After a night on the bus, we arrived in Berlin in the early hours of a chilly November morning. We promptly went into the station to warm up and find the best route to our hotel. Even though it was so early in the morning and the sun was not yet up, we managed to find someone who sold us 48 hour transport tickets. This covered all travel in Berlin and discounts to many of the tourist attractions like the Berlin TV tower and the Charlottenburg Palace. I would definitely recommend you find one of these as Berlin is a big place and you certainly cannot do it all on foot! We had a fun, cultural and happy 48 hours in Berlin and here are some of the spots you absolutely cannot miss while you’re there.
Constructed between 1965 and 1969 the Fernsehturm or the Berlin TV Tower is 368 metres high and is the second tallest building in the European Union. We walked past the tower when we first arrived in Berlin and later learned that you could book to go up to a viewing point and have drinks and or dinner. We paid €19 for the both of us to go up and view Berlin from the bar. This is definitely something to put on your to do list.
We happened upon the cathedral on our way from Alexanderplatz to the Brandenburg Gate. The magnificent structure was finished in 1905 and re—inaugurated after removal of war destructions in 1993. This ornate building really does deserve more than a glance on your way past.
Situated next door to the Berlin Cathedral is the Altes Museum which was originally built to house the Prussian royal families art collection but now holds the antiquities collection of the Berlin State Museums. The sun was just coming up when we stopped here and as a result the photographs were beautiful.
The Brandenburg Gate
Our fifth stop was the beautiful, extensively photographed Brandenburg Gate. It was assembled in the 1790s by the Prussian King. I would say you should get there early in the morning as during the day leading into the evening the site is packed with tourists all trying to get the perfect picture. We got there at about eight thirty, walked around the gate, had a coffee at Starbucks.
Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe
The building for this memorial began in 2003 and ended in December 2004 . The slabs of cement or structures are meant to symbolise an uneasy or confusing atmosphere. The names of approximately three million Jewish holocaust victims are attached to an underground ‘Place of Information’.
The grand concert hall has been used as a theatre for much of its existence. This building is situated in the Gendarmenmarkt and there is some magnificent architecture surrounding this area.
The name the Western allies gave to the most well known crossing between the Berlin Wall from the West to the East sides of Germany. This structure became a tourist attraction after the reunification of Germany.
The Charlottenburg Palace
My personal favourite was the palace. Having studied the World Wars, it was really interesting to learn about the Charlottenburg Palace. We paid €14 in total to explore the inside of the magnificent, grand palace that is named after Sophie Charlotte who died before the palace was completed. Each room was decadently decorated and the history centred around Friedrich III and starring Napoleon Bonaparte was fascinating.
At the sun was setting we arrived at the Berlin Wall or at least what is left of it. There were people with their dogs and other walks along on the fresh green grass. The history of all those who tried to escape their fate in East Berlin is written on a plaque for all to see.
Another historical monument is the Reichstag building – the meeting place of the German Parliament. We had to make an appointment to go inside and see the Reichstag dome where the history of the building is on display in a glass arched ceiling that you can walk around and up to the top. There is a spectacular view of Germany and it is free as long as you make an appointment! Definitely a must see.
Soviet War Memorial
We walked to the memorial on our last overcast day in Berlin. It is situated in the Treptower Park and is easily recognisable by the tanks on either side of the tall cement block. There is a museum behind the memorial with free entry that is certainly worth having a look at. The memorial pays tribute to those who died in the Battle of Berlin in April/May 1945.
In the Tiergarten stands the Victory Column, built in 1864 after the Danish-Prussian War. In 1873 when it was inaugurated, the Prussians had also defeated Austria in the Austro-Prussian War and France in the Franco-Prussian War giving new meaning to the already impressive statue. You can pay to climb the column and look after Tiergarten from about 50 metres above the ground. This was our last stop before venturing up the TV Tower and then getting on our bus back home to the Netherlands.
We also managed to fit in Madam Tussauds on our short trip and by the time as we left, we were sufficiently exhausted after roaming around Berlin. I have spent most of my academic life studying Germany and Berlin from O’Levels to A’Levels then in my Bachelor of Journalism degree and again in my Masters in the Netherlands. Berlin specifically has a rich and prominent history and it has always been on my bucket list. I would recommend you add it to yours we absolutely loved the short time we spent in this vibrant, cultural and wonderful city! Check out our video to see some of what Berlin has to offer.