Berlin: A City of History
Top 5 Places to Visit in Berlin
Guest post by Mike Arnold
When it comes to exploring a new city, there are very few that come close to offering what Berlin does. Soaked in history, oozing with culture, renowned for amazing cityscapes and hosting a glamorous nightlife scene, Berlin is a city that has it all. As the capital of Germany, escaping to Berlin via train or plane has never been easier or more affordable, making it one of the most accessible getaway destinations in Europe. To give you a helping hand on your trip, here are my top five attractions you simply cannot miss on your trip to one of the most awe-inspiring cities in the world.
Having survived an outstanding history of abuse after being bombed, set on fire and rebuilt on numerous occasions, the Reichstag is home to the modern day German parliament. Located a couple of minutes walk from the Brandenburg Gate, a stones throw from the city centre, the Reichstag stands proud on the outskirts of the beautiful Tiergarten Park. One of the most popular tourist attractions in Berlin, we recommend making a free reservation for your ticket inside using the dedicated website but you can pick up tickets from the entrance the day of. Make sure you bring some form of ID such as a passport as security is tight. Once inside, you can pick up a free audio guide book while making your way up to the top of the spectacular glass dome via the magnificent spiralling path that provides a breathtaking 360 degree view of the beautiful city around you.
With dedicated pieces still standing scattered throughout the city, the Berlin Wall is solemn reminder of a city once divided. Torn down in 1989, a route has been established for visitors to travel along to gain understanding of history behind the story that was covered worldwide. The largest section of the wall remaining is 1.4km long and located along Bernauer Strasse which covered in memorial pieces from artists from around the world in the form of full scale artworks to individual graffiti markings. Currently on the river facing side of the wall is a tribute to some of the refugees from Syria and their stories from recent years. Moving closer to the city centre, you can discover a 360 degree panoramic dome that projects the lives of people who lived either side of the wall and gain a ton of perspective changing information on what really happened in Berlin during the period of time the wall was standing.
Renowned as one of the top tourist attractions in Berlin, the Brandenburg Gate stands proud as a symbol of German unification during the time the Berlin Wall was torn down. Officially reopened in 2002 after extensive damage, Brandenburg Tor (as it is commonly referred to) stands a massive 85ft tall and is the focal point to many of Germany's main festivals such as the Festival of Light, which is held the same weekend of October as German Unification Day, with all roads around the Gate shut off and filled with fairs and other activities to explore. As many tourists discover, the Gate stands magnificently and the attention to detail taken by the sculptors is breathtaking and cannot be missed when visiting Berlin.
One of the most unusual yet sombre dedicated memorials to World War 2 in the world, the Holocaust Memorial is located just a few minutes walk south of the Brandenburg Gate. The size of a football field, 2,711 rectangle pillars of concrete stand prominently from the ground in memorial to the Jewish people that lost their lives to the Nazi regime. Visitors are free to walk around and through the memorial which includes pathways that subtly descend into the ground until a point where you realise the columns are towering above you. This is a truly moving experience for anyone who passes through it and for those looking to learn more, there is a museum located under the memorial that is completely free to enter. Inside, you can find information on what happened during the war and the story of what life was like in Berlin at the time, as well as artefacts that were recovered during the liberation of Auschwitz. Whilst walking around the underground museum, the founders ask that complete silence is maintained as a sign of respect.
A tribute to a more modern day way of living in Berlin and famed as one of the biggest building projects in Europe during the 1990's, Potsdamer Platz is a hub of activity and is worth every minute of time put aside to visit it. Filled to brim with restaurants, shops, cinemas, hotels, apartments, museums, galleries and covering over a quarter of Berlin's city centre, you can spend hours exploring and discovering what the area has to offer. Built around a spectacularly constructed glass, centre dome, complete with a panoramic observation deck, the district gives true insight into how Berlin has progressed from its history and is a sign on how it will continuously grow into the inspiring metropolis it has set out to become.
Going to Berlin? You might want to brush up on your German!
This is a guest post submitted by:
Mike Arnold, 23
Since my four month travel stint back in 2014 when modern day life just wasn't cutting it, I have become obsessed with travel! Having backpacked through Western Europe and lived in the back of a van for two months travelling New Zealand, I can safely say the wanderlust bug has definitely sunk its teeth in. Since then I have traveled many parts of my home country in the UK as well as numerous other destinations around the world with many more planned trips to look forward to! Alongside my passion for writing, I am overwhelmingly excited to see where these hobbies take me as I set out to explore what this world has to offer!