Berlin’s Top 5 Experiences
To coincide with the release of the updated Berlin travel guide, the experts at Lonely Planet have provided us with Berlin’s Top 5 experiences!
1. Brandenburger Tor
Prussian kings, Napoleon and Hitler have marched through this neoclassical royal city gate that was once trapped east of the Berlin Wall. Since 1989 it has gone from a symbol of division and oppression to the symbol of a united Germany. The landmark, which overlooks the stately Pariser Platz with its embassies and banks, is at its most atmospheric – and photogenic – at night when light bathes its stately columns and proud Goddess of Victory sculpture in a mesmerising golden glow.
This famous Berlin landmark has been set on fire, bombed, left to crumble, and wrapped in fabric before emerging as the home of the German parliament (the Bundestag) and focal point of the reunited country’s government quarter. A free lift whisks visitors to the rooftop for lovely views of the Brandenburg Gate, Tiergarten park and other landmarks as well as a chance to saunter up the spiraling ramp of the glass dome, the building’s dazzling beacon designed by British architect Norman Foster.
Berlin’s ‘Louvre on the Spree’, this imposing ensemble of five treasure houses is the undisputed highlight of the city’s museum landscape. Declared a Unesco World Heritage Site, Museum Island represents 6000 years of art and cultural history, from the Stone Age to the 19thcentury. Feast your eyes on majestic antiquities at the Pergamonmuseum and Altes Museum, report for an audience with Egyptian queen Nefertiti at the Neues Museum, take in 19th-century art at the Alte Nationalgalerie and marvel at medieval sculptures at the Bode-Museum.
Berlin’s techno temple Berghain may be one of the world’s most famous clubs, but when it comes to nightlife, the entire city is your oyster. Gothic raves to hip-hop hoedowns, craft-beer pubs to riverside bars, beer gardens to underground dives – finding a party to match your mood is a snap. Not into hobnobbing with hipsters at hot-stepping bars or clubs? Why not relive the roaring twenties in a high-kicking cabaret, enjoy symphonic ear candy in iconic concert halls or point your highbrow compass towards one of three opera houses?
5. Berlin Wall
Few events in history have the power to move the entire world. The Kennedy assassination. The moon landing. The events of 9/11. And, of course, the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. If you were old enough back then, you may remember the crowds of euphoric revelers cheering and dancing at the Brandenburg Gate. Although little is left of the physical barrier, its legacy lives on in the imagination, and in such places as Checkpoint Charlie (pictured above), the Gedenkstätte Berliner Mauer and the East Side Gallery.