Our first time in Berlin
Updated: Feb 24, 2021
Late February 2019 found us visiting Germany for the first time. More specifically, we visited Berlin and made sure to also visit a couple of nearby towns during our stay. We found Berlin to be a rather interesting city, yet not a typically charming European capital. It did offer enough things to keep us busy and excited and we can only imagine how gorgeous Berlin must be in the summer. What intrigued us the most was obviously the city’s history, which is also a huge part of the entire European and international modern history. So, here’s a list of our favorite things we did in Berlin.
Both the exterior and the interior of the Berliner Dom are stunning! We were lucky enough to see the building at several times of the day and we can now say that our favorite one was definitely golden hour. For 7 euros per person you can enter the Dom and climb up the terrace to enjoy the view.
How cool is the idea to have an entire island, where some of the city’s most significant museums are located? Even if you don’t plan to enter any of the museums, take a stroll on the island is still worth doing.
Not only, is that Berlin's oldest church but the whole area around it is super charming and pleasant to wander around.
This is Berlin’s largest palace, located in the district of Charlottenburg. It was built in late 17th century and is one of the city’s biggest tourist attractions today. It is also open for visitors, even though we shamelessly admit that we only got there to take a few photos and wander through its gardens.
The Bradenburg Gate
Bradenburg Gate is to Berlin what Eiffel Tower is to Paris or the Parthenon is to Athens. It was built on the orders of Frederick William II, on Pariser Pltaz. It is connected with the Berliner Dom through Unter den Linden, Berlin’s main boulevard. Once again, the rule the earlier the better applies 100% when it comes to visiting Bradenburg Gate. By early we mean probably before 8 am or so…
Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe
Devoted to Jews victims of the Holocaust, this is one of Berlin’s landmarks and one of the most unique monuments we’ve been to design-wise. The monument consists of concrete slabs which create some kind of a labyrinth and also look like tombs. Walking through the slabs, gave us feelings of anxiety and although we could almost always hear people coming our way, we never knew where they’d pop out from. Probably that was the designer’s aim, who knows.
East Side Gallery
This is Berlin’s most famous, open air art gallery of murals. The murals’ theme is peace and freedom, as expressed by more than 100 artists from around the world. Behind the wall, you can find Berliners laying on the banks of river Spree, enjoying some beer, cycling and soaking up the sun, so why not join them?
Today is just a tourist attraction but back in the Cold War days, this was the best known border crossing point between East and West Berlin.
This is one of Berlin’s prettiest squares for sure. Located on the square, you’ll find the French and German Cathedral and the Concert Hall and if you’re lucky enough to visit during Christmas you’ll also get to see the famous Xmas market.
This is where you’ll find the State Opera House, as well as St Hedwig’s Cathedral, but that’s also the square were the Nazi used to burn books, thus the Book Burning Memorial.
Topography of Terror
This museum’s exhibition documents the beginning, development and collapse of the Nazi regime and how people suffered by it. Interestingly, the museum is built on the site of the former Gestapo headquarters!
You most probably have seen this building on TV and visitng Berlin is your chance to also visit the German Parliament House. The Reichstag’s most interesting part is undeniably the dome on its roof. The dome is made of glass, as a symbol of transparency in German democracy and citizens can actually visit it, as a reminder to the PMs that their powers derive from the people. If you want to visit the dome too, you’ll have to get registered either here or at the registration office right opposite to the Reichstag. Remember to have your passport with you.
It’s no secret that we always enjoy visiting food markets and Markthalle IX was no exception. If possible, try to go there on a Thursday, to find food stalls from around the world for a more multicultural experience. We had delicious bites from Germany, Italy, Mexico and Ghana!
Extra hint: if craving for some good coffee, head to Café 9, located right next to Markthalle IX on Eisenbahnstraße.
Search for Berlin Wall traces
If you notice a double row of cobblestones running through Berlin, you'll have found where the original Berlin Wall was once standing.