With tradition and contemporary culture perfectly balanced, it is easy to see why the German capital is a top tourist destination. Find out why you should go...
Berlin has a number of notable museums and art galleries. The city's Museum Island, in Berlin's Mitte district, boasts five of Berlin's most internationally acclaimed museums. The Altes Museum (Old Museum), the Neues Museum (New Museum), the Alte Nationalgalerie (Old National Gallery), the Bode Museum and the Pergamon Museum are all in residence here. Also located on the island is the Berlin Cathedral, an elaborate domed structure with fascinating decor both inside and out.
Meanwhile, Berlin's Jewish Museum is one of the largest in Europe, displaying monuments and relics of Jewish history stretching back two thousand years. To the north of the city is a much starker reminder of the Jewish experience at Sachsenhausen, a former WWII concentration camp and now a memorial and museum.
No trip to Berlin would be complete without taking a moment to appreciate the city's more recent past. For thirty years the capital was split in two, divided between East and West Germany by the now infamous Berlin Wall. The Wall's eventual destruction helped to pave the way for Germany's reunification in 1990. While little is left of the original Wall, there are remnants and reminders remaining all over the city, permanently imprinted on Berlin's memory. 'Checkpoint Charlie', one of the best known wall crossing points, is one of Berlin's most popular tourist attractions, as is the interactive experience of the DDR Museum to help visitors really understand what life was like for residents during the Communist era.
Running through the centre of Berlin and passing many of the city's most famous landmarks, the Spree River is a popular sightseeing choice for tourists and there are a number of river tours that navigate the network of waterways on a regular basis. An alternate way to see the city without overexertion is from the Fernsehturm, the television tower found in the very centre of Berlin. At 368 metres it is the tallest structure in Germany and its rotating restaurant and viewing platform offer views that cannot be rivalled.
Other sights worth seeing in Berlin are the Olympic Stadium (Olympiastadion), built for the Summer Games of 1936 and Berlin Zoological Garden. Set within the 520 acres of Germany's second largest urban park, Tiergarten, it is Germany's oldest and best known zoo. Nearby, the largest palace in Berlin, Charlottenburg Palace, draws visitors from far and wide. With its baroque and rococo style architecture and landscaped grounds, it is the jewel of the Charlottenburg district along with the Charlottenburg Gate which leads travellers on through towards the Brandenburg Gate.
Brandenburg Gate is one of the most widely recognised landmarks of Berlin. A former city gate, it was rebuilt in the 18th century as a triumphal arch, towering over the junction of Unter den Linden in the west of the city centre. Just one block away is the Reichstag building, home to German parliament between 1894 until 1933 and home to the current German parliament since reconstruction in 1999.
However, these attractions are not the only lure of Berlin. The city is a shrine for artists from all over the globe due to its vivacious and youthful arts and culture scene. The city was even titled 'City of Design' by UNESCO in 2005. At night the city comes alive with bars and nightclubs that offer some of the most diverse choice of entertainment in Europe and whose doors stay open beyond daybreak.
With all that is on offer, the German capital does not disappoint. Visitors can peruse museums or party all night long; the options in Berlin are endless. Any visitor to the city will be able to find something to suit them, explaining why Berlin is a top European destination for travellers the world over.