Updated January 9, 2019
This post has been requested by my cousin Dani, and as I said to him, I say here: 24 hours are not enough to see Berlin. So prepare to rush.
For those who only have a day and want to see just about everything, a good option is a guided tour that goes to most of the attractions. My personal experience about tours in Berlin is that they are excellent. They are not expensive, well organized, guides are very professional and there are tours in many languages. Insider Tour Berlin has 4 hours long daily tours for 12 €, going through almost all the major attractions.
For those who prefer to go by themselves, we recommend the following itinerary.
- The route starts in the REICHSTAG, the German Parliament (Bundestag) building . Built in 1894, neo-Renaissance style mixed with a 1990 Norman Foster’s dome (the real attraction). It might have turn out bizarre, but the truth is that it looks nice. Open daily from 8 to 24:00 (last entry at 22:00). Free admission, but you must register in advance and tickets are limited. In high season, at midday there probably won’t be tickets left for the rest of the day.
Visitors will probably have to wait some hours since the time of registration until you can enter the building. We recommend spending this time to visit the surrounding attractions, which include the following.
- BRANDENBURG GATE. One of Germany‘s best-known monuments. In my opinion, is no big deal.
- MEMORIAL TO THE MURDERED JEWS OF EUROPE. Dedicated to the Holocaust during World War II. It is simple but sober and original. There is a documentary center that closes on Mondays; still you can see monument any time, composed of many concrete blocks .
- TIERGARTEN. It is to Berlin what Central Park is to New York. A single day just will allow you time to visit a small section. In the central area is the VICTORY COLUMN and to the west end is BERLIN ZOO.
East of the Tiergarten:
- BERLIN CATHEDRAL. A stunning view, looks like is higher than wide due to the huge green dome. For travelers who only have one day, I do not recommend going inside because, apart from the view from the dome, I think the interior is not comparable to other great European cathedrals. Besides, adult admission is 7 €.
- MUSEUMS. There are 4 of them. The most famous are Neues Museum and Pergamon Museum. Nowadays we don’t recommend any of them for those in a short of time in Berlin, but in case you want to see one or its a horrible rainy and cold day, this is the one we would recommend, for one reason: Neues has a huge and amazing collection of art, but is similar to other museums, Louvre in Paris or Metropolitan in New York are two examples. However, Pergamon Museum is very original. There are three main rooms, in each of them there is an old building: a Greek temple, the facade of a Roman market and one of the gates of Babylon. Open daily from 10 am to 6 pm (Thursdays until 8 pm). Drawbacks are:
- Now is more expensive to get just into this museum (19 €) than to buy the combined ticket for all the 4 (18 €).
- And since 2016 till 2023 the greek temple room is closed to renovation.
THE BERLIN WALL
The remaining sections of the wall can be visited for free but are far apart. You will have to choose:
- Berlin Wall Memorial. North of downtown. A section of the wall, a gallery and a documentation center.
- Topography of Terror. South of Brandenburg Gate. Museum about atrocities commited in World War II. It can be kind of impressive for some visitors.
- East Side Gallery. East of the center. It is the longest section of the wall still standing. It is entirely covered by graffiti.
To finish the day, you should dinner in Mitte, because it’s alternative, there are all kinds of restaurants and it’s cheap.