Berlin is made up of 12 boroughs, each with its own distinct personality. Travelling through them is easy, with an excellent light rail system that runs all day and sometimes through the night at the weekend.
The first port of call for history buffs should be the central Mitte district, where the so-called Museum Island is situated. This is home to the Pergamon Museum, Bode Museum and several other renowned cultural institutions. If more recent history is your thing, the fully interactive DDR Museum offers a snapshot of city life under the Soviets, and is also only a short walk away.
Around the city there are many constant reminders of its recent dark past. The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, a moving tribute to the victims of the Holocaust, is adjacent to the Mitte's Tiergarten, while you can find the Berlin Wall Memorial, featuring a small slice of the untouched wall (most of which is now demolished), just under 2 kilometres to the north.
To get a feel for some of city’s great architectural styles, take a stroll to enjoy the rococo design of Schloss Charlottenburg palace or have a look inside Berliner Dom, a huge sandstone building in a mixture of styles including Gothic, Baroque and Neoclassical. One notable building has to be the Reichstag parliament building. A classic construction topped by a modern glass dome, this impressive building offers 360-degree views of Berlin. Last but not least, a must-see is Berlin’s defining structure, the Brandenburg Gate.
When the sun come out, join the locals and flock to one of the city's many beautiful parks. The Tiergarten in the centre is one of the most popular. It’s lined with trees and has beautifully manicured lawns. It’s also home to Berlin Zoo, which has been around since 1844 and boasts hundreds of animals from pandas to polar bears.
One of the most striking landmarks seen across the city is the TV Tower situated in Alexanderplatz, one of the city’s two main public squares, along with Potsdamer Platz. Destroyed during World War II, Potsdamer Platz has undergone a major redevelopment, shaking off its outdated image as a no man's land during the division of Berlin to become a culinary centre. To try delicious local delights like elsbein (pork knuckle), schnitzel and currywurst, this is the place to go.
For a day trip away from Berlin, visit the time-honoured city of Brandenburg an der Haven. It’s only about an hour’s journey from the capital and features a picturesque lake and quaint bars and restaurants. If you want to travel further afield, Frankfurt an der Oder is a good choice and is only separated from Poland by the Oder River.
Skyscrapers, Museums and Monuments
There are many debates about where the real centre of Berlin is, but Alexanderplatz, with its teetering tower and retail therapy, is certainly a contender.
One of Europe’s most powerful landmarks, this German symbol dates back to 1791 and has played a huge role in the country’s political culture ever since.
A real survivor of the city's recent past, in the face of bombings and ambush, the German Parliament building stands tall as a symbol of hope and unity in the city.
Visit one of Berlin’s most famous relics of the Cold War. Once a place of chilling fear and dramatic escape attempts, it is now one of the city's big attractions.
This public square once lay divided between East and West Germany, now it brings people together in a celebration of their city.
Take in breathtaking views of Berlin and enjoy a meal in a revolving restaurant inside the sphere of this iconic tower, the tallest structure in Germany.
The Berlin WelcomeCard, available as 48-hours, 72-hours, 4-day, 5-day, or 6-day option, offers a great, cost-effective means to explore the city in-depth. Travel on public transport in fare zones Berlin AB or Berlin ABC for free and receive exclusive discounts of up to 50 percent with over 200 participating partners.
Discover the history of Berlin while pedaling past distinctive historic monuments and important cultural sites. Follow your local guide as you cover much more ground than you could on foot. Learn more about the region's turbulent past and how it's effected the contemporary city you see today.
Embark on a poignant tour of one of the first Nazi concentration camps. Originally built to house political prisoners, its usage evolved through the Holocaust and then post-WWII. Observe how the camp today marks the devastating crimes that took place and how it pays tribute to its victims.
We Will WOW You. Totally interactive Sets, amazing costumes, exciting music and modern techniques, it’s all inside at Madame Tussauds Berlin. Experience your one-of-a-kind WOW moment.
Central to the network of inhumane concentration camps, Sachsenhausen was also an SS training facility. Learn of its atrocities and gain historical perspective on its Nazi and Soviet use. This full-day tour offers poignant insight into one of the 20th century’s most profound brutalities.
Introduce yourself to Berlin with a broad overview of its most famous sights on this walking tour. Your guide leads you through the significant local and historical themes: Prussian, Imperial, Nazi, Cold War, and modern.