Rediscovering Your City: A World of Art in Berlin

The beautiful capital city of Berlin has among the most museums, art galleries and opera houses in Germany

With its history, culture and architecture, Berlin has to be one of the most beautiful cities in Germany. The capital of Deutschland has an interesting story that goes all the way back to the 12th century but is probably best known for the period after World War II when it was divided by the Berlin Wall. That came tumbling down in 1990 and East Berlin and West Berlin were split no more upon German reunification. Today, Berlin is one of the coolest destinations in Europe. With 300 art galleries, 170 museums, 3 opera houses, and 150 theatres, there are so many things to do in Berlin.

Stay in serviced apartments in Berlin

Serviced apartments in Berlin
Capri by Fraser, Berlin / Germany

Capri by Fraser, Berlin/Germany is ideally located next to Berlin’s Museum Island, a Unesco heritage site. Stylishly designed to blend in with the city’s most iconic architectural and cultural hotspots, there are 143 serviced apartments comprising studios and one-bedroom units, with an in-house restaurant and bar.

There are many things to do in Berlin as the property is just a short walk to attractions like the Neues Museum, the Pergamon Museum, the Bode Museum, Altes Nationalgalerie and Altes Museum. Checkpoint Charlie – the most famous crossing of the Berlin Wall – is only three minutes away on foot.

In fact, as a reminder of what it was like before the Wall came down, Capri by Fraser, Berlin/Germany is built over the remains of the town hall of the city of Collin – the Cöllnisches Rathaus. The hotel’s lobby features its very own archaeological site, which was discovered during construction. It is now preserved beneath a glass floor, with artefacts borrowed from the Berlin Museum to provide a deeper insight into that important period.

Situated in the central Mitte borough, Capri by Fraser, Berlin/Germany is close to the rapid transit station (a four-minute walk); the historic Potsdamer Platz with its dining, shopping and entertainment choices; Alexanderplatz, an old market place; and the hip neighbourhood of Kreuzberg across the river Spree.

See The Sights

Museum Island

Berlin Cathedral

Among the most important things to do in Berlin is a visit to Museum Island. This Unesco heritage site in the historic centre of Berlin has five museums that showcase 6,000 years of history, culture and art. Some of its iconic exhibits are the Nefertiti bust from 1340 BC at The Neues Museum, and a reconstruction of Babylon’s spectacular Ishtar Gate at the Pergamon Museum. Next to Museum Island is Berliner Dom or Berlin Cathedral. Explore the Hohenzollern Crypt that entombs 94 members of the once-powerful Hohenzollern family, before climbing 270 steps to the top for a panoramic view of the city.

Jewish Museum

Jewish Museum

Those who want to learn more about German-Jewish history must list a trip to the Jewish Museum as one of the things to do in Berlin. Designed by renowned architect Daniel Libeskind, the zinc-clad, lightning bolt-shaped edifice is the largest Jewish museum in Europe and also one of Germany’s most-visited. It displays 2,000 years of Jewish history and, to paraphrase Libeskind, helps to facilitate the understanding of the history of Berlin through the enormous intellectual, economic and cultural contribution made by the Jewish citizens of Berlin.

Berlin Central Station

Berlin Hauptbahnhof

The Berlin Central Train Station or Berlin Hauptbahnhof is the city’s main railway station and the biggest in Europe. Hop onto a train here to any part of Germany, or to Poland, the Czech Republic, Austria and Switzerland. But others also visit to marvel at its architecture. Taking slightly over a decade to build, it was opened in 2006 and has since become a striking landmark that stands out when approaching the city centre. The long and curvaceous glass tunnel houses a cavernous, light-filled interior with elegant shops, cafes and restaurants, making it one of the most beautiful train stations in the world.

Berlin Wall

Berlin Wall

Among the things to do in Berlin is to walk along the Berlin Wall and admire its renowned street art. The longest open-air gallery in the world is an international memorial to freedom. This 1,316 metre stretch of the famous wall is covered with artistic expressions by 118 artists from all over the world, with more than 100 individual works. If you would like to participate in the rich artistic atmosphere, create your own piece of art by taking a picture of yourself in one of Berlin’s famous coin-operated photo booths.

Checkpoint Charlie

Checkpoint Charlie

Along the Berlin Wall is Checkpoint Charlie – the name that the US and leader of the Western Allies gave to Checkpoint C, the best-known crossing point between East and West Germany during the Cold War. Back in the day, it epitomised the division between East and West, a symbol of the stark difference between communist and capitalist. Now though, it has become a fun tourist attraction with dressed-up fake soldiers you can take a photo with for a small fee. Down the street is the Wall Museum which chronicles the historic events that took place at the checkpoint, including the daring escapes and the contraptions used by those fleeing to the West.

Reichstag dome

Reichstag Dome

The Reichstag building houses the German Parliament but you don’t have to be politically-minded to visit it. Because the impressive glass dome atop the spectacular Neo-Renaissance building, designed by British starchitect Norman Foster, is a famous landmark. Eight hundred tons of steel and 3,000 square metres of glass were required to build this important symbol of German reunification. At 23.5 metres in height, the huge dome has 360 mirrors to reflect daylight into the main chamber. Advance registration is required for a visit.

Little Istanbul

Kreuzberg is often called Little Istanbul for its large Turkish immigrant population, so it is no surprise that it claims to be the birthplace of the doner kebab. But more than a lunch spot, Kreuzberg is a colourful borough that is the epitome of Berlin’s diverse cultural landscape. One of the best things to do in Berlin is to stroll from the nearby Capri by Fraser to this melting pot of lifestyles with its artists, hippies, hipsters, thinkers, drinkers and musicians. This is where rock stars David Bowie and Iggy Pop once shared a flat in the 1970s.  

Opera Night

Berlin State Opera
Image credit: Christian von Steffelin

A night at the opera is one of the artiest things to do in Berlin. As the only city in the world with three opera houses, Berlin is rightfully known as Opera City. Upcoming programs at the Staatsoper Unter den Linden or State Opera Unter den Linden, Deutsche Oper Berlin or German Opera, and Komische Oper Berlin or Comical Opera Berlin, include Wagner’s Valkyrie and Strauss’ Ariadne Auf Naxos, among other extravagant productions.

Summer festivals

When the weather is fine, Berlin explodes with festivals and many things to do in Berlin. In June, there is the Carnival of Cultures, a Mardi Gras-style parade that winds through Kreuzberg, attracting 1.3 million people. In July, the biannual Berlin Fashion Week brings the world’s biggest designers to the German capital. In August, the Berlin International Beer Festival temporarily converts Karl-Marx-Allee into the world’s biggest beer garden, with more than 300 brewers from all over the world presenting over 2,000 beer varieties.

Pamper The Palate

Eins Unter Null

Eins unter null restaurant
Image Credit: Eins Unter Null by Anne-Smith-Photography

If dining at a Michelin-starred restaurant is one of your things to do in Berlin, then head to the guide’s latest addition – Eins Unter Null. This one-star restaurant in the central borough of Mitte serves modern German cuisine using regional ingredients of the best quality. The internationally inspired dishes are creatively plated and are accompanied by an extensive wine list.

Scrumptious schnitzel

Also in the same district but with a slightly different style is Schnitzelei Mitte. As its name suggests, this establishment is dedicated to the German delicacy of schnitzel. Schnitzel is meat breaded and fried, and the traditional menu with its old-school taste consists of classic Wiener Schnitzel and German tapas. But there are less common creations as well, such as a vegan oyster mushroom schnitzel, a boiled schnitzel or fish as schnitzel.

Reichstag restaurant

Reichstag restaurant
Image Credit: Reichstag Restaurant

The Reichstag doesn’t only have a magnificent dome, its rooftop has an upscale eatery that is the world’s only public restaurant in a parliament building. With great views of both the dome and city, the Käfer Roof Garden Restaurant certainly is unique. The cuisine is modern German, with an emphasis on the freshest regional produce. Reservations are required and oh, since this is the parliament building, please remember to bring a photo ID.

Curry At The Wall

Currywurst at Curry at the wall

Curry At The Wall is a famous street food stall that serves one of Berlin’s beloved snacks – currywurst. Wurst means sausage and currywurst is a banger that is steamed or fried, then cut into bite-sized pieces to be served with a delicious curry-ketchup concoction and a sprinkling of curry powder. This is comfort food at its best and Curry At The Wall can serve it up with intestines, fries or rolls. Vegetarian options are also available at its location five minutes from Checkpoint Charlie.

Beer garden

As one of the most enjoyable things to do in Berlin, a visit to a traditional beer garden can be both relaxing and rewarding. Experience a traditional German pastime with pints of pilsner, plates of bratwurst and giant salty pretzels. One such venue is Prater Garten in the Prenzlauer Berg neighbourhood. It is the city’s oldest and most beautiful beer garden, open every day, all year round, from 4pm except on Sunday when the giant mugs are filled from 12 noon.

Sweet treats

Berlinger

Germans are said to be the world’s biggest consumers of deep-fried pastries, and Berlin’s contribution to that superlative is its famous jelly-filled doughnut. To the rest of Germany and the world, this pastry is known as a berliner. But to the Berliners themselves, it is – surprisingly – a pfannkuchen or pancake. Whatever name you may call it by, you are sure to recognise it in the ubiquitous bakeries around Berlin, either in classic form or with a trendy filling.

Discover more of this effortlessly cool city and don’t miss out on the top things to see and do when in Berlin.

Adapted from Fraser Cachet Issue #27 © Frasers Hospitality and SPH Magazines

Is the wanderlust kicking in? Try being a tourist in your own country! These guides to Barcelona, Leipzig, TokyoChengdu, Shanghai and Singapore will help kickstart your journey to rediscovering your city.

 

Share

Previous Story
Next Story
Choose a destination
Browse Moments
Link copied !
Share this article