments, scenic lakes, museums, exciting party scenes, non-stop events and the tangible history, the city never fails to mesmerize you. Known as the City of Freedom, there is always something going on in Berlin. The city never sleeps.
Berlin is a fascinating city. Every corner screams loud about the past as you walk by. Whether it is visiting the Checkpoint Charlie, passing by the famous Berlin wall or getting awestruck by the Prussian palace, it can be an overwhelming experience to indulge in everything that Berlin has to offer. The city is a perfect combination of glamour and grit. In spite of its extremely busy look, the city runs quite smoothly, where traffic moves freely, public transport network works brilliantly; there are well defined roads and pavements can be a breeze for walkers. From history laden paths and corners to the most quirky and happening nightlife, Berlin is one intriguing city which should be on everyone’s bucket list when it comes to Europe.
The capital city of Germany offers a lot to its tourists. Here I am going to highlight some of the “Not To Be Missed” places for first time visitors to Berlin. This is a travel guide and a perfect itinerary for 24 hours in Berlin.
The Brandenburg Gate
The Brandenburg gate is an iconic landmark of the capital city of Germany, Berlin. When you are in the city, a visit to this historic site is absolutely mandatory. The symbol of peace and unity, the Brandenburg gate, was once regarded as the symbol of a divided nation. Standing in the Mitte district’s Pariser Platz, this eye-arresting gate is 26 meters tall and its design was inspired by the Propylaea in Athens’ Acropolis. Commissioned by King Frederick Wilhelm II in 1788, the gate was built in 1791.
One of the most important monuments in the history of Germany, the Brandenburg Gate is surrounded by the luxury Adlon Hotel and French and US embassies. Due to its strategic position, the blocked gate along with the Berlin wall became the frequent site for demonstrations by West Berliners. It also became one important site as it served as the backdrop of US President Ronald Reagan’s 1987 entreaty with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to tear down the wall. This is definitely a must visit place in the city of Berlin.
Checkpoint Charlie is another tourist attraction in Berlin. This was the most famous crossing point between East and West Germany during the cold war. It is a reminder of the former border crossing, partition of the Berlin wall and the cold war. You will still find the barrier, the checkpoint booth, the flag and the sandbags on the original site. It is one of the popular sites in the city and has also become a great place for taking photos. The Tourists flocks around to take photos at Checkpoint Charlie.
From 1961 to 1990, the Checkpoint Charlie functioned as the only gateway which allowed journalists, diplomats, and non German visitors to enter East Berlin on one day Visa after exchanging their Deutsch Marks on one to one basis for East Germany currency. Many desperate East Germans used the Checkpoint Charlie to flee to the West. It was also used occasionally for swapping prisoners during cold war. While visiting the famous Checkpoint Charlie, don’t forget to visit the Checkpoint Charlie Museum as well.
The Berlin Wall memorial (East Side Gallery)
How can you miss the famous Berlin wall memorial (East Side Gallery) while exploring this exciting destination in the capital of Germany?The famous Berlin wall fell on 9th November 1989 and it marks the 30th year of the fall of the Berlin wall. Don’t miss visiting the longest extent section of the wall that runs for 1.3 kilometres. Located alongside the River Spree, the wall was painted by 118 artists from 21 countries. It makes the wall as the longest open air gallery in the world. This is a visual delight for the art lovers. It has also become a great Instagram worthy place for millennials.
Another important site in Berlin is the Reichstag Building. It is one of the most significant buildings that has been a witness to the German’s poignant history. The Neo Renaissance building was designed by Paul Wallot and was completed in 1894. It served as the home of the German Empire’s Imperial Diet until it got burned in 1933. It underwent a ten-year reconstruction and finally became the home of the German Parliament in 1999. Until then, it was not used. The attractive feature of the building is the huge glass dome that offers spectacular views of the surrounding city, especially at night from the Rooftop Restaurant. It has become the most prominent building that attracts hundreds and thousands of visitors each year.
Berlin’s TV tower dominates the skyline of the capital city of Germany. It is the tallest building in Germany. Built in 1969 by the GDR, it gives you jaw-dropping panoramic views of the entire city. This iconic building attracts millions of tourists every year. It is also the highest building in Europe which is open to public. The tower was designed by the Hermann Henselmann and the group of architects and was completed within four years. After the German reunification, the TV tower became significant. It was no longer the symbol of East Germany, but it became the new identity in the Germany’s cityscape. Over 200 meters up, it has a viewing platform which gives the most astounding views of the city and its surroundings. It also houses the famous revolving Sphere restaurant. It is advisable to book your table online to avoid unnecessary queues.
The Gendarmenmarkt is one of the largest squares in Berlin. The square is surrounded by the three landmark buildings: the Konzerthaus, the French Cathedral (Französischer Dom), and the German Cathedral (Deutscher Dom). The 17th century square is one of the top attractions in the city. It hosts numerous public events throughout the year. In summer, orchestras play the most beautiful classical music at the Classic Open Air. In winter the square becomes the stunning white Christmas market, giving you the feeling of a winter wonderland. It is a great place to sit and watch the Berlin pass by.
When you are in Berlin, visiting the Museum Island is mandatory if you are someone who loves to turn the pages of history. Located between the River Spree and the Kupfergraben in a 400-meter-long canal, Spree Island is the imposing cluster of five treasure-houses. It is undeniably one of the highlights of Berlin. Declared a Unesco World Heritage Site in 1999, the Museum Island showcases the most accomplished art and cultural history from the Stone Age to the 19th century. It is nothing less than a treasure trove. Visiting these museums take you back to the bygone eras.
You will find the city’s oldest and most important museums here.The first and the oldest of the museums is the Altes Museum, built in 1830 to house the Crown Jewels and other royal treasures. The New Museum (Neues Museum), houses the extensive collections from the Egyptian Museum, the Papyrus Collection, and the Collection of Classical Antiquities. The Old National Gallery (Alte Nationalgalerie), opened in 187. It displays Neoclassical sculpture and paintings from 1815-1848, as well as Impressionist and early Modernist pieces. Another one is The Bode Museum which houses a collection of Byzantine art, as well as a large sculpture collection spanning from medieval times to the late 1700s. The famous Pergamon Museum features a Museum of Islamic Art, the Ishtar Gate, and reconstructed historic buildings from the Middle East.
If you are a Shopaholic, a visit to city’s most popular shopping boulevard is a must. No trip to Berlin will be complete without some shopping experience at the city’s famous shopping street in Kurfürstendamm. It is the heart of the western city centre.It begins at Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church and runs three kilometers to the residential area called Halensee in the west. One of the most vibrant and busy street scene in Berlin, the Kurfürstendamm houses the high-street chains and designer boutiques and also the latest in streetwear or couture. It is also famously known as Ku’Damm.
In earlier days, The Kurfürstendamm was initially a type of path that led to a hunting lodge in Grunewald. With time, the path got transformed and in the beginning of the 20th century, it has become the most liked streets of the city. Soon it became the hub for intellectuals and artists, which was accompanied by the construction of the cafés, cabarets and night clubs and first theatres. Unfortunately the area was badly damaged by the air raids during the Second World War. During the era of East and West Berlin, before the unification of Berlin, Kurfürstendamm became the heart of West Berlin. It was even compared to the Champs Élysées in Paris. After the reunification, it had lost its monopoly and Potsdamer Platz was transformed into the hub of the city. But it still retains its old charm and is one of the shopping street which is still a shopper’s delight.
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