Berlin is the most fun capital to visit in Europe – and it’s also a lot less expensive to visit than London, Paris or Rome. And the great public transport makes it easy to see a lot in just a single day. You can get a mix of historic architecture, great museums, outdoor parks, shopping food and nightlife – all in the Perfect Day Itinerary for Berlin!
Berlin was witness to a turbulent history and the time of the Iron Curtain cutting the city in half is one of the most defining parts. At the Potsdamer Platz you can see a piece of the Berlin Wall that separated East and West for over 40 years. Potsdamer Platz was at the heart of the city prior before the construction of the wall turned it into the wasteland I saw on my first trip to the city. Today, it is a modern center, with shops, restaurants and the wall as it was left.
From here, make your way past the huge Tiergarten park to the Holocaust Memorial, a somber, almost haunting monument to the murdered jews of Europe. There is an information center that describes the timeline of the “Final Solution” as well as the personal aspects of the tragedy!
Just to the North of the memorial, you’ll see the Brandenburger Tor, the best known icon of Berlin and the Pariser Platz. Head down “Unter den Linden”, the great boulevard cutting through historic Berlin and to Friedrichstrasse the old – and new – shopping street of the city.
One of my favorite squares is nearby, the “Gendarmenmarkt” with it’s matching German and French Cathedrals. It’s a great place to enjoy an outdoor lunch in summer – or the Christmas Market in winter!
Strengthened and refreshed, it’s time for a museum: Berlin is home to a whole range of world class museums, with something for everybody. The “Museumsinsel” is home to five fantastic art and history museums. Right next door is the “German History Museum” with a brutally honest review of German history – it’s a tough visit, but worth the time. Equally informative, but a little lighter is the “DDR Museum” with the history of Communist East Germany.
If museums are not your thing, you can enjoy a more relaxing tour of Berlin on one of the many boats going up and down the river “Spree” – it beats the hop-on-hop-off buses, especially on a nice, sunny day!
As your busy day turns to evening, it’s time to pick your entertainment: After dinner at one of the many good restaurants, there are lots of cultural experiences among the great choice of operas, symphonies, musicals or theater performances to be had. If your idea of fun is a little more active, Berlin also has some of the most edgy (and largest) nightclubs in Europe, so you can easily turn this “Perfect Day” into a “Perfect 24h” itinerary!