Berlin, the capital of Germany, was once a divided city. A city split in two by a concrete wall and guard posts, but in 1989 the wall was brought down. Germany, and later Berlin, were reunified. I mention this first, as the city was split for nearly 30 years and it had a profound effect on the culture and life of the city.
There is a lot to see and do in Berlin, so we recommend you pack a travel adapter with USB into your hand-luggage and keep it with you. That way, you can always charge your phone and camera using the USB sockets.
There are still remnants of the wall and one place you should visit is Checkpoint Charlie, the infamous crossing point where American and East German troops had a stand-off. There is also a good museum here telling the story through images and displays.
Now in happier times, Berlin is a cosmopolitan and cultured city with a rich history and much to recommend it.
Getting to Berlin is easy, with Autobahns leading in from all directions, long-distance rail lines connecting all the major German cities and two airports served by major airlines. The new Berlin Brandenburg Airport is being built and will eventually replace the other two by around 2026.
So where to visit in this great city?
Well if museums and galleries are your thing, then you’ll be spoiled for choice as there are over 500! Take a look at this list of Berlin museums and galleries for an idea. Museum Island is home to many, including the Bode Museum, Altes Museum and Pergamon Museum, and is itself a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Other sites not to miss include the Brandenburg Gate, built in the 18th century by the Prussian King Frederick William II and is one of the most famous landmarks in Germany. Next to the gate, you’ll find the Tiergarten, an inner-city park covering around 520 acres. It’s one of Berlin’s most popular parks, containing the Berlin Zoo, many ponds and English style gardens.
In the northern corner of the park is the Reichstag, the home of Germany’s parliament. The building is open to the public but should be booked online in advance and is certainly worth a visit for the rooftop terrace and dome giving a 360o view across Berlin. There is also a rooftop restaurant which needs to be booked in advance.
Berlin is home to many beautiful parks, making it a very green city and a pleasant place to be. Along with just chilling for an afternoon, the parks offer numerous activities such as running, biking, canoeing and much more. The Tiergarten is the biggest and most popular, but there are plenty more Berlin parks to visit.
Despite the devastation brought to Berlin during the second world war, many great buildings still survive, including the Charlottenburg Palace and Gardens. Built in the 17th century, set in large formal gardens surrounded by woodland, this palace was the epitome of Prussian opulence and was the primary home of German royalty.
At the Gendarmenmarkt you’ll find three historic Berlin buildings. The Konzerthaus is home to the Berlin Symphony Orchestra, the French Cathedral houses the Huguenot Museum and the German Cathedral holds an exhibition about the German Parliament. In December the square hosts Berlin's famous Christmas Market.
Food and drink are very important to Germans, and Berlin has a number of Michelin starred restaurants and a range of cuisines, thanks to its multicultural vibe. But of course, Germany is known for pork and sausages, and in Berlin, you’ll find plenty of street food in the form of bratwurst and currywurst. They are delicious though, all washed down with one of the thousands of German Pilsner beers. Our particular favorite is Krombacher, but most are very good! You should also try the Weissbier.
I hope this very brief visit to Berlin has piqued your interest. It is a lovely city with so much to do, just remember to keep your phone and camera fully charged with your USB travel adapter so you don’t miss a single photo opportunity!