Disclaimer: I teamed up with Swissôtel and wrote this post for you. It brought back so many fun and unforgettable memories. Clearly Berlin is one of the cities that will remain in your heart, mind and soul…FOREVER!
“Ich bin ein Berliner”
– John F. Kennedy
Who has not heard this famous sentence pronounced by the American president? It sure has stayed in the minds of people the world over, including me.
Have I ever told you about my love story with Germany? I believe it started that historic day, November 9th 1989 as all eyes were glued to the TV screen as the Berlin Wall came tumbling down and finally united a country divided for 28 years.
I can close my eyes and relive that scene very vividly. I remember seeing people cheering, tears streaming down their faces, hammers pounding the walls and cranes lifting huge blocks of concrete and people from the East finally making their way, some running or escalating the fallen parts of the wall in order to live, breathe and experience what we sometimes take for granted, FREEDOM.
Weren’t we, human race, privileged to witness that LIVE on the air and get emotional to see that major event unraveling?
It sure made such a deep impression on me and I was only 13 years old. I made a promise to myself at that moment to go to Deutschland and stand before all the sights I only saw through photos and bow in gratitude for being able to do so.
Fast forward a decade. Right after graduating from the university and ending my internship at the government, I decided to be bold and go pursue my dream.
Oh did I even mention that I actually studied German while in college also did a minor in German Studies (studied literature, history and even translation, can’t believe I actually did that) at the Uni? I told you, there was a strong link to the country and was determined as ever to make it!
I diligently saved, as much as I could, and went on a two month trip all around the old continent. One of the main destinations was of course, Berlin and I was anxiously looking forward to it.
After spending a couple of fun days, in Amsterdam, I boarded a train bound for the German capital. An angel disguised in human form came to my aid and helped me get to my destination! Read more on that adventure here.
As soon as we stepped out from Berlin Hauptbanhof I was in complete awe at everything in sight. I simply could not believe that one of my biggest dreams had come true!
I spent the following week wandering and exploring the city. Here is
What to see and do in Berlin, Germany
Photo credit: Moerschy
Built in the 18th century, this is THE most famous and most recognized landmark in Germany. Throughout history, it served not only as a gateway to the capital but also to mark city limits.
It was the site where many historical events took place including one that no one will ever forget.
Photo credit: MariaTortajada
Built in 1961, the Berlin Wall completely alienated East Germans and divided their families, relatives or loved ones in the West. The Eastern Block prevented them from leaving and erected the wall. The cold war era had begun.
It took 28 long years before the ruling party in Eastern Germany made an announcement on November 9th that would change the course of events and as we say, the rest is history.
Borders to the East were open to everyone and the gates at Berlin Wall finally opened. Western Berliners were waiting for their Eastern counterparts with cheers and jumping on the fallen parts of the wall. It was a moment in human history that had to be witnessed to be believed.
Photo credit: Erge
This historic and famed crossing point between East Berlin and West Berlin still stands today and is a reminder of that critical period in time.
Back in those days only authorized personnel such as diplomats, members of allied forces or travelers with permits or visas to visit Eastern Germany could go across either by foot or by car.
Many easterners tried to escape the through this passage, unfortunately many lost their lives in their attempt.
Although the original was demolished after the fall of the wall, it has been recreated and is now found outdoors at the Allied Museum.
Berlin TV Tower / Fernsehturm
Photo credit: Beba
Completed in 1969, the highest tower in Germany offers spectacular and breathtaking views of the city and nearby towns from the panoramic floor.
In case heights make you hungry, there is a revolving restaurant on site called Telecafé. A meal with a million dollar view!
Museuminsel / Museum Island
Photo credit: TPSDave
Designated by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage Site, this area is composed of 5 museums all clustered on the northern part of the island surrounded by the river Spree.
Visit one, two or more. There are many options and a large dose of history and culture will be the reward!
Photo credit: Basti93
Originally built in 1871, the building was the meeting place of the German Empire (Reichstag) until the 1930s. It suffered severe damages due to a fire and the Second World War.
It was only renovated after the German reunification in 1990. The much-needed reconstruction lasted 9 years and became the seat of the German parliament which is better known today as Bundestag.
Photo credit: Jochen Teufel
Kaufhaus Des Westens is the largest department store in Europe and for many good reasons.
Spanning over 60 000 square meters over 8 floors, it is a shoppers’ paradise. From clothes to shoes to gourmet foods and everything in between, its 40 000 + daily visitors find what they are looking for and more.
It is not just regular shopping. It’s an experience for all the senses!
Photo credit: PeterBe
Have an adventurous spirit and want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city or simply go on a day trip? Then take the train from the city and enjoy the scenic ride all the way to Potsdam.
Head over to Schloss Sanssouci Castle, Its beauty will take your breath away.
There is also Alter Markt, Babelberg park and Glieniecker Brücke (bridge) which connects Potsdam to Berlin that is quite a sight.
Where to stay?
Swissôtel Berlin is conveniently located in the heart of the city and right around the corner of one of the main arteries, Kürfurstendamm or better known as Ku’damm.
The hotel offers 316 elegant and modern classic rooms
Photo credit: Swissôtel
Photo credit: Swissôtel
Spread on 10 floors, all rooms feature city views, state-of-the-art technology, large work desks, free WiFi and internet connection. There’s a Nespresso coffee machine available in every room to you energize before going out to explore or upon your return. If you have a fitness routine, then modern Fitness Suite will help you reach your daily goals.
It offers a combination of the best of Swiss hospitality and a genuine, heartfelt service which starts as soon as you walked into their newly redesigned lobby.
Photo credit: Swissôtel
The main train station is only 3 stops away, close to the business center and the airport can be reached in a short amount of time.
If you love shopping or browsing, you will be happy to learn that there a plethora of unique stores, cafés, restaurants and other attractions can be found.
For the best views, without having to venture far away, Restaurant 44 as well as the
Photo credit: Swissôtel
which offer fabulous views of Ku’Damm and cityscape below.
As you can see, this is only a fraction of what there is to see, do and where to stay in the city but I highly recommend you go and explore the city at your own pace.
I just LOVE getting lost on purpose but also have a traditional map on hand, just in case in need to find my way around.
Getting a city pass is also a great investment. It normally covers transportation and admission to many attractions. It’s totally worth it!
I invite you to follow Swissôtel Hotels & Resorts on their social media accounts:
Augsburger Strasse 44
10789 Berlin, Germany
Tel: +49 30 220 100 Fax: +49 30 220 10 2222
I hope you enjoyed Spotlight On: Swissôtel Berlin, Germany
Now I’m turning it over to you.
Have you been to Berlin?
What did you enjoy the most?
Are there any other places/activities you would recommend to first time visitors that I should add to the list?
Please do share!