Berlin Travels [Part Two]
The second part of my travels during my long weekend away in Berlin. Check out my thoughts and tips that I posted in part one, where I visited Bundestag, Brandenburg Gate, Holocaust Memorial, Checkpoint Charlie, BlackBox Cold War and the Topography of Terror.
This time I’ll be talking about the Alexanderplatz area, Berlin Cathedral, Museum Island, Berlin Zoo, Charlottenburg Palace and the Olympiastadion.
Nearest transport: Alexanderplatz (S-Bahn and U-Bahn) and Friedrichstraße station (S-Bahn and U-bahn)
Observation deck: €15.50 Restaurant: €21.50-24.50 [We didn’t go up]
The television tower is the second tallest point in Europe, and is in the heart of Alexanerplatz – the centre of Berlin. The tower was constructed between 1965-69 by the German Democratic Republic. It was intended to be both a symbol of Communist power and of Berlin.
The landmark is a great way to navigate yourself in the city.
A few minutes walk away from the Berliner Fernsehturm is this authentic Bavarian pub. Serving traditional German food and beer, as well as having a live band playing some background music, Hofbräu Berlin is a great place for tourists to stop for something affordable and traditional to eat. The steins of beer were €8.90 which we thought was pretty good, and we went for the German sausage platter, and although our expectations weren’t completely met, it was still a good experience. I would call it the Wetherspoons of Germany. It was busy, loud and had a friendly atmosphere.
Berlin Cathedral is located on Museum Island, a stone’s throw away from the Altes Museum. It was the court church to the Hohenzollern dynasty, the rulers of Prussia and later the German Emperors. The Hohenzollern Crypt contains nearly 100 sarcophagi and burial monuments from four centuries. Some are extremely ornate as, for example, the sarcophagi carved by Andreas Schlüterfor Friedrich I and Queen Sophie Charlotte.
There is a museum thatshowcases drawings, designs and models illustrating the history of the church. And we climbed the 270 steps to the dome’s outer walkway to get some great panoramic views of the city.
Bode-Museum, Pergamonmusuem, Alte Nationalgalerie, Neues Museum and Altes Museum
Entry: €18 to all museums
Bode-Museum | collection of sculptures, Byzantine art, and coins and medals.
Pergamonmusuem | houses an antiquity collection, as well as a collection of Islamic and Middle Eastern art.
Alte Nationalgalerie | showcases a variety of Neoclassical, Romantic, Impressionist and early Modernist artworks.
Neues Museum | holds Egyptian, prehistorical and early historical collections.
Altes Museum | the antiquities collection houses a vast range of ancient artefacts from the Greek, Roman and Etruscan eras.
Pergamonmuseum was my favourite as the colours and intricate details that were part of the Islamic and Middle Eastern art were beautiful to look at and were totally different to the classical Greek and Roman exhibits that were featured (which I also liked).
Nearest transport: Zoologischer Garten (S-Bahn and U-Bahn)
Opened in 1844, Zoo Berlin is the oldest zoo in Germany and is also most-visited zoo in Europe. The zoo houses a plethora of animals including a polar bear, a giant panda, penguins, giraffes, elephants, bears and so many more. I spent about three hours walking around and we seen most of the zoo – for young and fit visitors, three-to-four hours is quite sufficient. We brought our own lunches with us as we found out that the prices for food and gifts there is a bit ridiculous. There are also plenty of food places down the road at the train station such as Starbucks and McDonald’s.
Nearest transport: Richard Wagner Platz (U-Bahn) and Westend (S-Bahn)
Entry: €19 to Charlottenburg Palace, New Pavilion, Belvedere and the Mausoleum. (Pre-book online)
Charlottenburg Palace is the largest palace in Berlin. It was built in the seventeen century and includes lavish decorations (as seen below). The palace is named after Sophia Charlotte of Hanover, the first Queen consort of Prussia and the wife of King Frederick I. The audio-guide (free) is an absolute must to walk around – complete with classical music as you walk the length of the 42-metre-long Golden Gallery.
Nearest transport: S Olympiastadion (S-Bahn)
Entry: €12 (Pre-book tour)
It was originally built for the 1936 Summer Olympics. with a capacity of 100,000. Now it the home ground for Hertha Berlin F.C. and holds 74,475 and is the largest stadium in Germany for international football matches. The stadium was renovated and has hosted the 2006 FIFA World Cup, where it hosted a climactic final and has also held the 2015 UEFA Champions League Final. The running track is also where Usain Bolt broke the 100m world record with his famous 9.58.
The tour is riveting – the balcony where Adolf Hitler declared the 1936 Olympic Games open has been cut back so no-one is able to stand where he stood when delivering the speech. His name has also been erased for the stone plaques embedded in the end of the stadium.
A must for football and Olympic fans!
The Humpo Show | Richard