Berlin Bucket List
Visiting Berlin: What to See and Do
Obliterated by bombing during World War II, rebuilt & divided during the Cold War and reunited after 1990, Berlin, unlike other major European capitals, almost totally lacks historical grandeur, nevertheless it’s an exciting city to visit. Among its surviving highlights are the iconic Brandenburg Gate, the Reichstag with its modern glass dome, the New Guardhouse, Charlottenburg Palace, Knoblauch House, a museum dedicated to the Biedermeier era, and the rococo-style Ephraim Palace, which is regarded as ‘the most beautiful corner in Berlin’. Other notable buldings are the German Cathedral, the Konzerthaus & the French Cathedral on Gendarmenmarkt, the neo-Gothic Friedrichswerder Church, the eye-catching neo-Moorish New Synagogue, Berlin Cathedral, a true marvel of neo-Renaissance exuberance, and the nearby museums on Museum Island.
The five museums on Berlin’s Museum Island together house eight collections that mainly comprise antiquities. Must-see pieces here are Thutmose’s bust of Queen Nefertiti at the Neues Museum and Caspar David Friedrich’s painting of Mount Watzmann at the Alte Nationalgalerie. Important museums on Berlin’s mainland are the Gemäldegalerie, which is home to Rembrandt’s Moses with the Ten Commandments, the Neue Nationalgalerie, which is perhaps best known for its museum building by architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, the Museum of Decorative Arts, as well as the German Historical Museum (closed until end-2025), the German Museum of Technology, and the Jewish Museum Berlin. Among the other cultural venues you shouldn’t miss are the Berliner Philharmonie, the home of the magnificent Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, and Konnopke’s Imbiß (est. 1930), a snack bar close to the Museum in the Kulturbrauerei that serves the best currywurst in town.
In Berlin, Germany’s disturbing past is never past, because bad memories are kept alive to ensure that what happened will never happen again. Downtown are the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe and the ‘Topography of Terror’ exhibition on Nazi terror throughout Europe, and further away from the city centre are the House of the Wannsee Conference, where the Nazis planned the Holocaust, the Nazi Forced Labour Documentation Centre, and the Sachsenhausen Memorial & Museum in Oranienburg, the last stop north on the
Public transport in Berlin is quite good. Tickets are valid on the