One of the most popular destinations for a city trip is without a doubt Berlin, the capital of Germany. You can be in the center of Berlin by train in just a few hours from many destinations in Europe. That makes it a very accessible destination and perfect for a weekend or a midweek break. I visited Berlin for a long weekend in May with seven girls and in this article tell you all about the sights we have visited in these few days.
City trip Berlin: Top 10 sights
Berlin has many sights. You can reach most on foot, but sometimes using public transport is also useful. An easy and fun way to visit most sights is by means of a bicycle tour. Really recommended!
1. Berlin Wall
One of the most famous sights in Berlin, which is definitely worth a visit, is the Berlin Wall. This wall, originally 45 kilometers long, was used to separate East and West Berlin. Our guide told us that a total of 139 people were shot trying to climb over the wall.
There are pieces of the wall throughout the city. The place where you can get a realistic picture of what this wall looked like is at the Gedenkstätte Berliner Mauer. The monument is free to visit. In the building opposite, the bullet holes in the walls are still clearly visible. It was very impressive to see.
The longest stretch of the original wall is the East Side Gallery. This more than 1 kilometer long wall is decorated with graffiti and paintings. It is very nice to walk past it and see the artworks. Behind the wall is a park on the water where you can relax.
2. Checkpoint Charlie
Checkpoint Charlie you must have visited when you’ve been in Berlin. Right? Well, frankly, it doesn’t amount to me as much. The building has been recreated and actors are dressed as border guards with whom you can take a picture. You mainly see a lot of tourists and can buy souvenirs.
However, it is interesting to read the history of the most infamous border crossing and see the photos. You can also visit exhibitions at the Museum Haus am Checkpoint Charlie. If you would like to see the real border post building, you can do so at the Allied Museum.
3. Holocaust memorial
A very impressive monument commemorating the murdered Jewish population during the Second World War is the Holocaust Memorial. Large concrete blocks of different heights draw the picture.
I found it very impressive and sometimes a bit uncomfortable to walk between these concrete blocks. You don’t know what’s around the corner and what awaits you. And that’s also what the artist is trying to convey with the monument. A sense of disorientation with no way out.
Under the monument is a free-to-visit information center where you can learn more about the history of the Jewish people.
Bebelplatz square is known for the infamous book burning that took place in 1933. In the middle of the square an underground monument has been built in memory of this event.
The boulevard Unter den Linden and a number of important buildings including the St. Hedwig’s Cathedral, the Alte Library and the Altes Palace are adjacent to the square.
5. Brandenburg Gate
This gigantic gateway to Berlin was built in 1788 and is located on Pariser Platz. The square is surrounded by embassies.
On top of the Brandenburg Gate is a statue of a chariot with four horses. Napoleon thought it was a very beautiful statue and had it moved to Paris where it stood as a trophy for a few years. After that, the statue was placed on the gate again, but the original statue was destroyed during the war.
From this imposing building, the German Parliament (Bundestag) rules and, among other things, laws are voted on. This building also suffered from the war and was restored after the reunification of East and West Germany.
Would you also like to view the Reichstag building and the dome from the inside? Then you’re advised to buy a ticket in advance, preferably at least 24 hours in advance.
The Gendarmenmarket is considered by many to be one of the most beautiful squares in Berlin and I understand why. The square is surrounded by imposing buildings. You will find the French and German Cathedral and the Konzerthaus on either side with a monument to the poet Friedrich Schiller in front of the entrance.
The Siegessäule with the goddess of victory on top was built at the request of Emperor Wilhelm I to commemorate the Prussians’ victory over France, Austria and Denmark. The building shows off in the large park Tiergarten in the middle of the roundabout.
For € 3 you can walk all the way up with the spiral staircase. That’s quite a few steps!
9. Fernsehturm (Television tower)
This 368 meter high television tower is Berlin’s tallest building and the second tallest in the European Union. The Fernsehturm is located next to the famous Alexanderplatz. You can visit the restaurant and the observation deck in the tower daily. You have a fantastic view over the whole city.
Tickets can be bought on the spot, but also via the website. We bought a ticket on the spot for the observation deck (€ 16.50 pp) and could go up quite quickly, but this isn’t always the case. It’s best to buy a ticket in advance.
The Gedächtniskirche on the Breitscheidplatz was built in 1895 by order of Kaiser Wilhelm II in memory of his grandfather. With its 113-meter main tower, it was Berlin’s tallest tower.
During the war, the church was devastated by the bombing. The church was restored more than 10 years after the Second World War. But in such a way that the damage from the war is still clearly visible. The Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church now serves as a war memorial. The building is free to visit.
In addition to the church, a new modern church was built in 1961. Opinions about the octagonal building with blue windows are quite divided. I personally find it too contrasting with the old Gedächtniskirche. This building is also free to visit.
The great city of Berlin is full of good cafes and restaurants. The city is even at the forefront of vegetarian and vegan restaurants. The choice of cafes and restaurants also surprised me very well! Read more about tasty cafes and restaurants in Berlin.
Where to stay in Berlin?
The large city of Berlin consists of twelve different districts, each with their own atmosphere and charm. If you would like to stay in the center close to most places of interest, choose the Mitte district. If you want to enjoy the nightlife, choose the Friedrichshain district with a more alternative atmosphere. There is plenty of choice!
How to get to Berlin?
For just € 39 one way, you can take the train to Berlin from Amsterdam. Tickets are easy to buy via the NS website. This train ride takes about 6.5 hours and there is no need to change in between. In addition to Amsterdam, you can also board in Hengelo.
But also from other European destinations it’s easy to get to Berlin by train. In addition, Berlin also has an international airport.