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Archaeology Travel | Berlin City Guide | 5
Map of Germany showing the position of Berlin.

Berlin Travel Guide

Berlin is a city of international culture and world-changing history, well known for diverse architecture, contemporary arts and music, festivals and night-life. For historical and cultural travel, lovers of history will find few other cities to beat Berlin. Spectacular Prussian heritage along with the many monuments and memorials associated with the Third Reich and World War II, Berlin also has one world’s finest collection of museums displaying some of the most important artefacts and objects from all corners of the earth.

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New: Humboldt Forum

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Street Art

Part of the Little Big City Berlin attraction showing the bust of Nefertiti.

For the Kids: Little Big City

Ruins of the Anhalter Bahnhof.

Anhalter Deportation Station

Interesting Things to Know About Berlin Before You Go

  • Berlin is generally accepted to have been founded in 1237. Frederick I (1688 – 1713) was the first in a long line of rulers from the Hohenzollern royal family to rule the area, and declared himself the first king of Prussia in 1701. Kings from this family ruled in Berlin until 1918, first as electors of Brandenburg then as kings of Prussia and finally as German emperors. This is the royal dynasty largely responsible for the Prussian castles and palaces in and around Berlin (including Potsdam), as well as the museums on Museumsinsel.
  • Construction of the Berlin Wall began on 13 August 1961. Not only did the wall divide the city of Berlin (into East Berlin and West Berlin), West Berlin was surrounded by the German Democratic Republic or East Germany. What we call the Berlin Wall more than a single wall. It comprised a number of features, from iconic concrete wall with a rounded top at the west, the ‘death strip’ to the Inner Wall and the Restricted Zone in the east. All closely guarded by several watchtowers along the length. Although much of the wall was officially demolished following the fall of the GDR and the wall (9 November 1989) there are a number of places where fragments of the wall can be seen. A number of memorial sites around Berlin give an impression of what the Wall was physically like, as well as exploring the history and stories associated with this ‘Wall of Shame’.
  • You will see frequent mention of a statistic that Berlin has more museums than rainy days. Estimates for the number of museums ranges from 130 to just over 200. And of course, whatever the number, the number of rainy days is less. Why the confusion over the number of museums? Two reasons could help explain this. First, smaller, more experimental museums do not seem to last very long. In 2018 the Currywurst Museum closed its doors. And second, what defines a museum is not always straightforward. For some the Currywurst Museum was not a ‘museum’. Is the Lipstick Museum a museum then? Whatever the answers or the numbers, Berlin does have a lot of museums and art galleries. From the traditional to the quirky, the fascinating to the downright fun.
  • Berlin has three UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Most people can name two of these, the collection of world-class museums on Museumsinsel and the Sanssouci palaces and parks in Potsdam. The third, and lessor known UNESCO listed site is a group of six housing estates connected to the Bauhaus Art School and some of the leading architects of German modernism. These Modernist housing estates were built in the 1920s when Berlin was a socially and politically progressive city with innovative housing policies.
  • Mid 2021, following years of controversy, the Humboldt Forum became the newest major cultural attraction in Berlin. This is the site of Berlin’s first castle-fort, erected in 1443. Considerably developed over the following years, it became an opulent Baroque palace for the Kings of Prussia and the German Kaisers. After being demolished following destruction during World War II, it became the GDR’s Palast der Republik. Because it was built using asbestos that too had to be demolished. In 2007 it was decided that the Baroque Berliner Stadtschloss would be partially reproduced, as the Humboldt Forum. Besides representing the Ethnological Museum and the Asian Art Museum, visitors can also see runs of the original castle in the basement excavated by archaeologists during the building of the Humboldt Forum.

Berlin Travel Inspiration

Cruising the canals of Berlin.

Little Big List of Things to Do in Berlin

This is not just another list of things to see and do in Berlin. While it may focus on cultural and historical attraction in the city, as a starting point this list caters for all levels of interest in history. For children as well as adults. For visitors with a general interest in history and those who love history and can not get enough. Whether you want to see the historical architecture from the deck of a boat cruising the 180km of navigable waterways, or spend a day or two exploring some of the finest museums in the world. This list is a good place to start planning your trip to Berlin.

Special Things to Do in Berlin

Do a quick search on the internet and you will find many lists of ‘things to do in Berlin’. Their titles may promise something different, such as ‘cool, hidden and unusual’ or ‘awesome and unique’, but they are all the same. We have our own list of things to do in Berlin for history lovers. But here we suggest some truly special and fun things to do in Berlin for after all that sightseeing. Or some not so unusual ones but with a special twist. From a ride for two around the streets of Berlin to a meal for two way above the streets of Berlin.

Private Sightseeing in Berlin with an E-Rickshaw Ride

Why not begin your stay in Berlin with a private sightseeing tour in an electrically-assisted rickshaw. For this hour long ride through the German capital create your itinerary. Then sit back and enjoy the sights in this made for two cycle-taxi. Reserve Your Private Ride Online.

Driving Tour of Berlin in a Trabant Limousine

If an e-rickshaw is not special enough, what about a ride in a Trabant Limousine? Take a tour of Berlin for up to two hours in this, the ‘people’s car of the GDR’. If this does not make you feel like an Eastern VIP, nothing will! You can choose to see the main sights, or you can create your own circuit around the city. Before, or after, you can visit the Trabant Museum to learn more about this iconic vehicle. Book Your Trip in the XXL Trabant Online.

Enjoy a 2-Course Champagne Breakfast

Start your day of in style with champagne breakfast in one of Berlin’s newest additions to the culinary scene. You get to choose two dishes from the menu. Besides champagne there is also freshly roasted and hand ground coffee. This will definitely set you up for a day of sightseeing. Continue exploring Berlin’s culinary scene with a 3-Hour Culinary Food Tour of quirky Kreuzberg. Book Your Breakfast Table in Advance, Online.

Graffiti Workshop at the Berlin Wall

Berlin is known throughout the world for the art scene. You can visit some of the finest art galleries or stay on the streets and take in some of the most extraordinary examples of Street Art. You can take a 3-Hour Street Art Tour, or you can go one step further and get active yourself. Get some hands on experience of creating your own graffiti and learning about graffiti culture on a 2-Hour Graffiti Workshop at the Berlin Wall.

Cruise Berlin’s Canals on a Luxury Solar Catamaran

Berlin has over 180 km of navigable canals. Not surprising then taking one of many cruises on offer by a number of different companies is the most popular thing to do. For locals and visitors alike. But if you are looking for something a bit more special for some reason, why not take a Luxury Cruise Through Berlin on a solar catamaran. Alternatively why not take a 2-Hour Evening City Cruise.

Olivia Jones’ Drag Queen Tour with Gloria Glamour

Back on land, and before heading up into the clouds above Berlin, why not take what must surely be the most fabulous walking tour of Berlin. Currywurst, beer and black humour in Berlin. What more could you ask for? See the usual and unusual sights through the sparkly lens of Local Drag Queen Gloria Glamour.

Reserve a Table in the Revolving Restaurant on Berlin’s TV Tower

It may seem a bit touristy, but the meal, the view and the experience is definitely worth it. You can either make a Reservation for Breakfast, or enjoy the view anytime between 14h00 and 15h30 with Coffee and Cake. Or choose from Available Timeslots Between 10h00 and 16h00 and choose from the menu when you are there. Your reservation allows you to skip the queue at the elevator and go straight up to a table at the window. Of course you are able to go up to the sphere and just enjoy the view; Book Your Fast Track Tickets Online in Advance. This is a very popular attraction in Berlin. You are strongly advised to book in advance.

Cocktails in Berlin’s Icebar

Either come prepared for the ice or you can borrow a thick jacket and some gloves. You are going to need it because everything is made from ice, including the glass your drink from. On arrival you get a cocktail, and then you enter the icebar, and stay for 20 minutes. That is probably enough! Book Your Ticket to the Icebar Online.

See a Cabaret – The Berlin Musical at Tipi am Kanzleramt

After your cocktail in the Icebar why not enjoy a cabaret show, typical of Berlin entertainment in the 1920s and 1930s. The kind of nightlife that Berlin was famous for then. The Berlin Musical is an involved story about a hedonistic nightclub singer and includes such world-famous songs such as ‘Life is a Cabaret’. Book Your Tickets Online.

Walking tours are very popular in Berlin, with a range of thematic options on offer. Bicycle and Segway tours are also popular, and they usually allow you to get around the city much quicker and see more sights.

Find Historical Sites and Museums to Visit in Berlin

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Interactive Map of Historical Sites and Museums in Berlin

Use our interactive map to find sites and museums, landmarks and memorials and other historical points of interest in Berlin. The map allows you to search for places of historical interest in different ways; by keyword or near you within a specified radius. Although the map displays best on desktops and laptops, it can also be used on mobile devices – particularly to find sites and museums near your present location. Search for Places to Visit in Berlin.

The entrance to the Altes Museum on Museumsinsel, Berlin.

Berlin Museums Guide

Whatever your interests, with a reported 170 museums in Berlin you are sure to find some that will interest you. If your interests lie in the history of Berlin, a number of museums explore the capital’s turbulent past. While archaeology museums have collections amassed by the Hohenzollern kings as well as artefacts recovered by German archaeologists working at some of the most important archaeological sites around the world. Art lovers are as well catered for with some of the finest collections of images and objects from Byzantine times to the present. Find Museums and Art Galleries in Berlin.