As one of Europe’s most cosmopolitan, culturally distinct and progressive cities, Berlin is widely known as Germany’s “Hub of Culture” and given its focus and various successes in manufacturing, education and research, has also been dubbed the “Smart City”.
The city’s tourism industry is also booming and it’s no wonder – its culture dates back centuries, its stunning architecture ranges from medieval to ultra-modern glass and steel structures and the touring and sightseeing opportunities are endless.
Berlin is home to dozens of galleries, numerous grand palaces and over 170 museums along with many fabulous “family-friendly” attractions. So, for those considering a visit to this wonderful, vibrant city, the following is a brief outline of just a few of the most popular and historically relevant attractions:
Museumsinsel (Museum Island) – situated in the center of the city, this “island” is the museum nucleus of Berlin. The complex is architecturally stunning and provides for easy access to five world-class museums and galleries. You’ll find ancient, contemporary, traditional and religious presentations and exhibitions from the Greek, Roman, Islamic, Jewish, German and Egyptian cultures. This attraction is one of Berlin’s finest and as such, enjoys World Cultural Heritage status with UNESCO.
The Museum fur Naturkunde (the Berlin Museum of Natural History) – spanning over 6,500 square meters, this fascinating museum is the biggest of its kind in Germany and one of the five largest in the world. The museum houses over 30 million objects and artifacts that make up the museum’s permanent and touring zoological, geological, mineralogical and palaeontological collections and exhibitions.
Note: For the history buffs among us, a three-day museum pass is available from travel agents, most hotels and tourist centers that will allow you to visit up to 50 museums at a discounted rate. Most museums are closed on Mondays but for the rest of the week, many allow free entry four hours prior to closing time.
The Zoologischer Garten (Berlin Zoo) – this exotic and colorful zoo is one of the largest in Europe and one of Berlin’s most popular attractions. Spanning approximately 35 hectares and featuring over 14,000 animals (including the world-famous polar bear cub, Knut), and a stunning three-storey aquarium, the Zoologischer Garten is a quality assured attraction that’s bound to keep you very busy indeed!
The Berliner Fernsehturm (the Berlin Television Tower) – Berlin has many impressive landmark attractions such as the Reichstag, the Berlina Funkturm, Siegessaule, the Killhoff Tower and the Europa Center, but Berlin’s Television Tower is arguably the hardest to miss. It’s the city’s tallest building and is visited by well over a million tourists annually. There’s great shopping and entertainment on the lower levels and a stylish revolving restaurant, bar, theater and observation deck at the top. Obviously, the panoramic 360-degree city views are breathtaking – especially at night.
The World’s Garden – this peaceful, aromatic and stunningly beautiful garden is open from April to October and features themed gardens from around the world such as the Japanese Garden of Merging Water, the Chinese Garden of the Reclaimed Moon, the Balinese Garden of the Three Harmonies, the Oriental Garden and the Seouler Garden. Other fantastic city gardens include the Tiergarten (Berlin’s largest park and home to the famous Love Parade), Schlosspark, Viktoria Park and Charlottenburg Garten (which is situated in the grounds of the historic Charlottenburg Castle).
Berlin’s infrastructure and tourist facilities are extremely well advanced, its dining and cuisine is superb, its nightlife is exciting and accommodation options range from backpacker, hostel and budget apartments to five-star resorts and hotels such as the Park Inn Berlin, the Sylter Hof Berlin, the Dorint Sofitel Schweizerhof and of course, the Hilton Berlin – clearly, Berlin is a fantastic holiday destination with something to offer everyone.