Berlin has a long and turbulent history, if you’re a history geek or not interested at all, it’s impossible to visit Berlin and not be reminded of what has happened here, I have listed some of my ‘must see’ attractions below.
Brandenburg Tor (Gate), probably the most iconic view of Berlin, this used to be the official entrance to Berlin used by the Royal family. Now a meeting point for most tours. There is a free tour every day at 10am and 11am which leaves from the Starbucks opposite. There’s no need to book, just show up, if there are too many people for one tour then they just divide you up into groups.
Memorial to the murdered Jews of Europe, we spent about 15 minutes here on the free walking but we made a special effort to return here and spend longer, the artist who designed the memorial never announced what it was or what it was supposed to represent, he wasn’t visitors to really think about the different possible meanings and make up their own opinion.
Topography or Terror, one of the few pieces of the Berlin wall still standing, it’s been kept in its original state and is open to the public, there is a free museum next to the piece of wall which is open every day.
Gendarmenmarkt, a historical market square, the French cathedral is at one end and the German cathedral is at the other end. The French cathedral was a huge statement when it was first built, it was one of the first (if not the first) foreign church to be built in Germany, signalling that French migrants were welcome in Berlin.
Berlin Dom (Cathedral), located on museum island and probably my favourite building in all of Berlin and we didn’t even need to go inside to appreciate its beauty. If I ever visit Berlin again then I will make time to see inside the cathedral for sure.
The memorial for the May 10th 1933 book burning opposite the university library. All books written by Jews, homosexuals, non-German authors etc. were burned on this spot in 1933. Now the memorial is an underground library with only bare shelves. There is a glass platform above ground to allow visitors a view of the memorial. Students sill line up outside the university every day selling second hand books to raise funds for charity as a direct response to the universities dark history.
A quick note on the free tours, every tour is different and you don’t cover every single thing on this list. The tour guides don’t get paid so they rely heavily on tips, please be generous.
Click HERE to read our Essential Information post about Berlin.
Click HERE to read our Modern Day Berlin post.