The German capital is one of Europe’s most-visited city break destinations, in no small part due to its remarkable history and rich cultural scene. Despite its popularity, there remain plenty of hidden gems across the city for those looking to visit sights beyond Checkpoint Charlie and Berliner Dom.
Literally the ‘Palace of Tears’, this free exhibition does an excellent, thought-provoking job of telling some of the stories of life when the city and country were partitioned by the Iron Curtain, going even beyond what one might learn from visiting the sites where the Berlin Wall once stood. The museum stands next to Friedrichstrasse Bahnhof and, despite the emotional toll that a visit can take, the entrance fee itself is zero.
2. The Neues Museum’s Egyptian Collection
Inaccessible for ten years, the Egyptian collection containing the famed 3400-year-old bust of Queen Nefertiti was recently moved to the Neues Museum on Museuminsel in Mitte. Don’t make the mistake many visitors here make and feel obliged to join the often lengthy queue for the ticket booth in the square outside – tickets for the Neues and other museums on the island can also be purchased in the individual buildings themselves.
3. Classic Remise
German engineering has a reputation for quality, and nowhere more so than in the country’s automobile industry. Small wonder, then, that you can find gems such as this showroom-cum-museum to cater for petrolheads from Berlin and further afield. Around 20 minutes from the centre of the city by public transport, every vehicle here is for sale, from the €6 million classic Mercedes-Benz to more modern sports cars like the Ferrari Enzo. Fortunately, the owners and staff here welcome all window shoppers, even if the only thing they want to take away is a photograph!
4. Topography of Terror
One of Berlin’s darker attractions, the building in which this museum is housed was once the base of operations for the SS, Reich Security and the Gestapo during the rule of the Nazis. Free to enter since it opened in 1987, the exhibition is a fascinating, intriguing and disturbing look at how the National Socialist Party came to power, and how the various arms of their Government spread terror through Germany and across Europe.
Not so much an ‘attraction’ per se, but more somewhere to explore for yourself, this quirky district in East Berlin has a quirky and unique atmosphere, not completely dissimilar to that of Shoreditch in East London. Cool, graffiti-like murals cover many of the walls here, and there are a myriad of cafés, bars and restaurants, making it a perfect destination for anyone looking to party or merely unwind after a hard day’s sightseeing!
If these five great attractions aren’t for you, or you are looking for even more inspiration, check out the personalised city guides at www.citytripplanner.com/.