Joanne Cowdery on 05 August 2022
I mentioned in a recent blog that I’d recently been to Berlin and I can highly recommend it as a city break for a long weekend. It’s a fascinating and vibrant city and, as the capital of unified Germany, it’s far more than just a symbol of the old and new.

The city oozes the history of the Cold War and the remains of the Berlin Wall are still a visible reminder of this. You can walk the 1.3km long East Side Gallery, which is the longest surviving stretch, where more than one hundred international artists have translated their feelings about the wall’s demise into murals. I really wanted to visit Check Point Charlie and although it’s now a rather tacky tourist trap there’s a free open-air exhibition there that illustrates milestones in Cold War history which is well worth seeing.

Another Cold War landmark is the Brandenburg Gate, which was once a symbol of the division between East and West and is now a cheery symbol of German reunification. It’s a sight not to be missed.

Berlin has more than 150 museums so there’s something to interest everyone. Make the time to visit a few just to delve a bit deeper into this amazing city. I’d also recommend a sightseeing river cruise and a visit to the observation deck at the Berlin TV Tower, which at 203 metres high gives you stunning views of Berlin and the surrounding area.

Unter den Linden is a 1.5 km boulevard that’s an ideal way of getting to know the city. Over its length you’ll find museums; irresistible shopping; glorious music; excellent restaurants; beautiful parks; and spectacular buildings, including the 1894 Reichstag Building, the historic anchor of Berlin’s federal government quarter.

Another interesting area for sightseeing is Potsdamer Platz, which used to be a wasteland with the Berlin Wall running through it and is now a completely new neighbourhood with shops, restaurants, skyscrapers and visitor attractions.

There’s more than enough in Berlin to keep you busy for a weekend, but if you fancy a day trip out of the city, catch the train to Potsdam. It’s about 40 minutes away and a fascinating place. Perhaps most famous for the Potsdam Conference in 1945 it has palaces, gardens and lakes to visit. There’s also a very pretty pedestrianised main street with wonderful shops, cafés and restaurants. You could easily spend a couple of days in Potsdam if you have time. A great escape from the hustle and bustle of Berlin!

Top Tips • Try a currywurst. This is curried sausage and a popular local snack, which even has a museum dedicated to it! • Avoid the queues by buying your museum tickets online. If you think you’ll be visiting a couple of museums, think about buying the Museum Pass Berlin as an economical option. • A self-guided bus tour is one of Berlin’s best bargains. Bus routes 100 or 200 stop at nearly every major sight in the city centre, travelling between Zoo Station and Alexanderplatz. • Public transport in Berlin is efficient and easy – and it works well! To save money, look at the ticket offers before you start buying single tickets for each journey. • When I visited Berlin there were still strict rules about wearing face masks on public transport. Check the rules before you travel and make sure you have the right sort of mask with you before you leave.