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8 Top-Rated Attractions Every Trip to Berlin Should Include

Berlin is so many amazing things at once: the capital of Germany, its largest city, a major political, cultural, scientific, and shopping hub, and one of the most memorable stops on escorted tours to Eastern Europe. It’s home to hundreds of galleries and museums, to the Berlin Opera and Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, to superb architecture, dream-like parks, larger-than-life monuments, vibrant nightlife, etc. Choosing sites to visit during the short stay is difficult, so we offer a list of eight attractions every trip to Berlin should include.

1. The Nikolai Quarter

Located in the center of Berlin’s old city, the Nikolai Quarter encompasses some of the most popular attractions, restaurants, cafés, shops, and other wonderful places to enjoy life and your stay in Berlin. Take a walk through its lovely narrow streets and see its old houses, fountains, lanterns, and monuments along the way. Visit historic buildings, such as the superb, Rococo-style Ephraim Palace, or Knoblauch House, previous home of a merchant family, now a museum devoted to the Biedermeier era.

2. Museum Island

A UNESCO Site, Spree Island, aka Museum Island, is home to many of the most important museums, such as the Old Museum, which houses the royal treasures; the New Museum with its collections from the Egyptian Museum and the Collection of Classical Antiquities; the Old National Gallery, presenting Neoclassical, Impressionist, and early Modernist art; the Bode Museum, with its large collections of Byzantine art and sculptures; and the incredibly popular Pergamon Museum, home to the Pergamon Altar, the Ishtar Gate of Babylon, the Market Gate of Miletus, the Mshatta Façade, Islamic Art Museum, the Middle East Museum, Antiquity Collection, etc.

3. Jewish Museum Berlin

Built next to the Neue Synagoge on Oranienburger Straße, this museum, with its remarkable exterior, is one of Berlin’s most outstanding sites. It features collections of Jewish art and various historical artifacts. You can see brilliant artwork from various periods, religious objects, a collection of 24,000 photographs, as well as letters and diaries of Holocaust victims. Visit its extensive library and archives too, at the Academy of the Jewish Museum Berlin, where excellent educational programs are offered.

4. The Gendarmenmarkt

This 17th-century scenic square is one of Berlin’s largest and most popular. Here you’ll find the famous attractions and historic landmarks, such as the impressive Konzerthaus, built in 1821, famous for the performances of its symphonic orchestra, Konzerthausorchester Berlin; the French Cathedral, home to the Huguenot Museum; and the German Cathedral, which exhibits the history of the German Parliament.

panorama gendarmenmarkt berlinSource
You can also enjoy numerous annual events, such as classical concerts and Christmas Market.

5. Topography of Terror

The topography of Terror, aka the Museum of the Gestapo, is situated in the buildings used during WWII by the Secret State Police as their central offices, headquarters, and the prison.

The exhibits utilize various documents, photographs, films, and audio recordings to present the picture of this Nazi organization and the horrendous crimes they committed, as well as the immense fear with which people in Europe lived at the time.

6. The Berlin-Dahlem Botanical Garden and Museum

Built in 1679 as the kitchen and herb garden of the Royal Palace, this is one of the largest botanical gardens in the world today, and home to more than 20,000 species of gorgeous plants from Europe, tropical, and subtropical environments. Visit the wonderful gardens of medicinal plants, the biotope for marine and marsh plants with its pond, the Electoral Garden with its 17th-century greenery, and a garden restaurant. Enjoy the superb Botanical Museum, its herbarium containing more than two million plants, and its extensive library.

7. Grosser Tiergarten and the Victory Column

Grosser Tiergarten, or Animal Garden, was originally a royal hunting reserve but was transformed into a beautiful park in 1700. This large area is covered in flowers and various greenery and is a major relaxation spot for tourists and locals alike. You’ll see many attractions here, such as the Statue of Queen Louise, memorializing her care of wounded soldiers during the War of 1806; a Monument to Frederick Wilhelm III, with reliefs portraying his peaceable nature; and the famous seventy-meter-tall Victory Column with an eight-meter-tall statue of Victoria, and a magnificent view from its top.

8. The Brandenburg Gate, The Berlin Wall Memorial, and Checkpoint Charlie

Berlin is rich with monuments that were once emblems of division, but are now symbols of peace and unity. Such is Berlin’s most famous landmark – the Neoclassical Brandenburg Gate, which witnessed monumental historic events. Proceed to the Berlin Wall, once a four-meter-high wall, extending 96 miles, with 293 observation towers and 57 bunkers. Today, only small stretches remain, such as the 0.8-mile stretch, which is a part of the Berlin Wall Memorial. The Memorial also includes the Marienfelde Refugee Center Museum, the Monument in Memory of the Divided City and the Victims of Communist Tyranny, the Window of Remembrance, and a Visitor Centre. While there, visit the Mauermuseum Haus am Checkpoint Charlie, the best-known crossing point between East and West Berlin, and see the displays and artifacts outlining the history of human rights.

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