When travelling, we don’t always have an abundance of time. If anyone started out Contiki touring at a young age, you will understand the importance of ticking off a lot of important sights with a short timeframe. Sometimes that timeframe is less than a day.
7am // A WALK OR RUN THROUGH THE TIERGARTEN
Image: Tiergarten Project
Nothing beats starting your day with some heart-pumping, blood-circulating activity — even in the depths of winter.
If you’re staying central then chances are you are close to the Tiergarten – Berlin’s largest park.
Not only can you enjoy the landscape and sights of the park, you can tick off some of the biggest sights in Berlin, as the Brandenburg Gate, Reichstag and Victory Column are all located in, or around, the Tiergarten.
9am // BREAKFAST – BERLIN STYLE.
After you’ve worked up an appetite, a traditional German breakfast of cold cut meats, cheese, soft-boiled eggs and fresh bakery is just what you need.
If you’re still lingering through the Tiergarten, stop by Cafe am Neuen See, a small restaurant by Neur See lake.
Otherwise, check out Visit Berlin’s list of best breakfasts for local recommendations.
10am // REICHSTAG
There is no denying the Reichstag is an impressive building to view from the outside. But don’t just get snap happy then walk away.
Venture inside and make your way to the roof terrace and dome for impressive views of the city and Berlin’s parliamentary and government districts.
The visit is free but you need to either register online or at the Visitor office across the road.
As with all tourist sights, it is best to get there early to avoid the lines.
Image: Insider Tour
11pm // HOLOCAUST MUSEUM
Make your way from the Reichstag to the the Holocaust Museum (a mere 5 mins walk) via the Brandenburg Gate.
The Holocaust Museum, also known as the Memorial to the Murdered Jews in Europe is a grid-like structure of concrete pillars. You can wander in from any side of the square structure, but make sure you visit the underground exhibition.
Opening days and times for the underground exhibition vary depending on the season. Make sure you check their website before visiting.
12// CHECKPOINT CHARLIE
At the end of Friedrichstrasse (not far from the Holocust Memorial) you will find this well known check point, which was one of the connections between East and West.
In the house at Checkpoint Charlie you will find an exhibition all around the theme of GDR and its refugees. Nearby, in the Zimmerstrasse, original pieces of the wall remain.
12:30 // EAST-SIDE GALLERY
The East-Side Gallery is known as longest memorial for peace in Berlin. The 1.3km remains of the former grey wall, which came down in 1989, has been decorated by various painters from all over the world.
Image: Art Local EU
1pm // CHARLOTTENBURG PALACE
Beautiful baroque gardens surround the Charlottenburg Palace, where various styles of architecture join together.
One of the highlights of the palace is the exhibition on French Masterpieces of the 18th century, which is the biggest one outside of France.
Take your pitstop for lunch here and soak up the local atmosphere of this sophisticated borough of Berlin.
3pm // SHOPPING
Visit Potsdamer Platz, Mall of Berlin or Tauentzienstraße (KaDeWe is a famous landmark high-end department store) for some retail therapy.
The square of Potsdamer Platz was designed and built in 1989 and also hosts the Sony Centre, a casino and various restaurants and theatres. It’s an interesting contrast the the ‘old’ Berlin.
6pm // DINNER
There is no shortage of restaurants in Berlin to suit any budget and in any neighbourhood. Ask your hotel for some local recommendations.
(If you’re able to splurge, visit Pauly Saal in Mitte for a gastronomical feast.)
8pm // BERLIN PHILHARMONIC HALL
Berlin’s Philharmonic Orchestra is ranked as one of the best orchestras in the world with a number of impressive accolades, from Grammy Awards dating back to the 70s to Classical BRIT Awards for Ensemble/Orchestral Album of the Year in 2001 and 2003.
So, if you are interested in a bit of culture then jump onto their website and prebook your tickets.
For all the tourists travelling from abroad, you can book your tickets online and collect them prior to the show at the Box Office — hassle free!
10pm // BRANDENBURG GATE – TAKE TWO.
It’s one thing to see the towering arches during the day, but there is something very magical about this iconic piece of 18th-century German architecture at night, glowing bright against the darkened sky.
Image: And Berlin
If you’re not exhausted from your day of touring, then Berlin’s nightlife has plenty to offer.
Note: Berlin also has an impressive selection of art galleries and museums for you to explore. Fifteen hours was just enough to scratch the surface of this city rich in history.