I’ll be quite honest with you: Berlin was never on my list of destinations. If you follow my blog, you know that I’m more into cultural history and historical architecture. Berlin doesn’t really have any more historical buildings and a lot of its history is more modern, and obviously focused on the second World War. The people who recommended Berlin to me were all big on nightlife so no, I didn’t want to go.
However I chose to when it became a much-needed stop between Poznan and Dresden. And it was actually a very fun stop.
Before you go, I recommend looking into the Berlin Welcome Card and the Museum Pass Berlin. And read the fine print. You can save a lot of money by using these cards, though they have a combination of “get free entry here/get a discount here,” so you’ll need to do a bit of math to figure out which is the best. Also note that Museum Island museums are generally separate passes.
One of the first places I had to go was Charlottenburg Palace, which is a Baroque Palace that served as a residence during the Prussian Empire. It’s absolutely beautiful inside with interesting gold gilding detail, and has a lovely garden. It was nice to see some of Germany’s Prussian-era architecture, which is so rare to find. I also discovered the lovely Queen Louise of Prussia, who is now one of my favourite historic figures. Isn’t it so nice when you travel and come back with a new interest?
Of course I also visited several museums on Museum Island, the hottest tourist attraction in Berlin. I first went to the Old National Gallery and really enjoyed the art. They don’t have extremely notable pieces but they have a lot of landscapes, impressionist-esque paintings, stuff of that nature. Of course I had to visit the Pergamonmuseum, which houses the Market Gate of Miletus as well as the Gates of Babylon (yes, the Babylon). The Pergamon Altar was not on display when I went but the gates were clearly the highlights of the museum. Was it worth paying about 18 euros to see them? Not sure. But it’s still cool to say that I went.
Next door you can see the Berlin Cathedral, which is an absolutely gorgeous work of Baroque architecture. The views from the tap are actually very nice, especially since Berlin is such an expansive and diverse city.
Two of my favourite places to visit in Berlin are actually not the most popular. First was the German History Museum. I have to say it’s one of the best history museums I’ve ever been to. It’s in very clear chronological order and has highlights from cultural and political events in history. Knowing virtually nothing about German history, I came out with a much expanded knowledge. I highly recommend visiting this gem! Another attraction I liked is the Berlin Story Bunker, which houses the history of Berlin in a WWII bunker. Berlin’s history extends back to only the 1600s but again, I was able to learn a lot. It’s also an artefact-based museum and it’s super cool to see things that existed hundreds or decades of years ago. They also have a display on stuff found within the bunker. What I liked about both museums is that they don’t emphasise WWII like a lot of places do with German history. That’s part of their history, but just that – a part.
There are also places such as the Bradenburg Gate and the Victory Column that many people stop by to see and take a picture of, though I was never able to find out the significance of the Bradenburg Gate. Even though it’s a little tourist-y, I enjoyed the area between the Gate and the German History Museum. It felt most historical. There is also of course the East Side Gallery but to be quite honest, it wasn’t as extensive as I’d expected.
Berlin also has some very delicious food! It’s a very vegan- and vegetarian-friendly city. I personally loved going to Rausch Chocolate House as well, and had the best hot chocolate there. You can apparently make your own Ritter Sport in Berlin, as well. Lots of good food and chocolate!
Berlin still isn’t one of my favourite cities, nor one I’d necessarily like to return to. But there was a lot of great stuff to do and I really enjoyed my time there.
Have you ever been to Berlin? What did you think?Posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2019 in Destinations
Tags: berlin, europe, germany