Written By Guest Blogger, Arron Neal | @arronln
Hey, you! Have you booked your trip to Berlin and need ideas for how to spend your time in this historical city? Well, you’ve landed in the right place. Grab your walking shoes and sunglasses and get ready for an adventure with our three-part series walking tour of Berlin, Germany.
Walking Tour Daily Snapshot
You’ll find art, culture, and history in every part of Berlin. In this series, we’ve organized each day by interest. If you love history - start here. We’ll take you from Germany’s Parliament to an iconic landmark from the 18th-century, to a memorial composed of 2711 stone pillars.
On day two, we’ll walk you along the Berlin Wall from a spot that has become a popular canvas for graffiti artists, to the Berlin Wall Memorial, and then to a famous American military stronghold that is also the best-known Berlin Wall crossing point. This is a walking tour that any critic of historical and popular culture will enjoy.
Day three starts at the tallest structure in Germany (and the third-tallest in the European Union), before moving to the site of the largest burial space for former German kings and their royal families. The day ends at one of the most important museum sites in Europe. Art and architecture lovers, start here.
Things to Know Before You Go
Here are a few tips to follow before you start your adventure:
Download the BVG Tickets App. This app is an essential tool for navigating Berlin by public transit. You can buy electronic train, subway, tram, bus and even bike tickets with BVG to travel anywhere in Berlin. If your eticket is requested by an inspector, simply open the app and display your ticket. You’ll need a good internet connection to open your ticket in the app, so once you’ve completed your purchase, download the ticket to your phone as a backup.
Have cash. Most places take major credit and debit cards, but you’ll undoubtedly encounter a street vendor with pretzels, croissants, and other baked goods that will catch your eye and call your name. Don’t be shy, you’ll need fuel for all the walking you’ll do.
Know, Bitte and Danke. As Cocomelon would say (shout out to the fellow mamas 🙌), please and thank you are magic words and can take you a long way, especially if you find yourself in need of directions.
Get an e-Scooter App. If you don’t live in a city with an e-scooter system, this is an inexpensive and speedy treat to make your way through Berlin. There are several e-scooter companies operating in Berlin, including Bolt, Lime, and Bird. Each allows you to unlock and book scooters for single or group trips, and they charge by the minute.
Bring a backpack and a water bottle. A given, right? But a good reminder. You’ll want water to kick back after a salty street pretzel or a bitter cup of milch und cafe from one of the many coffee shops you’ll encounter along the way. The backpack will hold your supplies and the souvenirs you’ll scoop up while keeping your hands free and e-scooter-ready.
Walking Tour Itinerary - Day One For The History Hound
Total walking time from the first to the third stop: 20 minutes
FIRST STOP: The Reichstag Building at Platz der Republik 1, 11011 Berlin Germany
Photo Credit: Nicolle Peterson
The Reichstag building is a historic building that houses the Bundestag, the only federal representative body that is directly elected by the German people. The building has a large glass dome at its center that gives visitors a spectacular 360 degree view of the Berlin cityscape and a peek into the workings of Germany’s parliament below.
You can grab a 20-minute audioguide (available in eleven languages) and learn about the building’s history as you enjoy the view from the dome and observation deck. Admission is free but advance registration is required.
Once you’ve taken in the city view at more than 40 meters high, it’s time to move to the second destination - The iconic Brandenburg Gate.
SECOND STOP: Brandenburg Gate - Pariser Platz, 10117 Berlin, Germany
The Brandenburg Gate is one of the most recognizable sites in Berlin, and it’s less than a 10-minute walk from the Reichstag:
From the Reichstag, make your way to Scheidemannstraße then make a left.
Turn right on Ebertstraße/B2/B5, then
make a left at Str. des 17. Juni.
Turn right on Pariser Platz and the gate will rise above you across the plaza.
Now’s the time to break out your selfie stick, cause you’ll definitely want to capture and keep a memory of your visit to this symbol of peace for your photo archives (or post it to Instagram!).
There are souvenir and pastry shops, coffee shops and even a Starbucks to enjoy as you make your way around the Gate and through the plaza.
Take time to enjoy a leisurely lunch here.
When you’re ready for the third and final stop on this itinerary, take out your phone, head to your e-scooter app and book your ride.
For the next 10 minutes, cruise down the bike lane heading south on Ebertstraße/B2 (make a left onto this street after walking away from the gate and across the plaza) until you reach Hannah-Arendt-Straße, then make a left.
Photo credit: Arron Neal
The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe will appear on the left.
As the name suggests, this is a somber final stop for the day. It may leave you feeling angry, sad, or confused. But I hope it builds compassion and leaves you feeling hopeful about our collective capacity to learn from the mistakes of the past and better appreciate our neighbors.
FINAL STOP: Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe - Cora-Berliner-Straße 1, 10117 Berlin, Germany
Photo Credit: Nicolle Peterson
The Memorial of the Murdered Jews of Europe is a 200,000 sq ft site covered with more than 2,000 concrete slabs, also called stelae, arranged in a grid with an information center housed beneath.
If you begin your visit at the information center, you’ll walk through a dramatic timeline that begins in 1933 and ends in 1941. You’ll have an opportunity to read personal stories from children and adults who experienced the Nazi rise to power and their invasion of the Soviet Union. You’ll see photographs of families, and you’ll hear the names of individuals who were victims of the Jewish Holocaust read aloud.
As you leave the museum, you’ll take an unsettling walk through the concrete alleyways that comprise the Field of Stelae. The slabs increase in height as you walk, blocking out your view of the world around you until you emerge from the maze on the other side. It’s an experience that shouldn’t be missed.
You’ll want to reserve 60 to 90 minutes to walk through the exhibition and 15 to 30 minutes to walk through the Field of Stelae.
There are a number of restaurants nearby serving up German, Indian, Lebanese, Italian and South East Asian fare, where you can sit and reflect on what you’ve seen and learned during the day.
If you’ve made it this far through the itinerary, congratulations! You’ve completed day one.
Stay tuned for the second day’s itinerary that will guide you along the Berlin Wall with stops at some of its most famous/infamous spots.
Thanks for reading!
Photo credit: Arron Neal