Berlin is a city pretty well-known for its troubled history and vibrant culture. You’d think in a city as large as Berlin, the main historical sites would be expensive to get in t0 – well that’s where you’re wrong. While we were there during our 3-month trip around Europe, we surprised that almost all of the historic sites were free to enter!
From the Berlin Wall to the Berlin Cathedral, here are five sites that you can see for free…
#1 The Berlin Wall
The Berlin Wall’s dark history and contrasting vibrant art are just some of the reasons tourists are attracted to this historic site. In travelling to the wall, we assumed that there would be some sort of entry fee to get in to see it. However, when we arrived we were surprised and delighted to discover that you could explore the wall and its history at no cost…
The historic site is designed to be seen in an ingenious way. Whilst only parts of the wall still stand, along the ground is a metal strip which marks where the wall would have been standing. In this outdoor museum, there are lots of plaques with historical information which continue all the way along the stretch of the wall.
Walking along this part of history is a harrowing and eye-opening experience. The wall also continues all the way into the middle of the city, where the most important pieces of the historic wall stand. Exploring not only the history but vibrant and meaningful art is something that all tourists must see.
#2 Brandenburg Gate
The Brandenburg Gate is another one of Berlin’s main historical and cultural areas. With so much history behind it – ranging from the 18th Century to World War II – it is definitely a must-see historical site for backpackers. But if you’re not keen on a bit of history, the area is a cultural hub filled with street performers and food stalls. Not to mention the beautiful architecture of this monument…
Brandenburg Gate is always packed with tourists, but it is something that is definitely worth seeing. If you continue further under the gate, there is a large road which takes you along some of the monuments which commemorate the Prussian victory in the Danish-Prussian war. At the very end of the road is an iconic monument known as the Victory Column – a spectacular site to see associated with an important time in history.
The Brandenburg Gate and all of the monuments around it are completely free to see. When we were there we saw lots of people riding hire bikes and also lots of free walking tours, which are both good options if you want to explore this area in depth. Don’t forget to try some authentic German currywurst from the many street vendors…
#3 Checkpoint Charlie
Rich with important history, Checkpoint Charlie is an iconic feature of Berlin that is definitely a must see. Checkpoint Charlie was the best-known crossing point between eastern and western Berlin during the cold war, which makes it pretty obvious why this historical site is so important.
You can walk right up to the checkpoint is, where the military post still stands today. When we were there, there were two ‘guards’ standing in front of the post, and you were able to take photos with them. Checkpoint Charlie has become a bit over-saturated with tourism, but it is definitely something you should consider going to see.
While entry to the checkpoint is free, there is a museum next to it which you will need to pay to get into. We didn’t get a chance to go into the museum but it seemed pretty popular with everyone else!
#4 Holocaust Memorial
A pretty horrific and sad moment in history is The Holocaust, where millions of Jewish people died at the hands of Nazi Germany. This memorial to The Murdered Jews of Europe is not only considered a place of remembrance, but also a place of contemplation and serves as a warning to future generations.
The memorial is designed in a very unique and interesting way. An endless sea of grey columns all different heights in an area of 19,000 square metres! The memorial is designed to have a wave-like slope, and you are able to fully immerse yourself in and around the columns. Underneath the memorial is an information centre, including the names of the victims and where they came from.
Entry to the memorial is completely free, and it is definitely something that everyone needs to see. It is a great place to reflect on the atrocities of World War II.
#5 The Berlin Cathedral
Beautiful architecture, an impressive courtyard, and a vibrant atmosphere are just some the Berlin Cathedral’s unique features. Finished in 1905, this piece of history is visited by tourists from all over the world daily. While the entry into the actual Cathedral isn’t free, the large courtyard filled with street vendors and performers is worth seeing anyway.
The courtyard was one of my favourite places that we stopped for lunch! The courtyard had a very culturally rich atmosphere, making it a great place to sit and people-watch for a while. There was an amazing water fountain outside of the cathedral, with lots of street performers around it all doing different things. It was a great place to sit in the warm summer sun and rest after a long morning of exploring.