I had never been to Germany before my trip a few weeks ago. What was worse was that I had done minimum research when planning what I hoped to accomplish over the two days I spent in the city. Also, I was on a budget. My money has been running low due to a recent deposit on an apartment and this meant that the money I had once hoped to spend in Berlin was running low.
Here are the top free attractions I discovered during my wanderings through the historic city of Berlin.
Stroll through the East Side Gallery
East Side Gallery is an outdoor gallery of graffiti artwork that represents freedom. It sits on East Berlin and follows the Spree River and is also the longest remaining section of the Berlin Wall. Shortly after the fall of the wall over 100 artists from all over the world turned the ruins into an open-air gallery. All of the art is inspired by deceleration of peace and other politically influenced ideas. While you can pay for a professional tour through the area, it is also a nice walk around the river if you’re inspired for some deep thinking and may not have a couple Euros for a professional tour.
While entering any of the beautifully crafter museums on Museum Island will cost you a few Euros (no more then five, perhaps even less if you’re a student) the island itself is a work of art. The island is made up of five different museums: Pergamonmuseum, Bodermuseum, Neues Museum, Alte Nationalgalerie and Altes Museum and while you will have to pay to see the amazing artifacts within, walking around the island and taking in the beautiful architectures is free.
Walk Through the Holocaust Memorial
The haunting Holocaust Memorial, which remembers the six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust, consists of a giant field of steel – 2711 sarcophagus-like concrete slabs varying in height on undulating ground. As you walk through, an unsettling atmosphere is created from the audible whispers and footsteps of others close by. It’s perhaps one of the saddest memorials Berlin has to offer, but it reminds you of what has been lost over the devestating history surrounding Berlin.
Berlin’s most iconic landmark, hte Brandenburg Gate, was created in 1791 as the royal city gate but spent the majority of the Cold War sitting in on East Berlin. Restoration was completed in 2002 and now it stands proudly as a symbol of the once divided nation. Crowned by a beautiful sculpture of the winged goddess of victory piloting a chariot, it now serves as a symbol of reunification.
Check Out Checkpoint-Charlie
Checkpoint Charlie was the principal gateway for foreigners between the two Berlins from 1961 to 1990. There is a free open-air exhibit that illustrates milestones in Cold War history is one redeeming aspect. Be careful though: this is considered a ‘tourist trap’ due to it being on every tourist ‘must see’ list.