One day in Berlin
Berlin: Either you love it or hate it. That’s what I read before my first journey to this city. As you can see the city arouses many emotions among tourists. I assume that this is the result of the unhappy history of Berlin. On the one hand Berlin wants to be a modern capital of Europe and the EU and become a role model for others. On the other hand Berlin faces many problems, like multiculturalism, still living division into West and East Berlin or security issues. It is not surprising, therefore, that the city is controversial for many people. Likewise, the tourist attractions in Berlin. Some of them are trully emotional. I’ve been two times in Berlin for a one day. Once in winter and once in summer. 🙂 Both tours were very intense, but in 1 day you can see almost everything! 🙂 This is how to do that:
How to get to Berlin?
It’s really easy to find a cheap transport to Berlin. Berlin has many cheap flights as well as cheap Buses. I was traveling mainly by Polski Bus from Poland. That is the cheapest way so far from Poland. However, we will also have cheap flights to the Grmany’s capital thanks to Ryanair. If you are traveling from Germany (like I did once from Leipzig) check also Flixbus or Deutsche Bahn (particularly if you are 3-5 person group).
How to prepare for the trip?
Two important issues in this case:
The first is a map and for that I recommend to download the Triposo guide to the phone. All attractions, pubs and offline map in one place. Great app for every traveler and is free! 🙂 The second thing is the metro map. It will be useful to move quickly by underground and take the properly line. Be careful, there are a lot of lines, but reasonable changes will guarantee you efficient communication between Berlin’s biggest attractions. I recommend buying a daily ticket (1 zone) for around 7 euros
Before your arrival to Berlin, it is important to consider how to plan your sightseeing. ZOB (bus station) is located quite far from the center. It is also quite difficult to find the metro station (not visible from the station). Once you get to the Kaiserdamm station, you will easily reach the city center. I remember the first time we got lost and we wasted a lot of time finding this station. Next to the ZOB is located also the Messe / Nord station (for S-bahn), but I didn’t have the opportunity to use it.
Let’s start from Charlottenburg Palace
When we arrived to Berlin the first time, we started from Charlottenburg Palace. If you look at the map, you will surely notice that it is relatively close to the station. So we ride several metro stops and we are already in front of a baroque building. The palace was built at the end of the 17th century and was greatly expanded during the 18th century. The palace served the kings until 1861. Later it was nationalized. It suffered greatly during World War II, but since 1966 it can be admired again in a full glory. During our visit, we limited ourselves only to the short walk around the Palace and through the gardens. Unfortunately, during my second visit I didn’t have time to visit this place again. Too bad, because it’s really beautiful spot, even in winter! As a curiosity I will add that Charlottenburg was once a village near Berlin. Today, however, it is already a Berlin district. 😉
This is a constitutional and legislative body at the federal level in Germany. For its similar function, it is often described as a lower house of parliament. The Bundestag elected directly. However, we will not discuss here the political system of Germany, but rather about the relatively easy and pleasant possibility of visiting this building. Although it was built in the nineteenth century, in the period of 1991-99 has undergone considerable modernization. Until 1999, the Bundestag was in Bonn and then it moved to Berlin. Entrance is free, but you need to register in advance and then show up at the right place (it will be indicated in the email) at the time you chose. You can register here.
Some kind of „airport control” is wating for you at the entrance, so you have to be patient. Then you will receive the audioguide and continue the visit as long as you want! Prepare lots of time, because this place is huge and worth more attention! 🙂
The Brandenburg gate
The Brandenburg Gate was our next stop. It’s located only 5 min walk from Bundestag. Of course Berlin is very proud of its gates, which is a one of the Germany’s symbol. Even Pandora produces silver charms for its bracelets with the Brandenburg Gate. 🙂
It was built at the end of the 19th century in neoclassical style. However, during the WWII it was seriously damaged. The reconstruction of the Gate ended in 1957. Four years later, it became a symbol of divided Berlin. Construction of the Berlin Wall on August 13, 1961 made the gate stand in the middle of the border area and couldn’t be crosseda either from the eastern part or from the west. Only the NRD border services, information center staff at the Brandenburg Gate, and visitors (usually guests of the German Democratic Republic) were allowed to enter the observation platform. At that time, the German President Richard von Weizsäcker has said: „The German question is open as long as the Brandenburg Gate is closed.”
Then we looked into the square where the Holocaust memorial is placed.. The monument consists of 2711 concrete block-stela (one on each side of the Talmud) set in parallel ranks. It was built between 2003 and 2005. There is also a paid part of the museum, which I skipped. Between the concrete blocks you can walk and even get lost. This monument is weird for me. It doesn’t refer to WWII event in my personal opinion. However, I must admit that these monument made big impression on me, but as a symbol of the Holocaust for me completely missed. (Issue of taste).
Don’t focus only on memorial. Look around to see how nice is the nearby architecture! 🙂
It is also worth to look into the super-modern Sony Center complex, which is close by. Finally built in 2000 for 800 $ million !! 😮 😮 You can not go indifferently next to such a sum, so that is why we visited this place. It is worthwhile to come here in the evening when the colorful lights give a real headache. The complex has shops, restaurants, conference centers, hotel rooms, offices, museums, cinemas…
Gendarmenmarkt – propably the most beautiful square in Berlin 🙂
Truly lovely place and I would even say that a lil bit different than other sights in Berlin. As you will notice during sightseeing, Berlin doesn’t have lots of classic or old architecture. Berlin style is more for youth with lots of graffiti and cool pubs. That is why I consider this place as something different and worth visit. This square is the most elegant place in Berlin. 🙂
In the middle of the square is located the Schauspielhaus, on the south side the German Cathedral, and on the northern French Cathedral. Interestingly, both buildings were built in the 18th century, but they never performed sacred functions. There are museums and restaurants with panoramic terraces.
The square was founded in 1688, and its French name derives from gendarmerie that in the 18th century stationed here. At the end of the same century, the gendarmerie gradually left the place.
Natural History Museum
I love Dinosaurs 😀 ! Unfortunately, there are not many museums in Poland that offer such attractions. The first skeletons of the dinosaurs I admired in 2013 in London. Basically – whenever I have an opportunity to see Dinosaurs, I take it! Berlin was the second chance to see Dinosaurs. And not just any! This is where the famous skeleton of Archeopteryx is located – the first fossil that suggests the evolution of dinosaurs into birds. For real dinosaurs fan is a real treat! I know we had little time, but I couldn’t deny this pleasure. The ticket was not expensive (about 4 euros), but I was limited to the Dinosaur Room. Time and other interesting places of the city prevented us from further exploring the museum. Besides the famous Archeopteryx, you can also admire the great skeleton of Brachiosaur. As far as I can remember, it is the largest skeleton of Dinosaur available in the museum.
Then we went around the famous Museum Island. It’s a wonderful place, with lots of wonderful buildings, which have the most magnificent treasures in the world. There are currently 5 museums that focus mainly on art. I have already mentioned in other posts that I am not a fan of the Gallery or the Art Museums, but during my second visit I went to the Pergamon Museum! The ticket costed me 9 euros (student ticket) and includes an audioguide!
Of course I couldn’t stop staring at the Ishtar Gate. Such architectural wonders only convince me that we don’t know much and we don’t appreciate enough the ancient world. The reconstruction of the entrance to the Hellenistic Miletus market was not less impressive. Unfortunately, the greatest treasure of the museum – the altar of Zeus is under renovation and what I remember the completion of the works is scheduled for 2018 or 2020. Well, it looks like I will have a reason to come back to Berlin 🙂
Next we look closely at the largest sacral building in Berlin. The Cathedral (Berliner Dom) was built in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century in the late Neo-Renaissance style. It can accommodate up to 1,500 people, because the most important celebrations, devotions, etc. will be held here. Unfortunately, we didn’t see its interiors. 8 euros effectively scared us off, although now after the trip to Spain I already know that this is quite normal price…
We also look for a moment at the square near the Television Tower. There are some cool spots worth your time. The first is the representative fountain of Neptune. Nice work of art, built in the 19th century. Interestingly, it was moved here from the Berlin Palace in 1969.
St. Mary’s Church
Right next to the fountain is located a small, colorful St. Mary’s Church. It is not very impressive, but its colors are certainly nice to the eye. Churc interior is very modest. But I encourage you to go inside (free admission) just to see terrible puppets and mosaics with Ufo …
The 203-meter high tower, located on the edge of Alexander Square, is one of Berlin’s favorite attractions. However, I’ve never been inside. 😛 I heard the opinion that the view is not so good because the Tower is too high for the relatively low buildings of Berlin. How much truth is in this, I don’t know. All I know is that you can buy an online ticket. Long lines can effectively discourage entry, so it is worth to purchase via Internet 🙂
Red Town Hall
We also came to see where the local authorities of the city are located. The Red Town Hall is a really simple but very nice building. Orange bricks give it a dynamic character and even against the gray sky the building looks impeccably. It was built at the end of the 19th century.
Why this place is considered as a cool, I don’t know.. Local architecture stopped here in the communist era, and I see here only shops. Ok you can just have a walk here or do some shopping in Primark, but it is a shame to waste more time here. 😛
On our first trip to Berlin, when we reached the wall, it was already dark. Therefore, being in Berlin for the second time, my journey started with visiting the Berlin Wall. 🙂 Just to be sure I will be before the dark comes. 😀 History of the Wall probably knows everyone. As I mentioned above, it was built in 1961 to mark the area of Russian occupation. The wall was 156 km long and killed many lives. But let’s skip the historical histories. The East Side Gallery is currently located here. This means that the wall is painted by artists whose drawings are truly amazing. Some of the you will never forget. Interestingly, drawings change from time to time, so it is very likely that next time there will be another drawings.
Of course, the most famous one is Brezhnev and Honecker’s kiss 🙂
Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church
Already at the very end, quite in the dark, we still went to see the below church. I wanted to visit it again during my second visit, but unfortunately it completely flew out of my head. 😛 Church was built (probably the whole Berlin was built in the 19th century) 😛 in the nineteenth century. During the World War II, the church suffered heavily. What is interesting, the government decided to not restore the church. The destroyed tower (which looks like the house of a monster) is left as a symbol of anti-war. In return they decided to built a new church with an original glass altar. Unfortunately we didn’t have a chance to see it because we came right at the closing …
There was also a terrorist attack in the December of 2016.
That’s what we managed to see in Berlin. As you can see for one day you can really see a lot. I know that there are probably some places worth a visit, but I think the most important ones are here. I didn’t go to the famous Charlie Checkpoint as well, because it was not advised to me and it wasn’t on my way. I don’t regret it very much, but maybe next time I will have a look. Just as I dream of seeing a molecular man who is on the riverside. 🙂 I think I still have to go back to Berlin, and if you are wondering whether it is worth to go to Berlin for one day, my anwer is: YES! 🙂