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Oct 10, 2018
Written By Shereen Sagoo

Berlin is the ideal place for a city break in Europe. Ticking all the boxes, the buzzing metropolis boasts a killer nightlife scene, amazing local food, a rich history, world famous beer and some of the most remarkable sights and museums in the world. If you haven’t already been to Berlin, make it your next bucket-list destination ASAP. The German capital has everything a backpacker is looking for in a city adventure and it’s for that very reason why it’s a student favorite. These are 10 reasons to visit Berlin, Germany.

View over river on Berlin skyline with Berlin Cathedral © Courtesy of Shutterstock

 

Because of its Rich History

As you probably already know, Berlin has a deep history. When you visit, take some time to learn about Germany’s past as a former Soviet State. Every corner of the city has its own story and was once part of a brutal dictatorship that thankfully came to an end. There are several places in the city where you can get a feel for Berlin’s rich history. We recommend the Jewish Museum, The Berlin Wall, The Holocaust Memorial and the Topography of Terror. Here’s a little bit more about some of the sights where you can get your dose of history.

 

 

Topography of Terror

Want to know more about the Holocaust? Visit the Topography of Terror. Housed in the former premises of the SS headquarters (the Secret State police during the Nazi regime), this museum documents the terror enforced by the Secret Service and explores the Nazi’s rise to power.

 

Because of its rich history

Germany, Berlin, documentation center Topography of Terror: Detail of the old Berlin wall with buildings in the background © Courtesy of Shutterstock

 

Holocaust Memorial

Perhaps the most beautiful war memorial in the world. Pay your respects to the millions of Jews who were murdered during the Holocaust at the Holocaust Memorial. Comprising of 2,711 block of concrete standing parallel to each other in various rows, its sheer simplicity and minimalism is a beautiful tribute to those who suffered most during the Nazi regime.

 

Because of its rich history

BERLIN, GERMANY – NOV 17, 2014: View of Jewish Holocaust Memorial, Berlin, Germany © Courtesy of Shutterstock

 

 

Berlin Wall

The East Side Gallery is the last remaining stretch of the Berlin Wall and therefore a defining symbol of the Cold War. The Berlin Wall once acted as the barrier that divided Germany, separating East Berlin from West Berlin. It was built overnight, keeping families and friends apart for almost 30 years (and leaving some people trapped on the wrong side).

 

 

 

Checkpoint Charlie

Checkpoint Charlie is the name given to the crossing point between West and East Berlin. You may find Checkpoint Charlie a little gimmicky and tacky with the dressed up soldiers and props. However, looking past that, the barriers to the crossing are 100% real – and now a popular tourist attraction.

 

Because of its rich history

Checkpoint Charlie was the name given by the Western Allies to the best-known Berlin Wall crossing point between East Berlin and West Berlin during the Cold War © Courtesy of Shutterstock

 

Because it’s the Party Capital of Europe

Berlin is regularly referred to as the ‘party capital of Europe’ and that’s because it is. Cheap drinks and partying go hand in hand so it’s no wonder Berlin has an epic nightlife scene that’s affordable for backpackers. It’s not only a cheap night out compared to most big European cities, but there are also so many bars and clubs that have no closing times. The city’s nightclubs have been famous for years, promising good nights out to generations before us.

 

Because it's the Party Capital of Europe

© Belushi’s

 

Some of the best bars and clubs include Belushi’s, Berghain, Watergate, House of Weekend, Tresor, Kit Kat Club and Suicide Circus. The buzz at night around Berlin is epic, so if you’re coming here to party you’ve made the right choice. You have to be 18 or over to get into the city’s clubs.

Because it's the Party Capital of Europe

© Belushi’s

 

Because of the Incredible Local Food

One of the most important selling points of any trip: THE FOOD. Berlin is up there when it comes to must-try staple dishes. The most obvious dish the city has on offer is currywurst. This is a  true local dish that you’ll find served up in stalls and restaurants around the city made up of sausages, curry sauce and ketchup, usually served with fries. Currywurst makes for a cheap lunch for backpackers on a budget for about €2.50, and it’s so delicious. Berlin is packed with restaurants and street food markets to suit anyone’s taste – we recommend Markthalle Neun in Kreuzberg for foodies.

 

Because of the Incredible Local Food

Christmas market food. Grilling typical German sausages in an Xmas fair in Hamburg © Courtesy of Shutterstock

 

Berlin has a vibrant Turkish community and is famous for doner kebabs. You can also try some other mouthwatering Turkish dishes in Berlin such as Künefe, a sweet dessert. To find these tasty delicacies, there are Turkish markets dotted around Berlin – or head to the south-east of Kreuzberg, known as better known as “Little Istanbul.” Then, of course, there are more traditional German dishes such as schnitzel and wurst to try. Head to Berlin during the Christmas markets for a tasty food experience. Want more? Be sure to check out this article on the top 50 foods to try in Europe before you die.

 

Because of the Incredible Local Food

Man and woman eating german specialty Currywurst and french fries on scooter © Courtesy of Shutterstock

 

 

Because of the Famous Beer

Three words. World class beer. Berlin has an abundance of beer. Germans pride themselves on drinking excellent beer, especially Berliners. That’s why Berlin is known as the beer capital of the world. The craft beer scene in Berlin is constantly growing with old and new beers on offer. Whether you’re looking for a good beer garden, a pub or a cool craft beer spot, the city has beer lovers covered. Here are 7 awesome beer spots you should try in Berlin. Discover even more of the best spots for beer in Berlin.

 

Because of the Famous Beer

Young people hands toasting and cheering aperitif beers half pint © Courtesy of Shutterstock

 

 

Because of the Abundance of Sights and Museums

Berlin had plenty of museums and iconic landmarks to satisfy culture vultures. If you haven’t got time to see them all, these are the ones we recommend.

 

Because of the Abundance of Sights and Museums

View from above, full of tourists enjoy visiting Berlin Cathedral, Berliner Dome at daytime, Berlin, Germany © Courtesy of Shutterstock

 

Museum Island

There’s a whole island dedicated to museums called ‘Museum Island’ where you can get cultured at five different world-class museums. The five museums on Museum Island are Pergamon Museum, Bode-Museum, Neues Museum, Alte Nationalgalerie, and the Altes Museum. The whole of Museum Island is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, located just alongside the River Spree.

 

Because of the Abundance of Sights and Museums

Museum island on Spree river and Alexanderplatz TV tower in center of Berlin, Germany © Courtesy of Shutterstock

 

Brandenburg Gate

The Brandenburg Gate is one of Berlin’s most iconic monuments, so you can’t skip this. The majestic classical arch and white pillars form the neo-classical structure that once signified the divide East and West Berlin. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Brandenburg Gate turned to symbolize the unity and peace of the country instead.

 

Because of the Abundance of Sights and Museums

Berlin Gate, Brandenburg at night, Germany © Courtesy of Shutterstock

 

Reichstag

The Reichstag was the seat of the former German Parliament for years – and therefore one of Berlin’s most famous sites. This landmark is walking distance from both the Holocaust Memorial and the Brandenburg Gate, perfect to fit into your day of sightseeing.

 

Because of the Abundance of Sights and Museums

German parliament (Reichstag) building in Berlin, Germany © Courtesy of Shutterstock

 

Fernsehturm

The tallest building in Germany, you can spot Berlin’s Fernsehturm (German for television tower) from almost any point in the city and it’s a prominent feature in the city’s skyline. The television tower, located in Alexanderplatz is 46 years old and a whopping 368 meters high. It costs €10.50 to get to the top but you’ll be rewarded with spectacular panoramic views of Berlin.

 

Because of the Abundance of Sights and Museums

Aerial view of Berlin skyline with famous TV tower at Alexanderplatz and dramatic cloudscape at sunset, Germany © Courtesy of Shutterstock

 

Because it Connects you to so many Other Cities and Areas

Berlin is perfectly located to travel around to other cool cities. You can travel to Hamburg or Dresden if you’re on a tour through Germany. Or you can even make day trips out of the city – Potsdam is the best example of a popular day trip on the outskirts of Berlin. Berlin also lends itself well for visiting one of the lakes or Teufelsberg, a man-made hill in Berlin on the outskirts of the city. The city’s largest lake Muggelsee will take you slightly out of the city center but its pretty woodland walks down to the sandy edge will make it worth that little extra effort. Krumme Lake, just by Grunewald Forest, is a definite contender for Berlin’s most idyllic lake. Find out even more about Berline’s public transportation, here.

 

Because it Connects you to so many Other Cities and Areas

Panoramic view of Berliner U-Bahn with Oberbaum Bridge in the background in golden evening light at sunset with retro vintage Instagram style hipster filter effect, Berlin Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg © Courtesy of Shutterstock

 

 

Because of the Lovely Green Spaces

Over 2,500 public parks and green spaces to take a break from the urban city life and spend time with nature. Berlin’s beautiful green spaces are the perfect place for a long autumn stroll, a picnic or summer BBQ. Several public parks around the city allow you to have BBQs and some even provide the equipment too (so you don’t have to bring the gear yourself). Some of the best barbecue spots in the city include Mauerpark, Monbijoupark, Sommerbad, and Tempelhofer Feld.

 

Because of the Lovely Green Spaces

Summertime in Berlin, in a park © Courtesy of Shutterstock

 

 

Because of the Awesome Street Art

Berlin is renowned for its epic graffiti scene and the whole place is plastered in it. The best example in the city is undoubtedly the East Side Gallery. This remaining stretch of the Berlin Wall now acts as a memorial of freedom, where artists and activists have used paintings to express themselves in bold, creative ways. The artwork is pretty incredible and well worth a visit to appreciate the historical importance of the site, too. Other places to find street art include Urban Spree, Bülowstraße, Kreuzberg, and Dircksenstraße in Mitte.

 

Because of the Awesome Street Art

Berlin Wall with graffiti of love ‘Berliner Mauer’ © Courtesy of Shutterstock

 

Berlin is a Hub of Annual Festivals and Events

There’s always something going on in Berlin whatever the season. In the Summer, it’s all about the music festivals in the city. There’s the Melt Festival, Berlin Atonal, Lollapalooza, Pop Kultur, Citadel Festival and many many more. Berlin’s music festivals are always epic. October and November is all about the Berlin Oktoberfest, as well as The Festival of Lights where the skyscrapers, buildings, and monuments light up. Christmas time is the most magical time to visit the city where Christmas markets come out and the whole vibe is festive. In between these main events, there are always cool pop-ups and festivals taking place worth checking out. Keep up with everything going on in Berlin each month with St Christopher’s Inns 10 top things happening in Berlin.

 

Berlin is a Hub of Annual Festivals and Events

Young people dancing and having fun in summer festival party outdoor © Courtesy of Shutterstock

 

 

Because it’s Affordable

Berlin is probably one of the cheapest capital cities in Western Europe. Which means it’s the perfect place for students, backpackers and those on a budget to enjoy without breaking the bank. Berlin is also fairly cheap to travel to in terms of flights or trains. You can probably enjoy the city on €33-40 a day if you’re budgeting – and if your hostel includes free brekkie even better. Backpacker students will appreciate the world-class museums, affordable street food and plenty of free things to do. If you’re on a really tight budget, find out how here to do Berlin on less than €30 a day.

 

Because it's Affordable

Breakfast at the hostel © Courtesy of St Christophers

 

 

Do You Need a Hostel in Berlin?

Check out St Christopher’ Inns!

 

St Christophers in Berlin © Courtesy of St Christophers

 

More Information About the Top Things to See and do in Berlin

Did you love this article about cool things to see and do in Berlin? Do you want even more information on how to make the most out of your trip here? Then be sure to check out these articles featuring only the best things to do in this incredible city.

 

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About Author

Shereen is the Head of Creative Copy at St Christopher's Inns hostels. She has a multi-media journalism degree from Bournemouth University and is also a total foodie.

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