Berlin Sights & Attractions
What to See and Do in Berlin
Start at the 18th century BRANDENBURG GATE, the former city gate and current Berlin icon. It stands by PARISER PLATZ, one of the city's most central squares and home to embassies and hotels. The REICHSTAG BUILDING is also one of the most visited sights in the city, built as the country's parliament in the late 19th century, but completely renovated and redesigned in the 1990s by Norman Foster, who added a huge glass dome from where you can get a 360-degree view over the city.
The 17th century CHARLOTTENBURG PALACE is another major landmark, attracting visitors to its opulent rococo and baroque interior.
But the most famous sight of all is barely there -- the BERLIN WALL that separated East and West Germany came down in 1989 and curious visitors today can only see small remaining sections covered in graffiti.
Hamburger Bahnhof is a former train station damaged in WWII that was turned into a contemporary art museum in 1996. On permanent display are works by Anselm Kiefer, Roy Lichtenstein, and Andy Warhol (whose "Mao" has become an icon of the museum).
Admirers of contemporary art will also not want to miss Kunst-Werke Berlin, the foremost contemporary art institution in the city with a large gallery space for temporary exhibitions.
The Kulturforum is a complex of museums including the New National Gallery, the Museum of Decorative Arts, and the Gemäldegalerie which houses one of the world's finest collections of European art from the 13th to 18th century. But if you only have time for one museum in Berlin, make it the Pergamon Museum, with its outstanding collection of Greek and Roman antiquities.
KAISER WILHELM CHURCH stands as a reminder of the horrors of WWII, although a modern church was built at the base of the ruined building in the 1960s making this one of the most interesting architectural sights in the city.
But the largest church in Berlin is the Berlin Cathedral, with some stunning stained-glass windows and a much-restored interior reopened in 1993, decades after it was destroyed in the war. Berlin's tallest building is also much-photographed, the Berlin TV Tower where you can take an elevator to the top for panoramic views.
The tree-lined UNTER DEN LINDEN is the main boulevard of the city, starting in Brandenburg Gate (see above) and home to many of Berlin's most historic buildings. Even better for a stroll is KURFURSTENDAMM, the grand shopping avenue lined with famous designer shops. Also stop by GENDARMENMARKT, Berlin's most beautiful square and home to the city's neoclassical concert hall and both the French and German cathedrals. Modern architecture is found in another square, POTSDAMER PLATZ, from where you can easily reach the Holocaust Memorial, remembering the murdered European Jews through an undulating field of stone monoliths.
After all the sightseeing, join the crowds at Hackesche Höfe, a series of pleasant courtyards with cafes and shops.
TOURS & DAYTRIPS
Go on a tour of Berlin where you can easily see most of the city's sights and have other experiences that you'd otherwise miss.