Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Through The Keen Eyes of a Tourist.

Amongst the over-eating and German-improving, I have fallen in love with Berlin and am sad to be leaving it with a feeling that I haven't even scratched the surface of the history it has to offer. While I have been living here as a citizen I have been doing the mundane things of learning/U Bahn commuting/S Bahn commuting/food shopping/eating/shopping lots, but those things wouldn't make for an interesting post, so instead I thought I'd focus on a small Tourismu Guide for Berlin.

It's a city of the utmost culture and history, varying from record shops to fleamarkets to museums to churches to ruins to castles; you name it and Berlin will have it. As a tourist, it really is a haven. Here lies an abundance of not only cheap cafes, but cheap hostels, cheap bars, and cheap(ish) tourist attractions. With my Lonely Planet Pocket Guide in hand and citymaps2go app in the other, I have been trying to wade my way through the various museums of Museum Island and the lesser known art galleries.

My parents surprised me this weekend in Berlin as they moved in (not with me, in a gorgeous hotel in the KuDam area) for a few days, and I made the most of my expertise and showed them around the main tourist hotspots (some of which you can read about in my last post) including*:

*I have provided links to each of the websites for the museums so you can read a bit more about them as my information is bound to be a bit sparse.

Located next to the Berliner Dom, parallel to the Spree River, which costs a mere €6 entry fee. It's been heralded as the most interactive museum in Berlin, which makes it great for kids and school groups. This, unfortunately, means that peak times must be avoided as it's a small space with lots to do and learn about so make sure you go early in the day and preferably on a weekday!

 Here you can learn all about the DDR rule over Ost Berlin and I loved it, and not just because I could smell DDR vodka and hold DDR pears (see above).

This piece-of-history-turned-art-gallery is a must see in Berlin. Free of charge and completely outdoors, I can recommend combining this with a walking tour of Kreuzberg (the area of Berlin which sits opposite the gallery on the other side of the river) after lunch.

Kreuzberg has an abundance of cafes and if the sun is shining then the riverbanks are full of sunbathing Berliners. The gallery is really striking and is the largest remaining piece of the Wall left in the city - if you're cheeky then you can maybe etch your name into the wall like all the other tourists...I used the Kotti Tor U Bahn but there are closer stations too. See the link above for proper details! 

Dad and I. Happier post-strudel-and-beer.

Okay, you caught me, after 30 blog posts and several trips, I can now admit that I am a massive tourist. Camera in hand with a map and a coffee, I have taken the world by storm. One tourist trap at a time, and as a tourist, I am a sucker for a good boat trip.

At only €11 per person, and beer and pastries served on board, this boat tour along the Spree was a great way to spend the afternoon on Saturday. As a new tourist, this trip will help you get your bearings - boats depart every half hour from various platforms both outside the DDR Museum and Hauptbahnhof (which is accessible for wheelchairs).

Again, free of charge and perfect for a summer day - the Berlin Wall Memorial in the north of the city provides a great amount of history about the wall and is very educational. Frequented by fewer tourists, it begins at the Nordbahnhof station that played an important part in the wall's existence. Lacking in cafes but audio guides and features in abundance.

KW Institute for Contemporary Art
For €6, the art in this small gallery is unmissable. I had to give it a mention as not only is the gallery itself brilliant (I saw another Grayson Perry tapestry and swooned. Again.) it is located in a fantastic part of the city where every other 'shop' is a gallery in disguise, with all of them being free. Stop by the 'Milch Hutte' for cheesecake and chai lattes galore before heading off on your art afternoon - you shan't be disappointed.

And finally, if you're pushed for time but aching for some Real Culture, than the Perganom Museum is the only museum on Museum Island that I would visit. Admittedly I am not one for architecture or ancient history (gulp, I know how awful that sounds..) but this was well worth the trip. It sits at the northern tip of the island and is famous for the Perganom Altar which stands in the middle of the museum.

For us, there was renovation being undertaken, but the new exhibition is due to open in June. This may be more for the parents than for the kids, but I really enjoyed learning about just how this museum came to be, and the permanent Islamic art exhibition on the 3rd floor isn't to be missed.

And if, like me, your attention span is waning but you are still keen to attempt to learn, the audio guides (as in the other museums of Museum Island) are totally free. Ignore how ridiculous you may look and grab your headphones - you won't regret it.

Dive in, and, unlike London, have your wallet handy. The museums are wonderful but if you're a budding budgeter then pick wisely - museum 3 day passes start from €19 and cover most of the main museums on the Island. Enjoy!


  1. berlin is one of my favourite cities! i love it! hopefully i'll get to go back some day! :)

    1. I love it so, so much! Thank you for reading! ^_^ xxx