Berlin in 24 hours

Berlin Cathedral and River Spree | Photo by Anthony Reungère
Berlin Cathedral and River Spree | Photo by Anthony Reungère

Berlin in 24 hours

by Amanda Palumbo
Stripes Europe

Berlin is one of my favorite cities in the world.  It’s beautiful, gritty and some of Europe’s most defining events happened in the German capital. So, grab some currywurst, hop on the S-Bahn and practice saying, “ich bin ein Berliner."

Morning

The S-Bahn takes you to Alexanderplatz, where you’ll spot the famous Fernsehturm TV tower. Go to the top for a gorgeous 360-degree view of the city from 203 meters high.

A 10-minute walk west is the Berliner Dom, the city’s Evangelical church badly damaged during the war and restored in the 1990s. You can admire the architecture from the outside or, for seven euros, go inside.


Brandenburg Gate in Berlin | Photo by Dan Visan

One of the most famous and historical sites in Berlin, the Brandenburg Gate, is a 20-minute walk from the cathedral. It’s Berlin’s symbol of Cold War division and, eventually, reunification. It’s where President Kennedy uttered the famous words, “Ich bin ein Berliner,” and where President Reagan told Gorbachev to “tear down this wall.”

Walking six-minutes north takes you to the Reichstag building, Germany’s second most visited attraction. It survived two world wars, a massive fire and is where Germany’s Parliament meets.

Afternoon

Ride the U-Bahn south to Checkpoint Charlie, Berlin’s most notorious crossing point between the east and the west. The nearby museum is worth a look and details its history.


Currywurst and fries with mayo | Photo by Claudio Schwarz

You may be starving, so please your pallet and dine on a Berlin staple, currywurst. An eight-minute U-Bahn ride from Checkpoint Charlie, Curry 36 is the most famous place to get currywurst and fries. If you want to eat fries like the locals, dip them in mayonnaise.

While you let all that yummy curry goodness settle, take a half-hour train ride over to East Side Gallery, a free open-air, politically charged gallery on the wall’s east side. In 1990, 105 artists from across the world came to paint the wall, signifying its fall.


Berlin sunset | Photo by polaroidville

Evening

As you leave the gallery, take a stroll along the beautiful River Spree crossing over the Engeldamm Bridge as the street lights start to illuminate the riverwalk. Head to 3 Schwestern, or 3 Sisters, a restaurant and Biergarten with a modern take on traditional dishes.

Berlin is a city once ripped apart and divided. It has chosen to highlight its painful history, rather than ignore it, making for a beautiful and moving journey through its streets.

Tip: Berlin has excellent public transportation. To get around, purchase a day ticket (Tageskarte) for zones ABC for 7.70 euros.

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