Germany’s capital Berlin is one of Europe’s most visited cities, a vibrant metropolis whose dark history has given way to a modern, artistic and fun-loving city. The city boasts stunning architecture, fantastic museums, bustling tourist attractions and offers a night-life like few cities in Europe and if you plan on visiting Berlin this year then here is my top 5 things to do in Berlin.
Visit the Wall
From 1961 until 1989 this great city was divided by the Berlin Wall which was created to enforce the separation of East and West Germany. In 1989, after much public pressure, the wall was finally opened and was demolished just a few years later. Much of the wall still remains and serves as a reminder of the darkness and small-mindedness that once existed in the city. The remains of the wall are covered in political graffiti and the site is well worth a visit to appreciate the history of the city.
The Brandenburg Gate is a triumphant arch that was built in Berlin around the end of the 18th Century, it was originally built as a sign for peace and indicated the beginning of the road from Berlin to Brandenburg. Following the post war re-unification of Germany, the gate became an icon for the future of the country and continues to represent peace in the land. The Gate was heavily damaged in the war and was restored at the beginning of 2001 to it’s previous glory. The Gate really is a sight to behold and is Germany’s most famous landmark and I absolutely recommend taking some time to appreciate this monumental structure.
East Side Gallery
The East Side Gallery is a 1.3km stretch of the Berlin Wall that has been turned into a public museum for street art. The art scene in Berlin is incredible, with musicians, craftsmen, writers and painters both local and foreign gracing the city with forward thinking art and design that can be seen throughout the city. This part of the Wall and it’s graffiti, much like other areas of the city, are dedicated to peace. Some of the best street artists in the World have works of art in the gallery and the intricacy of the design is, at times, mesmerising .
Spend Time on the Spree
The River Spree is the main river that flows through the German capital and offers plenty of opportunities to have fun or relax on your trip to Berlin. You can take river cruises through the heart of the city with tour guides who’ll explain the history of the sites that you’ll see on the way. There are several restaurant boats that serve fantastic food and beautiful German wine as you meander through the city at sunset. Alternatively you can rent a small rowing boat and make the most of a warm Berlin day by floating around the city at your own pace. Head to the Spree for an alternative take on this great city.
Head to the Markets
Berlin has some absolutely fantastic markets, especially on the weekends and especially the food markets. There are few better ways to spend your time in this city than to sit with the locals and enjoy some sausage and beer. The markets are lively and filled with local crafts, antiques, German cuisine and all the other trimmings that you will find in a European market. If you happen to be in the city from November onwards you will find the largest collection of Christmas products that you have ever laid eyes upon. However long you have in the city, make sure that you go to the market.