Discovering Berlin: the top sites to visit

Discovering Berlin: the top sites to visit

What are the most popular things to see in Berlin? Between Museum Island, Checkpoint Charlie and street art, there’s plenty to keep you busy for more than a few days!

Lively, eclectic and modern. Berlin is the New York of Europe. Similar to the vibrant American city but unique in every way, Berlin is able to catalyze important economic enterprises and innovative artistic experimentation. Despite its rich traditions and its historic beauty, the Old Continent often suffers a lack of new impulses for the future and new currents of contemporary art. Berlin is the greatest exception to this rule. This city resurfaced among the ruins of the Berlin Wall when it came down in 1989, and despite being hampered by the weight of a complicated history, it is now well positioned for growth. Visiting Berlin means imagining the future through the signs of the past. 

Berlin Wall, Germany

Berlin has become one of the most creative cities in Western Europe, attracting an influx of international artists who have left their mark quite literally. That’s why among the things to see in Berlin are the East Side Gallery and Checkpoint Charlie, once the physical boundaries between the two sides of the city, now symbolic places of the passage between two eras. The East Side Gallery is the longest art gallery in the world with its kilometers of graffiti and street art along what remains of the Berlin Wall. But the rest of the city is practically an open-air museum for street art that can be discovered by anyone who cares to explore the less gentrified districts. All that remains of the Checkpoint Charlie, where so many people risked their life hoping to cross the wall, is a reconstruction of a small guardhouse. Now it’s become a must-see on the tourist itinerary, a place to stop and take a photo, a memorial that deserves memory. It’s worth going to see if you try to pause and think about the significance of the place.

Street Art, Berlin

The symbol of German unification is the historic Brandenburg Gate. It’s the only city gate still standing, though its passage was barred by the construction of the Wall. The plaza underneath this impressive structure is used for major events, including New Year’s eve celebrations. The Brandenburg Gate leads to the area of Mitte, one of the historical quarters of Berlin which has recently become a melting pot of artists. This area is full of galleries, cafés and it is always on the move.

Brandenburg Gate, Berlin

The Fernsehturm television tower at Alexanderplatz is a modern landmark: built between 1966 and 1969, it was the symbol of the German Democratic Republic and a masterpiece of engineering and architecture that was touted with pride by the communists. Nowadays, from the top of the tower you can enjoy a 360° view of the city from 203 or 207 meters above it, though you’ll have to compete with 1.2 million tourists per year to get there. Art lovers will want to head over to the Museum Island, an island located in the Spree that hosts some of the most important museums in Berlin, including the Pergamon Museum and the Alte Museum. The high concentration of artistic treasures here has earned the island UNESCO world heritage status.

Museum Island, Berlin

This sums up some of the most popular things to visit in Berlin, which is enough to keep you busy for a few days, especially if you try to visit many of the museums. A good money-saving tip is to purchase the Visit Berlin Welcome Card, which gives you free transportation as well as discounts or free entry to many museums.

The Bridge to Kreuzberg, Berlin, Germany

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