Exploring German cities– Part IV: Berlin, the bustling German capital

Adding to the series which introduces some of the finest German cities, one may be interested to find out more about Berlin than the usual renowned tourist attraction sites. Here, I would like to share additional interesting things one can do/see/eat/explore in Berlin. Let’s go!

 

WHAT TO DO

Famous landmarks and tourist attraction sites like Brandenburg Gate, Fernsehturm, Berlin Wall, Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe are definitely in the to-go list for a holiday in Berlin. One should also include a visit into the Reichstag building, up to the glass dome above the historic building.

This visit requires advance registration. If one wish to visit the building on the day itself without prior booking, one can still pop by to checking if there are free places available. Security is tight so I would advise to avoid large backpacks during the visit.

A trip to any European city would not be complete without paying a visit into their cathedrals. While Berlin Cathedral is on the list for any Berlin tourists, I would add a special tip to visit the building during the evenings. Under the evening glow, the building emits an enchanting glow and reflects the soft sunset light.

For those who are visiting the Berlin Wall, East Side Gallery is a location not to be missed. The remaining section of the Berlin Wall is now transformed into an international memorial for the German division, while enabling individuals to voice out through art. At the gallery, the Fraternal Kiss by Russian painter Dmitri Vrubel is definitely one of the most recognised art on the wall.

Other interesting things to do in Berlin includes “collecting” Berlin’s iconic bear, Buddy Bear, which is dispersed along different streets. Buddy bears are decorated with different paintings, unique in Berlin.

Another cute souvenir to purchase from Berlin is Ampelmännchen. Ampelmännchen? It refers to the symbol on the traffic lights in Germany. In Berlin, there is a shop selling merchandises with Ampelmännchen. These make good gifts to bring back for relatives and friends.

 

FOOD

I hesitate to recommend this due to its location away from the main city centre but in Berlin, one can give a go at Burgermeister. The place used to be a former public toilet under the bridge. This burger restaurant still remains on the list of food I would want to return to.

For a chocolate-lover like me, there are two places one have to stop by: Fassbender and Rausch and Ritter Sport. To add, those non-chocolate lovers should also drop by Fassbender and Rausch too. Its a chocolate heaven where chocolates are sculpted into different Berlin landmarks and different animals, and of course, there are different types of chocolates catered to different liking.

Ritter Sport is one of my favourite chocolate brands. There one can get to purchase never-seen-before flavours in Singapore and appreciate the wide variety of flavours, as seen below.

Konditorei Buchwald might be slightly out of place but it offers the German speciality, Baumkuchen. It is home to Baumkuchen and one has to try the original Baumkuchen in its cafe.

 

TRANSPORT

In most German cities, payment for transportation works on “trust”, trust in customers to pay for their trip. As such, one has to be aware that there may not be ticketing barriers to regulate entry and exit. Along the same line of thought, one has to remember to validate the metro ticket before boarding. Failure to do so results in a penalty when caught. This is because, similar to many European cities, possession of an unvalidated ticket does not suffice as payment for transport. This is understandable as metro and bus tickets are often purchased from tobacco or alcohol shops. Hence, one has to pay special attention to validate tickets before boarding.

 

DAY TRIPS OUT OF BERLIN

I would recommend Schloss Sanssouci, located near Berlin. It is a UNESCO-listed summer palace of Frederick the Great, King of Prussia. Apart from the palace, the site has an extensive park on its grounds for picnic and a stroll.

The well-decorated parks and palace also attract many photographers to capture their beauty.

That’s about it from me on Berlin. If there are more itineraries one would wish to know about, do leave a message for me!

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