Day Trip to Berlin (Germany)

My day at Berlin started with the Berlin Wall. Since I reached Berlin at Schonfield Airport, my first stop was the place nearest to me, on the way to Berlin city - East Side Gallery. From there, my next stop was, Museum Island and Berliner Dom
It was post noon by this time and we were terrifically hungry. After a lunch at a Thai takeaway near Friedrichstrasse Bahnhof, we set off to Reichstag Building which is essentially the German Parliament. The specialty of this building is that it has a transparent dome. The idea behind it is to signify that all the decisions taken and all political matters are completely transparent to the general public. This was built in 1894. It was originally a stone dome which got destroyed in bombing and in 1999, it was replaced with glass dome. 
And yes, it is open to public to view and its free of cost too! However similar to Big Ben, application has to be sent atleast a month ahead I guess. I tried to get it done 2 weeks and it wasn't available!!! It is possible to book it then and there, but the queue is way too long and the booking can be done only 2 hrs in advance. 

From there a 5 min walk took me to Bradenburg Gate which is similar to Brussels' Arcade du Cinquantenaire or London's Wellington Arch or Paris' Arc de Triomphe. This was built under King Frederick William II of Prussia as a sign of peace and by architect Carl Gotthard Langhans in 1791. However just like the Parliament, this too was damaged heavily during the World War and was renovated 2002.

Again, a 5 more minutes walk from there took us to Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. This was designed by architect Peter Eisenman from New York. This was one surreal place. It was a very simple, minimalist architecture. But on a sunny day, the way light falls on it, its just surreal!!! The ground is smooth, but not in the same level, its wavy with varying heights and so are the pillars, making them vary from just 2 ft tall to 10 ft tall!!! This isn't a graveyard or tombstone, as the name suggests its a memorial. I don't know weather its allowed to sit or stand on these pillars, as I was unaware of the sentiments of the locals regarding this, though I did see many doing the same (again I'm unaware if they were locals or tourists). Just mesmerized by the architecture and how light & shadow created such an interesting pattern, I clicked some pics posing here!

My last 2 spots were Topography of Terror and Checkpoint Charlie. I wrapped up my day sitting on a street side seating near Checkpoint Charlie where there was a musician making our evening, just spectacular. 
On the way something we could just see was the TV Tower. Its the highest building in Berlin and it has a spherical rotating restaurant atop. It takes 1 hr to complete 1 rotation and sitting on a window seat atop it watching Berlin while having your lunch or dinner must be one heck of an experience. Unfortunately it was fully booked on the day we went!
There are 2 types of transport cards when it comes to tourists & cities. One is the regular public transport card and the other is the Hop-in Hop-off bus. I hate that Hop-in & Hop-off thing, coz it gets so difficult to track the timings and routes (usually they have 2-3 routes), esp when you're more of a traveler than a tourist. Thankfully in Berlin, as a part of Berlin Welcome Card, the public transport is covered. It comes in 2 region options AB & ABC (that C covers Potsdam and Schonfield airport). It also comes in 2,3,4 and 5 days validity options. The 3 days one alone, has the option of adding in the Museum Island. The transport card has to be punched with date & time on the first travel undertaken at any metro station or within the bus. After that, there's no swipe-in swipe-out complication. 

To Get There:
Bradenburg Gate: Nearest metro station - Berlin Brandenburger Tor
Entry Fee: Free at all places
Timings: 
24hrs at Memorial for Murdered Jews & Bradenburg Gate
Pre-determined time slot at Reichstag Building & TV Tower restaurant

P.S: I was invited by Visit Berlin - Welcome Card to experience the city for review purposehowever the opinions are my own and this post does not to advertise the product/service.


Dedicated to Venkat

Bhushavali N

An ardent traveler by passion. I am a wanderlust.. Read more about me here.

33 comments:

  1. This is such a great write up of one of my favourite cities! I always start with the East Side Gallery and work my way in. I too go caught out though abut applying to go up the Dome, I would have loved to have been inside, but the building is still amazing from the outside.

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  2. I love this very succinct post! And I didn't know about the glass dome -- that's pretty cool. Thanks for the heads up for the need to book a visit to this well in advance. I've never been to Berlin but I know I'll get there!

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  3. Great tips on traveling in Berlin! Just one thing, in the memorial of murdered Jews, just like in Aushwitz, the selfies and photos while posing with the pillars are not a good idea... Millions of people were actually murdered there... It's not a places of art but a giant graveyard and should be treated as such... I know that people in Europe are very sensitive about this topic and it can be seen as disrespectful. Other than that I love your posts about Berlin because I will be there soon!

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  4. I remember seeing those monolith Memorials in the news. It actually gone viral due to some insensitive post of taking selfies and some bragging stunts in the place.

    Locals advises tourist to respect the place. Think of its history first before doing anything funny.

    Thanks!

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  5. I remember precisely where I was when the Berlin Wall fell to the ground and since then I've been wanting to visit this city with a very peculiar past. I've seen the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe elsewhere and found the architecture to be quite serene. Thanks for the tip on the Berlin Welcome Card - I don't like hop-on/hop-off buses either so it's good to know it can be used on public transportation also.

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  6. I love the clear dome representation, I do hope it is being observed though. :p The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe looks and sounds interesting, do you know why it was designed like that? Too bad that almost all of the interesting spots were already full when you got there, I guess that's a good excuse to go back. :)

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  7. This looks like the perfect itinerary! I may just come back to it for inspiration when I take my sister to Berlin in a few months! Also, I have to mention what Flavio has already said about the memorial. It is pretty unique in its design, enough to make you forget for a moment that it is in fact a memorial and as such should be treated with respect. Would you take similar photos peeking behind a war memorial pillar in the middle of a square? Just some food for thought :)

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  8. Oh great tips on the public transport. I always get so confused when travelling around Europe as to what's needed when and where. It's a pity you didn't get the tourist photo at Check Point Charlie kissing a solider or two for good luck.

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  9. So you had a great time not so far from where I live. :) I didn't like Berlin when I visited in 2003 - too busy for me at the time. But now, seeing it through your eyes, I kind of miss it!

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  10. I have always wanted to go to Germany! There is so much to see there, but you seem to have covered quite a bit in just one day so I will have to keep that in mind!

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  11. That's a great picture of people walking in the dome. I guess you have to organize really well to book a month in advance, I very rarely am able to plan things more than a week in advance. I have to confess I took the hop on hop off bus tour whilst in Berlin and yes it can be confusing with all the different companies.

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  12. A really interesting and thorough itinerary for 24 hours in Berlin. And while it might be impossible to see all the best stuff the city has to offer, you certainly managed to catch at least some of the highlights. Berlin has a lot of fun things on display but I totally agree that the Jewish Memorial is a must although not an entirely pleasant experience.

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  13. I was supposed to visit Berlin this summer but an intervening schedule prevented me from joining that trip. Anyhow, with the history and beauty of this city, I will surely try to go again in the future.

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  14. It is nice when you live in Europe. You can go to another country for the weekend. Berlin has a rich history and it looks like there are many spots to visit!

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  15. The TV Tower also remind me of the TV Tower in Shangai. There is a lot of nice places in Berlin.

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  16. Berlin was never on my bucket list because of the long flight hours (from Singapore) but your post makes me want to visit and see those places for myself so much! Agree with Franc that the TV tower kind of resembles the tower in Shanghai, I think it's called Oriental Pearl though?

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  17. The Memorial to the Murdered Jews was something I missed while there. I love Berlin, so I will have to check it out when I go back. Thanks for sharing.

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  18. Berlin is a pretty place to visit. One month in advance for a attraction is way too much. I would love to visit the rotating restaurant in the TV tower and Welcome Card is deal for sure.

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  19. Thanks for that tip on the Berlin card. It sure will make moving around the city easier and seems like it gives a good deal. Of course, the sights of Berlin are just amazing....I think I might need more than a day here.

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  20. This is something completely from what I usually see and read about places to visit in Berlin. Places I've never heard of but looks fantastic. I like knowing places in cities or countries I don't even know. The Berlin card info is another perfect example. I agree with you there about the Hop in-Hop off bus, I'm not a fan of that one either.

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  21. One of my bestie is now living in Berlin and she can't stopped raving about it. Its beautiful and am happy that she had adjusted to her new city :)

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  22. I love how quiet and solemn the places you visited are. The architecture spoke volumes but also maintained this peaceful feeling. Beautiful and moving :)

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  23. Berlin - what a historic place! Glad that you visited it. Just imagining how must be that bygone historic years and how must be the atmosphere that time in Berlin...

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  24. I absolutely loved Berlin when I visited last summer! It was amazing to see photos of places I've been and where I'd had so much fun. I also happen to visit checkpoint Charlie soon after having seen Bridge of Spy and I think that made it even more interesting.

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  25. Just a day trip? Bold move, but you really seemed to pull this off in spades! You also snagged some wicked photos to boot, so nicely done!

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  26. I really love Berlin. This was the first city city that I traveled to independently. It is so modern, different and free.

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  27. I've been to Bavaria and Frankfurt but I'm STILLLL waiting to get to Berlin! Strange I know, but one of these days. I've heard nothing but wonderful things about this city and these were some great tips!

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  28. I am going to Berlin next week for a major conference but am staying for the weekend to do some sightseeing. This was super helpful for that! I have been there before, but I have ever been to the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. I will for sure go there and pay my respects. Thank you for that.

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  29. From reading your day trip to Berlin, I've learned that they have also the Arch of Triumph, in which I only know the one in France...and later on, saw the one in Romania :)

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  30. I've never been to Berlin but it looks stunning - so much history, not all of it good, but great to see they have created the Memorial for the Jews. It must be a very emotive place!

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  31. The Reichstag Building is one of my favorite buildings of all time. I especially like the sthttp://travel.bhushavali.com/logout?d=https://www.blogger.com/logout-redirect.g?blogID%3D8832213403581575019%26postID%3D9082470549234371106aircase inside. I too hate the hop on hop all buses. Interesting post!

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  32. Love this! think my favourite photo has to be then one where you're peeping out the side! very sweet! Great tips too! :-)

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  33. To have a perfect linear mini8malist architect is something hard to build and this one is really at its finest.

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