Once you have visited Berlin, you’ll want to return. Beyond the must-see sights in Germany’s capital city, you’ll find opportunities to take a deeper look into the region’s culture.
Sarah Dandashy of Ask A Concierge recommends venturing to the Old Jewish Quarter, Museum Island, Markthalle, and the Tiergarten for a deeper look at Berlin.
Although devastated during the Nazi era, the Old Jewish Quarter, located in the city’s Mitte section, is still home to many significant historical landmarks. It’s an ideal place for a walking tour. The quarter, which is part of the former East Berlin, is re-energized and is filled with institutions, memorials, and stories. Also known as the Scheunenviertel, or Barn Quarter, the area is full of crooked streets that are home to independent boutiques as well as slices of history. Make sure to visit the location where the Old Synagogue was once located, the boys’ school founded by Moses Mendelssohn, and the peaceful Old Jewish Cemetery. Find the hidden Hackesche Höfe, with its seven beautifully restored courtyards. Pause for reflection at the column commemorating the “Women’s Protest,” one of the few successful uprisings during the Holocaust. The beautiful New Synagogue is an inspiring way to end your foray. It represents the resurgence of Berlin’s Jewish community.
Also located in the central Mitte district of Berlin is Museum Island, the site of the old city of Cölln. It’s a haven for anyone who loves art and history—here you’ll find five world-renowned museums. The island was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1999. The Pergamon Museum is the most popular attraction, with more than one million visitors each year. It is home to the Ishtar Gate, the Roman Market Gate of Miletus, and an extensive collection of Islamic art. The Bode-Museum features an extensive collection of sculptures, Byzantine art, and a numismatic collection. The Neues Museum is the oldest museum on the island and houses the bust of Nefertiti along with an extensive Egyptian and antiquities collection. The Alte Nationalgalerie has paintings from famous artists such as Claude Monet, Edouard Manet, and Karl Friedrich Schinkel, just to name a few.
If you are a foodie, you won’t want to miss the culinary delights on Kreuzberg’s Eisenbahnstraße. Not only will you find a traditional market here, Markthalle Neun is home to entertainment and special events throughout the year. Sample and buy traditional German food, street food from various countries, and much more. If you’re lucky enough to visit when one of the special markets, such as the Breakfast Market or the Naschmarkt, you’ll sample even more culinary delights.
The Tiergarten is perfect for relaxing like a local. At over 500 square acres, it is one of the largest urban parks in Germany. The name of Berlin’s most popular public park means “animal garden,” which may seem like an odd name for a park until you realize the area was once the private hunting ground of Great Elector Friedrich Wilhelm. A favorite of locals and visitors alike, the Tiergarten is a wonderful place for a stroll, a picnic, or just to sit and watch Berliners enjoying their free time.
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Video by Nino D. Gordeli. Text by Sarah Dandashy for PeterGreenberg.com. You can watch her other videos for travel tips & tricks at AskAConcierge.tv.