Scars from the period when the capital was divided by a wall.
If you stroll along the East Side Gallery, you’ll learn about the events that took place here. On Unter den Linden Street, at Spree Island, or in Tiergarten, Berlin reveals to visitors a unique historical, cultural, and architectural heritage.
If you plan to visit the city of Berlin in the near future, here are the most important tourist attractions and the most beautiful places to visit in Berlin.
What to Visit First in Berlin? You can start with the Reichstag Palace, one of the city’s top tourist attractions.
Reichstag Palace, constructed at the end of the 19th century during the founding of the first German Reich (empire), holds a special place in Germany’s political and historical landscape. It once served as the seat of the Reichstag, the parliamentary body representing the German people.
Today, this magnificent building is open to visitors, allowing them to explore its rich history and architectural significance. Guided tours provide insights into the building’s transformation and the innovative touch of the renowned architect Norman Foster. The most striking addition is the iconic glass dome, offering breathtaking panoramic views of Berlin.
Beyond its architectural marvel, the Reichstag Palace is a living testament to Germany’s past. It witnessed pivotal moments, including the infamous Reichstag fire that changed the course of history. The remnants of the Nazi party’s presence serve as poignant reminders of the country’s complex history.
In the gardens surrounding the Reichstag, you’ll find a memorial, commemorating significant historical events and encouraging reflection.
Notably, Reichstag Palace continues to play a crucial role as the seat of the German Bundestag (parliament). Depending on the schedule, visitors may even have the unique opportunity to observe parliamentary sessions in progress.
A visit to Reichstag Palace is more than a typical tourist experience; it’s a journey into the heart of German history and politics, offering a chance to learn and reflect on critical events that have shaped the nation and Europe as a whole.
One of the absolute must-visit tourist attractions in Berlin is the Brandenburg Gate.
This iconic monument, emblematic of the city, stands proudly at the entrance to historic Berlin, dominating Pariser Platz. The Brandenburg Gate, with its magnificent neoclassical architecture, boasts a rich history dating back to the late 18th century and is a powerful symbol of Berlin’s enduring spirit and resilience.
What’s fascinating is that it was an integral part of the Berlin Wall, an unexpected twist for such a grand structure. Inspired by the Propylaea of Athens’ Acropolis, the gate was erected between 1788 and 1791 by Carl Gotthard Langhans for the Prussian king, Frederick William II. It served as a grand entrance to Unter den Linden, a boulevard renowned for its cultural and historical significance.
The Brandenburg Gate has played a pivotal role in shaping Berlin’s history, from the tumultuous events of the 20th century to the jubilant celebrations of reunification. Today, it stands as a symbol of unity, freedom, and peace, serving as a poignant reminder of the city’s rich heritage and the indomitable human spirit.
When visiting, you’ll have the chance to not only admire the gate’s remarkable architecture but also take a leisurely stroll through Pariser Platz, where historic buildings, embassies, and charming cafes create a unique atmosphere. The gate takes on a particularly enchanting quality when illuminated at night, providing a picturesque backdrop and a fantastic opportunity for memorable photographs.
A visit to the Brandenburg Gate offers an immersive experience in Berlin’s past and present, connecting you with the timeless values it represents. It’s a place where history and contemporary life come together, making it a truly unforgettable destination in this vibrant city.
It is one of the most well-known and sought-after tourist attractions in Berlin. You can’t miss this iconic monument of Berlin, and it’s understandable because we know its history (which is relatively recent).
The Berlin Wall was mostly destroyed between June and November 1990, but a part of it managed to remain standing.
The most famous part is located along the Spree River, in an area known as the East Side Gallery, renowned for its painted artworks on the Wall. These captivating murals, painted by artists from around the world, provide a powerful expression of hope, unity, and the human spirit’s triumph over adversity.
If you wish to learn more about the history of this Wall and the period of division, you can do so not far from the Berlin Wall Memorial, where a memorial park has been established. Here, you’ll find insightful exhibitions and displays that offer a comprehensive understanding of the Berlin Wall’s significance, the stories of those affected by it, and the struggles and triumphs of reunification.
A visit to the Berlin Wall is not just a journey into the past; it’s an exploration of human resilience, the pursuit of freedom, and the enduring hope for a brighter future. It stands as a living testament to the indomitable spirit of those who lived through this challenging era and the lessons it imparts to us all.
The Labyrinth at the Holocaust Memorial
Many memorials are more discreet and subtle, like the multiple bronze cobblestones in front of each Berlin apartment that once housed a deported Jew.
However, when you visit Berlin, it’s essential to know that the Holocaust Memorial is different from any other memorial you’ve seen before.
It consists of 2,711 rectangular concrete blocks that make up a kind of labyrinthine cemetery. This structure is not just artistically impressive but also carries profound significance. The memorial is dedicated to the memory of the Holocaust victims and serves as an expression of the unimaginable pain and suffering endured by millions.
The best way to visit it is to walk and wander through this labyrinth of blocks to feel closer to the dark history of humanity and to reflect on the consequences of the horrors that occurred. It’s a powerful and emotional experience that encourages contemplation and honors the memory of those who suffered.
Topography of Terror
Emotionally stirring and thought-provoking, the Topography of Terror is a historical museum that should be on every tourist’s list when visiting Berlin.
Built on the former sites where the headquarters of the Gestapo and SS were once located, these buildings were largely destroyed by Allied bombs in 1945 and promptly demolished after the war ended. The museum provides an opportunity to gain insight into the terrifying Nazi regime of the era.
The Documentation Center of the museum officially opened in 2010, and it regularly hosts various exhibitions.
Outside, visitors can take a guided tour of the Topography of Terror, walking along exposed remnants of the original buildings and parts of the Berlin Wall.
Among the remnants displayed are the cells used for imprisoning and executing prisoners. To fully explore the Topography of Terror, you’ll need an entire day.
The museum serves as a solemn reminder of the atrocities committed during the Nazi regime, and it offers a powerful educational experience for visitors. It provides an invaluable opportunity to reflect on the lessons of history and the importance of safeguarding human rights and democracy.
Emoționant și provocator totodată, Topografia Terorii este un muzeu de istorie care ar trebui să figureze pe lista fiecărui turist care vizitează Berlinul.
Construit pe locurile în care se aflau cândva sediile Gestapo și SS, clădirile acestea fiind în mare parte distruse de bombardamentele aliaților în 1945 și demolate imediat după încheierea războiului, muzeul oferă oportunitatea de a obține o perspectivă asupra regimului nazist înfricoșător din acea vreme.
Centrul de Documentare al muzeului a fost inaugurat oficial în 2010, și aici sunt organizate în mod regulat diverse expoziții.
În afara clădirilor, vizitatorii pot efectua o tură ghidată a Topografiei Terorii, explorând ruinele rămase din clădirile originale și părți ale Zidului Berlinului.
Printre ruinele expuse se numără și celulele folosite pentru închiderea și execuția prizonierilor. Pentru a explora pe deplin Topografia Terorii, ai nevoie de o zi întreagă.
Muzeul servește drept amintire solemnă a atrocităților comise în timpul regimului nazist și oferă o puternică experiență educativă pentru vizitatori. Oferă oportunitatea valoroasă de a reflecta asupra lecțiilor istoriei și asupra importanței protejării drepturilor omului și a democrației.
Built from scratch in 1955, Potsdamer Platz is undoubtedly one of the places that speak of modern Germany.
Here, you’ll discover a mall for shopping, cinemas, contemporary architecture, and the Sony Center Dome. The Sony Center Dome is designed to faithfully replicate the shape of Japan’s Mount Fuji and is spectacularly illuminated at night.
With a height of 66 meters, Kreuzberg Hill stands as the most prominent point in Berlin.
Here, you can revel in a splendid panorama of the city, embrace nature in all its glory, and explore numerous monuments commemorating the city’s major historical events, such as the National Monument for the War of Liberation, inaugurated in 1821.
Hackesche Höfe is a complex consisting of 8 historic inner courtyards connected to one another.
You can unwind on a terrace, dine at a restaurant or tavern, visit one of the oldest Jewish cemeteries, and purchase artisanal products sold by merchants.
What can you do in Berlin when you want to escape the crowds and noise? Choose a sunny day and head to one of the largest and greenest parks in the city, Tiergarten.
It’s the ideal place after a day of visiting Berlin’s main attractions.
Explore Berlin’s Underground
There are more things to see in Berlin than you might think. During the Cold War, numerous bunkers and shelters were constructed to protect residents from the impact of nuclear radiation.
You can explore the underground world with Berliner Unterwelten e.V., an association aimed at helping tourists and others discover Berlin’s underground heritage.
Here’s a unique activity to do in Berlin: take a guided tour of the bunker and underground areas in Berlin. The idea might be a bit surprising, but we assure you it’s worth it.
The Berliner Unterwelten Association, made up of diverse profiles, aims to explore and document the history of Berlin’s underground and preserve the most historically interesting areas.
To highlight these historical places, Berliner Unterwelten organizes public guided tours. Several tours are offered in various languages.
One of the most interesting tours is called „Metro, Bunker, and Cold War,” which aims to show the traces left by the Cold War in Berlin’s underground. Even though the subject is serious, the tour is quite engaging.
What can you do outside the city? Transformed into a park since May 2020, this is the former airport of Berlin.
Located in the southern part of Berlin, it is one of the largest parks in Berlin where you can practice kitesurfing or relax with a picnic.
You can go to Mauerpark Market to buy all kinds of clothes, trinkets, food, furniture, and more.
However, the main attraction is on Sundays – karaoke that you can watch and participate in front of a large audience who come to spend their Sunday here.
The Berlin Cathedral
The Berlin Cathedral, also known as the Berliner Dom, stands as the most important Lutheran place of worship in Germany. This impressive edifice is located in the Mitte district, with its main entrance facing Lustgarten.
Although referred to as a cathedral, the construction has never housed a bishop, as it is not the seat of the Bishop of the Evangelical Church of Berlin-Brandenburg-Silesian Upper Lusatia, a position held at the Marienkirche.
The history of this church is rich, with its original construction dating back to the mid-18th century. However, in 1894, Emperor Wilhelm II ordered its demolition and reconstruction. Work commenced immediately, based on the design by architect Julius Raschdorff, giving it a sumptuous neo-baroque style. The renewed Berlin Cathedral was completed in 1905, becoming a symbol of the city’s rich history and architecture.
This cathedral is impressive not only for its history but also for its grand architecture. With its four towering spires and imposing façade, the Berlin Cathedral stands out in the urban landscape. Inside, visitors can admire various works of art, spectacular stained glass windows, and unique architectural details.
The cathedral serves not only as a place of prayer and worship but also as an important cultural center. Concerts, exhibitions, and other cultural events are held here. Positioned strategically near many other Berlin tourist attractions, it is an essential place to visit for anyone looking to explore the history and beauty of the city.
Museum Island, or „Museumsinsel” in German, stands as a testament to Berlin’s cultural richness and historical significance. This unique quarter brings together some of the most important museums in the city, serving as the beating heart of German culture.
The story of Museum Island is one of rebirth and reunification. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, the city made it a priority to reunite these remarkable institutions, creating a central hub for art, history, and culture. As a result of their extraordinary artistic and architectural value, the entire Museum Island was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1999.
The museums that grace this cultural center are a treasure trove of human history and creativity. Here, you can explore the Altes Museum (Old Museum), Neues Museum (New Museum), Pergamonmuseum, Alte Nationalgalerie (Old National Gallery), and the Bode Museum. Each of these institutions showcases an incredible collection of art, historical artifacts, and cultural treasures.
The architecture of Museum Island is equally impressive. The buildings themselves are works of art, reflecting their historical significance and providing a fitting backdrop for the priceless treasures housed within. The location along the banks of the Spree River adds to the overall ambiance, creating a serene setting for exploration.
Museum Island serves not only as a testament to Germany’s cultural heritage but also as an invitation to visitors from around the world to dive into the art and history of this vibrant nation. The positive feedback from those who have explored its museums and architectural wonders echoes loudly. Visitors are consistently captivated by the wealth of knowledge and beauty housed within these hallowed halls.
A visit to Museum Island is an enriching experience for all, whether you’re an art enthusiast, history buff, or simply a curious traveler. The UNESCO World Heritage designation, along with the praise of countless visitors, reinforces its place as a must-see destination in Berlin.
Located on Museum Island, the Pergamon Museum certainly deserves its own dedicated paragraph. This is because a visit to Berlin equally entails exploring the Pergamon Museum to uncover some of the most beautiful treasures from antiquity.
With over 1 million visitors annually, it is, in fact, the most visited museum in the city and the most visited German art museum in the world.
In addition to its impressive collection of antiquities, the museum houses, among other things, the Museum of Islamic Art and its departments dedicated to Islamic art.
The Pergamon Museum stands as a true cultural gem in Berlin, drawing visitors from around the globe who are captivated by the timeless beauty and historical significance of its exhibits. The positive feedback from those who have wandered its halls echoes this sentiment, confirming its status as an essential stop for anyone exploring the rich tapestry of art and history in the city.
Checkpoint Charlie – Witness to History
Checkpoint Charlie stands as the most iconic border crossing from the Cold War era and serves as a testament to the political division that once gripped the capital. It marked the border between West and East until the fall of the Berlin Wall, and it remains an unmissable spot in Berlin today.
Visiting Checkpoint Charlie is not just an opportunity to witness a piece of history; it’s a chance to immerse yourself in the tension and intrigue of the Cold War era. The positive feedback from travelers who have stood at this historic checkpoint is a testament to its enduring importance in the story of Berlin and the world. Don’t miss this essential stop on your Berlin journey.
Charlottenburg Palace (Das Schloss Charlottenburg)
You’ve just arrived in Berlin, and you’re eager to explore some castles. Don’t miss Charlottenburg Palace; it is the largest and most beautiful castle in Berlin.
In the past, Charlottenburg Palace served as the summer residence for Sophie Charlotte, the wife of Frederick III, Duke of Prussia. There are numerous treasures to admire both inside and outside the palace, such as the Art Gallery, the Silver Chamber, the Mausoleum, and the Belvedere.
Tourists also have the opportunity to have dinner or attend a concert within Charlottenburg Palace.
Friedrichshain is one of the most famous neighborhoods in former East Berlin. Once the cradle of alternative culture, it has become highly appreciated by tourists.
Despite the gentrification of the neighborhood, Friedrichshain remains one of the most creative and enjoyable places in the city.
If you are passionate about urban culture, you shouldn’t miss RAW Temple, which brings together workshops, bars, clubs, and open-air galleries.
Not far from here, you’ll find the East Side Gallery and the magnificent Oberbaum Bridge. You can admire some beautiful examples of Soviet architecture along Frankfurter Allee.
The Berlin Zoo is the world’s oldest zoo and is often on the list of the city’s most well-known attractions. It’s ideal for both adults and children.
The Berlin Zoo is home to no less than 1,554 species of animals from all corners of the globe.
You can take a trip around the world as you discover the various pavilions in the zoo, such as the Chinese Pagoda, the House of Antelopes, or the Indian Palace.
Exiting the Berlin Zoo, don’t hesitate to explore Tiergarten, an enormous urban park.
Kunstquartier Bethanien is a haven for contemporary art enthusiasts, serving as an artistic hub. Its history is quite fascinating as it was constructed between 1845-1847 as a specialized institute to train medical assistants. Later, it functioned as an orphanage and hospital.
In 1970, the building was closed, and there were even plans to demolish it. However, in 2009, it was taken over by a company and transformed into an art gallery with studios for artists, spacious exhibition spaces, dance and theater performances, and even a music school.
Potsdam and Sanssouci Palace
After thoroughly exploring the city of Berlin, we recommend taking a 45-minute journey to the charming town of Potsdam, located just outside the capital.
In this enchanting town, several of the most beautiful palaces of the Prussian kings were built. Make your way to the palace park to discover Sanssouci, a truly impressive building that reminds some of France’s Palace of Versailles. Don’t miss a visit to the New Palace with its opulent Rococo-style salons.
Exploring the parks and gardens in Potsdam is a must, as they are immensely popular among both tourists and locals.
We conclude our tour of Berlin by introducing you to the numerous markets that the German capital hosts.
From covered markets to food markets, and festive markets, opportunities abound to strike the best deals in the German capital and savor the local gastronomy.
If you’re a fan of street food, take a tour of Markthalle Neun in Kreutzberg or visit the renowned Street Food auf Achse, held every Sunday at Kulturbrauerei.