Berlin is a vibrant and eclectic city. Buildings built with funds from various countries after the city’s destruction in WWII are an interesting mix and match of styles. Accessible public transportation is one of the best you’ll find in Europe. The clubs are loud and the people are liberal (more than 60% of residents do not claim any religious affiliation). Germany’s largest city and the capital since 1990, Berlin is certainly a must see in Europe. Here is our top 10 list of “can’t miss” sights from the many many attractions you’ll find here.
1. Originally opened in 1894 but severely burned in a “suspicious” fire in 1933 as Hitler rose to power, the Reichstag now houses the German Parliament. Redesigned by architect Norman Foster and opened in 1999 the German Capital building is stunning on the inside and out. For free tour info check out Bundestag.de . For a nice relaxing afternoon, consider taking a picnic lunch to the massive lawn out front.
2. With over 60,000 square meters of selling space the Ka De We or Kaufhause des Westens, is claimed to be the largest department store in Continental Europe. It may be a bit pricey but if your in the mood for window shopping head on over to Tauentzienstasse near the Zoo train station.
3. Located just up the street from #2 the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church is an iconic and interesting sight. Built in 1890 and severely damaged in 1943 during the bombing raids the protestant church’s old spire stands as a remembrance of the destruction and loss during WWII.
4. Museum Island or Museumsinsel located in the Spree River is home to 5 world class museums. Entrance is cheap, tours are easy to organize and hours upon hours can be spent wandering the one of a kind exhibits. Check out part of the Ishtar Gate at the Pergamon Museum or the Bust of Egyptian Queen Nefertiti at the New Museum.
5. The Fernseturmor TV tower near Alexanderplatz in the city center is about as iconic as it is ugly. With a restaurant and viewing platform up in the center ball area, which is accessible via elevator, the tower is the tallest structure in Germany.
6. Brandenburg Tor (Gate) is one of the most recognizable landmarks in Europe. Originally one of many gates through which citizens would enter the city the gate was built in 1788-1791. Visiting the gate puts you front and center for several other historic landmarks. On one side and a block up you have the Reichstag and special stones in the ground which indicate where the Berlin wall once ran. On the other side you have the famous Boulevard Unter der Linden and Hotel Adlon where Michael Jackson dangled his baby from the window.
7. You can find traces of the Berlin Wall throughout the city. Its former path is embedded in the street and sections still stand today to serve as a reminder to visitors and locals alike. The NY Times has a really interesting article that lets you manipulate photos of locations throughout the city with and without the wall.
8. Take a break from the zoo that Berlin train stations can be around rush hour and visit an actual Zoo. The Berlin Zoological Garden houses the most comprehensive animal collection in the world and is the most visited in all of Europe. Tickets are only about 12 Euro and its smack dab in the middle of the city.
9. Located in a park between the TV tower and the River Spree you’ll find an ominous statue of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engles. While it may not be jaw dropping it is a popular place to have a picture taken and just something not too touristy to visit.
10. The Memorial to the Murdered Jews in Europe or Holocaust Memorial covers an expansive area one block south from Brandenburg Gate. Consisting of 2,711 slabs of concrete the memorial is open day and night (the museum has limited hours) for the public to reflect on an important part of world history.