If you plan for Germany, then you can spend a weekend in Berlin. The strategic location of Berlin at the ‘heart of Europe’ assures any would-be visitor some smooth convenience in the course of travels. This fact, combined with the rich heritage of Germany as a whole, makes a visit to the city worthwhile.
Our post here dares to offer guidance to a typical two-day visit. Read on to find out more about how to prepare and where to visit.
Berlin is a pretty large city both in terms of population and landmass. You will hence find it quite inconvenient to move from one location to another. The city does have a robust transportation system.
Luckily, it does have some lovely lanes for biking.
For this reason, you have to think ‘outside the box’ while planning a visit. If you have more days in Berlin (i.e., 3), then read this post with more ideas for things to do in Berlin.
Heads up! Here is a list of guided tours ideas for your weekend in Berlin:
- Berlin: 2.5-Hour Boat Tour Along the River Spree
- Berlin WelcomeCard: Transport, Discounts & Guide Book
- TV Tower Berlin: Fast Track Ticket
- Third Reich Half-Day Walking Tour of Berlin
Weekend in Berlin: Day 1
Just like in many other cities, your first day of the visit has to be at the central business district, to give you a head start need to familiarize yourself with the entire city.
It is also to acquaint you with the various ethics, signs, and rules governing matters transportation in the more extensive Berlin metropolis. These are the ‘must visit’ areas in your first day of the tour:
The Reichstag Building is the seat of Germany’s political power. It is an edifice that features a historic, Norman Foster glass dome.
At its zenith is an observation deck that accords a 360° view of the city below. Access to its interior is severely limited to non-EU nationals.
It is nevertheless a good background for matters photography.
Depending on when you visit and how lucky you are, you might also have some one-on-one conversations with the federal lawmakers.
East Side Gallery
Located right at the center of Berlin, this East Side Gallery houses some conserved graffiti project by 118 artists.
These paintings cover portions of the Berlin Wall, and it aims at celebrating its collapse. They stretch 1316 m long and showcases some of the struggles that went to the sinking of the wall.
It hence provides one-stop access to the brutal history of the cold war. Spare some time to reflect the horrible past of this event while at this place.
Berlin Cathedral Church
Germany, much like most of Europe, also played a crucial role in the spread and advancement of Christianity.
It was the home of Martin Luther and the epicenter of the Protestant Reformation of 1517. This Berlin Cathedral Church is a silent reminder of this remarkable past.
Inside it is an organ that has 7,000 pipes. Its exterior has royal tombs and a dome for breathtaking city views.
The city of Berlin was at the crossroads of the cold war (1945-1989).
This Checkpoint Charlie marked the border between these two opposing factions or protagonists.
It is at this junction that visitors to either side were the screen before being allowed entry. After the collapse of the Berlin wall, this checkpoint is now a silent reminder of this horrible past.
Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe
We all know what role Germany played in the persecution of Jews during the Nazi era (1933-1945).
This museum is devoted to reminding anyone of this sad chapter in Germany’s history. It comprises some 2,711 columns which jointly commemorate the Holocaust.
Underneath it is an underground exhibition room for the display of numerous relics. The atmosphere here is generally tense and unforgiving. Take heart, though.
Potsdamer Platz is a square that occupies the very heart of the city’s history.
It is a plaza in Berlin, Germany. This historic square goes a lifeline at the fall of the Berlin Wall and is now an entertainment hub by comprising numerous restaurants and shops. Do visit here to eat some of the topnotch local cuisines.
Be prepared to spend a lot due to the high costs of food in Germany.
Museum Island (Bode Museum)
This island is so-called because it incorporates a museum, cathedral, and art museum at the same time.
It lies in the northern half of the Spree River and is also the site of the ancient city of Cölln. All the facilities mentioned above are in proximity to one another.
For this reason, you will not struggle to access them and will hence spend less of your time and effort in so doing.
Berliner Fernsehturm is probably the most notable of all the structures that dot the Berlin skyline. It is famously called the TV Tower in English.
The tower stands as the tallest and visible of all the buildings in Germany. The structure has a revolving restaurant and a viewing platform at its zenith.
In all, it measures 368m tall, has a viewing gallery at the 203m level and revolving restaurant at 207m. Do spare some time to eat and sightsee the city while at it.
Charlottenburg Palace is one of the many buildings that were devoted to the past rulers of Germany.
This palace has its roots in the 17th century and has castles and gardens. It comes in the form of the Baroque summer palace and has enormous gardens, rooms packed with paintings, tapestries, and porcelain.
Its interior is very breathtaking and accords some excellent photo opportunities. Apart from learning a bit about Germany’s past, you will also take some beautiful photos of your memorialization.
Weekend in Berlin: Day 2
On your last day of the trip, you want to focus on the following little known attractions scattered all over the city.
In this final segment, we have identified and are going to explain those facilities and attractions. These served a significant contribution in shaping the destiny of Germany as we know it.
Arm yourself with a digital camera and a tour guide if you can afford one for the most rewarding of outcomes.
Take off your hat and show some reverence to the victims of the Holocaust. This Memorial is just down the road from the Brandenburg Gate.
As the Vietnam War Memorial, this abstract sculpture is a place of deep contemplation. Not meant to overstimulate, it prompts, rather, an inward journey.
Coffin like bricks emerge from concrete, and as you walk deeper in, they rise higher and higher above your head, casting shadows over all who enter.
This site deserves a visit and maybe even an offering of flowers if you feel so inclined.
Again, this is a must-see that you will need to book well in advance. Arrive early and set aside at least two hours for this attraction.
It will be roughly $15 (with “skip the line” option) well spent.
The Pergamon Museum showcases amazing ancient relics from around the world, including statues of battling Greek gods and famous Roman architecture. Many people agree that if there is only one site you can see in Berlin, this should be it.
Address: Bodestraße 1-3, 10178 Berlin, Germany
Hours: Weekdays 10 AM–6 PM, except Thursday 10 AM–8 PM
Berlin Wall Memorial
The city does have a Berlin Wall Memorial to commemorate the fall of the Berlin Wall and the grip of communism on West Germany.
It is in the shape and form of a monument in Berlin, Germany. For a large part, it is a conserved part of the city wall and exhibition.
It also commemorates the historic divide by way of a preserved section of the original fence and memorial.
Germany was once ruled by a skilled combatant who led it through a series of military victories. He reigned from 1740-1786 and is popularly called Frederick the Great.
This iconic Sanssouci Palace, located in Potsdam, is devoted to his life and times.
That is because it served as a summer residence and still contain those 18th-century furnishings as well as an iconic terraced vineyard.
Germany, like any other significant power, has been involved in some wars in the past. One such was the Danish-Prussian War fought in the 1800s.
This monument in Berlin commemorates this milestone. It takes the form of the 67m-high gilded column.
Its peak provides some city-wide views from which are unhindered by any tall building nearby.
Your visit to this venue during your weekend in Berlin gives you a chance to take photos and enjoy impressive views at a time.
Unter den Linden
Touring Berlin does not just have to entail taking a taxi or public transport.
This cul-de-sac gives you a rare opportunity to walk around and sightsee the many gems that Berlin central hub has to offer.
The grand boulevard is lined with linden trees on both sides and is hence suitable to gaze and capture photos. It also has some malls for your purchase of several commodities and merchandise.
Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church
This protestant church in Berlin, Germany, is named after the last of Germany’s emperors.
It is available in the form of a 19th-century architecture that has been rebuilt to conform to modern standards.
If you happen to visit the facility on Sunday, you will be able to attend the services. Otherwise, sightseeing and photography will do just fine on other days.
Germany and indeed much of Europe contains numerous plant and animal species. That is why a visit to one of Berlin’s significant zoos makes much sense.
This Zoo Berlin is enormous, leafy and contains a modern aviary. At the zoo are some naturalistic animal habitats, a modern birdhouse with daily feedings.
They number around 1,380 different species. They offer some great resources for any animal enthusiast.
If you cannot speak Deutsch, ask for an English translator for the best understanding. Mark this for your weekend in Berlin, in case you have spare time after seeing all architecture.
To wrap up your weekend in Berlin, you want to take some boat ride on the sprawling Spree River and canal.
It snakes its way through the heart of Berlin.
The river is greatly navigable.
A boat ride will cost you some premium but will nonetheless fill your experience and adventure of the city. Do capture some photos as you move along. Take care of the waves, though, as they may at times turn violent.
5 Facts about the Berlin wall
While the differences between East and West Berlin have considerably faded since it fell, the Berlin Wall remains one of the main historical sites in the city.
As such, it is popular with visitors to the German capital looking to learn about its unique history.
The cobbled stones that now mark the path of the wall may be easy to miss, that doesn’t mean that the wall’s lasting effects aren’t still ever-present.
To teach you a little more about the city’s fascinating history, here are some facts about the Berlin Wall that may surprise you.
While the wall is easily the symbol that most defined the Cold War period, it wasn’t built until 1961, which was 15 years since the war began.
It was built to keep people in not out
The German Democratic Republic was concerned that increasing numbers of East Germans were defecting to West Berlin.
It is believed that up to three million people moved from the East to the west before the wall was built.
There was a barrier underground too
Like many major cities, Cold-War Berlin had a well-developed underground rail network.
This network spanned both sides of the city, and to ensure that no unauthorized crossings were made, stations in East Germany that fell between West German underground routes were closed to the public.
This meant that West Germans using the underground often had to go through heavily policed “ghost stations” on their way to work.
Half the people who tried to escape succeeded
During the life of the wall, around 10,000 people tried to escape, and approximately 5,000 were successful.
Some people tried daring escapes via high wires and hot air balloons, but most are thought to have escaped via forged documents and bribes.
A church was demolished to make way for the wall
The Church of Reconciliation, unfortunately, found itself in the no man’s land inside the “death strip” of the Berlin wall.
With the majority of its parishioners coming from the French Quarter in the West, it was demolished by the GDR authorities. After the wall fell, a new church was built in its place.
Getting to know all that awaits you in a typical three-day visit in and of itself is not enough. You have to take a step further and actualize the recommendations.
Just like much of Europe, you are advised to visit here mostly in the warm summer months.
Apart from being conducive, the timeframe also experiences numerous visitors from around the world.