We are back for part 2 of this post about Berlin. I hope part 1 did give you inspiration for your upcoming trip to this great German city. Let’s see if we can add some more destinations to your list. Here are numbers 5 to 10!
5. Prenzlauer Berg!
My favorite area in Berlin. When walking and cycling this area it felt like being in certain parts of New York City again. The whole area is up hill in the Eastern part of the city and owns a wealthy collection of (design) shops, boutiques, bars, and restaurants. Cycling the area is easy and in the center of this neighborhood there is a nice playground for kids (Kollwitz Park). Strolling around the leafy, cobbled streets, this is the best area to wind down from the hectic downtown Berlin and watch the locals get together.
Take the U-bahn to either the Senefelderplatz or Eberswalder Strasse station. Within the area you can find some small sightseeing spots like the Water Tower and the historic Jewish cemetery. Each Saturday from 9 am to 4 pm a farmers market takes over a couple of streets near Kollwitz Park. Buy your home made arts and handicraft, local vegetables, fruit, flowers and deli food.
6. Remember and play at the Holocaust Memorial!
A maze of concrete blocks, hundreds of them. A memorial to the murdered Jews of Europe, but kids play hide and seek. Adults just wander around, thinking, remembering and losing their sense of direction. I wrote about this Holocaust Memorial earlier and I am glad also my kids now had the chance to walk around (and play) this impressive site. Some believe the Memorial should not be a playground, but I think having adults and kids create their own experiences just shows the power of the place.
The Holocaust Memorial is in between Potsdamer Platz and the Brandenburger Tor (easiest way is to get out at Potsdamer Platz station). You can visit the Holocaust museum which is located below the field of pillars. We have been warned though that the museum is not really suitable for your children.
7. Statues & Street Art: search and find!
Don’t worry, there will be another post dedicated completely to urban street art in Berlin (with lots of pictures!). For your children though it’s fun to watch out for great sketches on buildings. But there is more: statues. We have seen several throughout the city and what greater fun than having your kids copy the statue. Just make sure to not overlook some lying (relaxing?) on the ground….
8. German food! Food? Food!
“Dad, can I have that sausage?” A real grilled, German bratwurst with senf (mustard). Who can resist that? Not me, certainly not when it comes with a nice glass of ice cold German beer after a full day of strolling the city. The list on this picture contains not really the local haut-cuisine but it’s so much fun to sometimes go along with the general stereotyping.
Another great thing to do with your kids is to visit local bakeries. The assortment in German bakeries are awesome: for breakfast and lunch. Our kids even didn’t mind eating stuff from the bakery for dinner! “Dad, let’s order a marzipan croissant, blueberry muffin, two salty pretzels, one piece of pie, two German rolls, and some of that chocolate bread…..what do you want by the way?”
You have to travel a bit outside of the main city center to find those great neighborhood bakeries. Some nice ones can also be found at the train stations.
35 kilometers south of Berlin you find the beautiful historic city of Potsdam. If you like Vienna, you will like Potsdam and particularly Sanssouci, the royal palace of Frederic the Great, King of Prussia. Situated just outside the town itself, this is a huge area with historical buildings and gardens. Feel like a king and queen for a moment…oh yes, this could very well be our house for a while…
We have only visited the palace of Frederic the Great while on our way back home. But Potsdam is an easy day trip from Berlin. You can take the train from Berlin directly into Potsdam city center or to Park Sanssouci, it will take you just over half an hour.
10. Climb the Victory Column!
If you haven’t got enough from cycling or walking from one place to another, there’s one more site I would like to add to this list: the Victory Column (Siegessäule). The great thing for your kids is: you can climb up the tower (285 steps) and enjoy a nice view over Berlin (if you don’t mind being squeezed a bit, because the area on top is really small!).
The column was constructed in 1873 to remember Prussia winning all kinds of wars (with the Danish, Austrians and French). The sculpture on top is Victoria, the Roman goddess of victory, weighing 35 tonnes. The people in Berlin call her “Golden Lizzy” (Goldelse). Want to know another nickname (sure you will not forget this one): “Chick on a Stick”.
The Victory Column is open every day from 9.30pm to around 6pm. Before climbing the stairs you will be (forced) to view an exhibition on impressive landmark buildings around the globe. But is this column really on par with the Eiffel Tower and Statue of Liberty? Well, you enjoy it anyway!
The Column is situated right in the middle of the huge Tiergarten park. You can choose from which direction to enter the park. One way is to take the subway train up to Tiergarten station and walk to the middle. It’s a nice walk because you will have the Column in sight all the time.
This list contains just 10 of many great things you can do in Berlin. If you have more days to spend (or just drive around town like crazy) you can also visit the famous FernsehTurm (TV Tower), go drive an ancient East-German Trabant car (Trabi Safari), visit the zoo at Zoologischer Garten, sit on the lawn in front of the Berlin Dom or go on a boat tour on the river Spree. Or you know what, just hop on your bike and enjoy the different neighborhoods (don’t forget to take pictures). To finish this post some pictures of these other great Berlin destinations.