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Berlin Itinerary

Sadly, our time in Berlin has been cut in half, 5 to 2+ days. I am undecided on museums. Looking for advice. I would say history is our top interest.
Arrive late afternoon Sunday - evening food tour or Monday or Tuesday
Monday AM - 2.5 orientation tour ending at checkpoint Charlie
11 AM - Check point Charlie Museum - heard it was an overlooked museum
Lunch
2 of 3 museum..which?
DDR Museum, German History Museum ( is this partially closed?)
or
Jewish Museum
Time to squeeze in outside memorial ?
Tuesday AM - Insider Tour, 3 hours -Third Reich or East Berlin
Reichstag Dome
Lunch
Memorials we did not see on orientation tour
?
Any suggestions?

Posted by
2509 posts

I'm sorry your time in Berlin got cut. It is a great city -- my favorite! It's easy to allow a visit to Berlin become all Cold War and WWII stuff. I like that you are planning to do a food tour. Great idea! It's a chance to see "good" in Berlin. Given your limited time, I think you will have to firmly embrace the RS "we will return someday" philosophy.

On the Bundestag, I really like visiting the cupola/dome near sunset. That lets you have daytime hours for other things you want to do. Walk the dome shortly before sundown with the audioguide, and then hang out on the roof and watch the sun go down over the city. It's pretty cool to watch the city go from light to dark. My favorite view at twilight is from the northeast corner of the building, looking down the River Spree with the TV tower in the background. As you probably know, you need to reserve your entry time.

Museums, as you also probably know, are restricted on number of visitors. There is some variation in how museums are doing this. The Jewish Museum, for example, is selling timed tickets online. The DDR Museum looks like it is just controlling flow at the door (though you can buy an online ticket for a specific day).

I don't think I would try to cram the Checkpoint Charlie Museum, Jewish Museum, and DDR Museum all into one day. The German History Museum is mostly closed (and overwhelming when open -- not a good destination with 2+ days in the city).

While I have not been to the Jewish Museum (I hope to go in late August/early September), I think it will likely be a pretty sobering experience and may zap your desire to do a whole lot after that; I don't say that to discourage you from going there, but just to encourage you to reflect on what your mood may be afterwards. The DDR Museum is a private museum that, while it covers some of the negative aspects of the DDR, wants you to feel good enough about the DDR to buy plastic egg holders and toy Trabants when you walk into the gift shop, so it is more of a "fun" experience.

If your reference to "outside memorial" after the Jewish Museum is a reference to the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, that will be included in your orientation walking tour.

I would encourage you to enjoy some of Berlin's green space. The city has great parks. Volkspark Friedrichshain is one of my favorites with its fairy tale fountain. The Tiergarten (with lots of flowers at Luiseninsel). There is a massive Soviet memorial at Treptower Park that is worth seeing.

The bombed-out Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church is kind of a must-see in the former West Berlin to me.

Eat a Currywurst. Try a Döner (but look for good places). Check out the veggie and vegan dumplings at Momos. Or eat a hearty sausage.

Posted by
2509 posts

And one thought on tours...

Insider gets great reviews on this forum and elsewhere, and I think you will be very happy with a Third Reich or Cold War tour with them. If you can swing it in your budget, though, I would strongly encourage you to consider a private Cold War Berlin tour with Robert Sommer during the time you have an Insider tour planned. Robert was the 15-year-old son of an East German bureaucrat when the Berlin Wall fell. He can tell you what it was like to grow up in East Berlin, to experience the opening of the Berlin Wall as a teen, and to live (squat?) in post-unified Germany. He is quite open and willing to answer questions. It's worth asking him what capitalist product he held out on the longest before trying. He will give you more than the same-old western/victor's history of Germany you've heard all your life. My tours with Robert have ranged from basic Berlin stuff to architecture to exploring an abandoned Soviet military base to climbing down into bunkers that stored Soviet nuclear warheads. He charges 60-90 euro per hour according to your ability to pay and your enjoyment of the tour. Not a cheap 3-hour tour, but my time with Robert has been immensely enjoyable and enlightening.

http://thetrueberliner.com/

Posted by
1009 posts

Honestly, Checkpoint Charlie is touristy and I don't think I'd recommend it to anybody. That said, I'd see one museum on Museum Island and then after your orientation tour pick a museum you want to learn more about.

Posted by
3115 posts

It’s not clear to me from your Reichstag Dome listing whether you are planning to do the guided tour. I absolutely recomment it, if it’s available. Reservations were necessary even in pre-covid days.

Posted by
18736 posts

I found the (commercial) museum at Checkpoint Charlie fascinating. It has a lot of displays and information about escape attempts.

The Pergamon is a great museum, but I believe much of it is closed. That's been its status for a number of years; I think perhaps they're building an addition. As of 2015 the Pergamon Altar could not be seen, but the Ishtar Gate area was open. Check the website to be sure the Pergamon is the right one for you at the moment. In 2015 there were long entry lines for at least some of the Museumsinseln museums.

Posted by
2509 posts

It’s not clear to me from your Reichstag Dome listing whether you are
planning to do the guided tour. I absolutely recomment it, if it’s
available. Reservations were necessary even in pre-covid days.

When I looked at the website a few days ago, only German tours were being offered at this time. I have never done the tour, but much enjoyed my 2 visits to the cupola.

Posted by
643 posts

Ellen,

So sorry your time in Berlin is cut short. It is one of my favorite cities in Europe. I have traveled for work, so I have taken advantage of different tours. I can recommend Secret Food Tours Berlin. It is in the Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg district which is a really cool and artistic place. If you can go on market day, you can pick up some great vintage finds. It also has a lively music scene and great outdoor space. Not only did I have great food on the tour, but learned a lot of about the history of this district.

I have taken several Berlin walking tours, but unfortunately can’t remember the tour company. As for museums, the Pergamon museum is well worth the time, but if there is something that you are specifically interested, check before you go as parts of the building are closed for renonovation until 2023.

Sandy

Posted by
5 posts

Check for Dr. Finn Ballard. He gives fantastic private tours on a variety of subjects, and will make the best use of your limited time.