|The largest section of the wall still standing|
Getting Around (From Schonefeld)
Public transport is efficient and cheap in Berlin, the prices in particular put London to shame. It is well worth downloading the public transport app onto your phone (MX data is good) and get familiar with it.
Budget airlines like Easyjet fly into Schonefeld which is to the south east of the city. From exiting arrivals door, turn immediately right within the terminal and buy your public transport ticket. We bought the Berlin Card which also gets you discounts in museums and attractions. 3 days for approximately 25 Euros. The quickest way into the centre of Berlin is then to turn left out of the terminal building and then turn right down the path (under the roof) to the train station. The RB19 train (10 past each hour) takes to directly to Potsdamer Platz in the heart of Berlin which is where you can get a U-train (underground) or a S-train to your destination. MAKE SURE YOU VALIDATE YOUR TICKET by stamping it in the red box. You only need to do this once.
1. Brandenburg Gate
The most iconic building of Berlin is the Brandenburg Gate and it became a symbol of freedom with it's role in the breakdown of the wall in 1989. Brandenburger Tor is the train stop on both S-line and U-line. During the division of Berlin, the gate was only accessible by East Germans as this picture below shows.
2. Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe
Just down the road from the Brandenburg Gate on the west side is the Holocaust Memorial. This memorial contains 2711 slabs of concrete of varying heights which can be explored on foot. It opened in 2005.
3. The Reichstag
Another short walk from the Brandenburg Gate is the Reichstag, an impressive building that was reconstructed by Norman Foster after German reunification in 1990. A highlight is the glass dome that sits on top of the building.
Checkpoint Charlie was the best known border crossing between East and West Berlin during the Cold War. It is situated on the main road of Friedrichstrasse and the nearest station is Kochstrasse (U6).
5. Trabi Safari
Just a short walk from Checkpoint Charlie is my favourite activity in Berlin - driving a Trabi around East Berlin on the Trabi Safari! The Trabant was the car manufactured in East Germany which was made of duraplast, a tough plastic, and not cardboard which was the joke at the time. The hour drive around old East Berlin has you follow a lead car who delivers commentary via radio as you drive. I loved it. (Discount with Berlin Card)
6. The East Side Gallery
Described as an international memorial for freedom the gallery is in fact a 1.3km stretch of the Berlin Wall that has 105 paintings by artists from around the world. We took the U2 to Schlesisches Tor, crossed the river and walked down. There is no charge to see the gallery.
7. Ritter Chocolate
A small walk from Französische U station is chacolatier Ritter. this place is brilliant. Firstly for under 4 Euro you can create your own chocolate bar with a choice of milk or dark chocolate and three special ingredients of your choice (e.g. gummy bears, a range of nuts, smarties etc). Secondly it has an amazing shop with a great range of chocolate bars and gifts. We spent a lot of money there. (Discount in cafe with Berlin Card)
See Laura's blog on chocolate creation at Ritter here:
|Used by permission from Laura Cook Photography|
8. The Currywurst Museum
Berlin is famous for its' currywurst snack - basically a sausage and curry sauce accompanied by bread or chips. It's cultural significance means it has its' own museum which is colourful and alternative. At the end of the tour you can sample some currywurst - delicious!
9. The Olympic Stadium
One of my favourite stadiums in the world is the Berlin Olympic Stadium which was used for the 1936 Olympics, an event that brought Hitler and the Nazism to an international audience and where Jesse Owens performed heroics on the track to win 4 gold medals. The stadium has also hosted the Champions League Final, World Cup Final and World Athletics Championships. Usain Bolt set both his 100m and 200m world records at this stadium. U Olympia-Stadion can be found on U2 and you can receive discount for entry with your Berlin Card.
10. Schoneberger Sudgelande Nature Park
If you catch the S25 or S2 train to Priesterweg you will find a wonderful nature park which was once railway sidings. After they were decommissioned in 1952 the area was left for nature to take over which in 50 years has created a "diverse, species-rich natural oasis developed in the heart of a major city, with rich dry grassland, jungle-like woodland and herbaceous vegetation" (http://www.gruen-berlin.de/parks-gardens/suedgelaende-nature-park/)
|To prevent graffiti on the wildlife, young people have been given this stretch of wall to illustrate|