Berlin is a city that’s been through despair, destruction, reconstruction and triumph. The capital city of Germany has faced it all and because so is a city rich with history, culture and architecture. There’s a lot for tourists to see and do, so plan as much time as possible to really experience the rich history of Berlin. In the meantime, here’s a guide for a quick weekend getaway along with a list of hotels in Berlin to handle your accommodations.
Begin your first day with a little history. Start off at the Brandenburg Gate, which is known as the representative entrance into the historical part of the city. It was once the symbol of division between East and West Berlin but is now a symbol of unity, history and a famous (and free) landmark tourists love to take pictures of. Next, pay tribute to the victims of the Third Reich at the Memorial of the Murdered Jews of Europe. Silently walking through this memorial is a very reflective and moving time for most visitors, which you can do for free at anytime during the day, or you can also head to the underground visitor’s center for a little more history on the matter.
After working up your appetite, take a break from the historical sites and grab some lunch at Kuchen Kaiser. Choose from one of their German classics, like Sauerbraten, and don’t forget to ask what local beers they have on tap.
Once you’ve eaten, but hopefully not overeaten, finish your sightseeing day at the Checkpoint Charlie Museum and the Berlin Wall Memorial (pictured above). Checkpoint Charlie was once the checkpoint for border crossing of the Berlin Wall, and now the museum is what’s left of the crossing and a place to hear about stories of those who escaped and those who weren’t so lucky. The Wall is probably the most well known historical landmark in Berlin, and today the Memorial is there for visitors to physically see and learn about the events and eventual downfall of it.
End your first day with a relaxing, enjoyable meal at Max and Moritz. Chefs here make delicious Old World traditional German foods and have been doing so for more than 100 years. Go at the right time of night and listen to a gypsy jazz band play some tunes while you dine.
Get plenty of rest because day two is another full day, and we’re starting you off at the Museumsinsel, or Museum Island. This area is comprised of five museums — Altes Museum, Neues Museum, Alte Nationalgalerie, Bode Museum and Pergamon Museum — in a clump on an island in the River Spree. Each brings its own art and culture to the table.
Once you’ve worked up an appetite looking at art and architecture in a cluster of German museums, get your belly full at Mustafas Gemuse Kebab. The line to eat may be a little long, but the kebabs will be the best you’ve ever tasted.
Work off those kebabs and take in the fresh air while walking along the green trees and lakes in Tiergarten. This free urban park that’s open 24 hours a day means Animal Garden, so be on the lookout for wildlife to appear on your walk. The Reichstag Building should be next on your list. This historic landmark is the seat of the German Parliament and gives a great view of the city from the glass dome and roof terrace. While admission is free, advance registration to enter the dome and roof terrace is required.
Spend your last night in town having dinner at Grill Royal. Enjoy a finer dining experience with a delectable steak or seafood dish. The food, décor and atmosphere make this restaurant a favorite spot to locals and American celebrities. It might be a good idea to call in a reservation or make one online.
Enjoy every minute you have in Berlin by using this guide to help you see the significant sites and eat at the right restaurants.