Things to Do in
Due to the worldwide pandemic, please check for destination travel restrictions prior to visiting/booking
Berlin is a city with an eclectic mix of history and culture. It had been 90% destroyed at the end end of WWII and the result is a town steeped in history, but with the feel of a 1980’s urban metropolis. What an interesting dichotomy of historical mystique, tourism, and a city with a more Eastern European feel than we have experienced that has a thriving night life scene form 1990’s (we saw an advertisement for a Depeche Mode dance party). We felt safe walking through the city day and night.
Visit the Brandenburg Tor, Berlin’s most iconic landmark during the day and at night. It is quiet in the early morning and active throughout the day and night.
Take a free walking tour. Ours had stops at the Brandenburg Tor, Monumment to the Murdered Jews of Europe, Hitler’s bunker site, Berlin Wall, Checkpoint Charlie, and the square designed by Frederick the Great that includes Humboldt University, several cultural buildings, and was the site of the famous Nazi book burning.
Walk through Tiergarten which is Berlin’s main park and was originally the private hunting grounds of the king. You will find plentiful walking paths, green space, monuments and playgrounds.
See the the Reichstag building - if you book well in advance you can go to the top for free (we did not)
Visit the Monument to the Murdered Jews. Remember it is disrespectful to stand on the monument.
See the remains of the Berlin wall. We visited at the southern edge of Bernauer Straße. You will find an open air museum with historical audio and video exhibits about the Berlin Wall.
Stop and Go with the walk signal Ampelmännchen, the historically and culturally important traffic lights for East Berlin. The plumb little man with a pug nose was developed specifically to have encourage compliance with the pedestrian signal lights in East Berlin.
Worth the Money
Visit the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp, the audio tour is a small fee. This is walkable from the Oranienburg train station. Bring plenty of water, as there are no drinking fountains but plenty of bathrooms and there is no shade. You can expect to spend several hours there.
Tips for Visiting
Berlin has a light rail system that can take you out of town to nearby attractions however it was somewhat difficult to navigate to get around town. It required a credit card and PIN number or a debit card and PIN. It MUST be validated before use. The German’s don’t mess around on this one.
The free walking tour guide works for tips and a quick search of the business practices of these companies will give you your own impression of whether to use them. Our guide was up front about the structure and was not pushy regarding tips. She did advertise for their other paid tours a few times and the lunch stop was where they sell their other tours.