Sights of Berlin, Germany

The German capital Berlin is in many ways a unique city. This is partly due to recent history, in which De Muur physically divided the city into two zones for about 28 years. As a result, two parts of Berlin developed independently of each other for a while. After the Cold War and the reunification of the German Democratic Republic and the Federal Republic of Germany, Berlin became the capital of Germany in 1990. According to Existing Countries, the beautiful buildings that date from before the Second World War, combined with elements from the time of the dichotomy and the modern architecture of the last decades make Berlin a city that is really worth spending a few days. People who visited Berlin at the time of the Berlin Wall, they will no longer recognize large parts of the city. After the reunification, there was a period of planning disorder. You could almost speak of an urban planning anarchy. This has given Berlin a unique face that in no way resembles that of other European capitals. That makes Berlin a challenging city in every way.

For this city, a top 10 of highlights means that unfortunately a number of beautiful sights have to be dropped, because in the case of Berlin we could easily put together a top 25. A message that we certainly want to give in the case of Berlin: do not limit yourself to the main sights of Berlin. Go for a walk, cycle or drive and try to absorb the atmosphere of the city. There are plenty of great places that are not immediately a sight to see, but are worth visiting.

Berlin ‘s Top 10 Things to Do

#1. Berlin Wall

The Berlin Wallis the absolute number one landmark of Berlin. Even decades after the Fall of the Wall, the Berlin Wall is an important part of the city of Berlin. In the past, the Berlin Wall served as a means of preventing residents of the communist east from fleeing from Berlin to freer West Berlin. For nearly three decades, a physical partition has divided the city. Although people invariably refer to a wall, there was in fact a meter-wide border zone consisting of a 3.6 meter high concrete wall on both sides. In between was a heavily guarded area where live ammunition was fired if you wanted to flee from one side to the other.

After the Berlin Wall opened on November 9, 1989, it was quickly demolished. There are still a few places in Berlin where you can still see parts of the wall today. The most popular spot is the East Side Gallery. This is the longest surviving part of the wall: 1,316 meters in total. In the year after the fall of the wall, the different parts of the wall were painted by artists from all over the world. This part of the wall, which stands on Mühlenstrasse, is heavily visited by tourists. It stands along the public road and is therefore a free attraction.

The most realistic part of the Berlin Wall is located on Bernauer Strasse. The Gedenkstätte Berliner Maue shows a complete section of the largely disappeared border zone, including the watchtower. You can view this part of the wall from an observation tower. You can learn everything about the wall in the accompanying documentation centre.

#2. Reichstag

It becomes clear when you visit the Reichstag of Berlin that old and new, in addition to a sharp contrast, can also be very beautifully complementary. Reichstag or Reichstag Building is a parliament building in the German city of Berlin, which houses the parliament, the Bundestag. During the week there is a good chance that the government will debate in the building while you are walking around there. This stately building that dates from the nineteenth century has a unique glass dome, which you can walk through as a visitor. At the bottom of the dome, the history of Berlin is shown by means of a photo exhibition. From the roof you have a beautiful view over Berlin.

The building, which is mainly built in an eclectic style, was built around 1890. A few years before the Second World War, it was already hit by a heavy fire, Reichtagsbrand. Hitler eagerly used this moment to declare a state of emergency. During the Second World War it served temporarily as a maternity ward. Unfortunately, this building also suffered a lot of damage in the following years. A first serious restoration was carried out during the Cold War. The last significant restoration was carried out after the reunification of Germany.

A visit to the Reichstag is free. You do have to register in advance. Which can via the official site of the German Bundestag.

#3. Brandenburg Gate

At Pariser Platz is the much-photographed gateway to Berlin, the Brandenburg Gate. The gate is at the end of the Unter den Linden pageant. This wide avenue offers a wealth of beautiful buildings such as the Alte Library, the prestigious Adlon Hotel and the Berliner Staatsoper. The Brandenburg Gate is one of the icons of Berlin. In media reports about Berlin, this main gate of Berlin is often used to support the whole graphically. According to the statistics that social media can generate today, the Brandenburg Gate is in the top 3 most photographed objects in Berlin. This science attracts not only tourists.

The Brandenburg Gate is the only remaining city gate of Berlin. The current version is the second version. It was built between 1788 and 1791. The neoclassical style gives the gate an impressive stately appearance. On top of the Brandenburg Gate is a large statue: the quadriga. It is a replica made after the original was lost during World War II.

#4. Fascinating Museums

A city full of history and culture means that there are also many museums. If you want to visit all the interesting museums, you can easily spend more than a week. Therefore a small selection. On the Museum Island are the Altes Museum, the Neues Museum, the Pergamon Museum, the Bode Museum and the Alte Nationalgalerie. These museums are counted among the most important and most visited museums in Berlin. You get an insight into life in the former East Berlin in the fairly small but certainly fascinating DDR Museum.

We recommend the Deutsches Technikmuseum. This is the largest technical museum in Europe. This museum has so much to offer that you could easily spend a whole day here. Besides technology in general, the subjects of railways, aviation, shipping and cars have their own section within this museum.

#5. View from the TV Tower

The Berlin television tower has become an icon in the German capital. You can see this 368 meter high tower on many panorama photos of Berlin. The great thing is that you can also visit the Fernsehturm. You go with an elevator to a height of 203 meters. From there you have a breathtaking view of the city and the surrounding area. In clear weather you can see up to 30 to 40 kilometers away.

You can never go straight up if you want to enjoy the panorama from the Fernsehturm. You will have to buy tickets in advance for a certain time slot. If you do that on site, you can often only go up hours later. It is therefore better to buy your tickets in advance via the internet.

#6. Potsdamer Platz

Potsdamer Platz has always been an important transport hub in Berlin. Potsdamer Platz was almost completely destroyed during WWII, after which the Wall was built across the square. After the reunification, Potsdamer Platz was completely rebuilt into the modern designed square it is today. On Potsdamer Platz you will find a few segments of the Berlin Wall, one of the five remaining watchtowers and modern high-rises including the Sony Center. The Mall of Berlin is a stone’s throw away and is a popular indoor shopping mall.

At the Potsdamerplatz you can enjoy a beautiful panoramic view of Berlin. To be fair, we think this is a better (and cheaper) place to overlook the city than the iconic TV Tower. This is partly due to the fact that you can take good pictures from the outdoors. Secondly, from the Panoramapunkt Berlin you have a view over Berlin including the TV tower. You don’t have that picture when you’re standing on that tower itself. The roof terrace of Panoramapunkt Berlin is located on the 24th and 25th floors. That is high enough for a nice view.

#7. Holocaust memorial

The persecution of the Jews during the Second World War made countless victims. In commemoration of this coordinated violence against the Jewish population, the ” Denkmal für die ermordeten Juden Europas ” has been located in the heart of Berlin since 2005. It consists of 2710 gray concrete blocks varying in height from 20 cm to 4.70 meters with a spacing of 95 cm. Opinions differ as to whether it is a beautiful monument. The fact is, it’s impressive. There are several ways to design the Berlin Holocaust Memorial. The main goal is to think about what has happened and to realize that this history must not repeat itself.

#8. Gendarmenmarkt

The Gendarmenmarkt is a square in the heart of Berlin. We think it is one of the more beautiful squares in Europe. The rectangular shaped square is characterized by three buildings: in the center the Konzerthaus Berlin with two similar churches on either side of the concert hall: the Französischer Dom and the Deutscher Dom. The view from the stairs of both churches is beautiful. Our tip is to rest on the terrace in the square after visiting Berlin. Just a small moment of rest where you can enjoy the view and the relative peace of the square.

#9. Checkpoint Charlie

During the division of Berlin, there were a few passageways, where you could travel between East and West Berlin. The third passage, Checkpoint Charlie (C is the third letter of the alphabet), is a major landmark in Berlin. What you see now is a replica of the original guardhouse between the American and Russian sectors. You can complete a visit to this place by also visiting the nearby Mauer Museum, which is dedicated to the Wall.

Should you or shouldn’t you put Checkpoint Charlie in the top 10 sights of Berlin. We have had this historic place on our list for years, but have considered removing it several times. The reason for including Checkpoint Charlie in this overview is simple: it is a popular place to visit among tourists and therefore belongs on this page.

#10. Driving a Trabant

The Trabant is a car brand that used to be made in East Germany. If you lived in the east of the city during the division of Berlin and had a car, it was a Trabant. Within the GDR the Trabant dominated the streets. The moment the Berlin Wall fell, this East German car gained cult status. The Trabants based on simple technology largely disappeared from the streets of Berlin and were replaced by more modern Western cars. Today, the Trabant is seen as one of the symbols of the GDR and self-driving in a Trabant is a highlight for lovers of cars, history or Trabants in particular. By means of a Trabi-Safari you can participate in a tour through Berlin in a well-maintained Trabant. You can drive yourself and you can switch drivers along the way. A valid driver’s license is of course required.

Berlin, Germany