Lonely Planet Berlin

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Lonely Planet: The world's leading travel guide publisher

Lonely Planet Berlin is your passport to the most relevant, up-to-date advice on what to see and skip, and what hidden discoveries await you. Visit the iconic Berlin Wall, enjoy local street art and nightlife, or be dazzled by the Reichstag; all with your trusted travel companion. Get to the heart of Berlin and begin your journey now!

Inside Lonely Planet Berlin:

  • Colour maps and images throughout
  • Highlights and itineraries help you tailor your trip to your personal needs and interests
  • Insider tips to save time and money and get around like a local, avoiding crowds and trouble spots
  • Essential info at your fingertips - hours of operation, phone numbers, websites, transit tips, prices
  • Honest reviews for all budgets - eating, sleeping, sight-seeing, going out, shopping, hidden gems that most guidebooks miss
  • Cultural insights give you a richer, more rewarding travel experience - cuisine, architecture, museums, history, entertainment, literature, cinema, music, architecture, art, gay & lesbian Berlin, politics
  • Free, convenient pull-out Berlin map (included in print version), plus over 30 colour maps
  • Covers Historic Mitte, Museuminsel, Alexanderplatz, Tiergarten, Scheunenviertel, Kreuzberg, Neuklln, Friedrichshain, Prenzlauer, City West, Charlottenburg and more

eBook Features: (Best viewed on tablet devices and smartphones)

  • Downloadable PDF and offline maps prevent roaming and data charges
  • Effortlessly navigate and jump between maps and reviews
  • Add notes to personalise your guidebook experience
  • Seamlessly flip between pages
  • Bookmarks and speedy search capabilities get you to key pages in a flash
  • Embedded links to recommendations' websites
  • Zoom-in maps and images
  • Inbuilt dictionary for quick referencing

The Perfect Choice: Lonely Planet Berlin, our most comprehensive guide to Berlin, is perfect for both exploring top sights and taking roads less travelled.

  • Looking for just the highlights of Berlin? Check out Pocket Berlin, a handy-sized guide focused on the can't-miss sights for a quick trip.

About Lonely Planet: Started in 1973, Lonely Planet has become the world's leading travel guide publisher with guidebooks to every destination on the planet, gift and lifestyle books and stationery, as well as an award-winning website, magazines, a suite of mobile and digital travel products, and a dedicated traveller community. Lonely Planet's mission is to enable curious travellers to experience the world and to truly get to the heart of the places they find themselves in.

TripAdvisor Travelers' Choice Awards 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 winner in Favorite Travel Guide category

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Historical Museums & Memorials

ePub

From its humble medieval beginnings, Berlin's history – especially its key role in major events of the 20th century – has created a rich and endlessly fascinating tapestry. It's also extremely well documented in numerous museums, memorial sites and monuments, many of them in original historic locations that are open to the public.

Trace Berlin's evolution from its medieval birth to today's modern metropolis at the traditional Märkisches Museum, or head to the Story of Berlin for a more experiential and multimedia approach, providing insight into Berlin's various epochs. If you like your history in a nutshell (or in 20 minutes), take in the multimedia show, The Gate.

For a comprehensive survey of German history from the early Middle Ages to the present, visit the Deutsches Historisches Museum. Berlin's Jewish history gets the spotlight at the Jüdisches Museum.

Few periods shaped the fate of Berlin as much as its 12-year stint as capital of Nazi Germany. Numerous museums and memorial sites, almost all of them free, keep the memory alive. For insight into the sinister machinations of the Nazi state, visit the Topographie des Terrors. Nazi leaders decided on the implementation of the so-called 'final solution' in a lakeside villa that is now the Haus der Wannsee-Konferenz.

 

Historic Mitte

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1Brandenburger Tor Snapping a selfie with this famous landmark and symbol of German reunification.

2Gendarmenmarkt Taking in the architectural symmetry of this gorgeous square before indulging in a gourmet meal at one of the stellar restaurants in its vicinity.

3Holocaust Memorial Soaking in the stillness and presence of uncounted souls at this haunting site before putting it all in perspective at the underground exhibit.

4Reichstag Standing in awe of history at Germany’s government building, then pinpointing the sights while meandering up its landmark glass dome.

5Topographie des Terrors Understanding the machinations of Nazi Germany at this haunting exhibit standing on the one-time site of the Gestapo and SS headquarters.

With the mother lode of sights clustered within a walkable area, the most historic part of Berlin is naturally a prime port of call for most first-time visitors. Book ahead for access to the Reichstag dome, then snap a picture of the Brandenburger Tor and commune with lost souls at the Holocaust Memorial before dipping into Berlin’s Prussian past on a stroll along the normally grand boulevard Unter den Linden. These days, though, expect to hopscotch around several major construction sites on account of a new U-bahn line, the renovation of the State Opera House and the rebuilding of the Berlin City Palace as a cultural centre called Humboldt Forum. It’ll be years before all is finished.

 

Museumsinsel & Alexanderplatz

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1Pergamonmuseum Time-travelling through ancient Greece and Babylon to the Middle East at this glorious museum.

2Neues Museum Making a date with Nefertiti and her royal entourage at the stunningly rebuilt repository.

3Berlin by Boat Letting the sights drift by while enjoying cold drinks on the deck of a Spree River tour boat.

4DDR Museum Dipping behind the Iron Curtain at this interactive exhibit.

5Fernsehturm Getting high on the knockout views from the top of Germany's tallest structure.

This historic area packs most of eastern Berlin's trophy sights into a compact frame and is best explored on foot in the daytime when museums and shops are open. A good place to start is on vast and amorphous Alexanderplatz, a mainstream shopping hub and home to Germany's most prominent landmark, the 368m-high Fernsehturm (TV Tower). In clear weather it's well worth taking the speedy lift to the viewing platform to get your bearings.

 

Potsdamer Platz & Tiergarten

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1Gemäldegalerie Feeling your spirit soar while perusing an Aladdin's cave of Old Masters – from Rembrandt to Vermeer.

2Sony Center Stopping for a beer and people-watching beneath the magnificent canopy of this svelte glass-and-steel landmark designed by Helmut Jahn.

3Panoramapunkt Catching Europe's fastest lift to take in Berlin's impressive cityscape and enjoy refreshments in the sky.

4Tiergarten Getting lost amid the lawns, trees and leafy paths of this sprawling city park with its ponds, monuments and beer gardens.

5Gedenkstätte Deutscher Widerstand Admiring the brave people who stood up to the Nazis at this memorial exhibit in the offices where the 20 July 1944 assassination attempt on Hitler was plotted.

Despite the name, Potsdamer Platz is not really a square but Berlin’s newest quarter, forged in the '90s from terrain once bifurcated by the Berlin Wall. A collaborative effort by the world's finest architects, it is a vibrant showcase of urban renewal. The area itself is rather compact and quickly explored – unless you choose to linger in the shopping mall, have a restorative coffee in the Sony Center plaza, see Berlin from above from the Panoramapunkt or dive into German film history at the Museum für Film und Fernsehen.

 

Scheunenviertel

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1Sammlung Boros Glimpsing high drama, abstract mind-benders and glowing colour among the contemporary artworks at this bunker-turned-art museum.

2Hackesche Höfe Exploring fashion boutiques, shops, galleries and cafes in this charismatic courtyard maze.

3Clärchens Ballhaus Strutting your stuff to salsa, tango, ballroom, waltz and swing at this funky retro ballroom.

4Neue Synagoge Admiring the exotic architecture and studying up on the quarter's Jewish history at this local landmark.

5Museum für Naturkunde Sizing yourself up next to giant dinos at Berlin's mini Jurassic Park in the city's Museum of Natural History.

Scheunenviertel packs bunches of charisma into its relatively compact size and is a joy to explore by day and hang out in at night. Don't expect any blockbuster sights staring you in the face, though: its greatest charms reveal themselves in the labyrinth of quiet lanes fanning out from its main drags, Oranienburger Strasse and Rosenthaler Strasse.

 

Kreuzberg & Neukolln

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1Club der Visionäre Challenging your party stamina by dancing and partying at a day-to-night location.

2Street Food Thursday Eating your way around the world at the historic Markthalle Neun.

3Jüdisches Museum Stepping back into the fascinating history of Jews in Germany at this Libeskind-designed architectural masterpiece.

4Kotti Bar-Hop Soaking up the punky-funky alt-feel of eastern Kreuzberg in search of your favourite drinking den around Kottbusser Tor.

5Türkischer Markt Immersing yourself in multicultural bounty on a crawl through the bustling market.

Kreuzberg and northern Neukölln are epicentres of free-wheeling, multicultural and alternative Berlin. There are three quite distinct areas. The western half of Kreuzberg, around Bergmannstrasse, has an upmarket, genteel air and is home to the district’s main sights: the Jewish Museum and the German Museum of Technology. Eastern Kreuzberg (around Moritzplatz, Kottbusser Tor, Goerlitzer Platz), meanwhile, is a multicultural mosaic of tousled students, aspiring creatives, shisha-smoking Turks and Arabs, and international artists. Come here to track down fabulous street art, scarf a doner kebab, browse vintage stores and hang by the canal, then find out why Kreuzberg is also known as a night-crawler’s paradise.

 

Friedrichshain

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1East Side Gallery Confronting the ghosts of the Cold War at the world's longest outdoor artwork.

2RAW Gelände Partying till sunrise in the rough-around-the-edges bars and clubs of this former train repair station.

3Flea market Foraging for treasure at this Sunday sell-a-thon on Boxhagener Platz, followed by brunch in a nearby cafe.

4Karl-Marx-Allee Marvelling at the bombastic architecture of this grand socialist boulevard in eastern Berlin.

5Volkspark Friedrichshain Relaxing over a beer, a barbecue or an open-air movie in Berlin's oldest public park.

Friedrichshain is the only central district where major vestiges of the GDR have survived. The prime sight is the East Side Gallery, the longest surviving stretch of Berlin Wall, closely followed by the Karl-Marx-Allee, a grand boulevard that is the epitome of Stalinist pomposity. To delve deep into the extinct country's sinister part, swing by the HQ of the Stasi, the GDR's omnipresent secret police, or head out to the Stasi Prison in the adjacent district of Hohenschönhausen, where regime critics wound up. More-pleasant daytime diversions include relaxing in sprawling Volkspark Friedrichshain or picking through the indie boutiques around Boxhagener Platz (don't show up before noon).

 

Prenzlauer Berg

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1Gedenkstätte Berliner Mauer Coming to grips with the absurdity of a divided city at this memorial exhibit that follows the course of a 1.4km-long stretch of the Berlin Wall.

2Mauerpark Spending a sunny Sunday digging for flea-market treasures and cheering on karaoke crooners in this popular park reclaimed from a section of the Berlin Wall death strip.

3Kulturbrauerei Catching a concert, movie or street-food market at this venerable red-brick brewery turned cultural centre.

4Kollwitzplatz Taking a leisurely ramble around this leafy square and its side streets lined with beautiful townhouses, convivial cafes and indie boutiques.

5Prater Biergarten Guzzling a big mug of cold beer under the chestnut trees of Berlin's oldest beer garden.

Once a neglected backwater, Prenzlauer Berg went from rags to riches after reunification to emerge as one of Berlin's most desirable and well-heeled neighbourhoods. This is one of the most family friendly districts in town: safe, quiet, and with plenty of playgrounds, toy shops and child-oriented cafes.

 

City West & Charlottenburg

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1Schloss Charlottenburg Marvelling at the Prussian royal lifestyle, then relaxing with a picnic by the carp pond in the palace park.

2Story of Berlin Finishing up an engaging survey of city history with a tour of a creepy Cold War–era atomic bunker.

3Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche Meditating upon the futility of war at this majestically ruined 19th-century church.

4Berlin Zoo Communing with creatures from apes to zebras at the world's most species-rich animal park.

5Bikini Berlin Shopping for idiosyncratic Berlin fashions and accessories at this architecturally stunning concept mall.

West Berlin's commercial hub during the city's division, Charlottenburg still counts its famous shopping boulevard, the Kurfürstendamm, among its biggest drawcards. Fashionable boutiques mix it up with high-street chains and department stores along this strip and its leafy side streets. It continues east as Tauentzienstrasse, which culminates at the humongous KaDeWe department store.

 

Day Trips from Berlin

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It’s practically impossible to not be enchanted by this rambling park and palace ensemble starring Schloss Sanssouci.

The horrors of the Third Reich become all too real at what’s left of one of Germany’s oldest Nazi-built concentration camps.

Anchored by a delightful Altstadt (old town), this northwestern Berlin district flaunts its historic pedigree.

Tree-lined streets with mansions and manicured lawns lace Berlin’s poshest area, which also boasts plenty of culture cred.

Hemmed in by the Havel River, Berlin’s southwestern-most district counts palaces, forests and historical sights among its assets.

Home to Berlin’s largest lake, a sprawling forest, a handsome baroque castle and a medieval centre.

Potsdam & Schloss Sanssouci

Potsdam, on the Havel River just 25km southwest of central Berlin, is the capital and crown jewel of the federal state of Brandenburg. Easily reached by S-Bahn, the former Prussian royal seat is the most popular day trip from Berlin, luring visitors with its splendid gardens and palaces, which garnered Unesco World Heritage status in 1990.

 

Directory AZ

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PRACTICALITIES

For women’s clothing sizes, a German size 36 equals a size 6 in the US and a size 10 in the UK, then increases in increments of two, making size 38 a US 8 and UK 12, and so on.

There are dry cleaners (Reinigung) and self-service laundrettes (Waschsalon) scattered all over Berlin. Most hostels have washing machines for guest use, while hotels offer a cleaning service as well, although this is quite pricey.

ADVD Germany is in region code 2.

ANewspapers Widely read local dailies are Tagesspiegel, Berliner Zeitung, Berliner Morgenpost and taz.

AMagazines Zitty and Tip are the main listings magazines for Berlin. Siegessäule is a freebie for the LGBTIQ community.

AGoods brought in and out of countries within the EU incur no additional taxes provided duty has been paid somewhere within the EU and the goods are only for personal use.

 

City Maps

ePub

Potsdamer Platz & Tiergarten

1Top Sights

1Sights

5Eating

6Drinking & Nightlife

3Entertainment

7Shopping

4Sleeping

Historic Mitte

1Top Sights

1Sights

5Eating

6Drinking & Nightlife

3Entertainment

7Shopping

2Sports & Activities

4Sleeping

Museumsinsel & Alexanderplatz

1Top Sights

1Sights

 

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