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“Du bist verrückt mein Kind, du mußt nach Berlin.” -Franz von Suppé (You are crazy, my child. You must go to Berlin). These words by Franz Von Suppé , very aptly engulf all that Berlin has to offer to a traveler. From taking a walk into the past or stepping up with the avant-garde, here you can do it all.
Berlin is the capital city of Germany, synonymous for its historical past. It also has a lively nightlife, with its numerous eateries, street-arts and museums along with palaces and historical landmarks. The city’s architecture is rather diverse. It was severely damaged during the World War II and the Cold War, but has been reconstructed significantly after the fall of the Berlin Wall, 1989. German is the main language spoken but you can easily find your way around in English or French.
The city has a lot to offer; to be able to experience it in a matter of a few days is almost impossible, but you can take a whiff of it by visiting some of its highlights.
Where to stay in Berlin?
There are a variety of accommodation options. A good place to get start is the list of Berlin vacation rentals on Live Like a German. They have carefully selected rentals starting from $62 – a good alternative to a hotel!
Brandenburger Tor (Brandenburg Gate)
The Brandenburg Gate is an icon of the city of Berlin. With a history of 300 years, it has seen it all, from war and peace to triumph and fear. It is one of the most visited and photographed landmarks in the world.
Take in the view from Fernsehturm (TV Tower)
Built in the 1969, this 368 meter tower is the tallest structure in the city and the fourth tallest free-standing structure in Europe. The observation deck gives you a spectacular view over Berlin. On a clear day visibility can reach up to 40 kilometers. From here you can enjoy the mesmerizing city’s architecture.
Museums (must do!!!)
With almost 200 museums in Berlin, it could well be called the museum city. You can see the most important ones at and around the “Museumsinsel”, the Museum Island in the river. The museums here display the most important historical artifacts from antiquity such as the bust of Egyptian queen Nefertiti. Amongst other must see Museums is the Natural History housing – the world’s largest dinosaur skeleton – and the Jewish Museum designed by Daniel Libeskind.
Must bite into a Currywurst
A hot sausage cut in slices with ketchup and curry powder. Invested in the 1940s it is Germans most popular fats food and even has a museum dedicate to it. A must eat if you visit the city. There are quite a few places that claim to make the best one, but you can just eat your way around the city and find your favorite one.
Walk the bridges
A must do is a walk on the bridges that adore the city, and take you across the many rivers the city has – the Spree, the Havel, the Panke and many more.
Zoologischer Garten (Zoological Garden)
If you are an animal lover, a must see is Germany’s oldest zoo and with its 16,000 animals it’s one of the biggest zoos in the world. This too was destroyed in the war and reconstructed to its present glory over the years.
Spotted in the James Bond movie (Octopussy), this is the best known border crossing point between East and West Berlin, and is a symbol of the Cold War.
East Side Gallery
Many a famous artists after the fall of the Berlin Wall, commemorated the wall through murals and depictions that were never seen before. The East Side Gallery is more than a kilometer long and boasts of being the world’s longest open air gallery. With over 100 paintings such as the famous kiss of Erich Honecker and Leonid Brezhnev can be seen on it.
Berlin is a beautiful mix of the old and the new. With all its famous historic landmarks to the modern buzzing life, it is surely an experience everyone must have once in their lifetime.