The German capital is a city full of attractions, rich in history. From the minimal (but spine-chilling) Holocaust Memorial to the amazing building of the German Parliament and the impressive Brandenburg Gate, Berlin will offer you options for interesting things. Of course, you should not miss out on a walk under the linden trees, at the famous Unter den linden, or a climb up Europe’s tallest building, the Berlin TV Tower. The Pergamon Museum will take you on a journey back in time, while a walk around the Tiergarten Park will steal at least half a day off your time. Berlin, with so many attractions, as you see, will not let you get bored for even a second!
The German Parliament building is an example of exceptional architecture and the gaping difference between its old exterior and modern, renovated interior makes it even more stunning! The panoramic view from the building’s dome is a major wow factor, guaranteed to offer the most wonderful image for you to remember and cherish! Ascending to the dome through a spiraling staircase gives you the chance to gaze at the city from all angles, but might also cause you dizziness (like it did to Helen). In the entrance you are given an audio guide that informs you on the building and the city’s history. Bear in mind that getting inside the Parliament is not an easy task. You have two options; the first one is to wait in line for 1-2.5 hours in order to book the date and time of your visit (probably not on the same day). The second one is to book your tickets online and select the date and time that best fits your schedule. Check out our tips for one more option. Notice: you should always remember to bring your ID or passport, otherwise you will not be allowed inside. We should also mention that both you and your belongings will have to go through a safety check.
Suggested visit time: 2-3 hours
Open: 08:00-24:00 every day, entrance is allowed until 22:00 Closed: 24th & 31st of December
The know-it-all says: Ιn 1995, the artist Christo and his wife Jeanne-Claude wrapped the entire Parliament building in 100,000 m² of plastic fabric!
One of Germany’s and even Europe’s most famous monuments is the Holocaust Memorial; a morbid kind of that, if you consider its reason of existence, as it is a modern cemetery meant to pay a tribute of honor to the Jewish victims of WWII. An outdoors space filled with 2,711 rocks that vary in height and size, covering an area of an entire city block. Underneath the memorial stands a “dark” museum, where you will find lots of manuscripts, names, videos, as well as information about the events of that time period. While wandering among the rocks, but also during our tour of the museum, we were stricken by a shivering and choking feeling because of all the images that came flashing through our minds. Accessing the Memorial/museum is really easy, as it is located in the city center, a bit down the road from the Brandenburg Gate. The only downside is the long waiting line for the museum.
Suggested visit time: 1-2 hours
Open: Memorial: Always. Museum: Tuesday-Sunday. September-April 10.00-20.00 & October-March 10.00-19.00 Closed: Mondays, as well as 24th, 26th & 31st of December
The know-it-all says: Ιt is estimated that 5.4 to 6 million Jews lost their lives during that time period! How overwhelming!
The Brandenburg Gate is Berlin’s most iconic landmark, symbolizing the reunion of East and West Berlin, as it stands on their border. It is decorated with symbols from the ancient Greek mythology and was built in analogy to the Athens Acropolis’ gate, in an attempt to turn Berlin into the North’s Athens! Don’t just pass it by; read about it, wander around it and admire its beautiful style and grandeur! We recommend that you visit it both during the day and at night, as different aspects of its beauty are highlighted each time. We liked it better at night, when the captivating lighting made it look even more imposing. The Gate is located in Pariser Platz, which is paved, very clean and plainly decorated, but it is full of street musicians, animators, mascots, knights, jugglers, soldiers, flag-bearers, carriages and whatever you can imagine, so you can pose and take pictures with them! Finally, it’s worth mentioning that the square often hosts various exhibitions, events, social functions and concerts.
Suggested visit time: 1-2 hours
The know-it-all says: At first, only the royal family had the right to pass under the Gate’s central arch! Everyone else had to make do with the ones on the right and left sides!
After you have completed your tour in Pariser Platz and taken your photos of the Brandenburg Gate, your next activity must be a walk under the linden trees, or “unter den linden”! It’s one of Berlin’s most central streets, connecting the Brandenburg gate to Alexander Platz, Dom and more of the city’s central spots. One could say that it is Berlin’s Champs-Elysées (LINK)! The Linden Street is perfect for a walk, a nice cup of coffee or a meal in one of its many cafés and restaurants. You can also relax sitting on a bench and enjoy the shade under the linden trees or do some shopping. There are all kinds of shops, but the one that clearly stood out for me was Mercedes-Benz’s “Boutique” dealership, with the counterpart VW store being right across the street! No need to ask about Helen…anything that had to do with food was good enough for her! We found ourselves walking through this street both during the summer and on Christmas, each season offering something different in terms of beauty and charm. In the summer everything was blooming, creating this viridescent, breezy scenery that was just too much! On the other hand, it was so delightfully decorated during the Christmas holidays that it managed to put us immediately in the holiday mood.
Suggested visit time: 1.5-2 hours
The know-it-all says: Hitler had the 250 years old linden trees cut down and be replaced with Nazi flags! The ones you see today were planted in the 1950s!
Gendarmenmarkt is a lovely square located in Berlin’s historic center that is surrounded by three imposing buildings. The concert house is in the middle and is sandwiched between two similar churches; the German church is the one on the left and it is 5 meters taller than the French one. The latter has a 3€ entrance fee but the view from its top makes up for it, while visiting the German church is free of charge. This square does not attract as many tourists as Alexanderplatz, but it is lively nonetheless, as there are lots of cafés/restaurants, shopping malls and pubs/wine bars in the surrounding area. During the Christmas holidays it is transformed into one of the most festive squares, hosting lots of Christmas markets while various music bands playing Christmas songs entertain the crowds! The market is closed on Christmas day, but it stays open until 21.00-22.00 on weekdays. Visiting the square is a must, regardless the time of year or holiday seasons.
Suggested visit time: 40 minutes-1.5 hours (2-3 hours during Christmas holidays!)
The know-it-all says: The square was named after the French protestant military unit (“Gans d’ arms”) that had been deported!
Berlin’s Cathedral, located above the Museum Island, is pretty captivating, both on the inside and outside. It is massive, imposing, with amazing architecture and a breath-taking dome! What impressed us the most was the building’s oldness, the fact that it was surrounded by water and the unique blend of colors (blue-grey-gold). The church offers an amazing view of the city, as long as you are prepared to climb a few steps (or maybe a bit more than a few…ok, a lot!)! But if you have already visited the Television Tower, going in all the trouble for a view from the church might be unnecessary. Inside the cathedral there is a large, wooden organ, while in the basement there are graves where lots of Prussia’s rulers are buried. The only thing that we disliked was that we paid 7€ to get inside, yet if it’s worth it or not is obviously subjective. Fortunately, the waiting line is usually short. When in Berlin, it is certainly one of the attractions that you have to visit.
Suggested visit time: 1-1.5 hours
Open: Every day. April-September 09:00-20:00 & October-March 09:00-19:00. Sundays & holidays 12:00-20:00
Cost: 7€ for the standard ticket & 5€ for the reduced ticket
The know-it-all says: The eight mosaics that depict the Beatitudes, from the Sermon on the Mount, are 30 m² each and consist of around 500,000 separate tiles in 2,000 colors!
Europe’s tallest building is certainly worth visiting, despite its high ticket cost. Its height surpasses the number of days in a year by three, reaching a total of 368 meters and it offers you two very special experiences! The first one is that you can see almost all of the city’s attractions at 210 meters (!) high. The second one is the experience of using one of the fastest elevators in Europe, climbing 210 meters in a mere 16 seconds! This elevator leads to the panoramic sphere, where you can enjoy the view of the city and take some pictures. It’s noteworthy that with a clear atmosphere, visibility can reach up to 45km in the distance! But the Tower has got some disadvantages, as well. The first one is its high cost, with the price beginning at 13€ and reaching 14€ during the tourist months. The second one is that you might have to wait in line for about 30 minutes to 1.5 hour (depending on the date and time of your visit). The last one is that during busy hours the sphere gets too crowded, so you don’t get the chance to enjoy the view from all angles and take the desirable photos. Choose a clear day for your visit, without any rain or clouds, so you can enjoy it even more. The Tower also includes a Bar (LINK) perfect for some coffee or cocktails.
Suggested visit time: 1.5-2 hours
Open: March-October 09:00-00:00 & November-February 10:00-00:00
The know-it-all says: The Tower’s highest level of oscillation at the top of its antenna is almost 60cm, while at the restaurant it is just 15cm!
The Wall Memorial and East Side Gallery are the same monument…a landmark of modern history, the wall of shame, the Berlin Wall. It used to divide the city in two, but today it is Berlin’s most famous monument, serving as a museum/park that brings about a sense of awe to the visitors, reminding them of the events that took place and the role that the Wall played in history. Walking along it, you will see parts of the wall that stood there for 28 long years, many photos, videos and information, as well as an observatory. The East Side gallery, on the other hand, is the Wall’s longest part (stretching over 1.2 kilometers) that still stands today. Right after its fall, many artists painted several murals on it, with political content or expressing messages of love, freedom and peace. It’s an impressive, unique gallery and one of the free attractions that you can enjoy in Berlin. Nothing says more about Berlin than a walk along the Wall! Finally, on the other side of the wall (decorated with new-age graffiti) you will see Spree River flowing through and many Berliners and tourists having picnics or resting on its banks.
Suggested visit time: 2-3 hours
The know-it-all says: Many tried to escape through tunnels, which they would dig to pass under the wall! The most well-known is tunnel 57; follow the marks on the ground to find it!
Close your eyes and imagine that you are in a park that covers 520 acres (!) of land, almost the same as 311 football fields! Imagine that this park is 3.2 kilometers long and can host more than 15,000,000 people! Now open your eyes and walk to Tiergarten Park, located in the heart of Berlin! It used to be a hunting park for the noble, as you will discover from the plenty of statues inside it. It’s a destination perfectly fit for families, couples and groups. It is always very clean and safe, well taken care of and full of small lakes, bridges, benches, athletic fields, cycle tracks and pretty trees. Inside the park you will meet lots of people walking, exercising, having picnics, taking boat rides but also enjoying their coffee. Tiergarten has two different faces. The first one is revealed during the spring and summer months and features blooming trees, running water, vividly colored flowers and lots of people walking and taking in nature’s beauty! The one during the winter looks kind of lonely, as the trees are bare, the lakes frozen and you will only see a few people passing by (mostly stick-carrying winter walkers). On another note, the Victory Column stands on the central street (Straße des 17. Juni) that cuts the park in two. It’s a towering monument, standing 69m tall, with Nike, the Goddess of Victory, sitting at the top. It was a small price to pay, just 3€, to get to the top, climbing all 280 steps, with constant puffing and panting as our soundtrack (we didn’t struggle, of course, we are fit…did I hear chuckles?! Didn’t think so.)! But, in the end, the view from the top was worth the hustle! Finally, it’s worth mentioning that there is an organized zoo in the park’s south-west end.
Suggested visit time: 2-3 hours
Open: Park: Always. Victory Column: April-October, Monday-Friday 09:30-17:30 & November-March, Monday-Friday 09:30-18:30 Closed: December 24th
Cost: Park: Free. Victory Column: 3€.
The know-it-all says: The park is 1.7 times larger than London’s Hyde Park and 1.5 times smaller than New York’s Central Park!
This square assures you that you are in the heart of Berlin! It is the busiest square in the city that stretches over a wide area and has an important history. It is surrounded by some prominent buildings and artworks, like the Television Tower, the World Clock and the Fountain of Friendship. Berliners refer to the square as ”Alex” and it is one of the most well-known meeting spots, that’s why you will meet lots and lots of people throughout the whole day. Alexanderplatz often hosts various events and happenings, depending on the season! Don’t miss visiting it during the Christmas holidays, as the nicest Christmas markets can be found there! Aside from the shops with all kinds of delicacies, the dazzling decorations and innumerous trinkets, an ice-rink is also set up for everyone to practice their back flips…Oops, sorry, I meant ice-skating skills! If you’re around during the holidays, don’t forget to try some Poffertjes and drink mulled wine! Street markets are also set up in the summer and lots of events take place, while people swarm the square! We can say with all certainty that Alexanderplatz will be bustling, regardless the time of your visit.
Suggested visit time: 2-3 hours
The know-it-all says: The square that nowadays stands in the heart of the city was once a cattle market, located outside the city walls!
On Museum Island, formed by Spree River, you will find the Pergamon Museum. It is the most renowned of all the five museums on the island, because of the famous Pergamon Altar, to which it owes its name. On the outside, the museum looks pretty plain and does not paint the picture for what the visitors are about to see. That’s why we expected a museum like any other, but we were surprised, to say the least. Not so much by the number but by the exhibits themselves that were taken whole and placed in the museum. We traveled back in time and got to the Pergamon Altar, we passed through the enchanting Market Gate of Miletus and the remarkable Ishtar Gate of Babylon! The museum is divided in three wings; the one of the Greek antiquities, with findings from the Archaic, Classical, Hellenistic and Roman Periods; the one of the Middle East with Assyrian, Sumerian and Babylonian exhibits and, finally, the Islamic Art wing, where you can see the Mshatta Facade, taken from an Indonesian palace. You can also visit the island’s Old Museum, hosting Greek and Roman exhibits, the Bode Museum with Byzantine art collections, the New Museum with findings related to the Prehistoric Period, the Egyptian civilization and modern history and, last but not least, the National Gallery that exhibits the works of art of some great artists like Manet, Monet and Renoir. This museum complex, and especially the Pergamon Museum, will leave you the best of impressions so do yourself a favor and pay it a visit.
Suggested visit time: 2.5-3 hours
Open: Every day 10:00-18:00
Cost: Pergamon Museum: Standard ticket 12€, reduced ticket 6€. Ticket for all the museums: Standard 18€, reduced 9€. The prices include the audio guide
The know-it-all says: Τhe findings from the city of Pergamon were sold by the Turkish authorities for just 20,000 German marks! The Germans struck quite the bargain on this one!
Travelen.eu is regularly updated on ticket costs and operating hours, but you should always visit your choice of destination’s official site for confirmation.