7 Ways to Experience the Past and Present in Berlin
Immerse Yourself in This Culturally Rich City
As the capital city of Germany, Berlin has always been a focal point throughout the country’s tumultuous history. It was the place where Germany was split in two by communists, it served as the capital of the Third Reich, and was also the site of a Nazi concentration camp.
However, despite the political associations most Germans, and the rest of the world, have about Berlin, it has also functioned as the cultural center of the country — one full of interesting things to do. Whether it’s museums and classical music you crave or visiting a zoo and swimming in a floating pool, there’s something for every taste. Plus it’s a great European destination for budget-travelers!
If you’re unsure of what to do in Berlin, check out these seven iconic attractions that will make for a memorable trip.
Since its commendation as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1999, Museum Island has attracted millions of visitors from around the world. A multi-faceted museum complex in the middle of the Spree River, Berlin’s Museum Island showcases five unique museums holding centuries of priceless art and artifacts.
For just €18 you can visit all five museums, provided you have a couple of days to take it all in. All of the museums hold significant cultural and historical value, displaying vestiges from the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans, as well as the Byzantine Empire and ancient Islamic cultures.
Along with the treasures found inside each facility, the buildings themselves demonstrate the evolution of museum architecture, making this one of the best sights to see in Berlin.
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Remnants of the Berlin Wall
Even nearly 30 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, remnants of its lasting impact remain all across the city. One of the most famous points on the wall, Checkpoint Charlie, was used by foreigners (including American soldiers) to travel from east to west Berlin. It’s since become one of the top Berlin attractions.
The building still remains as a tourist attraction and museum. At the Berlin Wall Memorial, an outdoor exhibition and visitor center mark an area formerly occupied by a stretch of the wall. Aside from educational information, the memorial pays tribute to the dozens of people killed while trying to cross the wall.
There are also preserved portions of the wall covered in art which now stand as an outdoor gallery and monument to Germany’s reunification.
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A former symbol of communist might, the Berliner Fernsehturm is the tallest building in Berlin and all of Germany. Although it’s another relic of Berlin’s past, the tower now serves as an upscale tourist attraction like many other famous city towers. Aside from a spectacular panoramic view of the city, you can also enjoy dinner and drinks at the onsite bar and restaurant.
A gourmet dining experience awaits inside the sphere of the tower as the restaurant makes a full revolution in an hour’s time. During the holidays there are even prix fixe menus and special events, which include fast track access to the tower’s observation deck.