Three days in Berlin – learn about Berlin’s history – day 2
Your day begins at the Schlossbrücke (Castle Bridge) designed by the famous German architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel. From here you can walk down the Unter den Linden (‘under the lime trees’), one of Berlin’s most well-known streets, until you get to a large public square where you can see the National Opera house (the Staatsoper) and the Humbold University. The Bebelplatz was the location of the infamous book burning by the Nazis in 1933 and has a monument there today designed by Micha Ullman.
After looking around Beleblpatz take a short walk to Gendarmenmarkt to see Berlin´s most impressive public square, where you will be surrounded by fine architectural examples of German and French cathedrals (Deutscher und Französischer Dom) and Schinkel’s Konzerthaus (concert hall).
: Have a coffee at Café Konzerthaus and you will have a memorable view of the square.
10:30 - Friedrichstrasse
After spending time looking around the Gendarmenmarkt, walk down Friedrichstrasse, one of central Berlin’s main shopping streets. Head towards Unter den Linden again, which will lead you nicely towards the iconic Bradenburger Gate and the Reichstag building.
: You might want to come back to the Brandenburger Gate in the evening when it’s beautifully lit up. If you want to visit the Reichstag building, you have to register online in advance.
11:30 – the Holocaust memorial
Next up on the itinerary is the suitably moving Holocaust memorial. This striking memorial was commissioned to honour the murdered Jews in Europe. Walk around Peter Eisenman’s conceptual design and you’ll see there’s also an underground information centre. It’s very informative, offering details about the Jewish people who suffered at the hands of the Nazis as well as about the design and construction of the memorial itself.
The exhibition beneath the memorial is free to enter but we suggest you buy the audio-guide (4€) for a great range of in-depth information.
13:30 - Potsdamer Platz
Once a desolate, barren wasteland, Potsdamer Platz has been transformed into the commercial centre of modern-day Berlin. Here you can see the Sony Centre designed by Helmut Jahn, which looks particularly striking lit up night, and the austere Kollhoff Tower.
On the 24th
floors of the Kollhoff Tower is the Panoramapunkt, which is well worth a visit. Offering an unparalleled view of Berlin, it houses a cool 1930s-style café bar and the modest entry fee includes a very good multi-media exhibition telling the story of Potsdamer Platz.
If you’re looking to grab some lunch the Sony Centre should provide you with a number of dining options.
15:00 - Topographie des Terrors
After lunch, walk along Stresemannstraße and then Zimmerstraße, pass Martin Gropius Bau and you will reach the Topographie des Terrors. Once the location for much of the coordination of Nazi terror, including the headquarters of the Gestapo and the SS, it now documents that dark and chilling period with a substantial and well-curated exhibition. You can also look around the grounds to see remains of the old buildings, while nearby you’ll find an original remaining piece of the Berlin Wall.
Bear in mind that the outside area is only open until around 8pm.
17:00 - Checkpoint Charlie
From here, walk down Zimmerstrasse until you reach Checkpoint Charlie. There are a series of excellent story boards here that highlight the fascinating history of this previously small dividing area, from the importance it played in the daily lives of Berliners to its symbolic part in international relations between the East and West.
Around about now you’re probably ready for a well-deserved drink and may even be thinking of a bite to eat. Jump on the M29 bus at Kochstraße and get off at Oranienplatz, and you’ll have reached one of the most lively streets in Kreuzberg with plenty of bars and restaurants.
19:00 – evening options
If you’re in the mood for some tapas then hit Sol Y Sombra (Oranienplatz 5) or alternatively Yellow Sunshine (Wiener Strasse 19) for vegetarian options including delicious burgers. For drinks afterwards, try the Würgeengel Bar (122 Dresdener Strasse). Inspired by the 1926 Brunel room of the same name, it’s full of old-fashioned décor and a particularly glam ambience.