On Friday I’ll be jetting off to Berlin to explore the city and visit the Christmas markets – I’m so excited! To help me prepare for my trip and to shed a little light on the history of Berlin, I’ve got a guest post from travel blogger, Andrew, who blogs over at Wanderlust 15. I hope you enjoy reading his post on how to spend 24 hours in Berlin as much as I did!
Andrew Larson, Wanderlust15.com
Berlin is an exciting city that offers visitors a chance to explore historical monuments, exquisite architecture, and interesting museums. The nightlife is lively, and the dining is delicious. The capital of Germany is rich with history. If you are passing through Berlin and want to know how to spend your time wisely in 24 hours, here is a list of the best things to do in the city.
1. Berlin Cathedral
King Frederick Wilhelm IV decided that a massive cathedral be erected next door to the Berlin Castle. Therefore, construction on the structure began in 1894, and the church started to function in 1905. It was heavily damaged during World War II, and restoration began in 1975. This Protestant Church contains the Hohenzollern crypt, which houses remains of the Hohenzollern dynasty. The cathedral is also home to amazing works of art. The Dome of the church is a popular location for concerts and other special events. The views of Berlin are stunning, so you will want to have your camera.
2. Zoological Garden
This fascinating zoo is home to about 16,000 animals from around the world. You can see hippos, elephants, giraffes, sharks, and much more. The aquarium contains flesh eating piranhas. The zoo opened its doors to visitors in 1844, and King Friedrich Wilhelm IV was the owner of the very first animals. World War II wiped out many of the animals and a portion of the zoo itself. Kids can pet goats, geese, donkeys, and sheep at the petting zoo. You can feed the elephants when you arrive, and watching the apes is fascinating. The zoo is beautiful with a great atmosphere. It is worth a visit.
3. Memorial of the Berlin Wall
The Berlin Wall is an important part of the world’s history. It separated Berlin from 1961 to 1989. It was built to keep people from East Germany from escaping to the West. Many people were killed while attempting to flee. The wall fell in 1989. Today, you can see a monument that memorializes the city that was split. While visiting the memorial, you can read stories of people who escaped and people who even died. The memorial is a very emotional place to visit in Berlin, but it is a powerful reminder of the history that took place on that site.
4. Reichstag Building
This impressive landmark is the seat of the German Parliament. The views from the top of the building are just spectacular. You can take a free tour of the structure where you can view Parliament seating and the lounge they use. You can also have access to the tunnel which was used when a fire occurred in 1933. The architecture is stunning, and it will offer you a great lesson in the history of Berlin. Admission is free, but you need to get tickets in advance, so plan ahead. Tickets can be retrieved online.
5. Topography of Terror
Berlin is a city that is home to a disturbing past. Hitler rose to power, the Nazis ruled, and the city was divided into two parts. This fascinating museum details the circumstances to which led to the terrifying events that took place in Berlin. It is a chilling reminder of the evil that once prevailed during one of the darkest times in history. You can see how the Nazis came into power, and you can hear emotional stories of people that were impacted by this unfortunate event. It is a shocking reminder of the terror that millions of people faced because of the evil of a madman. It is even more shocking that so many people were willing to follow him and his leadership. Admission to the museum is free.
6. Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe
Opened in 2005, this memorial is dedicated to the millions of Jews who were murdered during the Holocaust. You will view stone monuments of different sizes in a central area outside. It is a sobering place to remember the millions of Jews who were slaughtered. The memorial site is eerie and emotional. You can feel the impact that the Holocaust had on these defenseless people. It is a moving tribute to these brave Jews.
7. Brandenburg Gate
This stunning archway has been the backdrop of some of the most important moments in history. In fact, four United States Presidents have given speeches at the gate. Construction began in1788, and in 1793, a statue of the goddess of victory carrying a peace symbol was added. However, Napoleon snatched the statue and took it to Paris. Parades that exploited Hitler’s rise to power were held at the gate. This iconic gate is a symbol of the city of Berlin, so it is a must see when you are in the city.
This post was written by Andrew Larson, a semi-retired software engineer turned globetrotter and full-time travel enthusiast who now runs Wanderlust 15. For more information, visit Wanderlust 15.
What would be on your list of things to do in Berlin?