Guide to Berlin, Germany

Berlin: Germany’s capital city, steeped in history and a popular destination for tourists from around the globe. Whatever your interest, you can guarantee that Berlin offers something to whet your appetite.

Perhaps you’re already a history buff, or maybe you’d like to visit some of the heritage sites from WWII? If that’s the case, then the Berlin Wall is a must see! Constructed in August 1961, the Berlin Wall served as a means of separating the west from the communist east, successfully dividing the country until it was pulled down almost 30 years later in November 1989, and Germany was once more re-united as a country.

If you’re interested in finding out more about the Wall, or the events leading up to its construction, you might enjoy a trip to the Berlin Wall Memorial and Documentation Centre. The visitor centre, opened in 2009, is your first point of call, offering helpful information about the attraction and how to find your way around. The Memorial itself, located at the former border strip in the Bernauer Strasse, shows just how the border facilities were constructed. The Documentation Centre is an exhibit, showing the history of the Wall’s construction. You can even view the preserved parts of the Wall’s construction, as well as the memorial that was created in memory of the division of the city and of the victims of communism, from the tower in this centre.

With an impressive 1.2 million visitors each year, the Berliner Fernsehturm (television tower) offers a 360 degree view of the city. From this tower you’ll be able to see the famous architecture of the Reichstag and the Brandenburg Gate. Needless to say, be sure to take your camera, as any photos you’ll likely take of the city are bound to be amazing.

Okay, so not everyone is all that interested in history. Some of us mere mortals might prefer to do a bit of souvenir shopping instead of enduring a seemingly endless history lesson. If that’s the case for you, take a trip to the Alexander Platz where you’ll find a myriad of shops, whether it’s clothes or gifts you’re after. If you’re in the mood to spend, visit Schönhauser Allee, the city’s trendiest shopping area.

After such a busy day, you’re bound to be exhausted and in much need of refreshment. Berlin boasts a whole host of bars, cafes and restaurants. So, take your pick. If it’s traditional German food you’re interested in, why not try a Currywurst (sausage and curry sauce) or some Schnitzel (a bit like an escalope)? Be warned though, German’s are very generous with their portion sizes, so be prepared to eat big!

If you’re wondering how you’re going to find your way around, don’t panic! German’s are famous for their punctuality, and the public transport system is no exception to this. Simply take one of the (very) frequent S- or U-Bahns (trains) which will easily transport you from A to B. The Berlin Welcome Card is a must: prices start from €17,90 for 48 hours, and includes free travel on public transport, between 25 and 50% discount on over 200 tourist attractions, and a handy pocket city map and guide for navigating your way around. So there you have it, happy visiting Berlin!

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