Itinerari Post di Viaggio

Berlin: 10 not-to-miss things

Berlin has a special charm for me.
It ‘something that I can not easily explain, but you just have to try.
I sense it in every street, every building, every museum …  it is something that recalls the history of this beautiful and tormented city.
Although it was almost completely destroyed in WWII and its historic buildings have been reconstructed exactly as before the war, the atmosphere that I feel is the one of the ancient glories of the Prussian Empire.
There is a lot of information about Berlin on the web, there are several agencies that offer guided tours of the city and a good way to visit is definitely the Sightseeing Bus, an option that I often use when I am in a big city for a few days.
Many are the museums, historic sites and modern attractions to see in town, but if your time is limited, I suggest what you should not miss and what to see.
1. Brandenburg Gate: This is the symbol of Berlin and you can not really avoid to see it. It is truly “in the middle” of the city and close to other major attractions. You’ll never see it without people around, but a great perspective is the one you can enjoy from the Reichstag dome.

2. Reichstag: The parliament building, renovated several times after the war and first turned into a museum, is a must see when visiting Berlin. Be very patient and queue with many tourists waiting to get in and visit the beautiful glass dome which offers a great view of the entire city.

3. Gendarmen Markt: in this square, considered one of the most beautiful squares in Europe, there are two amazing churches: Deutscher Dom  and Franzoesischer Dom. Try to visit at least one of them and climb the dome: from there you will enjoy a beautiful view inside the church and outside to the square. Between the two churches there is the imposing building of the Konzerthaus, a concert hall; inside you can find two separate rooms: one for chamber music and one for the orchestras.


Not far from Gendarmen Markt square there is a shop that a sweet tooth can not miss: the Ritter Sport store. It is at 24, Franzoesische Strasse.

A paradise where you find all the tastes of the famous chocolate  and a cafe to stop for a regenerating break.

4. Alexanderplatz: Visiting the city you can not avoid passing through Alexanderplatz [or Alex as it is called by Berliners], first of all because it is one of the most famous squares of the former GDR and then because right next door is the Fernsehturm (TV tower) that can be identified from every corner of the city. In the square you will also find the beautiful World Clock, the Weltzeithur, that marks the time in different countries.

5. Potsdamerplatz is another of the “must-see” places here; it also is one of the symbols of East Berlin. Before the division of the city it was one of the most famous and alive squares but, after the construction of the wall, it became sad and desolate. After the wall still remained desolated for a long time until the Sony Center was built; it now occupies most of the square. Here you can still see a few pieces of wall as monument of “what was there”.

6. Another Berlin “piece” that remains as a  reminder of his sad story is the Gedaechtniskirche [memory church] in Breitscheidplatz; bombed during World War II it has not been restored but incorporated in a modern building, almost to remind all visitors the horrors of war.
I must say that it is a really impressive monument, that made me thinking; it is right in front of this church that I felt the pain that the city had to suffer.

7. and 8. Checkpoint Charlie and the Wall Museum are two monuments of the Cold War showing how people lived in Berlin during the almost 30 years of division. Checkpoint is there, in the street, as to witness that even from that place was very difficult to pass. The Museum, right next, shows visitors the various escamotages that East Berliners found to pass to the west side without being arrested or, in many cases, killed.

9. Museum Island: Beside the wonderful and imposing Dom, where you can admire one of the oldest organs  of Germany, there is the Museumsinseln.
In this area you can find many museums and buy a combined ticket that will allow you to visit more than one at an affordable price.
If you can afford in term of time, visit them all, since they really deserve! But if you don’t have enough time, my advice is not to miss the Pergamon Museum. The Pergamon Altar is something exceptional, imposing and impressive. When I entered the room with the altar I left really speechless! That’s why I recommend you to go there.

10. What and where to eat: Last but not least … I can not but recommend a food visit.
If you want a quick snack, try the classic Berliner street food: the bockwurst [the hot dog German] or the pretzel [braided bread … soft on the inside and with a nice brown crust salt].

But for a nice dinner caloric, after having walked the length and breadth of the city, you should definitely try the pork shank: Schweinshaxe.
Do not take the appetizer: it would ruin the main dish.

Two are the places that I want to recommend you:
Local trendy restaurants around Hackescher Markt often located in old warehouses under the U-bahn
Typical restaurants “old Germany style” [also reconstructed as the whole neighborhood in 1987 during the 750th anniversary of the city] are located in Nikolaiviertel, the oldest part along the river where the first fishermen settled.

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