If you love Europe with its majestic architecture, luxurious palaces and huge parks, you definitely need to go to Berlin. I used to find different reasons for myself not to go to Germany (probably because my grandfather fought against the Germans during World War II), but then I rejected all prejudices and went to discover one more European capital.
Berlin is an old and modern city at the same time; there are huge avenues and cozy streets, glass skyscrapers and medieval buildings. The Germans themselves are friendly and benevolent people, they all speak English, and if you are suddenly lost in the city, they will certainly help you.
Spring is perhaps the best season for traveling around Europe. I was in Berlin in early May, when it all was blooming and smelling very sweet. On the eve of the trip, I made a plan of the sights I would like to visit, and successfully completed it in two and a half days.
My plane landed at the Berlin Schoenefeld airport, which is located outside the city. It is most convenient to get in the very center of Berlin, on the Alexanderplatz, by train S-9 in 35-40 minutes (look for S-Bahn at the airport pointers). One way ticket costs 3.40 euros.
This is a universal ticket for all types of public transport in Berlin, and if you plan to use it all day, it makes sense to buy a daytime unlimited ticket for 7 euros for the central part of the city (zone AB) or for 7.70 euros for the whole city and its suburbs (zone ABC). One way ticket around the city center costs 2.80 euros. In order not to get confused, on the eve of the trip I uploaded a Berlin metro map and an offline map of the city itself in my phone. Tickets for public transport are sold directly at metro stations, there they must be validated. And although nowhere there are turnstiles and theoretically it is possible to travel for free, it is not worthwhile to risk: sometimes the controllers check passengers and you will have to pay a fine of 60 euros for a ticketless travel.
The main sights of Berlin are in the center of the city and they can all be walked around. Coming out of the train on the Alexanderplatz, you need to go towards the TV tower (it can be seen from everywhere).
There is a gorgeous observation deck on the top, and next to it there is beautiful fountain of Neptune.
After going a little further, you will see the Berlin Cathedral – Berliner Dom. I saw many beautiful cathedrals in Europe: Notre Dame in Paris, the Duomo in Milan, the St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague, but when I went inside the main temple of Berlin, I said only one word: “Wow!”.
It is huge and luxurious not only from the outside, but also inside. Its huge dome is decorated with eight mosaics with scenes from the Sermon on the Mount of Jesus, there are gilded sarcophags of German emperors, one of the world’s largest organs, a church pulpit made of oak wood, a luxurious altar and much more. But the main advantage of the cathedral is that by buying an entrance ticket for 7 euros, you can not only look in detail the building inside, but also climb to the observation deck of the cathedral, from where a chic view of the whole of Berlin opens. In addition, the cathedral has a gift shop and a coffee house, where you can taste delicious cappuccino with exquisite desserts.
After another half a kilometer, I reached the main symbol of Berlin – the Brandenburg Gate.
They were built in 18th century as a symbol of peace and indeed in the late 20th century they became a symbol of the reunification of West and East Berlin. It is through this gate that the Prime Minister of the GDR Hans Modrow came to meet Chancellor of the FRG Helmut Kohl.
A little to the right of the famous gate, passing through the small park, you can see another “visiting card” of Berlin and all of Germany – the majestic building of the Reichstag (Bundestag). Apparently, the German parliamentarians loved themselves too much as they had built such pompous building for their work.
But, despite all the pathos, the Bundestag is open to all visitors. You can visit the German Parliament completely free of charge by appointment at its official website https://visite.bundestag.de/BAPWeb/pages/createBookingRequest.jsf?lang=en The Bundestag building is crowned by a beautiful glass dome with a viewing platform. Visiting a dome with an audio guide is also free. The nearest metro station is Brandenburger Tor (brown line U55).
If you are not tired yet, then you can walk on foot from the Brandenburg Gate to the left to Potsdamer Platz. It is here that you can see the ultramodern skyscrapers of Berlin. After a lot of walking and making a lot of photos, I went by subway to my hotel.
As I planned a trip to Berlin in advance, I booked a hotel room in advance too. My favorite booking.com site recommended me a 4-star hotel in the city center right near the Markisches Museum metro station (red branch U-2). Derag hotel Grosser Kurfurst turned out to be a really excellent hotel with all amenities, the cost of accommodation also included a visit to the SPA and gym.
The room had everything you need: a huge bed, TV, air conditioning, safe, hairdryer, large bath, bath accessories, electric kettle, dishes, tea, coffee, free beer and water in the bar, floor scales and even a mobile phone which you can use for free during your stay at the hotel.
For two nights I paid 115 euros, and for a delicious breakfast buffet – another 18 euros. Of course, in Berlin, there are many other hotels, both cheaper and more expensive: the choice is yours. But Derag hotel I would definitely recommend to my friends.
One of the mandatory items of my travel program was Charlottenburg, and the next morning after breakfast I went to the famous palace, founded in the 17th century. The nearest metro station is Richard-Wagner-Platz (blue branch U-7). The Palace is open for visits every day, except Mondays.
Here lived 7 generations of the ruling Hohenzollern dynasty. Today, the delightful interiors of the palace with rich decor attract millions of tourists. By the way, the dome of the Charlottenburg Palace is also one of the symbols of Berlin. The magnificent palace complex is surrounded by a huge park in the Baroque style, passing into a landscape park.
Originally, the palace and park served as the summer residence of Prussian Queen Sofia Charlotte and were expanded by subsequent rulers. Entrance to the palace itself costs from 10 euros, and visiting the park is completely free. It’s no wonder that locals like walking here with their children, riding bikes or running. On the palace park you can walk for hours, rest on benches in the shade of trees or, conversely, sunbathe on the grass.
There are a beautiful pond, a fountain, statues, and bridges with traditional lockers of lovers. For the youngest visitors of the park there is a children’s playground. Charlottenburg is certainly a very romantic and atmospheric place, you can meet here and young lovers, and elderly couples, gently holding hands.
If after a walk you are tired and wanted to have a snack, nearby the palace there are various cafes and restaurants. I went to the nearest Italian restaurant “Daniel” on Otto-Suhr-Allee, 144, where I ate a delicious vegetable soup for 4 euros.
The third and final day of my trip I decided to devote to the Berlin Botanical Garden – one of the most beautiful in the world.
In the spring, it is truly incomparable: the flowers on the flower beds vie with the most vivid shades, and the intoxicating aromas of flowering trees and shrubs are in the air. Here you can spend a whole day enjoying the beauty and harmony of nature. This unusual place deserves a whole photo-report, which you can read on our website soon.
Having communicated with the nature and having charged with its energy, I went to the airport. Now I have become richer for one more city. Berlin, thank you for the hospitality and vivid impressions! Two and a half days are too little to get to know you better. But, I hope, we’ll meet again!