While 48 hours may not seem like much time, a weekend is just about sufficient to begin to immerse yourself in the German city of Berlin. From learning about the city’s history to indulging in some retail therapy, this Berlin weekend guide introduces you to the top spots that you definitely should not miss if you only have a couple of days to spend in Berlin.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Museum Island is home to five world-class museums that are dedicated to showcasing everything from German history to ancient art, and their combined collections encompass over 6000 years of cultural history. While Berlin does boast several other important museums, the fact that these five are all located a stone’s throw away from each other does make it quite convenient if you are short on time. If you are still not able to view all five museums, then do make sure to at least visit the Pergamon Museum and the Old National Gallery.
Friedrichstrasse is legendary for being the spot where the Berlin Wall crossed twice, and today is considered to be the epicenter of culture and shopping in the city. Stretching out for just over three kilometers, there is an almost endless array of shops and department stores to be found here, ranging from small independent boutiques to luxury flagship stores. You will also find a wide variety of restaurants here, with everything from local German cuisine to Mediterranean to Asian, making this a great spot to stop for lunch.
One of the largest squares in Berlin, a visit to the Gendarmenmarkt will reward you with the opportunity to explore three historic buildings, making this one of the most picturesque parts of the city. The Konzerthaus, which was built in 1821, is the city’s most important theater, while the French Cathedral and the Berlin Cathedral are definitely architecturally impressive. If you are visiting Berlin in the winter, Gendarmenmarkt is also where you will find a bustling Christmas market that showcases the city’s festive traditions.
The Brandenburg Gate
The Brandenburg Gate is an iconic part of the city, and was built in 1791, loosely modeled after the Acropolis in Athens. This 26-meter high sandstone monument was the city’s very first Neoclassical structure, and it is, without a doubt, one of Berlin’s most popular landmarks today.
The Holocaust Memorial takes up the area of an entire city block, and is filled with row upon row of concrete slabs, each rising to various heights. These are meant to be reminiscent of the Old Jewish Cemetery in Prague, and while this project may have been quite controversial, walking through it will leave you with feelings of isolation and claustrophobia, giving you a tiny bit of an insight into the plight that so many Jews faced.
Berlin is truly a dynamic city, with so much to see and do. While a weekend is perfect for a quick introduction to all that Berlin has to offer, this will likely only make you want to return again for longer, so that you can delve deeper into the unique charm that this city has always had.