Best of Berlin

A Guide to the High Points

Sponsored by Globus

Once a fractured city divided by an infamous wall, Berlin has morphed into one of Europe’s most vibrant and exciting destinations.

Berlin is also chockfull of interesting and historical sights. To help you decide what attractions are worthy of your itinerary, check out the following list of the best that Berlin has to offer travelers. Of course your, Globus guide will ensure you don’t miss a single high point, but this will help you add a little knowledge in advance for what you’ll experience.

One word of advice–leave a little free time in your schedule. That way you can explore this amazing city at a leisurely pace and really get to know the true Berlin, not just its many attractions.

Brandenburg Gate

This 18th-century triumphal arch is one of the world’s most recognizable landmarks. Modeled on the Propylaea of the Acropolis in Athens, the Brandenburg Gate has become a symbol of freedom as well as of unity. It was the site where hundreds of thousands came to celebrate the fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9th, 1989.

And this iconic arch has also served as the backdrop for many famous speeches, including President Ronald Reagan’s 1987 speech in which he famously exhorted, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.” On a lighter note, the Brandenburg Gate is also the site of Berlin’s annual New Year’s Eve party, which attracts roughly a million people each year and features a spectacular fireworks display and live bands.

The BBC called it one of the five most underrated countries that you absolutely need to visit.

Checkpoint Charlie

Checkpoint Charlie was the most famous border crossing between the former East Berlin, the Soviet sector of the city, and West Berlin. It was first established in August 1961 and was one of three American checkpoints built in response to the East Germans building the Berlin Wall.

Checkpoint Charlie was the only place where foreigners and Allied forces and diplomats could enter East Berlin. Today, Checkpoint Charlie has become a popular tourist attraction and an important reminder of the struggles that Berlin had to overcome to become the vibrant city it is today.

East Side Gallery 

What do you do with the remnants of a much-hated wall? How about turning it into the largest open-air mural collection in the world.

That’s what 118 artists from 21 different countries did when they decorated the longest remaining section of the Berlin Wall with more than 100 colorful works of art.

Reichstag

This impressive neo-Renaissance building was first built between 1884 and 1894. It housed the Diet until 1933, when it fell victim to an arson fire. Tragically, Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party used that incident for their own political purposes, claiming that communists had set the fire. Hitler’s cabinet immediately began suspending the rights of its people and press and also began arresting and imprisoning their political opponents.

In addition to the fire, the Reichstag also suffered extensive damage during World War II. The Reichstag was eventually restored and, today, it is the meeting place of the Bundestag, the Federal Assembly, which is the lower house of Germany’s national legislature.

The Reichstag is topped by a striking glass dome, which visitors can access via a lift. From this dome, visitors can enjoy magnificent views of the surrounding area.  Admission to the Reichstag is free, but advance registration is required.

Charlottenburg Palace

Built at the end of the 17th century, this beautiful estate was once the summer residence of Sophie Charlotte, the first queen of Prussia. Today, it’s the largest palace in Berlin, and it is also considered by many to be one of the most beautiful in Germany. Rooms are decorated in sumptuous style, and the gardens provide a nice stroll to take in the splendor of this palace which they’ve worked so hard to restore sine WWII.

Charlottenburg Palace also houses many stunning pieces of art, including a large collection of 18th century French paintings as well as Chinese and Japanese porcelain collections.

Try the Street Food

One of the best ways to really get to know a city is to eat like a local and Berlin makes this easy with several spots where you can enjoy delicious street foods.

  • Farmer’s market held every Thursday and Saturday on the Kollwitzplatz in Prenzlauer Berg.
  • Berlin’s Turkish Market on Tuesdays and Fridays. At this market, you’ll find fresh produce as well as interesting Turkish street foods and staples.

Open street markets are also a great place to do a little people watching and to pick up some homemade food items, such as jams and cheeses.

Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church

The Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, which was first built between 1891 and 1895, was severely damaged by bombs during World War II. After the war was over, the local government considered demolishing the damaged west tower, which was the only portion of the original church still standing. But Berlin residents fought to preserve the tower. So a compromise was struck.  A new church was built alongside the damaged tower, which now houses a memorial hall.

History buffs will love every moment of their time in this city.