Past, Present & Future—It’s All There in Berlin

City Travel, Cultural Travel, Germany, Tours & Attractions — By on April 2, 2012 at 6:00 am

By Isabel B
Special to the Lost Girls 

If one had to name a single metropolis in Europe that has undergone the most radical changes over the last century, there’s no doubt the answer would be Berlin. Founded in the 12th century, Berlin is considered a “young” city by European standards, yet its comparatively short life has not in the least been lacking in historical, political, and social happenings. Quite the contrary.

Still marred by the destruction of World War II, Berlin was yet again affected by the ravages of the Cold War. It was only in 1989 that the fall of the Berlin Wall reunified not only Berlin but also Germany as a whole. Resituating Berlin on the map of influential urban hubs, the German government made Berlin capital again in 1991.

Today, Berlin is worth visiting for more than only its history: Architectural highlights range from medieval constructions near the city’s main square, the Alexanderplatz, to avant-garde buildings replete with glass and steel, close to Potsdamer Platz. In terms of culture, you can enjoy a wide range of art museums. And if you’re in need of a break, you can relax at one of the many cosmopolitan dining establishments—or party til the sun comes up at a club.

Things to do

  • Visit the Bundestag. The Bundestag is the equivalent to the U.S. White House. Ever since the capital was moved from Bonn to Berlin, more than 15 million tourists have visited the Bundestag. Architecture lovers can admire Norman Foster’s dome here.
  • Enjoy the view from the Fernsehturm. “Fernsehturm” literally means “TV tower.” Visible from all parts of the city, it is the tallest structure in all of Germany.
  • Travel back in time with the Berlin Wall. Even though most parts of the Berlin Wall were demolished in 1990, there’s a stretch that still stands, which is now called the East Side Gallery. You’ll find it along the southern border of Wedding and Mitte.

Where to stay

  • Berlin offers accommodation for all budgets and tastes. Those who like being adventurous should consider staying at the Propeller Island City Lodge, an artistic establishment in which each room has a different theme. You can find yourself in a room with a bathroom in the wardrobe or sleeping on a slanted bed. Check out the website beforehand to choose your room.
  • Another option is to rent an apartment. Check out sites such as holidayapartments.net to book ahead of time—factors such as having a kitchen will save you money.

Where to eat

  • That said, Berlin gives you a reason to eat out. If you’re on the Ku’damm, or Kurfürstendamm, the main shopping street, make a stop at the KaDeWe shopping center which has a great restaurant and bar.
  • For some typical German eats, head to the Burger Bar. From here, you can transition easily into Berlin nightlife and hit up hotspots such as at Berghain, a club that used to be a factory.

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