Are you attending the Berlin Marathon 2020 and would also like to explore Berlin? Then this is the blog post for you! Click here to get your Berlin travel guide on what to do in Berlin!
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The capital city of Berlin. A city full of history and intrigue. 13.5 million tourists visit Berlin annually & I can clearly see why! Berlin has something for everyone. From history to architecture, to nightlife and amazing food!
Getting around Berlin:
You think Paris is huge? Wait till you hear this .. Berlin is nine times bigger than Paris!
Don’t panic though. Even though Berlin is huge, it’s public transport system is stellar.
We did drive to Berlin from Ramstein but used public transport to get around. Our ticket fare of choice was the one day ticket which cost us €8.80 per person.
Just like any major city, Berlin also has buses and trains that run all over the city taking people out of Berlin and into Berlin.
For more information about public transport in Berlin, check out their official website.
Furthermore, the city of Berlin offers a service called Berlin City Passes where you can save some serious $$$ and €€€ on transportation AND passes for museums!
The Berlin Welcome card is the official tourist ticket. You get free public transportation in Berlin, choose up to 200 attractions with 50% off and a free city guidebook.
Getting to Berlin:
Being the capital city of Germany, Berlin is easily accessible within Germany and outside of Germany. There are many options for you to get to Berlin.
☆ By car:
This is the option we went with. In total, the drive from southern Germany took six hours. We ended up parking in our hotel parking lot. However, you can find parking garages where you can leave your car all over the city.
PRO TIP: download the app Parkopedia to find a list of all the parking garages in Berlin
☆ By train:
Berlin has one of the busiest train stations in Europe. You can get to Berlin from any train station in and out of Germany. To buy train tickets, visit the Deutsche Bahn’s official website.
☆ By plane:
You can also fly into Berlin from outside of Germany and outside of Germany.
Berlin has two main airports: Berlin Tegel and Berlin-Schönefeld. The former is slightly closer to the centre but they are both easily accessible from the city centre.
Next time we visit Berlin, we are going to fly out of Luxembourg to Berlin Tegel with Ryanair because a) it is cheaper and b) it takes less time!
For more information on how to get to Berlin, click here.
WHERE TO STAY IN BERLIN:
There is an abundance of hotels in Berlin.
Berlin is divided into a number of neighbourhoods. I did some research on the top 4 neighbourhoods in Berlin and found the following.
- Mitte Neighborhood
- Friedrichshain Neighborhood
- Kreuzberg Neighborhood
- Prenzlauer Berg
Our hotel was located in the Mitte neighbourhood & we found our accommodation through Booking.com! Check out the widget below to find a place to stay in Berlin.
What to do and see in Berlin:
There are a total of 180 museums in Berlin so there is plenty to do and see!
⇢ The Berlin Wall/East Side Gallery:
The Berlin Wall is one of the most popular international landmarks in Berlin.
I remember studying the history behind it, the history of the Cold War, during my history college class.
The East Side Gallery is the longest surviving section of the Berlin Wall and it is covered with drawings and graffiti art from artists all over the world.
Perhaps the most famous artwork is known as the “Fraternal Kiss”.
PRO TIP: Berlin has it’s own app! Click here to check it out
⇢ Memorial to the murdered Jews of Europe:
We wanted to go inside the museum but the line was insane .. at 9am in the morning.
Situated very close to the Brandenburg Gate and in the heart of Berlin, is where the memorial of the murdered Jews of Europe lies.
In 1999 plans started to erect a memorial and it was completed in 2005.
The architect, Peter Eisenman, was in charge of designing this memorial. It comprises of over 2700 concrete slabs of different dimensions.
[bctt tweet=”The memorial to the murdered Jews of Europe creates a place of remembrance, but not with the usual means.” username=”reebeccaam”]
Close to the memorial, you can find the exact spot where Hitler’s bunker used to be located. This is the place where Hitler hid at the end of WW2, married Eva Braun and the place where he passed away.
⇢ The Brandenburg Gate:
The Brandenburg Gate is a short tram ride away from the above-mentioned memorial! This Athenian inspired gate is over 200 years old and it is a quintessential part of the city of Berlin.
I would have liked to get closer to the gate and take some closeup shots but as you can see, there were TV crews, lots of vans and cameras and the area was closed off.
Oh, there’s a kiosk close by that sells the most delicious and spiciest currywurst! My spice tolerance is very low and spent five minutes breathing in and out but it was worth it.
⇢ Berliner Dom:
The teal dome reminded me so much of the palace in Vienna! Can anyone else see it? Yes? No? Ok.
Entry to the Cathedral is possible. We paid €18 for our tickets and I highly recommend you going!
INSIDE THE BERLINER DOM:
I was blown away by the beauty inside the dome. It reminded me so much of the churches and cathedrals back at home in Malta!
There are benches on the side of the church where you can sit down and you can see the entire church. Very beautiful! And yes, that is a Christmas tree haha. We visited Berlin in January for New Year’s and the decorations were still up.
Fun fact about the Berliner Dome: there are German/Prussian kings, queens and popes buried there!
You can get close to the tombs. Word of warning .. the smell isn’t nice at all. It was interesting being able to see the tombs of these Kings and Queens. German Princes and Princesses are also buried here.
There are signs all over the Cathedral leading you to staircases. We went up one flight of stairs and we were led to a “mini-museum” with a number of paintings and sculptures of the cathedral.
Next up is the 180+ steps to the top of the Dome. This is not for the faint-hearted but let me tell you, it is so worth it. The staircases leading to the top are kind of narrow and there are people going up and down all the time.
Isn’t the view from the top stunning? The cardio session was so worth it. You can see the Christmas market from the Dome! One of the many Christmas markets in Berlin.
⇢ Checkpoint Charlie:
Our next stop was the infamous Checkpoint Charlie:
You can take pictures with the two ‘soldiers’ standing there. They charge you for it, I don’t know how much exactly.
DAY TRIP TO POTSDAM:
While you’re in Berlin, I highly recommend taking a day trip to Postdam.
Getting to Potsdam from Berlin:
We drove there and it took us about 40 minutes. There are also trains and buses! From Berlin Central Station (Berlin Hauptbahnhof), take the S-Bahn S7 train to Potsdam Hauptbahnhof, the terminal station. The journey takes 40 minutes and arrives in 10 to 30-minute intervals.
FOR ALL THE HISTORY BUFFS OUT THERE, THIS IS THE EXACT LOCATION WHERE THE POTSDAM CONFERENCE WAS HELD.
The superpowers during the Cold War era gathered here and decided on how to administer and divide Germany.
So why visit Potsdam? Let me tell you why.
⇢ Sanssouci Palace:
The palace itself is vibrant and colourful and definitely worth a stop by! We went there during the winter so the gardens weren’t in full bloom. Luis visited Berlin in July of 2016 and he told me that the gardens are gorgeous when they’re in full bloom!
There is a bit of a long path that leads to the palace. The palace grounds are HUGE! The King at that time spared no expenses when it came to the construction of the Sanssouci.
And finally, after what seemed like forever, we could see the palace!
I loved walking around the castle and noticing the intricate details. I’m not sure whether or not you can go in the castle. When we were there it was closed so I’m assuming you can’t. But I could be wrong so be sure to check beforehand!
IF YOU THOUGHT THAT THIS PALACE WAS BIG .. THERE’S MORE.
The King built ‘hotels’ at the back of the castle for the nobility to rent out when they were visiting! I have never ever seen anything like this before.
The area where the hotels are located is HUGE! Imagine how much they would have cost to rent one of them back in the day! These ‘hotels’ look like a mini version of the palace itself. I can only imagine how grand they are on the inside.