Things to do in Berlin – places to see, sights to visit

As you might know already, there are lots of things to do in Berlin. The city has quite a ‘special’ collection of tourist attractions, like probably no other great city has: many of the typical Berlin attractions are about Berlin history – or actually German history – the past and how it is connected to the present. The most popular sights are probably all more or less directly connected to Berlin’s and Germany’s history: the Cold War era, the Nazi era, the Weimar Republic – be it The Berlin Wall or former Bunkers and Flak Towers: Berlin’s terrible past is Berlin’s present attraction.

And there is basically nothing bad about it. If only all terrible things became tourist attractions – the world would probably be a much better place. Is there anything more peaceful than having a picnic on a former death strip? Dancing on the ruins of the past has some sort of tradition in Berlin – so no wonder that also this list of Berlin tourist attractions largely consists of ‘dark’ attractions.

But besides these ‘shadows from the past’ there is of course also a number of other, regular sights to see. A Berlin sightseeing tour may lead you to architectural treasures and castles – not to forget two Zoos – and also a large number of Museums are yours to enjoy.

Of course this list is not trying to be a complete guide to all the things to do in Berlin. Instead I listed a number of sights and things I personally consider worth visiting. Please feel free to add any thoughts and suggestions in the comments at the end of this page. Thank you!


Berlin Cathedral – Berliner Dom

The Berlin Cathedral (Berliner Dom / Oberpfarr- und Domkirche zu Berlin) is probably one of the most impressive buildings in Berlin Mitte – and also one of the major tourist attractions . Located right next to the Lustgarten it was built between 1894 and 1905 following the architectural plans of Julius Raschdorff.

Berlin Flak Towers (Humboldthain)

During World War II (between 1941 and 1943) eight large Flak towers (German: Flaktürme) were built across Nazi Germany and Austria: three in Berlin, two in Hamburg, and three in Vienna. Originally they were built to defend the cities against air strikes. The towers were often a combination of air raid shelter and gun turret. […]

Brandenburg Gate (Brandenburger Tor)

The Brandenburg Gate (German: Brandenburger Tor) is probably the strongest symbol for The Fall of The Berlin Wall – and The German Reunification. For decades only East German Border Patrol could be seen walking through the gate. Still in 1987 Ronald Reagan was demanding “Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate!” – and only about two years […]

Checkpoint Charlie

A visit to Checkpoint Charlie is a bit like a time travel. There are only few sights in Berlin that are still in the original shape they were during the Berlin Wall Era – only few details left of Cold War Berlin. Checkpoint Charlie is kind of one of them. Of course most of the […]

Christmas Markets

In case you’re not aware of the German tradition of Christmas Markets, here’s a short introduction: about a month before Christmas, you can see these ensembles of booths being installed and combined with Christmas Trees, seasonal decoration, special light installations. Some Christmas Markets may even feature rides like roundabouts and Ferris Wheels. Some Christmas Markets […]

East Side Gallery / Berlin Wall

The East Side Gallery in Berlin’s borough Friedrichshain is the longest, the largest and probably also the most impressive remaining part of the Berlin Wall that is still in it’s original location and more or less intact. Between the river Spree and Mühlenstrasse the East Side Gallery is an impressive monument that shows how massive […]

Gendarmenmarkt, French Cathedral, German Cathedral

Many people consider the Gendarmenmarkt the most beautiful square of Berlin Mitte – if not of all Berlin. First of all the Gendarmenmarkt is a rather large square, located in Mitte, bordered by the streets Französische Strasse, Markgrafenstrasse, Mohrenstrasse and Charlottenstrasse. The square is mostly known for its architectural ensemble dating back to the seventeenth […]

Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church / Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche

The Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church (in German: Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche, or just  ‘Gedächtniskirche’) is one of West-Berlin’s iconic sights. It was badly damaged during the last days of the Second World War – basically only the bell tower remained more or less intact. Today the church consists of two parts – or actually of three buildings. Next […]

Mauerpark

The Mauerpark in Berlins district Prenzlauer Berg is a quite special park: as the German name suggests the Berlin Wall (German: Die Berliner Mauer) went right through the area, where today people enjoy themselves. Especially on summer weekends the Mauerpark can be packed with both neighbors and tourists, enjoying the green, having a ride on […]

Oberbaum Bridge (Oberbaumbrücke)

Basically today the Oberbaum Bridge (Oberbaumbrücke) is just an old but beautiful bridge that  connects the two Berlin boroughs Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain. But then again, the Oberbaum Bridge stand for so much more – is so much more. During the Cold War era the bridge was blocked. Kreuzberg was part of West-Berlin and Friedrichshain was […]

Observation Decks and Panoramic Platforms

No doubt, discovering Berlin by walking the streets and back streets of Berlin’s various neighborhoods is quite nice. But from time to time having a panoramic view from above can  even be nicer. Berlin has a couple of Observation Decks and Panoramic Platforms to offer. Some of those platforms are accessible with free admission, some […]

Pariser Platz

Even though the Pariser Platz is located right next to the Brandenburg Gate, I would consider it a sight of its own. There are just too things to discover – and of course the Brandenburg Gate is one of those things. But the Pariser Platz is so much more, than just the Brandenburg Gate. First […]

Potsdamer Platz

I wasn’t sure if I should actually file the Potsdamer Platz under ‘tourist sights’ and ‘sightseeing’ – or if it should rather belong in the ‘discover’ section, where I list streets and places. But since Potsdamer Platz is so much more than just an address, I would actually consider it a full blown tourist attraction. […]

Reichstag

When visiting the Reichstag building, be prepared to wait for a while – at least if you are planning to climb the glass dome on top of the Reichstag. Since admission is free and the view is nice there is usually a long queue in front of the building. But even if you actually don’t […]

Scheunenviertel, Berlin Mitte

The so called Scheunenviertel in Berlin Mitte is a neighborhood very well worth seeing, basically located in Berlin’s historic center. The first question that usually arises concerning the Scheunenviertel is “Where is the Scheunenviertel actually located?” – but that question is not so easy to answer. We will come to that later. The other question is […]

Spandau Citadel / Zitadelle Spandau

In the very north west of Berlin you can find an old castle on an island: the Spandau Citadel. The history of the castle dates back more than 800 years. It was first mentioned in 1197 when the Margraves of Brandenburg had built the castle you can still visit today on the site of an […]

Stolpersteine – Stumbling Blocks

All across Berlin (and other german and non-german cities) Stolpersteine / Stumbling Blocks commemorate victims of the Nazi regime. The mini-monuments are created by artist Gunter Demnig. Each block stands for one person that was either evicted by the Nazis, or fled prior to eviction. Not all people that are commemorated were consigned by the Nazis […]

The Berlin Radio Tower / Funkturm

The Radio Tower / Funkturm was Berlin’s very first broadcasting tower. It is located close to both Berlin fair ground (Berlin Messe) and ‘House of Broadcasting‘ (Haus des Rundfunks).  The tower was inaugurated on 3 September 1926 on the opening of the third ‘Great German Radio Exhibition’ (Große Deutsche Funkausstellung). The tower looks a little […]

The Berlin TV Tower

Since Berlin is lacking a real skyline, the Berlin TV Tower (or Berlin Television Tower / German: Fernsehturm) is basically the skyline of Berlin. Designed and built in the sixties the TV Tower is not only Berlin’s highest building, but also the highest building of all Germany and highest publicly accessible building in Europe. The […]

The Berlin Victory Column (Siegessäule) in Tiergarten

The Berlin Victory Column (German: Siegessäule) is a monument located at the very heart of Berlin’s largest inner city park – the Tiergarten. It features an observation deck (or viewing platform) from where you have a nice view on the surrounding park Tiergarten, the boulevard Strasse des 17. Juni and its iconic Brandenburg Gate (Brandenburger […]

The Berlin Wall

The Berlin Wall is probably one of Berlin’s most popular tourist attractions today – if not the most popular. However, since there is not much left of the actual construction, there is not much to actually see. And that can make it a bit difficult to understand and/or explain what the Berlin Wall actually was, […]

The Berlin Wall Memorial at Bernauer Strasse

There are a few options to go if you want to see, what the Berlin Wall looks like today. The official site to however is the Berlin Wall Memorial at Bernauer Strasse. This is the place to go, if you would like to see the Wall together with quite a stretch of the original death […]

Viktoriapark Kreuzberg

The Viktoriapark in Berlin’s Kreuzberg district is quite a special sightseeing opportunity – for a number of different reasons. First of all: it’s an old park – and it’s a nice park indeed. And, I may have said this before, but it’s a very old park. The Viktoriapark first opened in 1894. And the hill, […]


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