When talking about Germany, one of the first things that come up to your mind is the city of Berlin, right? Berlin is not just the capital of this charming country but also a destination packed with wonders. There are a variety of wonderful things to do in Berlin due to the number of the city’s highlights, a site that won’t let you down.
This wonderful historic city provides an array of things to do and must-see spots to visit.
Walking past the city’s streets and checking each of its beautiful attractions either brings you back to the past or brings you to spectacular scenery where the past and present meet.
Interested? We have prepared a list of interesting spots you must visit in Berlin.
Table of Contents
List of the best free and fun things to do in Berlin, Germany
Address: Pariser Platz, 10117 Berlin, Germany
Rating: 4.7 out of 5
This historic gate is a neoclassical structure built in Berlin under the directives of Prussian King Frederick William II in the 18th century after the order was temporarily regained during the Batavian Revolution. The Brandenburg Gate is one of the most popular landmarks in Germany.
It was constructed on the grounds of a previously-built city gate which served as a marker of the beginning of the particular road leading from Berlin to Brandenburg an der Havel town. This town was the capital of the Margraviate of Brandenburg.
It is situated right in the western part of the Berlin city center, within Mitte, at the Unter den Linden and Ebertstraße junction, just west of Pariser Platz. The Reichstag building, which the Bundestag (German parliament) holds, is located a block toward the north.
The gate functions as the colossal entry into Unter den Linden, a boulevard filled with Linden trees and leads straight to the royal palace of the Prussian royals. All through its existence, the Brandenburg gate was regularly the grounds for significant historical happenings.
During the 1989 revolutions, when the Berlin wall was destroyed, the gate became a symbol of freedom and the need to unite Berlin. People gathered in thousands on the 9th of November 1989 to celebrate the fall of the wall.
In December 1989, the West German chancellor Helmut Kohl walked through the Brandenburg Gate to be met by the East German prime minister Hans Modrow. Germany was reunified officially in 1990.
Renovation of the Brandenburg gate cost about six million Euros and was privately done in December 2000. The gate was again refurbished in 2002 for the German reunification 12th anniversary.
Today, it is regarded not just as a marker of the chaotic history Germany and Europe share but of European unity and harmony.
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Address: Str. des 17. Juni, 10785 Berlin, Germany
Rating: 4.6 out of 5
The Großer Tiergarten is the most popular park in Berlin’s inner city, and it is situated right in the region it shares a name with.
The park measures 210 hectares (520 acres) in size, making it one of the biggest modern gardens in Germany. The only parks that are bigger than the Tiergarten are the Englischer Garten in Munich and the Tempelhofer Park.
After East and West Berlin were reunited in 1990, most of the Tiergarten park outskirts changed considerably. For example, the derelict embassy offices that had existed for decades were used again while the others, such as the Nordic embassies, were totally reconstructed.
A new German chancellery on the North border was erected as well as offices for daily delegate activities. Refurbishment of the Reichstag was done, and a glass dome was added. It eventually became a well-known tourist site.
The overgrown spaces in the park used for football and picnics were substituted with grassy lawns and open spaces. Because of the park’s position as a garden memorial in Berlin, encroachment into the Tiergarten is illegal and has been since 1991.
Underneath the Tiergarten is a huge tunnel that was built and commissioned in 2006. The tunnel enables easy transportation for trams, motor vehicles, and S-Bahn trains from the north towards the south.
There are presently two memorial edifices at the eastern end of the Tiergarten park – the Memorial to the Sinti and Roma Victims of National Socialism erected in 2012, and the Memorial to Homosexuals Persecuted Under Nazism which was built in 2008.
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Little BIG City Berlin
Address: Panoramastraße 1a, 10178 Berlin, Germany
Rating: 4.2 out of 5
This blockade was among the early significant international crises that happened during the Cold War. In the course of the multinational seize of post–World War II Germany, the Soviet Union, obstructed the Western Allies access through canal, railway road to parts of Berlin that were under the Western rule.
The Soviet Union proposed to end the blockade on the condition that the Allies retracted the newly initiated Deutsche Mark from West Berlin. To fight back against the Soviet obstruction, the Allies set up the Berliner Luftbrücke (Berlin Airlift). The airlift transported supplies to West Berlin from 26 June 1948 to 30 September 1949.
This was no easy feat because of the city’s considerable population. Aircrews from British, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand, American, South African, and French air forces flew more than 200,000 sorties in a year, delivering essentials such as food and fuel, with the primary plan to 3,475 tons of necessities every day.
By 1949 spring, the number originally stated in the plan was being met two times over, with the highest daily delivery tallying up to 12,941 tons. With the success of this airlift, despite the Soviet’s initial disbelief it wouldn’t, the West Berlin blockade became a rising source of embarrassment for the Soviet Union.
Eventually, they rescinded the blockade on the 12th of May 1949, yet the British and Americans kept up their airlifting arrangement. This was due to the worry that the USSR would recommence the blockade. The Berlin Airlift ran for fifteen months and finally ended on the 30th of September, 1949.
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Address: Am Lustgarten, 10178 Berlin, Germany
Rating: 4.6 out of 5
The Berliner Dom is a dynastic tomb and a protestant church situated on the Museum Island, Berlin. It was constructed from 1894-1905 by the directive of German Emperor William II. Julius Raschdorff created the cathedral plans following Baroque Revival and Renaissance designs.
The Berlin Cathedral is the biggest protestant church within Germany and a highly significant dynastic tomb within Europe. As well as church services, this cathedral is utilized for concerts, state ceremonies, and other such events.
In 1940, the Berlin cathedral experienced the destruction of some of its windows from Allied bombing blast waves. In 1944, a bomb made of inflammable liquids got into the cathedral dome’s roof lantern. Unfortunately, the fire was inextinguishable due to how unreachable that dome area was. Hence, the lantern burnt and fell to the main ground.
A provisional roof was erected between 1949 to 1953 to cover up the cathedral. The reconstruction of the church was decided on in 1967 by the Evangelical Church of the Union. The reconstruction plans were unopposed by the Eastern German Democratic Republic government because it came with a Deutsche Marks influx.
After the north side, Denkmalskirche (Memorial Church) was torn down by East German ruling authorities in 1975. The Berliner Dom has been made up of the huge Predigtkirche (Sermon Church), the smaller Tauf- und Traukirche (Baptismal and Matrimonial Church) on the south part, and finally the Hohenzollerngruft (Hohenzollern crypt), which takes up nearly the whole basement.
The original interior of the cathedral was renovated in 2002 after being damaged from Allied bombing during World War II. Presently, the exterior is being considered for restoration as well.
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Botanical Garden and Botanical Museum
Address: Königin-Luise-Straße 6-8, 14195 Berlin, Germany
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
The botanical garden is situated in Berlin, Germany, and measures 43 hectares, with about 22,000 species of plants growing on its grounds. The garden was built between 1897 and 1910 under the supervision of Adolf Engler, an architect. He guided the planting of exotic plants transported from German colonies.
Botanischer Garten und Botanisches Museum Berlin is situated in the Lichterfelde area in the Steglitz-Zehlendorf borough. At its establishment, one part of the garden was situated in Dahlem, and this fact is indicated in its full name. Currently, the garden is under the jurisdiction of the Free University of Berlin.
The Botanisches Museum (Botanical Museum), alongside the Herbarium Berolinense and a huge scientific library, is connected to the Botanical Garden. The Herbarium Berolinense is known as the biggest herbarium within Germany and houses over 3.5 million different preserved specimens.
The whole complex features several glasshouses and buildings like the Cactus Pavilion and the Pavilion Victoria, which has different orchids, carnivorous plants, and white water lily Victoria-Seerosen.
When put together, the different glasshouses take up an area of 6,000 m². The open-air sections of the garden, arranged by geographical origin, take up 13 hectares of ground.
The garden’s arboretum takes up a total of 14 hectares. The most popularly known section of the garden is the Großes Tropenhaus (Great Pavilion). Inside this pavilion, the temperature is kept at 30 °C, and the air humidity stays at a high level. The Großes Tropenhaus houses numerous tropical plants, including an incredibly giant bamboo.
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Address: Alt-Treptow, 12435 Berlin, Germany
Rating: 4.6 out of 5
The Treptower Park is situated right beside the Spree river in Alt-Treptow, Treptow-Köpenick, South Central Berlin.
Treptower Park was the venue of the 1986 Great Industrial Exposition of Berlin. This park is well-loved by tourists and residents alike.
The British band Barclay James Harvest used it for the first open-air concert ever held by a Western rock band within the German Democratic Republic.
The most important feature in the Park is the Soviet War Memorial or Soviet Cenotaph designed by Soviet architect Yakov Belopolsky to honor all the 80,000 Soviet soldiers whose lives were lost during the Battle of Berlin in April–May 1945.
This monument was commissioned four years following the end of the war on May 8, 1949. Before the monument is positioned, a middle section flanked by 16 stone sarcophagi, each standing for the Soviet Republic.
The sarcophagus has relief carvings with quotations from Joseph Stalin in German and Russian and carvings of military spectacles.
Also, there is a deserted amusement park known as Spreepark, which was open from October 1969 until 2001. However, it was abandoned when its owner Norbert Witte went bankrupt then left Germany with no warning.
When he left, he took some of the rides in the park, such as the Fun Express and the Jet star, to Peru to set up a smaller-sized park to be called Lunapark. However, several rides were wrecked during conveyance, which led to a legal battle over damages.
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Address: Gendarmenmarkt, 10117 Berlin, Germany
Rating: 4.6 out of 5
The Gendarmenmarkt is situated in Berlin. It is a square and several prominent architectural structures like the French Churches, the German Churches, and the Berlin concert hall.
Right at the heart of the square is a historic statue of the poet Friedrich Schiller. The first Gendarmenmarkt was originally erected in 1688. It existed as a marketplace and for the Western expansion of Friedrichstadt, a growing quarterback in Berlin.
Johann Arnold Nering made the Gendarmenmarkt square as the seventeenth century came to an end and was renovated in 1773 by Georg Christian Unger. The square is titled after cuirassier regiment Gens d’Armes, which owned stables in the square till 1773.
The last structure to be added to the Gendarmenmarkt was The Konzerthaus Berlin. Karl Friedrich Schinkel erected it in 1821 as the Schauspielhaus. The building has its foundation upon the National Theatre ruins, which were previously destroyed in a fire incident in 1817.
Some sections of the Konzerthaus Berlin building have columns and exterior walls left over from the damaged building. Like the rest of the structures on the square, it suffered severe damage during the Second World War. After it was rebuilt, it became a hall for concerts, and it presently houses the Konzerthausorchester Berlin.
Although a significant number of the structures were severely ruined or completely decimated, every single one of them has been restored and can be visited today.
In addition, the Gendarmenmarkt is the location of Berlin’s most popular yearly Christmas markets. There are many shops near Gendarmenmarkt that serve mouthwatering types of German sausages and various German food to try.
Address: Platz der Republik 1, 11011 Berlin, Germany
Rating: 4.6 out of 5
The Reichstag is a monumental structure located in Berlin, Germany. It was built to accommodate the German Empire Imperial Diet (Reichstag in German). It kicked off operation in 1894 and accommodated the Diet till it was set upon the fire and badly destroyed in 1933.
Following the Second World War, the building was no longer used for any government operations. The Volkskammer (German Democratic Republic Parliament) held their sessions in Palast der Republik in East Berlin. At the same time, the Bundestag (Federal Republic of Germany Parliament) held theirs in the Bundeshaus in Bonn.
The damaged building was eventually safeguarded from the elements through a partial renovation in 1960. However, complete renovation was not undertaken till after the German reunification in 1990.
Once it was completely restored by a team led by architect Norman Foster in 1999, it served as the modern Bundestag/ German parliament meeting ground. The name Reichstag, when utilized to mean a Diet, goes as far back as the Roman Empire.
The structure was constructed for the German Empire Diet; then, the Reichstag of the Weimar Republic became its successor. The Reichstag would eventually become the Reichstag of Nazi Germany; the building would be abandoned and no longer function as parliament. Following the 1933 fire, the Kroll Opera House replaced the damaged building.
However, Reichstag has not been commonly used by German parliaments since the Second World War. In the world today, Reichstag (Imperial Diet) mainly means the building, and Bundestag (Federal Diet) means the institution.
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Address: Potsdamer Platz, 10785 Berlin, Germany
Rating: 4.4 out of 5
Potsdam Square is a principal traffic intersection and public square in the heart of Berlin, Germany. It rests almost 1 km (1,100 yds) south of the famous Brandenburg Gate and the German Parliament Building (the Reichstag) near the southeast point of Tiergarten Park.
The square is named after Potsdam, a city about 25 km (16 mi) to the southwest. Potsdam Square serves as a marker showing the particular point where the ancient road from Potsdam moved through Berlin’s city wall at the gate of Potsdam.
After going from a rural intersection of roads to becoming the busiest traffic intersection within Europe in slightly more than a century, it was completely wrecked in the Second World War. It was also abandoned in the Cold War period when the Berlin Wall intersected its old location.
Following the reunification of Germany, Potsdamer Platz has witnessed numerous important redevelopment ventures. Before the Second World War happened, Potsdamer Platz witnessed a lot of streetcar traffic. However, in 1991, the final remnants were extricated.
Presently, the Potsdamer Platz doesn’t have a significant intersection point for the S-Bahn and U-Bahn systems like Friedrichstraße station, for instance. Still, because of its position on the north-south course to the main station, it was linked to regional traffic using a tunnel station opposite the buildings aboveground.
DB and ODEG regional trains, the U2 underground line and the S-Bahn all stop at the Potsdamer Platz train station. This route can also be accessed through several bus lines.
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Topography of Terror
Address: Niederkirchnerstraße 8, 10963 Berlin, Germany
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Topographie des Terrors is an indoor-outdoor museum of history in Berlin, Germany. It is situated on Niederkirchnerstrasse, formerly known as Prinz-Albrecht-Strasse, on buildings used as the SS Reich Main Security Office from 1933 to 1945 during the Nazi rule.
These buildings also served as the Gestapo, Einsatzgruppen, SD, and Sicherheitspolizei before they were severely damaged by Allied bombing in the early part of 1945. Once the war was over, the ruins were destroyed.
The boundary shared by the Soviet and American occupation zones in Berlin extended down the Prinz-Albrecht-Strasse, and soon, the street became a protected boundary. The Berlin Wall extended down the south part of the street and was called Niederkirchnerstrasse from 1961 to 1989.
The wall there was never destroyed. The part next to the site of the Topography of Terror is known as the longest existing part of the exterior wall, seeing that the lengthier East Side Gallery section in Friedrichshain was part of the interior wall, invisible from the West Berlin area.
Exhibitions of the location were first held in 1987, during Berlin’s 750th anniversary. The Gestapo headquarters cellar where countless political prisoners were brutalized and even executed was located and excavated in collaboration with researchers from East Germany.
After the excavation, the site was turned into an open-air museum and memorial guarded against the elements with a canopy. This museum described the subjugation experienced under Nazi rule. Two years after the German reunification, a foundation was launched to manage the site.
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Address: Panoramastraße 1A, 10178 Berlin, Germany
Rating: 4.4 out of 5
Fernsehturm Berlin is a television tower Situated in central Berlin, Germany. Its exact location is in the Marienviertel (Marien quarter), near the Alexanderplatz in Mitte. The tower was built between 1965 and 1969 by German Democratic Republic (East Germany) Government.
It was meant to signify both the city and communist power. It is still regarded as a landmark, noticeable from the whole of Berlin central and several Berlin suburbs. The tower stands at the height of 368 meters (antenna inclusive), making it the highest structure within Germany and the third-tallest in the European Union.
The Berlin Television Tower edifice is also 220 meters taller than the old Berlin Radio Tower constructed in the 1920s and is located in the city’s western area. As well as its primary use as the site of multiple television and radio stations, the structure (also known as “Fernmeldeturm 32”) functions as a tower for viewing.
Check out the view of this epic tower…
There is an observation deck, a bar, and a rotating restaurant in the tower at 203 meters. The Fernsehturm Berlin is also available to be used as a venue for different events. This prominent Berlin landmark has gone through a symbolic as well as a drastic change.
From the time the German reunification became official, the tower transformed from a heavily political national GDR symbol into a city-encompassing icon and representation of a reunified Berlin.
As a result of its ageless and worldwide design, it has become a universal trademark of Berlin and Germany by extension.