Places to visit in Berlin in 4 days. Museums, the Wall of Berlin, and other places of interest.
16 June 2022
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We went to Berlin in 2020 a week before the world was quarantined for COVID-19 in March. You can appreciate what weather conditions prevail at this time of the year in Berlin from the photos. I bought rubber boots and took warm clothes and an umbrella with me. Everything came in handy.
In Berlin, we, gastronomically spoiled Spanish people, faced the problem of finding a suitable place to have lunch: we simply couldn’t find a decent restaurant that would not offer kebab or just fast food along our routes. We went to one restaurant on purpose, and it cannot be missed if you are in Berlin, but I will tell more about it further. We had our dinners in a well-equipped apartment (Berlinapartments-Downtown) we booked on Booking.com. I always book accommodation here. The apartment is located in a 100 years old building. The rooms are very huge with high ceilings. The premises are clean and renovated. We felt warm and comfortable, what else do you need after a 20km daily walk? We paid 600 euros for 4 nights for 4 persons. The apartment is located close to a metro station, you will quickly get to the center of the German capital.
Moving around Berlin is very comfortable by metro or bus. We didn’t face any difficulties with routes planification.
Get to Alexanderplatz, you can get anywhere in the center from there. All interesting places in Berlin are concentrated in the central part and can be explored by walking, in case you like walking.
The television tower is a symbol of Berlin, which can be seen from everywhere. Built in 1969 in times of the GDR. It is a broadcasting tower, as well as an observation tower. There is a panoramic restaurant in the tower as well. Its height is 368 meters, the tower is the tallest public building in Europe. If weather conditions allow you to lift the tower, you can purchase a skip-the-line ticket for 24.50 euros per person.
If you want to dive into the history of post-war Germany, especially its part – the GDR (German Democratic Republic), then I highly recommend visiting the GDR Museum. You will find curious objects from those times here: from cars to children’s toys, moving portraits of Lenin, apartments of citizens as they were, including views from the window. Very interesting and informative.
The GDR or East Germany was a republic that existed from 1949 to 1990. The state was founded four years after the end of World War II on the territory of Germany occupied by Soviet troops. Like the Soviet Union, the GDR was a socialist state. Mass protests were held in the GDR in 1989, the citizens demanded the democratization of politics. In 1990, the GDR ceased to exist due to its unification with the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG).
A ticket to the GDR Museum can be bought online for 9,80 euros.
Berlin Cathedral is a Neo-Baroque church of incredible beauty. The cathedral was built between 1895 and 1905. It is the biggest evangelical church in Germany. The cathedral houses the tomb of the Hohenzollern family, a dynasty of the German Empire. The cathedral can be visited for 9 euros by purchasing a ticket online.
Museums of Berlin
There is a museum island not far from the cathedral. There is a great number of museums on this island, and I believe that the first place you should visit is the Pergamon Museum. The museum contains outstanding artifacts from Islamic art, the Roman, Greek and Hellenistic periods (including the city of Pergamum, which gave its name to the museum), Mesopotamia and the Middle East. An adult ticket costs 12 euros and it can be also purchased online.
Some exhibits of the Pergamon Museum
The German Historical Museum is another museum that I highly recommend visiting. You will learn about the history of Germany of different periods here, and also be able to feel a sad spirit of Nazi Germany. Entrance to this museum costs 8 euros.
Lovely doll houses, you can find portraits of the Führer even on its walls!
As known, after the end of the Second World War (1945-1949), Germany was occupied by four countries: the Soviet Union, the USA, France and the UK. Not only Germany, but Berlin itself was divided into four sectors. One of the main goals set by the allies of the four countries was the denazification of the German society, elimination of Nazi ideologies.
In 1949, the self-proclaimed Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) was established on the former territories administrated by France, the UK and the USA, and the German Democratic Republic (GDR) was formed in the eastern territory of Germany establishing a socialist system of government. Both republics did not recognize each other, for many years relations were tense. There were many cases of escapes of citizens of the GDR to the FRG, as the life quality and salaries were higher there. For this reason, the famous Berlin Wall was built in 1961 – to prevent migrations of citizens dissatisfied with the socialist system and to mark clear boundaries between the republics on the territory of Berlin.
You can find the famous Checkpoint Charlie in the southwest of the city center, a border checkpoint that was created after the division of Berlin by the Berlin Wall. In 1961 a tank confrontation between the armed forces of the USSR and the USA took place there. It was a non-contact confrontation, which became a symbol of the Cold War between two countries.
If you want to look at a well-preserved piece of the Berlin Wall, then I advise you to go to the Berlin Wall Memorial, visit the documentary center and immerse yourself in the history of the construction of the wall.
Another significant piece of the Berlin Wall (the East Side Gallery) that you can’t miss if you’re in Berlin is a bit out of the center, located in East Berlin. This 1.3 km section of the wall is covered with graffiti painted by artists from 21 countries who expressed their attitude towards political change that way. Here you will find a famous kiss between Brezhnev and Honecker, the leader of the GDR. This kiss later became a symbol of global political changes and destruction of the Berlin Wall.
Where to eat in Berlin
After long walks around Berlin, who doesn’t want to taste a pork knuckle with mashed potatoes, served with a German cold beer? Then I invite you to one of the oldest restaurants of the city called Zur letzten Instanz, which opened its doors to its visitors as early as 1621! This restaurant has a great historical and cultural significance. I advise you to reserve a table through Google maps, although in March there was a place for us without a reservation, but perhaps we just had luck. Lunch per person will cost you about 30 euros without dessert.
Restaurant of 1621 Zur letzten Instanz
Another symbol of Berlin and all of Germany you must visit – the Brandenburg Gate, located in the east from the center. The gate was built between 1788 and 1791 during the reign of Friedrich Wilhelm II of Prussia and was the gateway to the city.
Memorial to the Victims of the Holocaust
You will find a memorial to the murdered Jews of Europe (Memorial to the Victims of the Holocaust) not far from the Brandenburg Gate. Built in 2004 to the honor of six million Jews who died in the Holocaust, this concrete labyrinth reminds us of Nazi crimes to this day.
Go to the north from the Brandenburg Gate and you will find the Reichstag building, the German parliament. In 1894-1933, the state body of Germany, the Reichstag of the German Empire, was based in this building. You can visit the Reichstag dome by appointment only by registering on the official website of the Parliament.
If you have time, take a walk to the Gendarmenmarkt, where the concert hall is located, surrounded by the French and German cathedrals.
Bunkers of Berlin
Bonus. Although I don’t have any photos (probably because it was not allowed to take photos), the tour I don’t recommend you to miss if you are in Berlin is a guided tour of the bunkers of Berlin. During World War II, Hitler began building bunkers in big cities, especially in Berlin. During the Cold War, this system of tunnels and bunkers was improved and prepared for a possible conflict, although the probability of a nuclear attack was low. Tickets cannot be bought in advance, so you need to arrive at the museum at Brunnenstraße 105 before 10 am and purchase them at the office.
As for me, my visit to Berlin wasn´t just an ordinary trip, I really wanted to get to know a post-war Germany. No matter how much you read about the facts of history, the best way to learn about it is by seeing the historical places with your own eyes and imagining how it might be. Berlin is one of the European capitals that must be visited at least once in a lifetime. I hope my guide will help you to decide the places you want to visit when you travel to this beautiful city.