MuseumInsel (Museum Island), very close to the Friedrichstrasse in East Berlin and not far from the Berliner Dom is a must visit for the Museum Lovers. Not far from here is the DDR museum which gives an idea of life in the DDR (erstwhile East Germany). Also seen in the picture is the Fernsehturm (TV Tower)

Checkpoint Charlie was one of the seven checkpoints where people could move from East Berlin to West Berlin and vice versa during the Cold War era. Why Checkpoint Charlie is most famous is that it was the checkpoint that saw most of the conflagrations between the Soviet and the American forces. 

berlin off the beaten path


  • For a quintessential experience of Berlin of the Beaten Path, head to Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp - a Nazi Concentration Camp, 35 kms from Berlin. A tour of Sachsenhausen today will take you back to the gory days of Adolf Hitler. Admittedly, Dachau near Munich is a better tourist destination if you are into concentration camps but Sachsenhausen is great too. ​


  • For a feel of the German Imperialist history, head to Potsdam, about 40 minuted from Berlin on regional train. Visit the Sanscoucci Palace and Gardens for admire the splendor of the Palace. 

​​

  • Visit the Berliner Dom Cathedral - the largest cathedral in Germany.

The Fat Tire Bike Tours are an excellent way to cover a lot of ground in Berlin. In particular take the Cold War Tour which takes you through much of the history between 1945 - 1989 in Berlin

The East Side Gallery - paintings by numerous artists on the remnants of the Berlin Wall is now one of the largest outdoor museums in the World. Each painting depicts the plight of the Berliners between 1961 - 1989

Inside the Reichstag (German Parliament Building) - a fine monument offers panoramic views of Berlin and great photo ops

The area adjoining the Berlin Wall was earlier a vast expanse of waste land. After the Wall has been brought down, this area became prime real estate and is now known as Potsdammer Platz. Largely a commercial hub with ultra modern constructions. 

The Fuhrerbunker - the site where Adolf Hitler spent his final days as the Allied and Soviet forces closed in on Berlin. Germans today are embarrassed about their role in the World Wars and this memorial to Hitler is probably the only reference to him you would find in Berlin

A picture showing how the wall was being torn down. Plenty of such pictures on the 1.2 km of Berlin Wall which still stands and serves as a reminder of Berlin's past

The paved blocks one would see across the city were the exact places where the Berlin Wall once existed. Today they have been replaced by paved bricks. 

The Berlin U Bahn - incredibly clean, efficient and the best way to travel in Berlin

The Berlin Welcome Card offers free travel in Berlin on all public transportation as well as discounts on many monuments. Minimise your cost by purchasing the Card

The Berlin Hauptbahnhof - constructed  in 2006 its an engineering marvel and definitely a must see in Berlin. Has shops, cafes, supermarkets and plenty more

The Brandenburg Gate - today a symbol of peace and unity

A view of the Berlin Skyline - one can see the Fernsehturm (TV tower) in the background and the Park Inn Alexanderplatz right beside. Also visible is the Berlin Dome on the left ​ 

EUROPEUNEXPLORED'S TRAVEL TIPS TO BERLIN

1. Buy the Berlin Welcome Card. It costs Euro 25 for 3 days starting from the hour you validate the Card and is valid on all public transportation in Berlin. A regular travel card costs Euro 18 for three days which means that in case you wish to do the Fat Tire Biking Tours and wish to go up the Fernsehturm (TV Tower), your Berlin Welcome Card has already paid for itself. There are plenty of other advantages of owning the Berlin Welcome Card which you can check out here - http://www.visitberlin.de/en/welcomecard


2. Berlin history is vast and can get overwhelming if not read up earlier. We would recommend that any tourist in Berlin spends some time reading up on Berlin to be able to do complete justice to the conducted tours you would take in Berlin. 


3. Germany has excellent supermarkets - prominent are Rewe, Kaisers, LiDL, SPAR. Food is very reasonable when bought from any of these supermarkets. Bars of chocolates are available for less than one euro in many instances. 


4. Germans are very nice people and would like it if you display an attempt to speak their language. Most Germans at least in cities would speak reasonable english. Just learn "Entschuldigung Sie Bitte" - means "Excuse me please" and invariably you would encounter a smile. 


5. Average cost of a margherita pizza is Euro 6-7 which can easily feed 1.5 people. There is in essence no tipping culture across Germany, however you may want to round up your bill to leave a small tip which will always be appreciated. 

DAY 2 IN berlin
Activity
Cost (In euro)
fat tire bike tour
18.00 (discount with the berlin welcome card)
the reichstag (parliament house)
NIL
the fernsehturm (tv tower)
9.00


Rejoin the remnant of Berlin's history with the Fat Tire Bike Tours which cover a much longer distance (biking of close to 15 kms) right through the Cold War era. The Fat Tire Biking Tours are extremely competant tours and the coverage in terms of history is excellent. The tour takes you across the Spree and also into the Fuhrerbunker (Adolf Hitler's bunker where he spent his final days) and even the Soviet War Memorial - several kms from the centre of Berlin - into Treptow. The guides are well trained as well and with Fat Tire, you are in safe hands. http://berlin.fattirebiketours.com/


A visit to the Reichstag is a must. Entry is free and audio guides included - however one needs to book on the Reichstag website well in advance - usually in excess of 15-20 days and preferably a month. The photo opportunities are excellent and the audio guides explain the history of this monument perfectly. 


For a better view of Berlin from the top, take a hike up the Fernsehturm (TV Tower) built by the Soviets in the 1960s. It epitomised an era when the Americans and the Soviets engaged in a game of one-upmanship at the height of the Cold War and building taller monuments was also a part of the game. Irrespective, the views from the top are excellent. 

DAY 1 IN berlin
Activity
Cost (In euro)
insider tours berlin
10.00 
the berlin wall and east side gallery
NIL
checkpoint charlie museum
15.00


Keeping in line with EuropeUnexplored's recommendations, the Insider Tour is a must do experience in Berlin. Berlin's history is vast and it makes sense to do it in two parts - before and after the World War II. Insider Tours are walking tours and are adept at covering all facets of Berlin's history and we surely recommend it. There's a fair amount of walking included - generally 4-6 kms, so gear up with the right footwear! We would recommend you to take the Pre-World War II tours with them.


In the afternoon, visit the remnants of the Berlin Wall and the Checkpoint Charlie Museum. The East Side gallery is an open air museum of various art done by artists on the remnants on the Berlin Wall depicting the various emotions faced by Berliners during the Berlin Wall days. In Berlin, this is a must do!


For the history lovers, take a walk into the Checkpoint Charlie Museum. This museum covers almost all stories depicting conflagrations between the Americans and the Soviets in the Cold War era. The admission is a little steep but surely worth it.  

WHERE TO STAY IN BERLIN:

Berlin is a huge city and has more than 1000 hotels. Berlin is a supply excess city and prices of hotels are generally cheaper by ~30-40% than comparable hotels in the western part of the country. Berlin has all the hotels - chains, standalone, boutique almost everything. 


We would recommend to stay in east Berlin and as close to the Brandenburg gate which means areas like Friedrichstrasse, Hauptbahnhof or Alexanderplatz - however hotels may be more expensive here. Other good areas to stay would be on Kuerfuerstendamm where there are a plethora of hotels of all varieties and budgets to choose from. In general, the farther you go from the Brandenburg gate, the cheaper the hotel options would open up. 


HotelAdrenoMelia BerlinAdlon KempinskiAdina
StarsThreeFourFiveFour
Tariff50-80100-120200-250~80-100
LocationOn river Spree and close to the HbfOn River Spree. Only 200 metres from the MuseuminselRight next to Brandenburg GateMultiple locations across Berlin
ValueGoodExcellentExcellentExcellent


getting around and berlin welcome card:

Berlin has an extensive network of underground metro lines (U Bahn) , overground train lines (S Bahn), trams, buses. Almost all tourist destinations are serviced with some or the other mode of transportation. This makes it very possible to see Berlin within two to three days.


The smartest way to travel in Berlin is by purchasing the Berlin Welcome Card. The Card allows one to travel freely by any mode of transport in Zone A and B of Berlin which is more than sufficient to cover any area of interest for a tourist in Berlin. The Zone A,B,C card would allow one to use the public transportation to Potsdam - about 40 minutes by train from Berlin where one may visit the Sanssouci Palace. Also, the Berlin Welcome Card offers reductions in many of Berlin's sightseeing destinations - namely the Fernsehturm (TV Tower), the Museuminsel (The Museum Island)


The Berlin Welcome Card comes in variants of 2,3,4,5 days. We would recommend purchasing the 3 day Berlin Welcome Card which would cost Euro 25 per person. Do not forget to validate your Berlin Welcome Card at one of the yellow machines on every U Bahn, S Bahn, Bus and tram. 

orientation to berlin:

Berlin is a huge city and prima facie can be daunting to explore. The good news is that it is not the case. The Brandenburg Gate divides the city into two parts - east Berlin and west Berlin. Most of the tourist destinations with the exception of the Treptower Park- Alexanderplatz, remnants of the Berlin Wall, the memorial of the Murdered Jews, Berlin Wall memorial, the DDR museum, Museuminsel are all located in East Berlin and not much further from the Brandenburg Gate.


Berlin is also incredibly flat. There is hardly any incline at all. For precisely these reasons, we at EuropeUnexplored believe Berlin is a perfectly walkable city. 

ABOUT berlin


WhereNorth East Germany
WhyHistory, culture, shopping and a lot more
For whomHistory lovers
How long
2-4 days
Best seasonApril - October
Likely cost per personEuro 175-200 (Rs 12,000 - 16,000)


berlin ON A BUDGET


Approximate cost per person (2 days)In EuroIn INR
Accommodation (4 star hotel)604,800
Food504,000
Internal Travel (Purchase the Berlin Welcome Card)262,000
Sightseeing504,000

**Prices and exchange rate as existing as at February 2014

not to be missed in berlin

 1. the remnants of the berlin wall

 2. the brandenburg gate and unter den linden & memorial     to the murdered jews

 3. a walk through east berlin

 4. the reichstag (berlin's parliament house)

 5.  checkpoint charlie

 6. Potsdammer platz

 7. the sachsenhausen concentration camp

 8. window shopping on kuerfurstendamm

 9. the berlin hauptbahnhof


How to get here:

Berlin is connected with Germany and the rest of the European Union with efficient rail, air and bus links. The Deutsche Bahn (www.bahn.com) is arguably the most efficient and dense railway network in the whole of Europe and access to and from Berlin is easy. For travelers wishing to deep dive into East Europe, Berlin is the perfect launchpad. Prague is only three hours away.


Berlin has plenty of overnight train connections - Copenhagen, Malmo, Budapest, Krakow, Vienna can all be reached via the City Night Line Trains on the Deutsche Bahn as can Munich, Salzburg or even Switzerland (starting Euro 50 per person). On the ICE train, get from Berlin to Munich in about 6 hours. 


FromHowCost
Hamburg
Direct trains almost every hour. 
If booked in advance (generally 2 months), Euro 29 per person
Munich
Direct trains every three hours
If booked in advance (generally 2 months), Euro 69 per person


history of berlin
in OVER 700 YEARS OF ITS TROUBLED EXISTENCE, berlin has seen everything - prussian control, the first world war, THE rise and fall of the REPUBLIC state AND THE RISE OF THE NAZIS, THE SECOND WORLD WAR and the BATTLE OF BERLIN IN 1945 SINCE WHICH THE AMERICANS CONTROLLED WEST BERLIN AND THE SOVIETS CONTROLLED EAST BERLIN drew the platform for the cold war.

THERE WERE NUMEROUS FACE OFFS BETWEEN THE TWO SIDES BUT IT REACHED A CRESCENDO WHEN THE SOVIETS, IN OCCUPATION OF EAST GERMANY AND EAST BERLIN BUILT A WALL AROUND WEST BERLIN ALMOST OVERNIGHT ON AUGUST 13, 1961. FAMILIES WERE DIVIDED LITERALLY OVERNIGHT ONLY TO SEE THEIR LOVED ONES 28 YEARS LATER, WHEN THE CITIZENS TORE DOWN THE WALL AMIDST THE REMAINS OF THE CRUMBLING SOVIET EMPIRE. 

berlin, germany


if history ever has an award FOR ITS poster child, berlin would be one of the top contenders to win it. espionage, extremism, war, emotion, greed,plunder,berlin has been at the forefront of some of the greatest battles the world has had to witness,pivotal to anyone who wanted it as their crown jewel. WAR AND EXTREMISM is NOT THE SOLUTION TO ANYTHING AND BERLIN IS THE LIVING TESTAMENT TO THAT.

today's berlin is a stable and vibrant megalopolis standing as an example of all done wrong with it and a symbol of world peace - a fantastic transformation in just over two decades. the wall is a thing of the past, germans are embarrassed about the existence of its nazi past. today berlin is recognized as an emerging centre of arts and culture, film makers throng the berlin film festival, an example of world class infrastructure, a haven for the fashionistas and a melting pot for various cultures. the city is changing so briskly that residents say they see a new berlin every few years. but scrape the surface and the wounds are there to see - traces of the berlin of old are everywhere. the differences between the east and west may be closing but they are still there for everyone to see and experience.  for the history lover, berlin is nirvana

  Contents
  1. About berlin
  2. history of berlin
  3. Must do in berlin
  4. berlin on a budget
  5. how to get to berlin
  6. orientation to berlin
  7. Best way to see berlin
  8. Where to stay in berlin
  9. day 1 in BERLIN
  10. day 2 in BERLIN
  11. europeunexplored's travel tips to berlin
  12. Berlin off the beaten patH
Europe off the Beaten Path!!