Top 10 Famous Places in Berlin,Germany

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Berlin, the capital of Germany and the country’s largest city, is also an important political, cultural, media and scientific center. Noted for its cultural charm, Berlin is home to the famous Berlin Opera House and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, while its diverse art scene includes hundreds of galleries, events and museums, plus those on Museum Island, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Despite the devastation of World War II and after decades of decay east of the infamous Berlin Wall, the city has been rebuilt in a way that celebrates its successes while recognizing a dark past. Berlin bargains an eclectic mix of new and classic architecture, dynamic entertainment, shopping and a wide variety of sports and cultural institutions. To make the most of your tours, be sure to check out our list of Berlin’s top tourist attractions often.

1. The Brandenburg Gate

The Brandenburg Gate

The most famous historical monument in Berlin is the Brandenburg Gate (Brandenburger Tor), once a symbol of a divided nation and now a symbol of unity and peace. This neoclassical door was commissioned by King Frederick William II in 1788, and its design was inspired by the Propylaea of ​​the Acropolis in Athens. The sandstone monument is 26 meters high and is located in Pariser Platz in the Mitte district, just one block from the Reichstag building. During the Cold War, its physical and symbolic position as a blocked door along the Berlin Wall made it a frequent site for demonstrations by West Berliners, and it is famous for being the backdrop for supplication from US President Ronald Reagan in 1987 to Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev breaking down the wall.  It was also the scene of a poignant gesture when German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Russian Mikhail Gorbachev and Polish Lech Walesa walked through the door in 1999 to commemorate the dismantling of the Berlin Wall 20 years earlier.

Visiting the Brandenburg Gate at night is a special treat and without a doubt one of the best free things to do in Berlin.

2. The Rebuilt Reichstag

The Rebuilt Reichstag

The Reichstag (Reichstagsgebäude) was originally completed in 1894 when the Neo-Renaissance palace served as the home of the Imperial Diet of the German Empire until it burned down in 1933. It was only used again only after the reunification of Germany, when it underwent a 10-year Reconstruction and finally became the home of the German Parliament in 1999. A highlight of this magnificent reconstruction is the replacement dome, the Kuppel, glass and offering great views of the surrounding city, especially at night from the rooftop restaurant. Note that entry to the Dome and the Terrace is chargeable, and due to demand it is recommended to request tickets in advance (registration is available the day, but expect a wait of two or three hours). Free audio guides in English are available.

3. Museum Island

museum island

Sandwiched between the Spree River and the Kupfergraben in a 400-meter-long canal, Spree Island is better known as Museum Island (Museumsinsel), a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here you will find many of the city’s oldest and most important museums, including the Old Museum (Altes Museum), built in 1830 to house the crown jewels and other royal treasures. The new museum (Neues Museum), destroyed during the Second World War, was rebuilt and reopened in 2009 as the seat of vast collections of the Egyptian museum, the Papyrus collection and the collection of classical antiquities.

The old national gallery (Alte Nationalgalerie), opened in 1876, presents neoclassical sculptures and paintings from 1815-1848, as well as old Impressionist and Modernist pieces. The Bode Museum houses a collection of Byzantine art, as well as a large collection of sculptures from medieval times to the late 1700s. The city’s most popular museum, the Pergamon, houses an art museum Islamic, Ishtar Gate and reconstructed historic buildings from the Middle East. The museum’s new attraction, the Humboldt Forum, opened here in 2019 and houses the Berlin Ethnological Museum and the Museum of Asian Art.

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4. Berlin Wall Memorial

Berlin Wall Memorial

The Berlin Wall was born in 1961 when East Germany sealed off this half of the city to prevent citizens from fleeing to West Germany. At the time of its demolition in 1989, the four-meter-high wall stretched over 155 kilometers, dissected 55 streets and had 293 observation towers and 57 bunkers.

Today, only small portions of this graffiti-covered parody remain, including a 1.4-kilometer stretch preserved as part of the Berlin Wall Memorial (Gedenkstätte Berliner Mauer), a frightening reminder of animosity which once divided Europe.

Highlights of a visit include the museum at the Marienfelde Refugee Center, with its exhibits relating to the 1.5 million people who have crossed Berlin as refugees; the Günter Litfin Memorial, an old watchtower now set up as a memorial, which pays homage to the first civilian killed trying to cross from east to west; the monument to the memory of the divided city and of the victims of communist tyranny; the memory window; and a reception center, with a view of the remains of the wall. Guided tours are available in English.

5. German Historical Museum

German Historical Museum

The Berlin Wall was born in 1961 when East Germany sealed off this half of the city to prevent citizens from fleeing to West Germany. At the time of its demolition in 1989, the four-meter-high wall stretched over 155 kilometers, dissected 55 streets and had 293 observation towers and 57 bunkers.

Today, only small parts of this graffiti-covered parody remain, including a 1.4-kilometer stretch preserved as part of the Berlin Wall Memorial (Gedenkstätte Berliner Mauer), a frightening reminder of animosity which once divided Europe.

Highlights of a visit include the museum at the Center for Refugees in Marienfelde, with its exhibits relating to the 1.5 million people who crossed Berlin as refugees; the Günter Litfin Memorial, an old watchtower now set up as a memorial, which pays homage to the first civilian killed trying to cross from east to west; the monument to the memory of the divided city and of the victims of communist tyranny; the memory window; and a reception center, with a view of the remains of the wall. Guided tours are available in English.

6. Berliner Fernsehturm: Berlin’s Television Tower

Berliner FernsehturmBerlin's Television Tower

Despite celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2020, the 368-meter-tall Berliner Fernsehturm (Berlin TV tower) has lost none of its appeal to visitors to the city. Since opening in 1970, the third tallest free-standing structure in Europe has attracted more than 60 million visitors, most of them drawn to the spectacular views of the German capital. Originally built to mark the prowess of communism (it is located in the old district of East Berlin), the monument can be chosen in almost any corner of the city, which makes it more meaningful as a symbol of the reunification of the city in the 1980s.

Make sure to include the structure’s observation deck in your tour, and if you are able to linger for a while, book a reservation at the 207-meter-high revolving restaurant.

7. Checkpoint Charlie Museum

Checkpoint Charlie Museum

The Museum Checkpoint Charlie (Museum Haus am Checkpoint Charlie) is also interesting. Marking the most well-known crossing point between East and West Berlin, this fascinating tourist attraction presents numerous exhibitions and artifacts tracing the history of human rights, as well as exhibitions dealing specifically with the history of the wall from Berlin and Checkpoint Charlie. Located next to the original guardhouse, the museum also highlights some of the most interesting attempts made by those trying to escape communist rule, including an original homemade air balloon used in a successful attempt .

It is also worth visiting the open air Cold War exhibition of BlackBox in the open, which features sections of the Berlin Wall and related news stations.

8. Charlottenburg Palace and Park

Charlottenburg Palace and Park

The oldest and largest Prussian estate in Berlin, the Charlottenburg Palace from the end of the 17th century was for decades the main residence of German royalty. Magnificently restored, this immense palace has extraordinary characteristics, notably a massive central dome 50 meters high, a baroque and rococo decor opulent in its vast rooms and a large garden inspired by the gardens of Versailles.

A highlight of the property tour program is a visit to the new wing, with its state apartments and beautiful banquet halls. Constructed in 1746, it is here that visitors have a glimpse of the splendor in which Prussian kings and electors lived, from the bedroom of Frederick I and study with their fine furniture and paintings, to the state dining hall and the 42-meter-long golden gallery with its rich, golden stucco.

In the old palace is the porcelain cabinet, a room dedicated to a large historical collection of porcelain and to special exhibitions, including crown jewels and other royal objects. Other highlights are the Palace Park dating from 1697 and housing the New Pavilion (Neue Pavilion), built in 1788 in the style of a Neapolitan villa, and the Belvedere Teahouse with its beautiful collection of Berlin porcelain.

Do not forget to visit the mausoleum with its royal tombs, as well as the large courtyard with its large statue of the great elector, Frédéric-Guillaume de Brandenburg.

One of the best things to do in Berlin in winter is to visit the Christmas market at Charlottenburg Palace, a spectacular exhibition of over 250 vendors and artisans exhibiting seasonal items.

9. Gendarmenmarkt

Gendarmenmarkt

The Gendarmenmarkt, one of the largest squares in Berlin, is dominated by three historic buildings: the Konzerthaus, the French cathedral (Französischer Dom) and the German cathedral (Deutscher Dom). This picturesque 17th century square is now one of Berlin’s main tourist attractions, hosting many public events every year, including classical concerts on the steps of the Konzerthaus theater in summer, while every December the whole square becomes the famous city ​​Christmas market.

The Konzerthaus, constructed in 1821, is as famous for its architectural splendor as it is for the first-rate performances of the Konzerthausorchester Berlin, one of the most popular symphony orchestras in the country. In front of the building stands a statue of the German poet Friedrich Schiller surrounded by four female figures who represent the artistic elements of lyric poetry, theater, history and philosophy.

Cathedrals are so named for their domes (“dom” is also the German word for cathedral) and are not in fact churches – the French cathedral houses the Huguenot museum, and the German cathedral presents the history of the German Parliament.

Another well-known square in Berlin, Alexanderplatz was the center of life in East Berlin and now houses the World Clock, a popular meeting place. Nearby is the TV tower (nicknamed “Telespargel”) with a panoramic view of the city.

10. Jewish Museum Berlin

 Jewish Museum Berlin

Designed by architect Daniel Libeskind, the distinctive zinc-paneled exterior of the Jewish Museum Berlin (Jüdisches Museum Berlin) makes it one of the most impressive monuments in Berlin. It was established in 2001, and inside, visitors will find a wide range of historical artifacts and collections that illustrate the long history and struggle of German Jews from the Middle Ages to the present day.

The exhibits include works of art, religious objects and 24,000 photographs that have been preserved and recovered. Particularly moving is The Memory Void, where you will find an installation called “Shalekhet” or “Fallen Leaves”, a collection of some 10,000 iron faces spread across the floor. Sober, to say the least. The museum also houses an extensive library and archives at the Academy of the Jewish Museum in Berlin, where educational programs are frequent. The galleries of the museum include sections devoted to Hanukkah, anti-Semitism, the conflict in the Middle East, the history and culture of Jerusalem and the life of the Rabbi of Munich Leo Baerwald. A variety of themed tour options are available, as well as audio guides in English.

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