sabato 6 agosto 2016

Berlin: 10 not-to-miss things

Berlin has a special charm for me.
It 'something that I can not easily explain, but you just have to try.
I sense it in every street, every building, every museum ...  it is something that recalls the history of this beautiful and tormented city.
Although it was almost completely destroyed in WWII and its historic buildings have been reconstructed exactly as before the war, the atmosphere that I feel is the one of the ancient glories of the Prussian Empire.

There is a lot of information about Berlin on the web, there are several agencies that offer guided tours of the city and a good way to visit is definitely the Sightseeing Bus, an option that I often use when I am in a big city for a few days.

Many are the museums, historic sites and modern attractions to see in town, but if your time is limited, I suggest what you should not miss and what to see.

1. Brandenburg Gate: This is the symbol of Berlin and you can not really avoid to see it. It is truly "in the middle" of the city and close to other major attractions. You'll never see it without people around, but a great perspective is the one you can enjoy from the Reichstag dome.

2. Reichstag: The parliament building, renovated several times after the war and first turned into a museum, is a must see when visiting Berlin. Be very patient and queue with many tourists waiting to get in and visit the beautiful glass dome which offers a great view of the entire city.




3. Gendarmen Markt: in this square, considered one of the most beautiful squares in Europe, there are two amazing churches: Deutscher Dom  and Franzoesischer Dom. Try to visit at least one of them and climb the dome: from there you will enjoy a beautiful view inside the church and outside to the square. Between the two churches there is the imposing building of the Konzerthaus, a concert hall; inside you can find two separate rooms: one for chamber music and one for the orchestras.




Not far from Gendarmen Markt square there is a shop that a sweet tooth can not miss: the Ritter Sport store. It is at 24, Franzoesische Strasse.

A paradise where you find all the tastes of the famous chocolate  and a cafe to stop for a regenerating break.


4. Alexanderplatz: Visiting the city you can not avoid passing through Alexanderplatz [or Alex as it is called by Berliners], first of all because it is one of the most famous squares of the former GDR and then because right next door is the Fernsehturm (TV tower) that can be identified from every corner of the city. In the square you will also find the beautiful World Clock, the Weltzeithur, that marks the time in different countries.




5. Potsdamerplatz is another of the "must-see" places here; it also is one of the symbols of East Berlin. Before the division of the city it was one of the most famous and alive squares but, after the construction of the wall, it became sad and desolate. After the wall still remained desolated for a long time until the Sony Center was built; it now occupies most of the square. Here you can still see a few pieces of wall as monument of "what was there".




6. Another Berlin "piece" that remains as a  reminder of his sad story is the Gedaechtniskirche [memory church] in Breitscheidplatz; bombed during World War II it has not been restored but incorporated in a modern building, almost to remind all visitors the horrors of war.
I must say that it is a really impressive monument, that made me thinking; it is right in front of this church that I felt the pain that the city had to suffer.




7. and 8. Checkpoint Charlie and the Wall Museum are two monuments of the Cold War showing how people lived in Berlin during the almost 30 years of division. Checkpoint is there, in the street, as to witness that even from that place was very difficult to pass. The Museum, right next, shows visitors the various escamotages that East Berliners found to pass to the west side without being arrested or, in many cases, killed.

9. Museum Island: Beside the wonderful and imposing Dom, where you can admire one of the oldest organs  of Germany, there is the Museumsinseln.
In this area you can find many museums and buy a combined ticket that will allow you to visit more than one at an affordable price.
If you can afford in term of time, visit them all, since they really deserve! But if you don't have enough time, my advice is not to miss the Pergamon Museum. The Pergamon Altar is something exceptional, imposing and impressive. When I entered the room with the altar I left really speechless! That's why I recommend you to go there.

10. What and where to eatLast but not least ... I can not but recommend a food visit.
If you want a quick snack, try the classic Berliner street food: the bockwurst [the hot dog German] or the pretzel [braided bread ... soft on the inside and with a nice brown crust salt].


But for a nice dinner caloric, after having walked the length and breadth of the city, you should definitely try the pork shank: Schweinshaxe.
Do not take the appetizer: it would ruin the main dish.

Two are the places that I want to recommend you:
- Local trendy restaurants around Hackescher Markt often located in old warehouses under the U-bahn
- Typical restaurants "old Germany style" [also reconstructed as the whole neighborhood in 1987 during the 750th anniversary of the city] are located in Nikolaiviertel, the oldest part along the river where the first fishermen settled.


52 commenti:

  1. Berlin is on my mind since ages now. And thanks to this list, I know what I have to do when I reach there.

    RispondiElimina
    Risposte
    1. I've been several time and still not seen all!! I'm really fascinated by this city

      Elimina
  2. I was in Berlin a couple of years ago, and I absolutely loved it! It was freezing when I was there, but still such a lively city with so much to do!
    The Pergamon Museum was my favourite part, such a fascinating place. I spent hours inside and the time just flew by so quickly.

    RispondiElimina
    Risposte
    1. I've been there once during winter time and I agree with you, it was freezing! Luckily we had a sauna in our hotel so that coming back in the evening we could warm us up

      Elimina
  3. The mention of Ritter sport made this tourist destination more tempting. I have to add this to my list. I still remember the news reports of fall of Berlin wall!

    RispondiElimina
    Risposte
    1. Ritter sport shop is a paradise if you lo ve chocolate!!

      Elimina
  4. I also feel that way.. each time I visit new or old places, I use a so-called emotional-intelligence - it's quite snobby for others but it helps me to understand more about the place, feel it deeply, and from that I can deliver good stories :)

    RispondiElimina
    Risposte
    1. Yes Blair, it's the plus we have to describe places differently from a tourist guide

      Elimina
  5. Given the history of Berlin, it has been on my list for a long time. It is indeed very intriguing.

    RispondiElimina
  6. I've been wanting to visit Berlin for a while! I could get lost in all the history there

    RispondiElimina
    Risposte
    1. You have to! It's really a not to miss city in a travel bucket ;)

      Elimina
  7. This is great! Now I wouldn't have to scour the internet looking for places to visit in Berlin. I'll just follow your footsteps :)

    RispondiElimina
    Risposte
    1. Thanks for trusting me ;) Let me know when you'll go!

      Elimina
  8. I have been to Berlin a few years ago and after reading your post, I can see that I didn't miss a lot of things. I was there only for a day. I remember enjoying the sunset from Alexanderplatz, on top of the stairs, looking at the children playing in the fountains. Nearby, a street performer was making huge soap balloons.

    RispondiElimina
    Risposte
    1. What a nice scene should have been!! Thanks for sharing, Joanna

      Elimina
  9. Thank you for posting this guide to Berlin! It's always been on my bucket list. Do you recommend visiting Berlin in the fall, winter, spring or summer?

    RispondiElimina
    Risposte
    1. Hi Samantha, each season has its own beauty ;) I would anyhow recommend spring or summer since winter is very very cold and fall my start to be cold too

      Elimina
  10. Ah such a great list :) I missed a few of these when I went to Berlin -- now I'll have to go back :) Really craving a pretzle now!

    RispondiElimina
    Risposte
    1. Ahrg...I want a pretzle too! I love them!

      Elimina
  11. Looks like there are so many amazing things to do in Berlin. Its on my bucket list for Europe tour. I'd love to visit there some day in my life!

    RispondiElimina
    Risposte
    1. You definitely don't have to miss it. It really worth it!

      Elimina
  12. Great info ...the city would have had so much history ...can imagine that when you said about the pain that the city had to suffer.

    RispondiElimina
    Risposte
    1. Berlin has history everywhere, especially modern history when we think about WWI and WWII even more!

      Elimina
  13. Berlin is indeed a special place! We (the world) are fortunate that the city has been pieced back together as bet as possible since WWII. I sometimes feel like the city bird of Berlin is the construction crane, as there is never ending progress going on there. The deep cultural roots, the modern explosion of creativity and the humanitarian lessons to be learned from the city's history make it one of the most important places in Europe.

    RispondiElimina
    Risposte
    1. Thanks Judson, I cannot agree more with your words!

      Elimina
  14. Have never been to Berlin but would definitely love to go there one day . I have heard a lot about the beauty and history of Berlin and once and for all I want to experience it myself . :)

    RispondiElimina
    Risposte
    1. You have to... it's a very special city

      Elimina
  15. Berlin is definitely a must stop for any visit to Germany. It is so picturesque I can just imagine how many pictures we will be taking when we visit someday.

    RispondiElimina
    Risposte
    1. Oh yes, there are so many spots to take pictures to

      Elimina
  16. Berlin has long been on our radar. We would definitely love to visit all the historical sites like the Brandenburg Gate and the Gedaechtniskirche church.

    RispondiElimina
    Risposte
    1. Those are two "not to miss" sites. But there are much more! Alexanderplatz, for instance, is very nice too!

      Elimina
  17. Everything in Berlin looks so gorgeous! I personally would love to visit the Reichstag. There's so much history in it

    RispondiElimina
    Risposte
    1. Well unfortunately you cannot see a lot on the Reichstag but the glass dome. Anyhow from there you can enjoy a nice view over the city and over the parliament hall.

      Elimina
  18. Don't you think that visiting the wall should also be in the list? Is one of the most famous things of Berlin. That and the monument to the Jews? I think that those would be my numer 1 and 2 there! I was in Berlin three years ago and loved the city. So vibrant and full of life... Thanks for sharing this list!

    RispondiElimina
    Risposte
    1. Dear Jenn, you are right! There is an other post of Berlin in the blog with a 3 days tour suggestion where I mentioned the East Side Gallery and the Jews monument. Still to be translated in english ;)

      Elimina
  19. A very well captured and useful list. Has most of what I would like to see... Thanks

    RispondiElimina
    Risposte
    1. Thanks Ami. Do you have any plan to go visiting Berlin?

      Elimina
  20. This is definitely one of those destinations that are on my top 10 bucket list travel places. I have heard so much about the beauty of it. I cannot wait to see it in person.

    RispondiElimina
  21. I also love Berlin! I have done all of these things on your list and they are amazing. The one except is that the Pergamon Altar was being renovated so I couldn't see it. :(

    RispondiElimina
    Risposte
    1. Ohh what a pity! First time I went there it was under renovation too and I was so upset! But I had the chance to go back and visit it.

      Elimina
  22. Although I've only spent a few short days in Berlin, I've seen most of these, and I totally agree with you, they are must sees. I'd add the Holocaust memorial as well, that's a very strange, touching, and humbling experience.

    RispondiElimina
    Risposte
    1. Thanks for suggesting Alina. I agree that the Holocaust memorial is a must see too, since it's very much linked to Berlin's history.

      Elimina
  23. Berlin ranks in my top 5 favorite cities. I absolutely adore it, I've been to the majority of places you listed. Have you tried curry wurst or cherry bier, super yummy. Your post has me missing my European adventures!

    RispondiElimina
    Risposte
    1. Ahhh you touched a sensitive issue: food! :) Currywurst is one of my favourite german wurst !

      Elimina
  24. You just reminded me how much I love Berlin!
    One of the best moments I had there was a small picnic. We bought some noodles, seafood and wine at Potzdamer Platz and sat on the green grass near Berliner Dome. The sun was so warm and ... I want to go back!

    RispondiElimina
    Risposte
    1. Wow that should have been so nice!! I would love to do that! Unfortunately I've never been there in spring or summer and doing this in fall or winter is not possible :(
      I have to go back to try it! I have now a good reason to come back.

      Elimina
  25. Beautiful post on a fascinating city. Berlin is one place that has always been on my list. Still waiting for the day when I'll actually visit

    RispondiElimina
  26. I think you either love or hate Berlin and for some reasons Travelers love it, but many Germans are not as big on it ;) I don't know I always felt Berlin is too gray compared to the rest of germany...yeah it is hip and cool and trandy...but ohh well...guess one is always more critical when it comes to home...but glad you enjoyed it this much =D

    RispondiElimina
    Risposte
    1. Dear Biene, thank you so much for sharing your thougts! I really appreciate hearing about the feelings of a "local". I agree Germany has so many beautiful cities...and I'm actually keen to explore many of them!

      Elimina

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