I’ve been to Berlin many times already. Every time I’m there I feel like I’m walking into history (even though I never liked much history in school) but the German history, especially during the Second World War, is very shocking, that’s why is so interesting to be there and to see from closer where everything happened.
How to get there
Since I live in Germany, I always travel with the car, but I know the rail system is very efficient in case you’re traveling from other cities inside Germany. If traveling by train is out of your budget, you can also travel by Flixbus. The tickets are cheap and the bus usually is pretty comfortable, with options of snacks to buy and sometimes even WiFi. The only problem is that sometimes they have delays due to traffic on the freeway. So I wouldn’t recommend, in case you have something scheduled after your arrival. Besides, Berlin has an international airport, so getting there by airplane should be easy.
Before you decide a date to visit Berlin…
The weather kind of dictates daily activities in Germany, so make sure to choose the right season for you, to bring the right clothes and take the weather into account while planning what you’re gonna do.
If it’s raining, for example, you don’t wanna visit any outdoor attraction, such as the concentration camp or “Hop On, Hop Off Bus” (you will be inside a bus, but won’t be able to see anything outside).
Berlin has good options of Hotels for very different prices, just make sure to book in advance. The city receives a lot of tourists every day and you might end up with difficult to find a place that fits to your budget.
They also have nice apartments if you’re traveling with 3 people or more. Other option is to look on Airbnb and rent a house/apartment of someone else.
To travel inside the city, you have good options of public transport (the app VSN is really good to give information about which transports you should take).
If you take an U-bahn (subway/underground) or S-Bahn (above ground train), you will find machines around to purchase tickets for a day, few days or 7 days. After you buy it, make sure to validate it before you get inside the transport! You can do it so in another machine near the one you purchased the ticket.
The first time I took a S-Bahn I didn’t know I had to validate it. A transit stuff came to check the tickets. I happily showed her mine, and she angrily said “you didn’t validate”. I had to pay a fine of 60€!!
Places to visit
There are plenty of attractions and interesting places to visit in Berlin. It will just depend on your preference. A good idea is to visit places near each other in one day, so you won’t lose much of your time on public transports.
Taking a Hop-on Hop-off Bus is a good idea to start by getting an overview of Berlin and to get to know a bit about the main tourist places.
Then you can stop to visit the Victory Column (“Siegessäule” in German). From up you get a nice view from the city.
After that walk approximately 26 minutes through the Straße des 17.Juni in direction to the Brandenburg Gate (“Brandenburger Tor” in German).
On your right side you will find the Tiergarten, the most popular inner-city park in Berlin. It’s very beautiful, especially during spring (with the flower) and autumn (when the leaves are turning to orange/yellow/red).
Once you get to the Brandenburg Gate, on the right side you will find the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, in honor to the millions of Jewish victims of the Holocaust. Remember, this is an important monument related to a sad moment in history, so don’t climb up or take pictures kidding.
Nearby you will also find many restaurants to have a lunch.
Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe – Berlin
From the Brandenburg Gate, you can go walking to the Reichstag Building (an international symbol of democracy and current home of the German parliament).
To visit the Dome, you have to book a day and time here in advance, especially if you’re going during a tourist season. From inside the Dome you can get a nice view of the parliamentary and government district working.
If you decide to book a visit, you should make sure to be there at time! So schedule it in the afternoon, so you won’t visit the other attractions in a hurry.
For this day you can visit the Island Museum, where the main Museums are located (Alte Nationalgalerie, Altes Museum, Neues Museum, Pergamonmuseum, Bode-Museum). If you are a “Museum-person” you might neet to get a 3-days Museum Pass, which you can purchase online or in one of the museums. During this 3-days you have access not only to these museums, but many others. Otherwise, just go directly to the museum you wanna visit and buy your ticket.
Near the Island museum, you can easily get to the Berlin Cathedral (“Berliner Dom” in German). It’s very beautiful!
After there, if you still have time, you can take a boat at the River Spree (also nearby) and get to know more about the city and its history.
Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp – Oranienburg
It was totally worth visiting it. It was a Nazi concentration camp established in 1936 used mainly to keep, and later on execute, the prisoners. It will take a good part of your day (and energy). When I say “energy”, I mean you will feel heavy with so much sad information, shocking pictures and letters from the prisoners, apart from the structure of the place they used to live.
You will find information here on how to get there (Bus and Subway).
This day you can take to go shopping and walk around the Alexander Platz, where you will find many shopping malls and restaurants.
Nearby you will also find the Television Tower (“Fernsehturm” in German). You also have to buy tickets in advance, otherwise you will need to wait on a big line! From up you get a nice view from the city while you enjoy a meal on a restaurant.
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