After visiting a few cities at the start of 2016, Berlin was at the top of my hit list – so much history, I had to go. I picked up some really cheap flights.. £29 each way so it was a no brainer, I was booked in.
I landed at Flughafen Schönefeld pretty early, around 7am, but I was happy with that. I’d completely forgot to look into how to get from the airport to the city.. I’ll save you the trouble..
Walk out of the airport and head towards the train station. You can catch either the RB14, RB or RE/RE7 – all will get you into the main station of Alexanderplatz. Various routes can be reached from here. Ensure you grab yourself a ticket – machines are pretty easy to use, they are down stairs, before you get to the platforms. It’s an approx 40 minute ride, so sit back and relax.
Iconic. That’s the best way to describe this place. You walk out of the station to the Fernsehturm, the Berlin TV Tower. It is a stunning view, and on a sunny day.. Perfection. The Fernsehturm is accessible for entry, I’ll get to that in a second..
It’s a shopping hub around Alexanderplatz, so if you do need anything for your stay it may be worth your time having a quick look around. Alexa Shopping Centre has lots of cool shops including the likes of Quiksilver.
The Fernsehturm can be accessed by lift to the summit. 365m high, a perfect 360 degree view of Berlin. It costs €13 for an Adult. It’s an unmissable sight if it’s a clear day.
The Olympiapark (Olympischer Platz 3, 14053 Berlin)
The grounds of the stadium are simply epic. Entry costs €7 and you are free to walk almost anywhere within the ground (except on the pitch, and changing room areas).
Being a huge fan of different stadiums.. I must have sat in every seat! You get a perfect view from each stand.. as I said, EPIC. It was amazing to sit almost alone in a stadium this large. I counted around 20 people inside the stadium while I was there.
There is so much history in this stadium alone. I would advise a walking tour from the entrance office. Originally built for 1936 summer Olympics, it’s said to have held over 100,000 people.. Simply amazing. Official capacity for today is just under 75,000.
I cannot stress how much this must be visited, it’s truly amazing and a place I’ll never forget visiting.
The Olympiapark has it’s own train station. I caught the U2 train from Alexanderplatz. It takes around 30 mins and is 21 stops. You can also catch the S75 for 12 stops. Consult Google Maps if you’re in a different location!
The Reichstag Building and Dome (Platz der Republik 1, 11011 Berlin)
Historical, beautiful and unique.
The Reichstag Building was severely damaged after it was set on fire in 1933. After years of non use, repairs and restoration, the Bundestag was born after its completion in 1999.
To enter the Reichstag you must book in advance, please click this link for details. Once inside, you’ll be taken through the entrance of the huge pillared front section, and into a lift. Once you walk outside you’ll see the magnificent Dome. The Dome has two spiraling walk ways to the top, ensure you grabbed a walking tour head set, they are free and explain the history and views from the Reichstag rooftop and Dome.
The core of the Dome is awesome. The mirrored cone is like nothing I’ve seen before.
This landmark signifies the reunification of Germany. A real must see, like most things in Berlin really!
Remember the Reichstag MUST be booked in advance via their website. You cannot turn up and try to enter the building..
The Brandenburg Gate (Pariser Platz, 10117 Berlin)
Another magnificent landmark. The Brandenburg Gate. Arguably one of the best known landmarks on Berlin.
The Brandenburg Gate has always held major historical events, but is seen as a sign of peace and unity. The gate was heavily used as part of the Nazi party’s ‘symbol’. I always remember history lessons with images of Hitler walking through the Brandenburg Gate. The gate survived World War 2 and was one of the only parts of Pariser Platz still standing..
I was lucky enough to be in Berlin during the Euro 2016 tournament, the site was used as a Fan Zone. A massive screen under the gate was installed and it was rumored that 10,000 watched the match that night! In true German fashion I had a few helpings of currywurst, several beers and watched Germany win. An amazing atmosphere to be apart of.
The Berlin Wall / East Side Gallery (Mühlenstraße, 10243 Berlin)
Head for Warschauer Straße – U1 train.
For me, this place needs no introduction. It’s known across the world as a symbol of division, and subsequently change. I spent hours here looking at what is now hundreds of works of art.. Head over to my Instagram page for a Timelapse video of the whole Berlin Wall..
Absolutely unique. Do NOT miss this.
Checkpoint Charlie, (Friedrichstraße 43-45)
One for the Historians and War buffs..
Checkpoint Charlie was the name of the gate given by Western Allies during the Cold War.
Things to know about this historic place:
- Only foreigners could use this gate
- It sat just a few feet away from a huge German checkpoint..
- Many East Germans tried to escape through here
- An infamous showdown occurred here between the Soviets and USA
- The original guard house is now kept in a museum
Visit this link for more info.
The Checkpoint is now heavily commercialised. From the photos I mentioned, to a Macdonalds behind the original Checkpoint. I loved the history of it but it’s also sad to see how it’s used as a tourist trap. Very busy, but very cool for me. If possible, join in with a walking tour.
The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe (Cora-Berliner-Straße 1, 10117 Berlin)
This place must be visited to understand the sheer volume of lives lost during the Holocaust. There are 2,711 concrete slabs or ‘stelae’. The place of information also holds the names of 3 million Jewish holocaust victims. The memorial itself is magnificent, it covers over 4.5 Acres of space.. It is massive. The concrete slabs vary in size, from around 0.2m to 4.7m high.
You really can’t appreciate it until you have been here. Must see. I walked with a free walking tour which started at Potsdamerplatz and finished up here.
Potsdamerplatz (10785 Berlin)
The famous Potsdamerplatz, although you may not know why from the surface when you arrive there. There are lots of Berlin Wall relics dotted around the area. Since the German reunification, Potsdamerplatz has been the site of major redevelopment projects and is home to some superb architecture.
During World War 2 Potsdamerplatz was heavily used by the Nazi party and even had a Gestapo secret prison, interrogation and torture rooms on the upper floors of Coloumbushaus. On a lighter note the 1936 Olympic Games was organized here..
Other places which are worth a look:
Topography of Terror – the former HQ of the Gestapo and a look into Nazism. So much history and information to take in here. There are walking tours available.
Victory Column – 67m high column commemorating the victory in the Prussian-Danish war. Views from the top deck are very good..
Gendarmenmarkt – home to Berlin’s Christmas market, seasonal markets and beautiful architecture. There’s also a great deal of restaurants in and around this area.
Monument to the Soviet Soldiers (Tiergarten)
About 10 mins walked from the Brandenburg Gate towards Victory column, and on your right you’ll see the huge memorial to the Soviets.
White Trash Fast Food (Am Flutgraben 2, 12435 Berlin)
Click this link for the menu – must be visited and tried. Worth the trek out of central Berlin.. A €8-10 Uber from Alexanderplatz makes this an easy location to get to. I walked for miles, don’t make the same mistake I did!
I walked through Museum Island everyday, it had some beautiful architecture, and of courses museums. In fact it boasts 5 museums and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Saturday morning, I walked into a mini market / car boot sale. Absolutely anything can and is sold here.. Lots of German War relics and medals – whether they were genuine or not I don’t know..
Stand Up Club SUP Berlin (Eichenstraße 4, 12435 Berlin)
Absolutely gutted I had injured my leg a few days before I couldn’t get out on the river. The complex is cool, if it’s a warm.. What better way to enjoy the sun?! For details click here
As a snap tourists guide, I think I’ve covered everything I can in the city.. I’m sure there are more secrets of the city but the 3 days I spent in Berlin taking in it’s culture and history were so cool. This trip I won’t ever forget.
And that’s that.. I already had my next trip lined up – Prague, Czech Republic.
Want tips or help with travel? Contact me!
°All photos shot with GoPro Hero 4 Silver, with use of a Sandmarc Metal Edition pole, and various mounts.