Our Rough Notes: 2 Nights in Berlin

To us Berlin is about history.  It’s also about other things….club culture for example…..but that’s another blog.  We have focused on a short city break taking in some famous sights and hopefully a ready-to-go guide for anyone thinking of visiting.  Berlin is a great city break because it’s not too far away, most sights are free and if your German isn’t up to standard, you will still be able to get around….in a very efficient fashion!

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Our Top Tips 

  • Get yourself a Berlin Welcome Card which covers your transportation in either zones A & B or A, B & C for 48 or 72 hours.  It makes life so much easier when hopping on and off public transport and saves you money not only on the transport but also on entry fees in shops and restaurants.  When you get your ticket you will need to validate this (yellow machines on buses and near the ticket machines in U-Bahn stations).
  • If flying into Schönefeld, get the X171 or X7 to Rudow U-Bahn (about 10 minutes in duration) and then you can get to your hotel from there – it makes it a very cheap transfer and the public transport is so reliable and frequent.
  • When flying back, make sure you top up on water before the airport as the water there is expensive!  It was about 4.5 Euros for a bottle that cost £1 in WH Smiths at Stansted!  Duty free for spirits is excellent though.

Things to do

We managed to pack a lot in to our 2 night stay.  We caught a 06:30 flight from Stansted to Berlin on Monday and arrived at our hotel at 11am.  On our return just 2 days later, we left our hotel at just after 14:00 for our 17:05 flight home.  We managed to see everything listed below and we have listed everything in the order we did it to show you what is possible in such a short visit.

Day 1

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The museum sets the scene for the Berlin Wall – it summarises the war and then details what happened after, mainly focusing on the divide, and looks at the escape methods used.  The museum contains lots of information (too much in all honesty) but allow about 1.5 – 2 hours.

Cost – 9.30 Euros per person (this is with a discount for having the Welcome Card).

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There are exhibitions inside and outside.  We loved the outside exhibition which mainly looks at the rise of Nazism and what happened when the party came into power.  The inside exhibition repeats this a little but has interesting boards on the Nuremburg Trials and other historical happenings such as the death marches.  Again, a little too much information inside; allow about 2 hours and if running short of time and the weather is good, just see the outside.

Cost – free.

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One of the least busy and best views in the city!  Located on Potsdamer platz (red brick building).

Cost – 7 Euros per person – the Welcome Card allows for a discount if you get the ticket to the top and guide – it’s normally 6.5 Euros just for the ticket to the top.

Not far from Brandenburg Gate and now just a little information board on the site which is now a car park (at the top of the street “In den Ministergärten”).

Cost – free

Day 2

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This is adjacent to the Brandenburg Gate and it well worth a visit.  You will either love it or hate it.  We loved it but we like our modern art and we can see the symbolic nature of its position and formality.

Cost – free

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Symbolic of German Unity since the wall came down in 1989.  Stop here for a quick picture and to learn more about the history of this grand gateway.

Cost – free

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The home of Germany’s Parliament.  You can stop for a quick picture or if you pre-book, you can visit the roof terrace and glass dome.

Cost – free

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One of the best museums in Berlin.  It tells the story of the divide between East and West with real life accounts in the station which allowed limited passage between the two sides.

Cost – free

  • Chocolate shops

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Fassbender & Rausch (if only for the chocolate sculptures and displays – luxury chocolate at great prices) AND Ritter Sport (you can create your own chocolate and it’s quite cheap to buy and tastes very good) – both not far away from Unter den Linden which is where you can find the Brandenburg Gate.

Cost – it depends on how much you like your chocolate!

A pretty square with lovely buildings and cafes for drinks just off Unter den Linden and by Fassbender & Rausch.

Cost – free if just browsing

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Book burning square just off Under den Linden.  There is a plaque to see and it’s on the way to the Berliner Dom and so worth a stop.

Cost – free

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The great cathedral with stunning views inside and you can ascend to the walkway at the top (which eventually takes you outside) for some wonderful views.

Cost – 5 Euros per person with the Welcome Card.

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This is a huge site and we only managed sections A and B which easily took an hour and a half to do.  You can see what the death zone would have looked like, the chapel of reconciliation, more information on the war and the divide and a memorial of those who lost their lives as a result of the wall.  We got transport from Berliner Dom to here.

Cost – free

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A symbol of freedom and the largest remaining section of standing wall covered in art work on the East Side (never permitted until after 1989).  It’s lovely to just walk along and enjoy the messages behind the art.  We got the U-Bahn from Berlin Wall Memorial to here.

Cost – free

Day 3

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A bombed church which sits between 2 new sections, much like Coventry Cathedral, and it has a memorial from Coventry there too uniting the two cities.

Cost – free

From Kaiser Wilhem Memorial Church, it’s a 20-25 minute walk, partly through Tiergarten park.  The Victory Column is in the middle of a busy road but you can access it by a subway.

Cost – free to view but if you want to go up the victory column it’s 3 Euros per person

A bit like Selfridges but with a better food court!

Cost – free to browse!

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If you don’t fancy packing as much in and want just a selection from the above, try:

  1.  Palace of Tears
  2. Jewish Memorial
  3. Topography of Terror (outside)
  4. Berliner Dom
  5. Panoramapunkt
  6. Berlin Wall Memorial
  7. East Side Gallery

If you want the tick list…….add the Brandenburg Gate and Reichstag of course!

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