As the current home of the German parliament, this is one of Berlin’s most famous landmarks. The building was damaged in a fire in 1933, which marked the end of the Weimar Republic, then, during the second world war, it became a ruin. Therefore, the Reichstag building you will visit is restored and changed, so that the inside is now a sort of museum. While the exterior is stripped of the majority of its statuary, the city has made an effort, to retain the traces of its more recent history such as the bullet ridden façade and the graffiti, left by the occupying Soviet soldiers.
Tip: If you want to go inside the building, you should book in advance, although when we got to the door a staff member told us that there isn’t much inside, so we just enjoyed the building from the outside!
Every photo you’ve ever seen of tourists in Berlin, probably has this gate in the background!
It was built on the site of a former city gate that marked the start of the road from Berlin to the town of Brandenburg an der Havel and its super close to the Reichstag building! It was often a site for major historical events and is, today, considered not only as a symbol of the history of Europe and Germany, but also of European unity and peace.
Checkpoint Charlie was the point between East Berlin and West Berlin during the Cold War. Here you will see monuments of the crossing, but they are only replicas! Very near to this there is also a small museum, which has some of the Berlin wall inside, as well as information about Checkpoint Charlie and other historical events from the time. This is all free.
The Holocaust Memorial
This is a must do. The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe is an incredible piece of art by Peter Eisenman. It was opened in 2005 and covers 19,000 square meters, with 2711 concrete slabs of different heights, each representing those that were murdered in the Holocaust.
There is also an underground information centre, where you can either look around, either for free or you can pay 3 euros to listen to audio information. I would highly recommend the audio as it’s a very interesting and helpful talk.
Ben and I love markets, so we spent most of our morning looking at many flea and hand-crafted ones. The best flea market we visited was in Mauerpark, they sold vintage clothes, antiques and used goods. Right next door there is a train station, where you can then board to the Bode museum, which is a very pretty area and has another flea market, however this one wasn’t as good as the first.
Another market which was my favourite was in Hackesche Hofe, it had handmade Christmas cards, unique hot drinks, jewellery, clothes, and great gift ideas! Nearby there are also great Christmas shops and restaurants, as well as cool street art, parks, plazas and alleys. We ate lunch in Hackescher Markt, which served delicious Italian food as well as traditional German deserts and mulled wine!
East Side Gallery
The East Side Gallery is the longest open-air gallery in the world, which has many new and old paintings and graffiti on it. The artwork is located on the Berlin wall and you can walk for miles looking at all the works. This is Berlins main attraction and I can certainly see why!
The best way to get around the city is using the electric scooters, they are fun, fast and easy to use! You just download an app and then unlock a scooter which are located in random places wherever you go.
Tip: Make sure you park the scooter next to bike racks as I got a small fine for parking mine alone on a pavement!