Berlin has recently become one of the most visited European cities. What’s more, this is an ideal destination for a bridge trip because you’ll find many and varied attractions in the German capital. If you are preparing your first trip to Berlin, these tips will be useful for your sightseeing tour, which will give you a first glimpse of what you are going to find.
I give you this advice at the end of my last tourist trip to Berlin, where I spent four days visiting the city. Looking ahead to your visit, I can tell you that Berlin is a huge city. It is the largest city in Europe, surpassing cities such as London and Paris, although with its 3.4 million inhabitants has much lower population density, which you will appreciate in your tourist days. Therefore, you have to bear in mind that when visiting Berlin it will be essential to use public transport. In particular, the not-so-new metro lines, buses and trams; the latter can only be found in the catchment area of what was once the former GDR Democratic Republic.
When you fly to Berlin, you have two possible airports to reach. Tegel airport, located in the old western part of the city, is located very close to the city centre, only 6 kilometres away (about 15 euros if you prefer to take a taxi). Shonefeld airport is further away, outside the city centre, about 18 kilometres away, and after successive delays of several years, it seems that finally the inauguration of a new large terminal will be in 2017.
As for the areas to visit in Berlin, the great axis will be the one that joins the Victory Column in the great Tiergarten park, next to it you can see the seat of the German Parliament, the Reichstag, and you can pass by the famous and iconic Brandenburg Gate. Then you will continue along Unter Der Linten Avenue until you reach the huge Alexanderplatz space. This was the nerve centre of former East Berlin, and on your way to Alexanderplatz you should not miss the monument commemorating the Burn of the Books in 1933 at Bebelplazt.
But this main tourist axis must be complemented by visits in other areas of the city. Specifically, the modern square of Postdamer Platz or the so-called Jewish Quarter or Barrio de las Granjas, near Alexanderplatz. And if you want to get to know a very popular area in Berlin today, don’t miss the Kreuzberg Turkish Quarter.
However, in the aforementioned Jewish Quarter you will no longer be able to visit Tacheles, a squat house of alternative art that became so popular among tourists visiting Berlin, and which was closed in September 2012. On the other hand, you will be able to enjoy the great shopping and leisure environment of this neighborhood, specifically in the Hackesche Hofe courtyards.