Please sign in to post.

Berlin sights

I'll be in Berlin from Jun 03 to 15 this year. Any suggestions for some unusual sights or tours - somewhat off-beat?

Posted by
11294 posts

Have you looked at the tours from Original Berlin Walks? Some of them are introductory or general interest, and some are designed for more specialized interests. Even if you don't take one of their tours, this should give you some ideas: http://www.berlinwalks.de/public/

Some of my own opinions about various less famous sights:
1. Although the Zoo is more famous, I enjoyed the Aquarium (next door) far more.
2. I didn't care for the Botanic Gardens, and the Gamäldegalerie was somewhat disappointing.
3. The Soviet War Memorial in Treptower Park is certainly something to see.
4. While the Checkpoint Charlie museum is more famous, the exhibits about the Berlin Wall near Nordbahnhof are far better. The station itself has information about escapes via the U-bahn, and then you can see some free movies about the wall's construction and operation. Then you see the wall itself, including the only remaining section showing the "double wall" construction.

Posted by
2297 posts

While the Reichstag is certainly not off the beaten path, most visitors just go up the glass dome. However, doing a guided tour of the Reichstag might end up being the most interesting 90 minutes spent in Berlin as it gives you access to things you could never see otherwise from remnants of Russian graffiti to modern art and much more.

Reservations ahead of time are mandatory. The tour is free and offered in English.

https://www.bundestag.de/htdocs_e/visits/besgrupp/fuehr

Posted by
5678 posts

Before the wall came down, the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtnis-Kirche was quite popular, but when I visited a few years ago, there was hardly anyone there. It was left as bombed out reminder of WWII.

Also, while I didn't visit it on my last trip, on my first visit we went to a very early version of the Memorial to German Resistance. I will always remember seeing the courtyard where resistance fighters Claus Schenk Graf von Stauffenberg, Friedrich Ol-bricht, Albrecht Ritter Mertz von Quirnheim and Werner von Haeften were executed.

Pam

Posted by
9044 posts

I am fond of going on tours with Insider Tours as they offer a wide variety and their guides are top notch.
http://www.insidertour.com/

Some of the places that I seldom see people visit would be Ravensbruck Concentration Camp, Track 17, Wannsee Villa, and some of the other memorials in Berlin, like the one for the Roma & Sinti, or the T-4 victims.

Do head up to Potsdam if you get the chance. I stayed in the Dutch Quarter for 2 days last year and simply loved strolling around this neighborhood as well as spending all day at the palaces and the park surrounding them.
http://www.hofmaler-hotel-potsdam.de/

Posted by
14580 posts

Hi,

Great you'll be in Berlin for almost 2 weeks. Which are you leaning towards more? The tours "somewhat off beat" or tracking the "unusual sights" on your own? I agree with seeing the huge Soviet war cemetery and memorial in Berlin-Treptow, went there once in 1984. There is also the other Soviet memorial in Berlin-Pankow. If you mean "unusual sights" as historical, there is plenty of that, depends on how esoteric your interests are. Those relating to the war, ie military sites, I suggest The Resistance Museum on Stauffenbergstrasse, the Invalidenfriedhof, the oldest and most famous of the Prussian-German military cemeteries in Berlin. You'll recognise right away the WWi and II areas. This is within walking distance from Berlin Hbf.

Near the station of Berlin Gesundbrunnen are remnants of the Flaktowers (Flaktürme), a tour is offered to see that. Since your stay is about two weeks, I would recommend you to track down two other sites on the war, one in Berlin-Karlshorst (S-3 gets you there) to see the museum on Eastern Front and also day trip to Seelow, the battlefield memorial site and museum. Take the train to Frankfurt an der Oder, then transfer to the S-Bahn, a bit circuitous but accessible by public transportation.

Posted by
15 posts

Here are three tours you may wish to consider:

A. The abandoned NSA/GCHQ Listening Station on top of Teufelsberg (Devil's Hill or Mountain). Teufelsberg itself is manmade from the rubble of the city after WWII.

http://berliner-teufelsberg.com/web/en

B. The Olympic Stadium and surrounding Olympic Park from the 1936 games. This is where Jesse Owens won his gold medals, putting a wrench in the Nazi plans. Today the stadium has been remodeled and is home to a local football (soccer) team, as well serving as a location for other athletic events and concerts. The tour goes inside the stadium and shows areas where the athletes can usually only go.

http://www.olympiastadion-berlin.de/en/stadium-visitor-centre/viewing-and-guided-tours.html

C. Berliner Unterwelten is a society that offer a number of tours covering things such as WWII and Cold War bunkers and air raid shelters. A list of their tours can be found at the link below. (P.S. Photography is not allowed on these tours due to a variety of copyright issues.)

http://berliner-unterwelten.de/home.1.1.html

Posted by
15686 posts

I'm with Harold - the Checkpoint Charlie Museum is overpriced and disorganized. I wish I'd spent that time across the street, viewing the billboard exhibits along the line of the wall.

I especially liked the DDR Museum, just across the river from Museum Island. It's kind of cramped, but the hands-on exhibits really brought home to me what it was like to live in East Germany and under the Soviets.

If you can, do an overnight in Dresden.