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Interesting/unusual things to do in Berlin?

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Burbank
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Interesting/unusual things to do in Berlin?

Hi..will be in Berlin for 3 days next month..for the first time! Looking for some suggestions on some quirky/unusual things to do and see. Sometimes there are hidden museums and off the beaten path things to explore that are not always mentioned in travel books.

Also, any suggestions for a good walking tour that focuses on WW2/Berlin Wall. Always interested in WW2 history.

Interesting museum suggestions welcome too. I'm not looking for clubs/nightlife..just historical/museum sort of things. I also like cemetaries.

Or any idea for a day trip via train.

Thank you!

New York
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1. Re: Interesting/unusual things to do in Berlin?

Most thoughtful contributors require a bit of research by the people asking for advice. You should do some homework. There are LOTS of good guidebooks on various levels of sophistication about Berlin. Then narrow down your inquiry. Nevertheless....there is a bunker turned into a private art museum. Google bumker art berlin. You have to apply in advance. You can't just show up. In Koepernik there is a super and seldom visited castle/island/museum full of spectacular furniture and a complete room covered in inlaid wood and metal. Potsdam is definitely worth a visit along with the bridge where spies were traditionally exchanged. I don't find the wall or WWII relics that interesting. Berlin has posted markers as to the Nazi period use of certain buildings. Mainly Berlin is a product of the world's best (and pretty good) architects since 1989. You can go to the train station where tens of thousands of Jews were collected for their final trip. You can take a boat trip on the Wannsee - lovely and chilling because of the historical connection. Read In the Garden of the Beast (a reference to the Tiergarten - Berlin's Central Park). It's a good read and gives you a feeling for the time. Also Berlin Diary. Notice all the water. Take a boat tour of the city. The top of the Reichstag is nice, but not (in my opinion) worth standing in line for hours for. You can hike to the top of the Koenigsburg and watch the sunset - it's (I think) the higest point in the city and gives you a nice panorama. When we where there there were lots of young Berliners drinking beer and enjoying the atmosphere. There's a monument but I forget to whom or what. Remember that Berlin is mainly a product of the 19th Century and post unification. So not to be compared with Bath, Rome, London. Berlin became the capital very late and wasn't settled by Romans. For 40+ years it was 2 cities and a backwater. It has two of everything - operas, universities, etc. And it grew like Houston, by gobbling up the little villages that had grown up around it. (Who knew Berlin and Houston had anything in common?)

Burbank
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2. Re: Interesting/unusual things to do in Berlin?

Thanks for taking the time to write. Sorry if I was a burden.

Edited: 26 September 2013, 00:09
sydney
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for Cambodia
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3. Re: Interesting/unusual things to do in Berlin?

check out this thread tripadvisor.com.au/ShowTopic-g187323-i135-k5…

.

you should check out the cemetery at the Bernauer Stasse Wall Memorial

Edited: 26 September 2013, 02:35
London, United...
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4. Re: Interesting/unusual things to do in Berlin?

Don't take offence, SerafinsGirl. RobLaw has given you a raft of splendid suggestions: enough to keep anyone busy for at least three weeks. But how to choose between them? Take his advice to do some reading and get some idea of what YOU would like to do and see in Berlin, and if you still want help, come back with some specific questions, which will make it easier for people here to help.

For starters, though, don't ignore the things that most people want to see in Berlin. They're popular for good reason. With three days in Berlin I wouldn't be looking for "hidden museums", I'd be trying visit a few of the un-hidden ones, which are some of the world's best.

Edited: 26 September 2013, 07:47
Munich, Germany
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5. Re: Interesting/unusual things to do in Berlin?

Try Berliner Unterwelten. They offer guided tours, for instance through WW2 civilian bunkers, Stasi bunkers, but also through the sewage system, if you're interested.

Check out the museum at Checkpoint Charlie. It shows how the wall came into existence, and also how people tried to flee from the GDR (some successful, some not). At the end of the exhibition, they have a car, and you're permitted to search for one of the "fugitives" (mannequin). I found her, but only because I knew she had to be there. Otherwise, I wouldn't have noticed her.

The DDR-Museum is not bad either, because you're allowed to touch many of the exhibits (GDR cars, computers, jeans, etc.)

Don't forget to visit the house of the Wannsee conference. It's located in a really nice residential area, which makes a visit there quite creepy.

The Jewish museum of Berlin is quite large and very good. ... You could also visit the synagogue at Oranienburger Str. (half destroyed by a WW2 bomb, but the rest is beautiful). Unfortunately, they no longer seem to offer guided tours for individual travelers, but only audio guides.

Chester, United...
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6. Re: Interesting/unusual things to do in Berlin?

Also, when planning it is handy to keep a map to hand to see what fits in with other things you want to do, what makes a good route from/to your hotel. It all starts to fall into place, but best to think things out with help and/or advice from Tripadvisor rather than relying on TA completely, as some seem to do.

Toronto
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7. Re: Interesting/unusual things to do in Berlin?

I just came back from 4 days in Berlin and I went on two very good walking tours through this company: newberlintours.com/daily-tours/free-tour.html I did the free walking tour and the Red Berlin tour and both were excellent. If you want to learn about WWII history and take a journey outside of Berlin, I would suggest visiting Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp. It's a pretty intense experience, but the most interesting thing I did. I also found the Palace of Tears Museum to be full of information and quite moving. I spent the day in Potsdam and found it to be a little boring.

Amsterdam, The...
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8. Re: Interesting/unusual things to do in Berlin?

Why would you want to skip amazing museums and fantastic highlights just because other people are also able to find them?

I would understand your question if this was your 5th time visiting, but for a first time and only having three days? That is like going to New York and skipping Central Park on purpose.

I've been to Berlin 6 times on 5 day visits or so every time and it's never enough time to see a few new museums and all the cool streets, cafes, parks, city beaches, markets etc etc that Berlin has to offer. And yes the main ones are very interesting such as Checkpoint Charlie and Jewish Museum and such, and the Holocaust memorial (all those blocks of stone outside).

I recommend doing a cycling tour with a guide instead of a walking tour. You can see more that way.

And you can also keep the rental bike as a means of transport, Berlin is very bike-friendly and that is less tiring than walking + public transport.

Cecilia

cile.home.xs4all.nl/travel/berlintips.htm

Exeter, United...
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9. Re: Interesting/unusual things to do in Berlin?

I agree that you should visit the well known sites. i have agreat interest in the berlin wall and the communist era in Berlin. visit the East side Gallery, and the Bernauer Strasse Memorial centre. but if you wish to find other interesting sites from this time there are many less well known sites that i have really enjoyed on my visits.

The Soviet war memorial at Treptower Park is amazing but there are two other Soviet war memorials, one near the Brandenburg gate and another at Schonholz, this one, in my opinion, is just as amazing but much less well known.

if you like monuments try Ernst Thalmann Park, and the GDR/Polish anti fascism memorial at Volkspark Friedrichshain ( at Virchower Strasse ) this monument is the only place i have seen that still has the GDR flag symbol hammer and compass displayed.

Border watchtowers are few now but there is one near Potsdammer Platz , another at Kieler Strasse and one at Schlesischer Busch.

There is also a watchtower which in the summer you can enter, at Nieder Neuendorf near Hennigsdorf just outside the city boundary.

There are still sections of the inner wall to be seen at Invalidenfiriedhof, and Rodower Hohe.

all these sites you can locate on line using www.berlin.de/ and then looking at the berlin wall section.

Traveling to these sites requires S Bahn, U Bahn, Tram and bus travel which is really easy using the BVG.de website for timetables, Platform numbers and bus stops. I have made 4 trips and travelled all around the city without a hitch using this website. I think it is great to get off the beaten path and explore.

Berlin transport is so easy and relyable.

Hope i have helped and that you have a lovely time.

Exeter, United...
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10. Re: Interesting/unusual things to do in Berlin?

just to add to my last post... The guided tours in Berlin are second to none but I have found that organising my own tours is so much more fun and I get to see exactly what i wish to see. and all it costs is the price of a transport ticket each day. you can do your own research on each site you intend to visit and spend as much time as you wish at each place.