Berlin; the capital of cool in Germany, famous for its warehouse clubbing, a creative hub and rich with a lot of history was high on my bucket list to check out as I knew it wouldn't disappoint with so many interests covered in the one city.
Book early for the Reichstag building - you'll need to bring a form of ID for you to clear security and checks. Once you're in, there's a guided tour of this impressive building and then there's free time to explore the dome where you can bask in the light that flows all throughout. From here you can also enjoy the spanning city views of Berlin which are pretty impressive where on one side you see the East Berlin buildings and the other you can see the vast greenery Tiergarten offers.
When one thinks of Berlin, the Brandenburg Gate is definitely what springs into mind. It once was a divider of the city between East and West but is now known as a national symbol of peace. The closest S or U-bahn station to this is Brandenburger Tor, so definitely easy enough to get to! Nearby, you'll see the hotel (Hotel Adlon Kempinski) where Michael Jackson once hung Blanket out the window for the crowds below.
Potsdamer Platz is the biggest pedestrian square of the city, so it's good to walk through to people watch and enjoy what's on offer in the city.
Those who love chocolate also have to visit Fassbender & Rausch, with their amazing chocolate displays around the shop & in all their windows. It's also great to drop in to grab any souvenirs you need (and also some for yourself!)
Visit Gendarmenmarkt for pretty picturesque postcard shots & when we were around there were chairs out for the public to sit, enjoy the outdoors and some books! In winter this is also home to one of the biggest Christmas markets and an outdoor ice rink!
One key spot to visit in Berlin is Museum Island, an island just off the River Spree that flows through Berlin and where you'll find 5 museums on this island! The museums you can find are Pergamon (however undergoing extensive renovation at the moment), Neues, Altes, Bode, and the Altes National Gallery. For those with only a weekend / long weekend that's a lot of museums to choose from so I say pick whichever museum interests you the most!
Alexanderplatz is where you can find the Fernsehturm, a symbol of Berlin and is also you'll find it's a main meeting point for the everyone!
Berlin Wall - you can see bits of the wall in a lot of places within Berlin, but for the most iconic part of the wall, check out the East Side Gallery where you can stop to gaze at the many world famous murals.
Another point of interest close to parts of the Berlin wall is also CheckPoint Charlie. I thought it was completely overrated tourist attraction, however is pretty good for a photo op if you must!
Have a Currywurst while in Berlin - you can find them at any corner, or if you're looking for an alternative to roast pork knuckles, Berlin arguably is home to some of the best kebabs in Europe!
When looking up what to do in Berlin we found a huge amount on "Alternative tourism" - where you can go on a "spy/underground" tour of all the ex spy stations. We wanted to check out Spreepark (abandoned theme park) but we unfortunately ran out of time for a weekend there! We spent one morning out at Teufelsberg, just west of Berlin, which is essentially a man made hill of rubble, where we explored the ex listening station at the top of the hill. The buildings are largely covered by graffiti, which definitely makes for interesting photos & captures the abandoned feeling (it's been abandoned since the fall of the Berlin Wall).
You also can't visit Berlin without also trying to understand or at least view all the dark history behind Germany. A must visit for me is the Topography of Terror (headquarters of the regime of Terror in the early 1930s) and provides an informative view of all the happenings prior and during the war & the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. I saw many tourists posing, running through and laughing in the Memorial as it may get quite easy to forget where you are - but the uneven blocks are a tribute and a sombre visual reminder of all the Jews that were murdered during the world war which is definitely quite sobering.
There's so much to explore and love about Berlin, and I think we'll definitely be back one day - whether to visit one of the many museums, enjoy the creative vibes of the city or explore more warehouse type hideaways!