I do not like writing too long articles or else people tend to lose their attention and drop halfway, that is why I am writing this special article about extra places to visit in Berlin and the surroundings. I did not run out of places to visit in Berlin before but, these ones, that I am now listing here, take more time for a visit and not everyone can afford to go because of the lack of time (many people just stop in Berlin for 1 or 2 days).
Charlottenburg Castle is one of the most beautiful castles you can find in Berlin and an oasis of tranquility in the middle of the city. The italian baroque castle was commisioned by Frederick III’s wife Sophie Charlotte and used as summer residence. After the death of the wife, Frederick changed the name to Charlottenburg in order to honour her. The interior of the castle are breathtaking: many chambers, arranged one after another, built in rococo style and adorned with beautiful stuccos. My favourite is the ball room, passing through there made me imagine how the life was at that time: long tables where the noble family used to invite other powerful lords, balls in the evening with beautiful principesque dresses, ladies that were waiting to be picked up by some handsome princes…
I looked forward to taking a photo of the castle from the garden but unfortunately, it was under renovation so what you will see from the photo is just a jungle of scaffoldings. I was a bit upset but I got back my good mood wandering around the huge garden filled with myriad of colorful flowers. At the end of the garden there was a lovely pond where ducks and beautiful white swans were swimming around. It was really peaceful sitting down there and observing these animals. I even forgot I was staying in a big city…
NOTE the ticket price depends on what area of the castle you want to visit but the basic ticket (the one I bought) was 8 euros and 5 euros reduced (for all the university students out there, this is your chance). Furthermore, they will ask you if you want to take photos inside charging you something like 2-5 euros more (I do not remember well).
This place is a MUST if you are going to visit Berlin; these kinds of places are hidden from everyone and only locals know. I came across Klunkerkranich by chance while I was searching for photos of Berlin on internet and I got enchanted by the beautiful landscape it offers. I researched a little bit discovering that it is a pub located on the top of a mall in the district of Neukoelln (for those who are curious this long name means Crane in english). It is run by young people: they play music, they serve drinks and food at the table, they do everything in order to make the atmosphere enjoyable…adults who are reading this, do not be afraid, this place is perfect for you too! The customers are not just young people but you find also many adults enjoying the evening up there. The entrance is very hidden though: once you reach Neukoelln, the mall is just outside the metro station, then take the lift and reach the parking. In the car parking, you will spot a small sign with written Klunkerkranich, just go up and you will find this beautiful place. The view from there is also breathtaking, it is like you have Berlin in your hands!
For more information, please check the website: http://www.klunkerkranich.de/. By the way, it is said that Neukoelln is quite dangerous for the great amount of Turks and migrants living in the area. I had no problems at all when I was there, although it was evening, but always be careful, especially if you do not much about the city.
NOTE To enter you need to pay 5 euros and they will make a stamp on your arm in the case you want to go out and return later, making you avoid paying another time.
The Tiergarten is a crazily huge park on the western side of Berlin, it really seems endless xD We had an extensive stroll around this “forest” getting to know that at the center there is this Siegerssaeule. It is a tall column built to commemorate the Prussians’ win over the danes. Later, at the top, it was added a golden sculpture after the win of the Prussians against Austria and France. Surprisingly, we also found a very chinese-looking gate that, later, I discovered it is part of the Berlin Zoo. The Tiergarten is perfect in order to relax after a tiring day but not exactly the perfect choice for people who are staying here just one or two days.
Before reaching the Tiergraten, we came across this curious house, where you still could see clearly the holes of the ammunitions shot during the war.
Gedächtniskirche and Kurfürstendamm
I guess that this name so hostile for me (I never managed to remember and I say stuff like “kurfsdam”) is very well known among shopping fans. This is indeed a long shopping street located in west Berlin where the famous KaDeWe (Kaufhaus des Westens – the mall of the westerns) can be found. This street has known the peak of its grandeur after the Germany’s unification, when the rich people decided to build posh houses and residences along the street. Its fame is also thanks to the canchellor Bismarck that modified Kurfürstendamm basing it on the model of the champs-élisées.
Apart the large number of shops that are scattered here and there and the big KaDeWe mall, there is the Gedächtniskirche, the strongest symbol, in my opinion, of the war’s destructive power. This is a place that should be seen by everyone to comprehend better the horror of the second world war and how much this country suffered. The church was built in the 19th century in neoromanesque style; the original complex was very imposing and hosted mosaics depicting the life of the Emperor Willhelm I.
Despite the heavy damages the church suffered during the war, it was never rebuilt as an omen that, everyday, will remind people of the war. Inside, you can look at the pictures of the original construction; it makes you realise that the wars, every kind, are just stupid. Since the Gedächtniskirche cannot be used anymore, they built a new one in front of it. It is very modern and I would add also very creepy: It is very dark inside and the only rays of light that penetrate are red. More than the place of god, it reminds me of the hell ahaha
First of all, let me state clearly that Potsdam is not a district of Berlin but a smaller city located nearby. It can be reached using the S-Bahn within 30 minutes but bear in mind that you have the buy the area c ticket. Potsdam is very important for its castle heritage as the area was used by Prussian Kings for building castles and residences, thus it has been surnamed “the German Versailles”. The city is located near the Havel river creating in this area a lake district. In my eyes, Potsdam seemed very new because of the crazily large streets, resembling a bit the soviet ones, and the big romanesque buldings, which reminded me of the White House in Washington xD One of the main landmarks is the Sanssouci Schloss, the reason why I came here 😉 For all those who are planning to stay in Berlin, I advice to book one day more to come to visit here because it is really worth it!
Sanssouci Castle is one of the most beautiful castles I have ever seen in my life! The name comes from the french expression “sans souci” which means without worries. Not by chance, the castle was built in the green city of Potsdam, far away from the bustling Berlin, in the middle of the nature. The complex was built in the 18th century following the sketches of Frederick II The Great, the king of Prussia, in rococo style. The basic idea was to build a tranquil place where the king could indulge himself in his personal interests and hobbies and, I think, the idea worked out very well. The castle is surrounded by vineyards (yeah, vineyards are even here, Germany you impressed me another time) and by a wonderful garden (in the past noble families really did not know where to waste their money ahah).
A very useful information: if you want to visit the castle, you need to book in advance because the guided tour is mandatory and they all get sold out very soon! Because I did not know this, I lost the chance to visit the inside as the last avalaible guided tour was at 6 P.M. ç_ç
The potsdam park extends over an area of 290 hectares, built after the construction of the Sanssouci Schloss, it was commisioned by Frederick II that wanted to make a french-style garden. You can find many castles or small constructions scattered around the park; this is what I came across during my wanderings:
I was very happy when I saw the Chinese House (even if I expected it to be bigger) because I’m truly fixated on asian culture and finding one even in Berlin pleased my asian me. I must say that in the past, many noble families had chinese-like rooms built in their castles and sometimes even chinese or japanese pavillions. The house is not that much chinese to be honest, it is more a mix between western and eastern architecture filled with a lot of western stereotypes towards asians, which can be easily observed in the sculptures the house is adorned with.
Neues Palais, that means New Palace, is located in the western part of Potsdam Park, from the map it looked closer but damn map! you always trick me and I end up walking for hours xD The park is really huge, full of vegetation and the green is omnipresent; all around, you find these gazebos made of steel that seemed to be made to take photos. Despite the long stroll we had, we really enjoyed the place and then our struggles were rewarded when we reached the Neues Palais: a beautiful baroque palace was in front of my eyes, I really thought to be in a fairytale.
The construction started in the 18th century and was initially used just by the hosts of the king but then, it eventually became a royal residence. We did not have time to visit the inside because it was already late afternoon and we had to come back to have dinner so we just admired the beautiful complex from outside and then went away.
Have you ever been to Potsdam? What did you like the most? How about Berlin? Let me know in the comments below 🙂