I say Berlin, you say the Berlin Wall, Hitler, World War II. And if you’re not a history buff, you could get the impression that you’d find the capital of Germany a bit of a drag. Not to mention, depressing.
I’m going to write an entire post on die Mauer some time so don’t go thinking that I’m not into it. This is a shoutout to the rest of Berlin!
If you follow me on Instagram, you may have noticed my slight obsession with this city square. Now, it’s not a huge square. In fact, it only has three buildings. Three magnificient buildings to boast. These are the Neue Kirche (New Church, German Cathedral), Französischer Dom (French Cathedral) and Schinkel’s Konzerthaus (Concert Hall).
In the centre of all of this beauty stands a statue of poet and philosopher, Friedrich Schiller. In 1871 the monument was dismantled and taken from Gendarmenmarkt, but was returned again in 1988 after the surrounding buildings were fully reconstructed following the British bombings.
The closest U-Bahn stops to Gendarmenmarkt are: Hausvogteiplatz, Stadtmitte or Französische Straße.
Brandenburg Gate / Brandenburger Tor
What I love about Brandenburg Gate is that it’s not just an attraction or landmark to take selfies with and move on. It makes you think. I don’t really think it’s possible to look up at this imposing gateway and not imagine, if even for a second, what it must have been like for the German people.
It used to divide East and West Berlin, but since the Wall came down in 1989 Brandenburg Gate represents unity for New Berlin.
Closest U-Bahn stop: Brandenburger Tor.
Berlin Cathedral / Berliner Dom
Okay, this is definitely my favourite building in Berlin. It is striking. It is stunning. It is Berlin.
Even though it’s called a cathedral, the seat of the bishop is based in other churches in the city, not this one… Fun fact?!
Anyway, it costs €5-7 to go in and you probably should if you have the time. There’s also a crypt. My weekend was kinda rushed so we didn’t get to see inside but the outside was spectacular enough for us! Maybe next time!
Closest U-Bahn stops: Alexanderplatz or Französische Straße.
Chances are you’ll probably (unknowingly) end up in Kreuzberg anyway because that’s where Checkpoint Charlie is. This is also where the free spirits are.
Once one of the most oppressed parts of West Berlin, Kreuzberg fought back and is now the place to be. The young, the old, the punk, the hippie, street art and immigrants. This is where you will see and become Berlin.
So whether you want to look around the East Side Gallery, stroll through Turkish markets or party the night away in club SO36, you should 100% check out Kreuzberg.
Closest U-Bahn stops: Kottbusser Tor or Görlitzer Bahnhof.
Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church / Gedächtniskirche
There’s a load of churches in Berlin, but if there’s only one you should see it is this one.
Playfully nicknamed by Berliners as “der hohle Zahn” (the hollow tooth), this church was badly damaged in an air raid in 1943. Instead of a complete repair, the architect decided that part of it should be preserved to tell a story and a new modern church was built beside it.
It’s free admission and has some good info and a little gift shop but obviously you can’t go up the church… As it has no steeple.
To me, these are the must-sees of Berlin, but if you feel that this isn’t enough for you…
Here are some more great spots:
Reichstag. U-Bahn: Bundestag
The Holocaust Memorial. U-Bahn: Brandenburger Tor
TV Tower. S or U-Bahn: Alexanderplatz
Alexanderplatz. U-Bahn: Alexanderplatz
Berlin City Hall. S-Bahn: Alexanderplatz
Tiergarten. U-Bahn: Tiergarten or Brandenburger Tor
The Molecule Men. S-Bahn: Treptower Park