Berlin feels like one of those cities thriving in constant change. Berlin is a city surrounded by construction, where the preservation of the past meets the sophistication of the future. When you visit Berlin, you feel as if you’re seeing the next big thing. Paris will always be glamorous, Rome will be forever etched in our history books, but Berlin; Berlin is a city of metamorphosis. Berlin is uniquely Berlin, and its much different than other large German cities like, Munich.
No matter how much time you spend in Berlin, one weekend, one month, five years, it would almost be impossible to see every historical landmark, to sponge information from every museum, and to eat every combination of currywurst and pommes. But, if you have just three days, these are the highlights you should indulge in. Years later come back and do it all again; for next time it’ll all be slightly different.
While in the city, check out my Bucket List: Berlin
After landing in Berlin, on a cold crisp dark night; we went straight to the hostel and straight to bed. #partyanimals. The best thing to do when you arrive in any new city is three words: FREE. WALKING. TOUR. Why you ask? Because it’s free (duh) and because it gives you an overall layout of the city. You have the ability to walk around with a group of strangers, and learn the extensive and deep history from a Berliner, or someone who studied the city… a lot. On the tour, you can scope out the spots you want to return to and have a photo shoot. (wait… is that just me?!)
Berlin offers a number of free walking tours, just google it. We decided to go with one of the most popular walking tour companies in Europe: Sandemans. This particular tour company doesn’t just offer free walking tours, they host a variety of tours: from Pub Crawls to Alternative City. Tours are just the best. Free tours are just the bestest best.
SANDEMAN’S FREE WALKING TOUR: the two and a half hour tours start at 10am, 11am, 12pm, 2pm, and 4pm in front of the Brandenburg Gate– they are the people wearing bright red jackets.
These are the highlights:
- Brandenburg Gate
- Site of Hitler’s bunker
- Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe
- Checkpoint Charlie
- The Berlin Wall
- Pariser Platz
- Luftwaffe HQ
- TV Tower
- Book burning memorial
- Humboldt University
This gate, filled with over 200 years of history, is not only one of German’s most iconic landmarks but a symbol. A symbol of a city torn apart by a dividing line, it was in this spot in 1987 where Ronald Reagan gave the speech to “tear the wall down” and at that moment this gate forever became of symbol of unity.
Site of Hitler’s bunker
This one is an interesting spot. I don’t want to give the secrets away. Plus I was really cold and had to use the loo so I didn’t take a photo.
Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe
As the result of a heated debated, a memorial to the six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust was created near the Brandenburg Gate. It is 2711 concrete slabs of varying heights designed by architect, Peter Eisenman, and engineer, Buro Happold.
For those that don’t this checkpoint was the official crossing between East and West Berlin during the Cold War for diplomatics and allied forces.
Gendarmenmarkt is considered to be the most beautiful square in all of Berlin, and for good reason. This square is a harmonic collection of an architectural trio: Konzerthaus (concert house), Französischer Dom (French church) and Deutscher Dom (German church) all surrounding the famous German poet: Friedrich Schiller.
The Berlin Wall
Standing in front of something so iconic, so symbolic of change, something so vast in the history of our society; I mean…speechless.
Bebelplatz & Humboldt University
Located in the middle of the square, next to Humboldt University, is a tiny see-through hole in the ground. This is the square where the Nazi’s burned all the books written by Jewish authors or written about Jewish faith in 1933. Now, this site is a known memorial for words that were lost in fire.
After your two and a half hour tour, spend the rest of the day aimlessly wandering around the city.
Eastside Gallery & Kreuzberg & Friedrichshain & Urban Spree. Walk along the quirky side of Berlin, where the historic seamlessly merges into the hip cultured center of society’s millennials. Where a mundane grey concrete building is transformed with sporadic spews of wildly colored spray paint and random recycled goods glued to the outside. Where the walls and sidewalks become the notebooks inside the mind of inspiring artists.
until next time Berlin ✌🏽
Have you been to Berlin before? What was the most memorable part for you? Did I forget any must do’s in my two days there?