Monday, May 28, 2018

BERLIN guide: get the most for less on bus number 100

(Updated July 2018)

Who needs an expensive hop on hop off-bus when you get to see Berlin's most important sights and sites right from the city bus number 100. Buy a cheap Welcome Card that allows you to explore Germany's capital on your own and get the most for less.


bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: Berlin
Pariser Platz on the Eastern side of the Brandenburger Tor - where the gate used to divide East and West Germany.
Today it's the busiest touristy spot in all Berlin.

Talking 'bout getting the most: If you actually get off at every attraction that I am introducing, you won't be able to do the tour, that in one go actually doesn't take much longer than half an hour, in one day - the Museum of German History alone is worth a visit of a couple of hours. But take it as a golden thread and follow the route in legs depending on how many days you have and what's most interesting for you.

By the way - you'll get important general info on visiting Berlin at the end of this post, so just scroll down.

But now: Come on, hop on! We are starting at the stop Alexanderplatz towards Zoologischer Garten.

The Grand Tour



Spandauer Straße / Marienkirche


bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: Berlin Marienkirche Fernsehturm
Alexanderplatz overtowered by the Marienkirche and the TV tower. 
Found a good seat? Hm, too bad because already two minutes later you should get off to see the first great attractions.

You will notice first two 'high' lights right away: There is the legendary TV tower next to the Weltuhr, the Urania World Clock, a remnant from GDR times.

And a leftover from the GDR-times is also the TV tower. Its platform grants you a great view of Berlin - which you can enjoy even better while having a drink at the bar or a good meal at their restaurant.

The tower is certainly a great spot to start - or finish - this Grand Tour of Berlin.


TV Turm Alexanderplatz
Panorama­straße 1A
10178 Berlin
Phone: + 49 - 30 - 247575875
Email: info@tv-turm.de

Opening hours:
March to October from 9 a.m. till midnight
November to February from 10 a.m. till midnight



In the tower's vicinity is the Marienkirche, St. Mary's church, built in the early 13th century, obviously as a Roman Catholic house of worship, but has been a Lutheran Protestant church since the Protestant Reformation.

Hence, it's a statue of Martin Luther showing you the way...albeit some kidder made his bible into a menu (which actually is pretty funny since there are so many bars and restaurants in this area).


bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: Berlin Martin Luther
'Are you guys ready to order?' Martin Luther reading from a huge menu.

South of the church behind Luther's back, you get to the Neptunbrunnen, Neptun's fountain. There are four women around the God of water, which are representing Prussia's main rivers.


Neptun Fountain.

bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: Berlin Neptunbrunnen Rotes Rathaus
The Neptunbrunnen and the Rotes Rathaus, Berlin's townhall.

Behind the fountain is the Rotes Rathaus, the red town hall, which actually owes its name to the color of the clinker bricks. It used to be the town hall of the former socialist, i. e. 'red', part of Berlin, hence the name has a double meaning. After the reunification, it has housed Berlin's administration since 1991.


bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: Berlin  Rotes Rathaus
Built from red clinker bricks between 1861 and 1869 in a neo-renaissance style.

Turn right and walk one block towards the Nicolaiviertel, the Nicholas' quarter, and you find yourself in one of the cutest historic parts of Berlin.
Here the spirit of the turn of the 20th century is still alive:

Learn about famous illustrator and photographer Heinrich Zille who portrayed the common and proletarian people in their impoverished tenements. As a matter of fact, his work about these neglected group of citizens can be compared to Jacob Riis' documentary work 'How the other half lives'.


bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: Berlin  Heinrich Zille Museum
At this museum, you learn about Heinrich Zille himself - but mainly about how the proletarian class used to live from the turn of the 20th century until WWII. On display are drawings, photographs, and films.

A visit to the Zille Museum shows that Berlin was not all Palais this and statue that, but that they had to deal with social conflicts and problems just like any other big European city.

Zille Museum
Propststraße 11
10178 Berlin
Phone: + 49 - 30 – 246 32 500
Email: info@zillemuseum-berlin.de

Open daily from 11 a. m. to 6 p. m.

Getting hungry? You came to the perfect place: Two blocks from the Zille Museum is the restaurant Zum Nussbaum, nut-tree, that during Berlin's fresh'n'wild era between the two world wars used to be frequented by artists such as Zille or cabaret singer Claire Waldoff, famous for her rough and tough humor - and for not making a big secret of her sexuality; nowadays she'd be an iconic figure of the LGBT movement.


bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: Berlin Nicolaiviertel Zum Nussbaum
One of the most traditional eateries in Berlin.

Until this day, the Nussbaum keeps up the curious habit of selling a glass of beer or Fassbrause, some homemade lemonade, through a window opening to the side.


bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: Berlin Nicolaiviertel Zum Nussbaum
Just a quick sip during your Berlin-tour? At this window, they serve you either a traditional Faßbrause (some sort of homemade soda) or a small (Pfiff) or large beer. However, they are nice enough to put a bar table outside so you can take your time.
Notice something? No disposable take-out container - yey, sustainability!

But of course you can sample much more than just a drink - actually, they serve really good local cuisine such as liver Berlin style or Bulette, which is local slang for a Hamburger.

Zum Nussbaum
Am Nußbaum 3
10178 Berlin
Phone: + 49 - 30 - 2423095

Across from the Nussbaum is the Nicolaikirche, St. Nicholas' Church, that obviously gave this quarter its name - and happens to be the oldest church in Berlin. Built in the early 13th century, it also was originally Roman Catholic and became eventually Lutheran after the Protestant Reformation.


bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: Berlin Nicolaikirche
Two nuns - and many other people - visiting the Nicolaikirche.

Next to the church you will notice an elegant three storey house, built in late baroque style. It's the Knoblauchhaus, called after its owner Johann Christian Knoblauch.


bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: Berlin Knoblauchhaus
The Knoblauchhaus (by the way - Knoblauch in German means garlic; but here it was the commissioner's last name).

Today it's a museum where you can experience how a wealthy Jewish bourgeoisie used to live during the Biedermeier period in the early 19th century.

Museum Knoblauchhaus
Poststraße 23
10178 Berlin

Open Tuesday to Sunday from 10 a. m. to 6 p. m.

There are many beautiful old, well-preserved buildings to be admired in this neighborhood, and one of the most grandiose ones is the Ephraim Palais.


bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: Berlin Ephraim Palais
The Ephraim Palais houses one of Berlins about 175 museums.

Built in the 18th century in a sumptuous Rococo style by Veitel Heine Ephraim, Frederick IInd's court jeweler, it now houses one of my favorite museums in Berlin: They organize temporary exhibitions, but all of them are Berlin-related so that you learn in a fun and inspiring way about the city's changing and colorful past over the last 800 years.


bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: Berlin Ephraim Palais
The circular staircase of the Ephraim Palais. The portrait was temporarily decorating the floor during the exhibition Berlin - Stadt der Frauen, Berlin - the city of women, which took place in 2016.

Although this is one of the much lesser known museums, I find it's not to be missed when seeking a good, complex feel for the city and its inhabitants.

Ephraim Palais
Poststraße 16
10178 Berlin

Open Tuesday to Sunday from 10 a. m. to 6 p. m. (Wednesday noon to 8 p. m.)

To continue our tour, walk back from the Palais across the Nicolaiviertel back towards the main street where we came from.

Keep walking straight across Memorial Park along the river Spree as to your right, you will spot the Karl-Marx-Forum, memorizing the two philosophers and authors of The Communist Manifesto from 1848. To honor these two communist theorists, the GDR government installed this memorial in 1986.


bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: Berlin  Marx Engels Forum
The central figures of the Marx-Engels-Forum are....Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels.

Once we're on it: No visit to Berlin would be complete without learning about life in the Eastern part of the city before the wall was torn down in 1989.
To do so, just cross the Liebknechtstraße (by the way, Karl Liebknecht was - together with Rosa Luxemburg - a co-founder of the Communist Party of Germany) and visit the DDR Museum.


bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: Berlin  Trabi
A relic from GDR-times is the 'Trabi' (short for Trabant). Here the car symbolically crashes through the Berlin wall - and the artist cleverly chose the date of the fall of the wall for the license plate.

Here you can learn about everyday life in the former socialist republic - and all the peculiarities of that system.

DDR Museum
Karl-Liebknecht-Str. 1
10178 Berlin
Phone: +49 - 30 - 847123731
Email: besucherbetreuung@ddr-museum.de

Open every day from 10 a. m. to 8 p. m., Saturdays to 10 p. m.


Lustgarten


Coming from the DDR Museum, you just have to cross the Liebknecht bridge and you find yourself on the Museumsinsel, the museum island.

This complex, consisting of a group of fantastic museums, had to be thoroughly renovated after the German reunification; the ailing government of the GDR simply didn't have the means to maintain these 'follies'.

The first grand building to your right as you cross the Liebknecht bridge is the Berliner Dom, the Berlin Cathedral, built in the early 20th century in a historicist style.


bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: Berliner Dom
View of the Cathedral from the Schlossbrücke.
Although it is called a Cathedral, this is technically not correct, since it has never been the bishop's seat. However, there are services taking place - and off the service hours, the Cathedral can be visited.

The first of the five museum island's venues you'll notice, is the Altes Museum, the Old Museum.
Built in 1830, it houses a collection of antiques from different ancient cultures. Especially remarkable is the classicist building's rotunda - built under the influence of the Pantheon in Rome.


bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: Berlin Altes Museum
Fountain in front of the Altes Museum, the Old Museum.
Sometimes even a mediocre photographer like me gets a lucky shot....

Please notice the large granite bowl by Christian Gottlieb Cantian in front of the entrance: It was foreseen to decorate the rotunda, too, but with a diameter of almost 7 meters / almost 23 feet, it was too large and is banished to the Lustgarten.


bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: Berliner Dom
Cantian's magnificent granite bowl between the Altes Museum and the Dom.

As you walk around the right corner of the building, you'll get to the Alte Nationalgalerie, the Old National Gallery, a beautiful Palast completed in 1876 and surrounded by beautiful arcades.


bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: Berlin Alte Nationalgalerie
Sculptures and paintings from the 18th and 19th century are to be admired at the Alte Nationalgalerie.
Check out their temporary exhibitions, too, they are often just awesome.

This museum houses a rich collection of sculptures and paintings from the 19th century - including some of the greatest works of romantic Caspar David Friedrich as well as Adolph von Menzel who depicted countless scenes from Frederick the Great's life. He also painted the inauguration of Christian Gottlieb Cantian's bowl, which sort of makes the visit to the different museums like completing a puzzle.

bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: Berlin Neues Museum
An outstanding architecture and a daring mix of materials make the building
itself worth the visit: The Neues Museum.
(Copyright: visitBerlin, Photo: Günter Steffen)
Right next to the national gallery is the most famous of these venues, the Neues Museum, New Museum, which was initially finished in 1859. Since it was destroyed in WWII, it had to be rebuilt and opened in 2009. Not only does it house the world famous head of Nofretete - along with other treasures from the Egyptian Museum of Berlin - I particularly love to come here for the daring, modern architecture. English architect David Chipperfield combined in a unique fashion the old, partly run-down parts of the building with harsh, sober elements like undressed stone and concrete. It's one of these pieces that you either hate or love. I opt for latter.




















bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: Berlin Pergamonmuseum
Visiting ancient Babylon right in the center of Berlin: The Ishtar Gate.
(Copyright: visitBerlin, Photo: Pierre Adenis)

The New Museum and the next venue are standing back to back - go around the building to enter the Pergamonmuseum. Now, this exhibition is incredible since it actually consists of parts of ancient cities such as the Pergamon Altar, the Ishtar Gate of Babylon, and the Marketgate of Miletus. Next time when you wonder if you are bringing too large souvenirs from your trip, just remember that others did bring a gate back home; so you should be fine. Don't miss the museum's upper part which is dedicated to Islamic Art.

Last - but by no means least - is the Bode Museum on the island's northern tip right next to the Monbijou Bridge, a two-part pedestrian bridge crossing the Spree as well as the Kupfelgraben. The Bode Museum was the last of this complex that was opened. Since 1904, it has housed exhibits of sculpture collections and late Antique and Byzantine art. I find especially impressive the artistic miniature ivory carvings (Yes, I know that making things from ivory is a terrible thing - but these are from the 17th and 18th century. I would not praise an artist that works with ivory today).

All these museums have the same opening hours:
Tuesday to Sunday from 10 a. m. to 6 p. m. (Thursday to 8 p. m.)

Note: If you plan to visit them all, it's recommendable to buy a Museum Island Ticket for €uro 18. But before you do so, check other options to save money on Berlin's attractions in the info section below.

The museum complex was added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in 1999, and in 2019, another museum, housing the Ethnological Museum of Berlin and the Museum of Asia, will be opened in the then newly re-constructed Berlin Palace opposite the Lustgarten park.


Staatsoper


At the next stop, you'll get to see some of the old, partly re-constructed buildings from the glorious Neo-Classicist era of the 18th century: First building behind the Schlossbrücke, the Palace Bridge, to the right is the Zeughaus, the oldest building on the prestigious promenade Unter den Linden. Build as an artillery arsenal in the late 17th/early 18th century, It's been housing the Museum of German History since 1952, today it's the German Historical Museum.


bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: Berlin Deutsches Historisches Museum
Artful statues are welcoming the visitors to the Deutsches Historisches Museum.

Why this petty change of name? Well, don't forget that the part of the route between the Alexanderplatz all the way to the Brandenburger Tor used to be East Berlin, hence there was another political system and a different view of things - so especially historical facts were presented quite differently than they are today.

Anyway, this is one of my favorite museums in all of Germany: All the fascinating details on the development of not only German but also European society, since everything was connected; as it still is. If you really want to take your time seeing not only the permanent collection but also the fascinating temporary exhibitions, plan at least three to four hours for your visit (they have a nice café where you can take an agreeable break).

Deutsches Historisches Museum
Unter den Linden 2
10117 Berlin
Phone: + 49 - 30 - 20304-0
Email: info@dhm.de


Open daily from  10 a. m. to 6 p. m. except December 24

Next to the museum is another elegant building, the Neue Wache, the New Guardhouse, which was inaugurated in 1818 on the occasion of Tsar Alexander I of Russia's visit.


bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: Berlin Zeughaus Käthe Kollwitz
Käthe Kollwitz's Mother with her Dead Son - dramatically illuminated from a natural light source.

Today it is a memorial for the victims of war and dictatorship. In its center, there is only one statue, an enlarged version of Käthe Kollwitz's sculpture Mother with her Dead Son. Her whole life, German artist Kätze Kollwitz dedicated her artistic work to raise awareness of the destruction and pain caused by war.

The next structure on this side of the street is the main building of the world-famous Humboldt University. Named after Wilhelm von Humboldt, Alexander von Humboldt's older brother, it was opened in 1809 and is the oldest of the four universities in Berlin.


bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: Berlin Humboldt Universität
Although the University is named after his brother Wilhelm, also Alexander von Humboldt is allowed to adorn the gate to the Humboldt-University.

The list of famous students is long and impressive: Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, poet Heinrich Heine and writer Alfred Döblin (Berlin Alexanderplatz - a must-read when in Berlin), German politician Otto von Bismarck, African American poet and activist W. E. B. Du Bois (Porgy and Bess), to mention just a few.


Here you should cross the street - and maybe make a stop to admire the impressive equestrian statue of Frederick the Great, designed by Christian Daniel Rauch and unveiled in 1851.


bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: Berlin Statue Friedrich der Große
These nobles sure always find a way to make you look up to them.

So across the street from the Humboldt University is the Bebelplatz, a grand square named after August Bebel, a founder of the Social Democratic Party of Germany.


The Bebel square with the freshly rebuilt opera building.

The most imposing building is certainly the Staatsoper, the State Opera. Like most of these grand buildings from the Prussian era, maintenance was neglected in socialist East Berlin. Since 2009, considerable renovation work was taking place, so that the Opera could have been reopened in 2017.


bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: Berlin Bebelplatz
The Bebelplatz with the peach-colored State Opera on the left side.

All the way back on the square is the Roman Catholic St.-Hedwigs-Kathedrale, St. Hedwig's Cathedral, the seat of the Archbishop of Berlin. The inside of this building from 18th century, that was severely damaged in WWII and rebuilt by the GDR-government, was recently renovated and is certainly worth a visit.


St. Hedwig's Cathedral with the copper plated cupola.

East of the Cathedral is my favorite church in Berlin, the Friedrichswerder Kirche. I just love the clean, sober architecture by Karl Friedrich Schinkel, designed in the early 19th century.
Till 2012, it housed part of the sculptures belonging to the Alte Nationalgalerie, the Old National Gallery. It was just an amazing sight - all these white Neo-Classicist statues in this grand hall.
End of 2012 it was over, since the structures are so damaged, that they had to close it to the public - indefinitely.

Before we continue, I'd like to point out the Memorial to the Nazi Book Burning that took place on May 10, 1933, in many places in Germany.

I guess this is one thing that you will notice pretty fast in Germany: There are all kinds of plaques and statues and memorials remembering the Nazi barbary everywhere. Be it the small Stolpersteine, the huge Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe or the Orte des Erinnerns, the Spaces of Remembrance. Of course, in Berlin it's just overwhelming, but also other cities and towns make sure that the horror of fascism is not forgotten and raises awareness among the younger generations.


bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: Berlin Bayerisches Viertel
One of the best memorial projects is found around the Bayerisches Viertel (see my map below), a neighborhood formerly inhabited by many Jews. Orte des Erinnerns - Spaces of Remembrance: All over the streets are signs sketching how Jewish citizens were step by step deprived of their rights. It's particularly touching since it shows how normality was slowly, creepingly transformed.
If you have the time, make sure to pay this fantastic project a visit.
This sign says 'Jewish doctors are not allowed to practice any longer'.
(Photo: Manfred Brückels, Bayerisches Viertel Erinnern Aerzte, CC BY-SA 2.0 DE)


Unter den Linden / Friedrichstraße


However, Berlin is basically breathing history; because at the next stop, you'll be confronted with the separation of Berlin - technically a result of WWII, too.


Friedrichstraße today: Just another train station.

The subway station Friedrichstraße played an important role for citizens of Berlin to keep in touch with friends and relatives behind the 'iron curtain'. It was not only a transfer station for people from the West. Since it was sort of a leak, it was also used as a loophole by secret services on both sides.

Today, there is McDonald's and a Starbucks.

But if you are interested in learning more about this crazy Cold War Phenomenon, there is the exhibition at the Tränenpalast, the Palast of Tears, getting into detail.


There are still the old signs at the former interrogation booths.


Tränenpalast
Reichstagufer 17
10117 Berlin
Phone: +49 - 30 - 46 77 77 9-11
Email: besucherdienst-berlin@hdg.de

Open Monday and Wednesday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 7 p. m. and weekends from 10 a. m. to 6 p. m.

On this part of Unter den Linden are a couple of souvenir stores of the typical touristy kind, you know: T-shirts, caps, mugs, ashtrays, postcards....whatever nowadays tourist likes to send or take home.


bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: Berlin Ampelmann
These walking figures used to be the Ampelmännchen of the GDR - and eventually became one of Berlin's icons, printed on every touristy item.

Not far from the Friedrichstraße on the right at Unter den Linden 28 is a Nivea-flagship store where you get the whole range of their products including some specials.
Although Nivea is originally from Hamburg (as I pointed out in an earlier post), it might still make a nice souvenir from Germany.

If you are looking for some evening entertainment, I can recommend one of the shows at the Komische Oper. The name can be translated to funny opera and I always found that quite offputting - like some cheesy comedy club.


The stage looks pretty traditional - before the show begins, then you will see what opera can be. Philistine? No way, José!
(Photo: Gryffindor, Komische Oper Berlin interior Oct 2007 Bühne, no credit required, details on Wikimedia Commons)

But as a matter of fact, it's a real opera with the standard repertoire, only that they really achieve to show the old stories in completely new settings and even contexts. Some of their productions can be pretty bizarre and daring - such as their quite pornographic The Abduction from the Seraglio, set in a whore house, others are just mindblowing and not to be missed - like The Magic Flute, set in the aesthetics of a silent movie. I really urge everybody to see this one!

Komische Oper Berlin
Behrenstraße 55-57
10117 Berlin
Phone: +49 - 30 - 47 99 74 00
Email: info@komische-oper-berlin.de


Brandenburger Tor


Yes, we are slowly getting there, to the iconic building of Berlin, the Brandenburger Tor, the Brandenburg Gate.


bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: Berlin Brandenburger Tor
Brandenburger Tor: There are so many interesting artistic details to be admired.

But before you stride through this historic gate, there are some attractions you should at least know about. Short before you get to the Pariser Platz, the big square where some touristy brouhaha is going on 24/7, to your right is the Berlin branch of wax museum Madame Tussauds. I'm not such a big fan, but especially if you are travelling with kids, this might be on your agenda.

Madam Tussauds Berlin
Unter den Linden 74
10117 Berlin
Phone: + 49 - 30 - 4000460

Open daily from 10 a. m. to 7 p. m.

If you are interested in the history and architecture of the Brandenburger Tor, the Brandenburg Gate, then I'd like to suggest that you visit the museum at the North-East corner of the Pariser Platz - which unfortunately is open only on weekends (Friday to Sunday 10 a. m. to 6 p. m.)

Brandenburger Tor Museum
Pariser Platz 4A
10117 Berlin
Phone: + 49 - 30 - 236078436

Want to take a break in a really, really post and traditional setting? In 1997, the in the 1920th world famous hotel Adlon - practically Berlin's Waldorf Astoria - re-opened for its rich'n'famous guests.


Hotel with a view: Hotel Adlon's neighbor is Victoria. But she's actually a poor neighbor since she has to live in her chariot - i. e. in her car. On the Adlon's right side you can spot part of the Akademie der Künste, the Academy of Fine Arts.


Even if you come just for coffee, you'll feel the old world charm coming alive.

Hotel Adlon Kempinski
Unter den Linden 77
10117 Berlin
Phone: + 49 - 30 - 2261 0
Email: hotel.adlon@kempinski.com


One block further, on the South side of the Pariser Platz, you'll find the Akademie der Künste, the Academy of Arts.
Founded in 1696 by Frederick I., you wouldn't believe how trendy and hip today's exhibitions are. The Akademie der Künste is also the central point of the Berlin Biennal (which, in all honesty, cannot be compared either to the one in Vienna or the one in Istanbul).


bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: Berlin Biennale 2016
At the Akademie der Künste two years ago: Simon Fujiwara The Happy Museum.
This year's Berlin Biennale takes place from June 9 to September 9.

Akademie der Künste 
Pariser Platz 4
10117 Berlin
Phone: + 49 - 30 - 200 57-1000
Email: info@adk.de

The Academy is open daily from 10 a. m. to 8 p. m.

Please note that they have another branch on Hanseatenweg 10 (see also my map at the end of this post)

And now is the big moment that you can walk through the Brandenburg Gate - an arch that marked during the division of Berlin the frontier between East and West.
Today, a lot of people try to make a €uro by posing as Soviet or GDR soldiers with tourists.
Anyway, there is a lot of brouhaha going on here, so be a bit careful with your belongings - it is a tourist point and therefore also a tourist trap.

The gate itself was commissioned by Frederick William II and built between 1789 and 1793 in neo-classicist style. Its mail decoration is, of course, the Quadriga, designed by sculptor Johann Gottfried Schadow (more of Schadow's art can be admired at the Alte Nationalgalerie (see above)). Of  18 city gates, the Brandenburg gate is the last existing one.  Besides having been an important symbol for many epochs of German history, yes, also the very dark ones, it is a fantastically adorned structure - just notice the wonderful reliefs and friezes.

Talking about the dark years in Germany history: Before you continue to the next stop on the route number 100, you should turn left after the gate and walk one block to the Denkmal für die ermordeten Juden Europas, The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. Most people just walk between the 2,711 columns forming a vast maze - sadly, some do jump around on them, taking a little rest, or having a short picnic; all activities that are quite inappropriate on a site commemorating about 6 million murdered humans.


bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: Berlin Denkmal für die ermordeten Juden Europas
Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe

Unfortunately, many visitors just come here to take pictures - yes, selfies making a duck mouth, too - and do not visit the exhibition taking place in a room underneath the steles.

Denkmal für die ermordeten Juden Europas
Cora-Berliner-Straße 1
10117 Berlin
Phone: + 49 - 30 - 2639430

The exhibition is open Tuesday to Sunday 10 a. m. to 8 p. m.


And now back on track - back to the Grand Tour by bus number 100.


Reichstag / Bundestag


The Reichstag is the seat of the German Parliament. The building is designed in a neo-renaissance style and was constructed between 1884 bis 1894. Its decorations like sculptures and reliefs all symbolize Germany regions, rivers, crafts, and trades.


bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: Berlin Reichstag
The Reichstag with its huge glass dome that can be visited daily until midnight.

While the Reichstag, of course, symbolizes political power, it has also been a tourist attraction. Already in Summer 1995, before the first assembly, after the restoration took place, Christo and Jeanne-Claude realized their art project Wrapped Reichstag and enveloped the building in silver fabric, held together by blue cords.

By now, the building is unwrapped again and still a tourist magnet - mainly for its huge glass dome from where you have a great view of the adjacent sights - and can look into the debating chamber below.

Visiting is much less complicated than you'd think: You can book a visit online where you have different options (e. g. guided tours). If you are a rather spontaneous person, you always have a good chance to get a ticket about two hours before your visit. Just inquire at one of the service points outside the building. Remember to have a valid ID on you.

Deutscher Bundestag 
Platz der Republik 1
11011 Berlin
Phone:  + 49 - 30 - 227-32152 (Visitors' service)

The dome can be visited daily from 8 a. m. till midnight.


Platz der Republik

As a matter of fact, I'm not such a great fan of war memorials, and the Soviet War Memorial has basically ever element I dislike - starting with the heroic soldier on top.
But if you want to visit it, get off at the stop Platz der Republik and cross the Tiergarten, the huge park spreading basically over the entire city center, South towards the Straße des 17. Juni.

By the way, you might come across this date a couple of times especially in Berlin: On June 17, 1953, there was a national uprising in the GDR against the government. It did not end so well.
As a matter of fact, till the reunification, this date used to be a public holiday in - obviously - West Germany. According to the reunification contract, it was replaced in 1990 by October 3.


Haus der Kulturen der Welt


I bet you cannot name one kind of art that is not performed or exhibited at this extraordinary place: Whether visual art, performances such as theater or ballet, lectures, concerts - everything is taking place at the House of the Cultures of the World.


Interesting shape, right?! That's why the Berliners call it Schwangere Auster, pregnant oyster.

An equally fascinating aspect is the building's story: It was designed in 1957 by the American architect Hugh Stubbins as a gift by the USA to Berlin - and it was here where John F. Kennedy spoke during his visit to Berlin in June 1963 and said the unforgotten words Ich bin....shucks, what was it again?

Haus der Kulturen der Welt
John-Foster-Dulles-Allee 10
10557 Berlin
Phone: + 49 - 30 - 397 87 0
Email: info@hkw.de


Schloss Bellevue



Nope, Germany is not a monarchy and yet the President - currently Mr. Frank-Walter Steinmeier - resides in a Palace, namely Schloss Bellevue. But actually, he does not live there.


The President's official seat.

Actually, he does not live here, the neoclassical palace, built in 1786, is his official seat and can be visited on appointment in groups of up to 25 participants, but you have to apply for the visit about nine months in advance.

Schloss Bellevue
Spreeweg 1
10557 Berlin
Phone: + 49 - 30 - 2000-0


Crossing the Tiergarten park from Bellevue South towards the Straße des 17. Juni, you can enjoy the sight - and depending on the hour also the light - of 90 ancient gas lanterns: This historical art project was completed in 2009: By then, the collection of the Gaslaternen-Freilichtmuseum (the gas lantern open-air museum) consisted of 90 specimens from 25 German cities as well as eleven Europen such as Dublin, London, Zurich, Copenhagen, and Amsterdam.


bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: Berlin Freilichtmuseum Gaslaternen
One exhibit at the outdoor gallery showing ancient gas lanterns.
(Photo: Manfred Brueckels, Freilichtmuseum Berlin Gaslaterne Nr 35, CC BY-SA 3.0)


Großer Stern


Next stop - more Prussian history. Or, if you are a house-music and love parade fan, an icon of the parade that took place in Berlin almost every year between 1989 and 2006.
I'm, of course, talking about the famous Siegessäule, the Victory Column.


Victoria in a really victorious pose.

Located in the very center of the Tiergarten park, facing the Brandenburger Tor to the East, the 
67 m / 220 feet-high gilded column commemorates the Prussian's victory in the Prussian-Danish war in 1864. The observation deck is another great opportunity for a city break with a view.
Going up the Siegessäule is free of charge.


Nordische Botschaften / Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung


On this part of the route, you can finally just sit still and peak over the high fences of the Scandinavian embassies on your right: Norway, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, and Iceland are united on one clod.
To get more information on these countries, to see an interesting exhibition, or to sample a local delicacy, you can get off (yes, I promised too much...) and visit the pan-nordic Felleshus

Felleshus
Pan-Nordic Building
Rauchstraße 1
10787 Berlin
Phone: + 49 - 30 - 5050-0
Email: info@nordischebotschaften.org


But if it's only for the delicacies, I've got an even better idea: Walk about ten minutes West - either on along a trail in the park or on Thomas-Dehler-Straße, walk around the Spanish embassy, and you'll get to one of my favorite restaurants.


bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: Berlin Cafe am Neuen See
Can it get any nicer? The Café am Neuen See's outdoor area, the Biergarten.
(Copyright: visitBerlin, Photo: Pierre Adenis)

Whether in the rustic setting inside or on warm days in their huge beer garden overlooking the lake, here you can rest and recharge your batteries for more shenanigans.

Café am Neuen See 
Lichtensteinallee 2
10787 Berlin
Phone: + 49 - 30 - 2544930 and - 25449333
Email: info@cafeamneuensee.de

Opening hours restaurant daily from 9 a m., beer garden Monday to Friday from 11 a. m., weekends from 10 a. m.


Lützowplatz


Close to Lützowplatz used to be a museum housing an archive of the most innovative and daring art movements stemming from Germany: The Bauhaus. Unfortunately, they had to close it for renovation recently and will re-open it at another place.

But it's still worth it to get off at Lützowplatz if you are interested in the history of homosexuality in Berlin. Mind you, Magnus Hirschfeld used to live and work in Berlin. He was a physician and sexologist and an advocate for sexual minorities - aka the LGBT community. If that was last year? Nope, this was at the turn of the 20th century.


bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: Berlin CSD
Like in every halfway liberal country, every year the sexual diversity is celebrated on the Christopher Street Day Parade.
(Copyright: visitBerlin, Photo: Pedro Becerra/STAGEVIEW.de)

Yes, before the Nazis destroyed everything, we already used to be much further. So anyway, a visit to the Schwules Museum does not only trace the history of homosexuality but organizes temporary exhibitions, too. And if you need a break, they welcome you to their cozy little café.

Schwules Museum
Lützowstraße 73
10785 Berlin
Phone: + 49 - 30 - 69 59 90 50
Email: kontakt@schwulesmuseum.de


Schillstraße


Getting off at Schillstraße, walk down An der Urania and turn right into Kleiststraße. At the square Wittenbergplatz, you have a good opportunity to enjoy a snack at one of the restaurants - or sample a real Berlinese Currywurst.


bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: Berlin Currywurst Stand
Traditional Currywurst to go.....

This is also the perfect place to do some upscale shopping, for instance at the traditional concept store Kaufhaus des Westens - short KaDeWe. Here you can get all the big, expensive brands; and on the two upper levels you can shop for some gourmet foods - or enjoy them right on the spot.


bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: Berlin KaDeWe
....or fancy delicacies with a view on the upper floor of the Kaufhaus des Westens, the KaDeWe department store.

It's a grand store - but certainly not more impressive than Harrod's, Saks Fifth Avenue, or Galerie Lafayette (which, by the way, has a branch at Friedrichstraße).


Bayreutherstraße


As you get off at Bayreutherstraße, just walk down to the Olof-Palme-Platz and you stand right in front of the gate to Germany’s oldest zoological garden and home to the world’s largest variety of species.


bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: Berlin Zoo
Already the entrance road to the zoo is grand.

Among the 1,400 species, you find also gorillas and Germany's only giant panda. Especially if you are travelling in the company of children, the Berlin Zoo is one attractions you shouldn't skip.

Zoologischer Garten
Hardenbergplatz 8
10787 Berlin
Phone: + 49 - 30 - 25401-0

Please check their website for opening hours since they literally change every two months. Except December 24 and 31, they are open every day, but the hours vary.

More animals? Right next to the Zoo is Berlin's wonderful Aquarium with exciting extras like snakes, iguanas, a jungle, and a crocodile hall. If you have a thing for these critters or for the mysterious under water world, this is a place you definitely should not miss.

Aquarium Berlin
Budapester Straße 32
10787 Berlin
Phone: + 49 - 30 - 254010

Open daily from 9 a. m. to 6 p. m. (on December 24 and 31, the aquarium stays open till 2 p. m.)


Breitscheidplatz


The Breitscheidplatz, named after social democrat Rudolf Breitscheid who died at the concentration camp Buchenwald in 1944, used to be just another of these big squares with restaurants and shops that you find all over Berlin.
Until December 19, 2016, when an asylum-seeker from Tunisia, driving a stolen truck, scorched into the Christmas market. 12 visitors were killed and 56 injured. It was one of the - thank God - very few terrorist attacks that Germany had to suffer.


bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: Berlin Brunnen am Europa-Center
Small locksmiths 'adorned' by lovers' locks at the Weltkugelbrunnen, the World Fountain, on the Breitscheidplatz.


bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: Berlin Gedächtniskirche
Symbolic Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtnis-Kirche

Besides the recently installed memorial for the victims of the attack, there is an old memorial here, too. The Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtnis-Kirche, Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, is a protestant church built around 1890. 1943, the original church was damaged in a bombing raid. As in 1963, a new church building was finished, the remains of the original building were left unrestored as a symbol against war and destruction.
The Gedächtnis-Kirche has been one of the most iconic buildings of West Berlin and can be visited.

Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtnis-Kirche
Breitscheidplatz
10789 Berlin

The church is open daily from 9 a. m. to 7 p. m.


If you'd like to sprinkle some shopping on your Berlin-itinerary, just across from the Memorial Church is one of Berlin's newest mall, the Bikini Berlin.


bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: Berlin Bikini Berlin
In the heart of Berlin and right across the Gedächtnis-Kirche is now the concept mall Bikini Berlin.

It's a concept mall with some original, trendy stores and pop up boutiques, all housed in a landmarked building that used to house garment producing companies, whole sellers, and retailers.
Bikini Berlin was opened in 2014, and what can I say - it's a mall (it might dawn on you that I'm not a shopaholic).

Shopping Mall Bikini Berlin
Hardenbergplatz 2
10623 Berlin
Phone: + 49 - 30 - 554 964-0
Email: hello@bikiniberlin.com


Zoologischer Garten


Remembrance wafts through the air around the station Zoologischer Garten: Already in Erich Kästner's children's book Emil and the Detectives (very recommendable read - such as any other book by Kästner, for that matter) the adventure begins at the Bahnhof Zoo as Emil realizes that he got robbed.


bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: Berlin Bahnhof Zoo
Bahnhof Zoo used to be the infamous central point for every sort of traffic and trafficking.

In the 1970s, the Bahnhof Zoo, which used to be Berlin's most important long-distance train station until 2006 when the new station right next to the ministries and the Reichstag was inaugurated, became worldwide infamous by the shocking report Christiane F. - We Children from Bahnhof Zoo where a teenager describes the life of juvenile drug addicts hanging out and turning tricks around the station.

Since the station doesn't serve the long-distance lines any longer, it's pretty calm around here.


bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: Berlin Bahnhof Zoo Helmut Newton Museum
View of the Helmut Newton Museum from the Bahnhof Zoo.

However, on the backside, there are two great galleries not to be missed: The C/O at the Amerika House showing temporary exhibitions of photo-related art, and of course the Helmut Newton Museum, honoring one of Berlin's famous sons; yes, Newton was born as Helmut Neustädter in Berlin in 1920. Being Jewish, he migrated in 1938 first to Singapore and eventually to Australia.
The museum houses a vast collection of his photographs, but also works by his wife June (aka Alice Springs) as well as changing photo exhibitions.

C/O Berlin Foundation Amerika Haus
Hardenbergstraße 22-24
10623 Berlin
Phone: +49 - 30 - 284 44 16-62
Email: info@co-berlin.org

The exhibition can be visited daily from 11 a. m. to 8 p. m.


Helmut Newton Museum
Jebensstrasse 2 d
10623 Berlin
Phone: +49 - 30 - 3186 4856
Email: info@helmut-newton-foundation.org

The museum can be visited Tuesday to Sunday from 11 a. m. to 7 p. m., Thursday to 8 p. m.


Although at the Bahnhof Zoo you don't get far by train anymore, it might be the first step of a long journey since the buses to Tegel airport leave here.
And that brings me to all the practical information you might need when visiting Berlin, especially for the first time.


General Info


Getting there...


...by plane


There are two international airports: Schönefeld in the far South-East, quite far from the city center. If you follow more or less this itinerary, you'll be fine, since the S 9-train is going from Schönefeld to Alexanderplatz as well as to Bahnhof Zoo (and to other stations, too, of course).

Tegel-airport is significantly larger than Schönefeld - and much closer to the city center. Here you might want to take either the TXL JetExpressBus if you are going to Alexanderplatz (or Hauptbahnhof) respectively the X9 JetExpressBus if your final destination is Bahnhof Zoo.

Important: Take the trip from and to the airport into consideration when buying tickets like e.g. the WelcomeCard (see info section below).

...by train


Going by train is fast - and depending on when you are booking your ticket - even not expensive. Depending on the season, one-way tickets from other German cities start at €uro 19 one trip.

Although Germany still has the reputation that everything is so perfect and reliable, sadly it's not entirely true, and especially the Deutsche Bahn is being criticized for being late and unreliable. I personally find that it's not so bad, but I also witnessed a couple of times people freaking out on trains since they had to reach an airport on time and there was no chance. Actually, I would always rather spend the last night before a flight in the same city and not rely on the Deutsche Bahn.
Other than that, usually it's not that bad.

To check schedules and prices and book your ticket, go to their website.

In Berlin, you'll probably arrive at Hauptbahnhof, the main station in the vecinity of the Reichstag (there are other stations like Spandau and Ostbahnhof, so you better check where you have to go first on arrival so that you can choose the most convenient train station).
At  Hauptbahnhof, you have connection to a couple of S-Bahn lines (and a completely useless U-Bahn line that takes you practically nowhere).
To get to the bus number 100, you have to cross the Moltke bridge to get to the government quarter where you can hop on at the Reichstag / Bundestag-stop.

...by bus


Travelling long distance by bus is getting more and more popular; which does not make it faster, but more comfortable and most of all really cheap. Hence the main bus station in the Western part of Berlin, close to the convention center and the Western TV tower, is an extremely busy place.

If you arrive at this bus station, make sure to check out the small visitBerlin counter they have there. They can give you a free map and some brochures and you can buy one of the tourist cards that I'll introduce in the section below.
There are also buses going to other stops like e. g. Alexanderplatz which might be more convenient since they drop you off right at the city center - where you can start the above sketched Grand Tour right away.

A very popular, reliable company serving many parts of Europe is Flixbus. From Hamburg, it's about three hours, from Prague less than five - then it starts to get annoying since to most destinations in Germany you have a connection of sometimes 1.5 hours e.g. in Hamburg (going to Cologne or Frankfurt) or Prague (going to Munich). It is very cheap (Hamburg to Berlin starts at about five €uro), but you have to remind yourself that the way is the goal.


Tourist Information and Deals



Berlin is constantly packed with tourists - whether national or international. However, the tourist board offers amazing discounts to its visitors. They are very efficient, you'll find tons of information already on their website - and once you get to one of their offices, a very knowledgeable staff will help you with the planning of your itinerary - unless you follow my lead, then, of course, you won't need any further assistance...just kidding.

They have info centers at Tegel airport, the main station Hauptbahnhof, the Central Bus Station ZOB, the Brandenburg Gate, Alexanderplatz, and the Europa-Center at Breitscheidplatz (not far from Bahnhof Zoo). And, of course, they have a great Website with lots and lots of the latest info.

Depending on what you are interested in and what your plans are, there are different options to save quite a lot of money:

If you are a museum-maniac like I am, your best bet will be to get a Museum Pass. At three consecutive days, you can visit more than 30 of Berlin's fantastic - at a flat rate of 29 €uro for adults resp. 14,50 €uro for e.g. pupils, students, unemployed, and disabled. All you need now is a day ticket for the public transportation that you can buy at every station - or on a bus from the driver - and you're all set for three days of museum madness.


bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: Berlin Berlinische Galerie
Anton von Werner's Unveiling of the Richard Wagner Monument in the Tiergarten (1908), one of the many paintings sketching Berlin's history at the Berlinische Galerie, one of the more than 30 museums that are included in the Museum Pass.

You'll probably do a lot of walking or might even want to do some cycling, but I assume that you'll go by public transport, too, and the best deal here is a day ticket (Tageskarte) for 7 €uro. Kids between 6 and 14 pay only 4,70 €uro. These prices are for the city center including Tegel airport. If you are travelling with others, a group ticket for €uro 19,90 for up to five people might be a more attractive option.


bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: Berlin Trabis vor der Marienkirche
An original alternative to explore the city: Guided self-driving tour by Trabant.

Need more info? The BVG, the transport company, has a really good website where you can even order tickets online before you go.

But if you want to have a more varied program and get to see some of the attractions apart from museums and exhibitions, then the WelcomeCard is probably a much better choice. With two exceptions, it does not come as a flat rate card, but you get reasonable discounts on tours and entries, but also on food and drinks at selected restaurants and shops. And the best thing is: Here all public transportation is already included. So this card grants you a far more complete and diverse program.

Since there are so many options to choose from when getting a WelcomCard, I made a list and give you some additional explanations so that you can pick what's most convenient for you. 



1 Adult* Berlin City** Berlin Greater Area***
48 19,90 22,90
72 28,90 30,90
72+ 45,00 47,00
72++ not available 109,00
4 days 33,50 35,90
5 days 36,90 41,50
6 days 42,50 46,50





*          and three children between 6 and 14
**        including Tegel Airport (Berlin area A and B)
***      including Schönefeld airport and Potsdam (also museums at Potsdam) (Berlin area ABC)


You can buy the WelcomeCard - that comes with a small guidebook and a great map - not only at the visitBerlin posts (see below) but also at any ticket machine or from a bus driver. In this case, you have to pick up your guidebook and map either at a subway station or at a visitBerlin counter.


Accommodations



Bahnhof Zoologischer Garten


Especially if you are following the route of bus number 100 and arrive totally exhausted from all the fun and inspiration at Bahnhof Zoo, you might want to crash right away. Or take a swim and a schwitz at a pleasant SPA. Or have a nightcap and relax at a bar. 



bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: Berlin Hotel Pullman Schweizerhof
While the public areas of the hotel are an eclectic mix of styles and colors, the rooms are decorated in tranquil, warm shades that guarantee maximum relaxation.

Well, all this you can do at the luxurious Pullman Schweizerhof - located within walking distance across from the Aquarium. This is really the perfect spot for exploring the city, and the hotel offers the perfect setting for recharging the batteries for the next day.




bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: Berlin Hotel Pullman Schweizerhof
The huge pool - and there is a SPA, too.


bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: Berlin Hotel Pullman Schweizerhof
Pool beds made of natural materials: Not only comfy, also highly stylish.

Budapester Strasse 25
10787 Berlin
Phone: + 49 - 30 -  2696 0
Email: h5347@accor.com


Alexanderplatz



If you travel the route the other way around, i. e. starting at Bahnhof Zoo ending at Alexanderplatz, you might prefer looking for an accommodation there.

Well, you don't have to look for too long, I have the perfect option for you - actually, it's three of them:

1. If you want to go on a little splurge, stay at the Hotel Indigo, located one block from the Alexanderplatz. If you book yourself into a suite on the 10th floor, you have all the little extras like a spacious room, a cozy sitting area, a DeLonghi coffee maker, house slipper, a bathrobe and much more.


Comfy, elegantly furnished room.


Definitely the hotel's strongest feature: The balcony from where you can see Berlin's most important square.

But most of all: You have a balcony and a million dollar view of the Alexanderplatz with all the iconic buildings.

Hotel INDIGO Berlin Alexanderplatz 
Bernhard-Weiß-Straße 5
10178 Berlin
Phone: +49 - 30 - 505 08 60
Email: reservation.alexanderplatz@hotelindigoberlin.com


2. If you prefer to keep it a bit more simple, you just go next door, there is the Holiday Inn. Everybody knows what to expect: A reliable, comfortable traditional hotel with nice rooms and a small gym.


If you stay at the Holiday Inn, you can use their outdoor area,....

....or enjoy a drink or dinner at the Indigo's restaurant La Maison de L'Entrecôte.


Holiday Inn Berlin - Centre Alexanderplatz 
Theanolte-Baehnisch-Strasse 2
10178 Berlin
Phone: + 49 - 30 740 74 70
Email: reception@hiberlincenter.com


3. Travelling on a budget? Then the third option will be perfect for you: The One80° Hostel. A very laid back yet comfortable accommodation for those who want to be close to the action without burning a hole in the pocket.


At the One80° Hostel the reception is also a bar. Very inviting...

One80° Hostel
Otto-Braun-Straße 65
10178 Berlin
Phone: + 49 - 30 - 280 44 62 0
Email: info@one80hostels.com 

So far, so good, right?! But the best thing is, that these three accommodations are connected and built around a nice patio with seating areas under lush trees.


Three totally different accommodation options under the same sky.

And you know what? You can enjoy the special atmosphere of each of them without having to move. That means that a backpacker can have a drink or one of their incredible steaks at La Maison de L'Entrecôte, the fine restaurant located at the Indigo. And if a guest from the Holiday Inn wants to drink his bear on the One80°'s terrace - well, be their guest!


Can you guess at which of the three houses this stylish seating area can be found?
It's at the One80° Hostel - not bad for travelling on a budget, right?
But the guests from the other two hotels can let their hair down here, too.


Money


After going through customs, you'll find bank booths as well as ATMs to change or get money. Since 2001, 19 European countries paying with €uros, and Germany is one of them. The exchange rate is 1 US$ = 0,86 EUR (July 2018), but you can check the conversion on this page.


Language


In Germany - and especially in multi-cultural Berlin - most people speak pretty decent English. For some useful words and phrases, you might want to practice a little with the help of e. g. Babbel (the first lesson is for free and already supplies you with useful basic vocabulary).


Note In this article, I'm writing out some of the German names of brands and places and you will notice that there are letters that might not exist in other languages: 
First of all, there is the letter ß that exists only in the German alphabet and it's by no means a B - it's a 'sharp', double S as in kiss. When writing, you can actually replace it with a double S.
Then there are three more vowels, ä being the easiest one since it's pronounced like an open e as in head.
Ö and ü are tougher, ö being pronounced more or less like the e in her and ü as the u in huge.




To give you a better orientation, I put all the bus stops, attractions and places in this map







If you choose to pin this post, please use this picture: 



Disclaimer: 

This article contains affiliate links. By purchasing items through my affiliate links at no extra cost to you, I will receive a small commission that helps to run this site.

bye:myself - Renata Green - byemyselftravels: Berlin Hotel Pullman Schweizerhof
One of the great features of the Pullman Hotel Schweizerhof
are the spacious and well-equipped workspaces in the rooms.
I was very lucky to have been invited to stay at the Pullman Hotel Schweizerhof as well as at the Hotel INDIGO Berlin Alexanderplatz.

The Tourist Office visitBerlin supported my blogger trip by supplying me with a WelcomeCard and a Museum Pass

However, all opinions on these services are mine and weren't by any means influenced by my cooperation partners.

34 comments:

  1. This is a wonderful and thorough guide to Berlin. I LOVE the idea of doing the city tour by yourself and using public transit over the tour buses - it makes it so much more fun! Also, I will certainly be visiting that shop that serves beer through the window. What a great way to spend an afternoon haha!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I also prefer a city bus - you feel more like a local.
      Yes, the idea to have a more or less quick beer at that window is really fun; and I actually did order the 'Fassbrause' when I was thirsty - it's so quick: no looking for a table, waiting for the waiter etc; you pay, drink, go!

      Delete
  2. I have never used one of the hop on hop off buses before and prefer using local transport. I have been to Berlin several times and did not make the most of bus 100! I tended to walk everywhere or get the metro.Thank you for sharing as I will now use the bus 100 on my next visit! I will also make sure I stop off at Haus der Kulturen der Welt as it looks like a very interesting building!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great! By the way, bus 200 has a similar route. It's a slower, but also more 'scenic' alternative to the subway.

      Delete
  3. This is such a great post, I know some cities have centra routes similar to the ho on and off posts, so I will be saving this for when I go to Berlin. Thank you for the information that the Reichstag is open so late. The university also looks so interesting and has a great alumni list!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, you're right, there are a couple of cities that have something similar: For instance in my post on Vienna that I've published in January, I recommended to take the tram that crosses the city center going along many important sights, too.

      Delete
  4. Oh I love the idea of swapping a hop on hop off for a regular bus that covers the same, I bet this applies to most cities! Also thanks for the great tour of Berlin, I have not been before but now I hav a pretty good idea of what it is there to see and do.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Since my concept was the tour by bus 100, there is - believe it or not - still a lot missing. There will be an 'off-road-trip', soon...

      Delete
  5. I had been to Berlin when I was a kid so I can't remember the places but just in a post you have give us a lovely tour through out Berlin. Great pictures though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, glad you like it. Time to come back, I guess.... ;-)

      Delete
  6. This is an amazing guide to Berlin and I love the idea of using public transport over a tourist bus.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I've heard from friends who have traveled to Berlin in the past that It's a city not to miss and judging from your post they seem to be right with such a mix of modern art culture and historical culture and so many museums to visit. As always Renata you have provided such a thorough and well thought out guide which I will definitely be referring to when I eventually head up to Berlin myself :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, I really appreciate your response! Yes, Berlin is not exactly pretty and cozy, but it's incredible how much there is to see and experience. I guess that's the reason why so, so many young people from all over Europe come to live there at least for a while. You definitely should roam there a bit ;-)

      Delete
  8. I enjoyed reading your guide. I love all the vibrant pictures. What software are you using to enhance them?

    ReplyDelete
  9. Beautiful sights everywhere! I like this travel tip because I do this, too. I take advantage of bus rides to enjoy the scenery on the road.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Why would anyone hate David Chipperfield's renovation project of Neues Museum?? :) It is one of the most thought of museum spaces I've ever been to! Anyhow, you rounded up quite an extensive list-makes me miss Berlin. I spent there the month of February last year, and even then didn't have the time to see all of the things I wanted. Nikolaiviertel really is lovely, I visited it almost 10 years ago as an art history student, along with Knoblauchhaus! Ah, such nice memories! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love the architecture of the Neues Museum, but I know that people think it should have been renovated just the way it used to be. I find it symbolizes the history of the city - that you can fix things, but there will always remain parts that you have to renew - even if it sort of clashes.

      Yes, the Nikolaiviertel is one of my favorite corners.

      Delete
  11. Thank you so much for this in-depth post. I was just talking to my friend on Sunday about how much I want to visit Berlin. As you've shown, it looks like there is so much history, art, and architecture to see. Isn't there also a vast street art scene as well as yummy vegan food? Now I know to get myself a museum pass and hoping bus 100. What do you think the best time of year is to visit?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Definitely Summer since then there are also all the beach clubs open and it's really moving. At the same time, it's also packed, which of course is not so great.
      Yes, there are quarters with some great art scene - like e.g. the East Side Gallery - and I guess you get decent vegan food in every big city since it became quite popular.
      Whenever you may go - have a GREAT time; and actually I know that you will ;-)

      Delete
  12. This is superbly written comprehensive guide on Berlin with all tidbits too. Twice last year we stopped at Berlin , only to catch another train :( I think there will always be another time .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The next time, you should at least spend the day: Lock your luggage at the station and off you go to the Reichstag, the Brandenburger Tor etc. It's about ten minutes walk from the central station.
      Have a great summer - and happy travelling!

      Delete
  13. What a detailed post about Berlin! It looks like a really grand city with so much story to tell. I hope to be able to visit soon!

    ReplyDelete
  14. What a comprehensive guide you have here. I also like taking the public transport, as much as possible. Your guide will make it easy for any traveler to use the city bus while exploring the sights.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Such a good detailed guide on Berlin. I had limited myself to just the Berlin Wall. The HOHO bus tours are really good. I hope I can visit to have this similar tour.

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  16. You reminded me of all the reasons I love Berlin, and then you gave me several new reasons to love it, meaning I need to return. I have never seen Mother With Her Dead Son before, and the stark beauty illuminated by the natural light is incredibly sobering. I'm also a lover not a hater of the Neues museum; all those geometric outlines are stunning.

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    1. Thank you, Bernadette. Yes, the statue at the Zollhaus is pretty impressive - funny, that you missed it since the building is really centrally located...maybe that's exactly why, right?! ;-)

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  17. This bus tour looks amazing 😍😍 I would love to give this a try as I do love to do the whole site seeing thing!

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  18. I love this! Such a great way to see a city. You would definitely need more than a whole day to see everything though as you pointed out! Love the menu on the statue haha

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    1. Ya, I've found that hilarious, too, especially once you see it, you find that he really looks like explaining it to some tourists :-D

      Only to see Berlin, you need a couple of days, to experience it, you need far longer.

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  19. Nice, pinned for the next time I am passing by Berlin. I like such informative and thorough posts.

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  20. My brother visited Berlin a few years ago on a college field trip and he absolutely loved it. He was studying art and loved the quirkiness of the city. There is so much to do there. I’m quite drawn to the Museum Island. The architecture of the buildings is just awe-inspiring.

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  21. I love Berlin, it is an amazing city. But I have never heard of this bus tour. Thanks for sharing.

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  22. we loved the way you have penned down all the information required ! perfect post to refer to while planning a trip !

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