Of all the metropolitan areas in Europe, Berlin is certainly one of the most appealing. Only a few travelers visit Germany’s capital without any expectations, but afterwards, they usually end up pleasantly surprised with all the attractions and activities in the area. Some end up extending their stay a few more days than they had originally planned. Because the city has a unique charm, that makes visitors stay longer, soaking up its rich historical heritage. With its exciting history, impressive architecture, bustling shopping centers and vibrant nightlife, there’s plenty for everyone to enjoy onsite. Of course, it’s most popular attraction is no other than the old district of Mitte, the city’s historical center.
Mitte literally means middle, which is just appropriate given the district’s central location. Aside from the wide array of attractions found here, it also features a lively art scene. Art enthusiasts will have a blast discovering extraordinary art exhibits from galleries of all shapes and sizes to some of the grandest museums in Europe.
One way to explore the historic area conveniently and effectively is by means of a walking tour. Gear up with comfortable shoes, a bottle of water and your Mitte guide or map of choice, and you are ready to go. Begin at the Brandenburger Tor station, and take the Unter den Linden exit. Proceed west towards the location of Pariser Platz. It is surrounded by handsome government buildings that were restored after their destruction in the bombing of WWII. At the background of Praiser Platz, the Branderburg Gate prominently stands, which now serves as a powerful symbol of the West and East Berlin reunification.
Continue past the historic gate and across the Tiergarten until you arrive at the Reichstag building, the previous location of the German Parliament. This extraordinary piece of architecture with its enormous dome made of glass is a must visit. While inside take a free tour of its most popular area—the glass dome—where you can enjoy a 360-degree panoramic birds eye view of Berlin. Reservations are now required via their website. Just A short walk from Reichstag is the new home of the parliament, the Bundestag. There’s not much to see in the inside but the building’s façade is sure worth a photograph.
Afterwards, visit the Holocaust Memorial. The 2,711 pillars standing onsite, each bearing a page of the Talmud, is a sight to behold. The area’s solemnity is overwhelming, making it one of the most striking and remarkable experiences in Berlin, especially for visiting Jews.
Your tour continues when heading back to the Branderburger Tor Station and walking along the Unter den Linden, one of the most popular major thoroughfares on the continent with its distinctive linden trees lining both sides of the walkway. Pass by some impressive edifices along the way such as the Opera House and the History Museum as well as the famous Museum Island and the Red Town Hall or Rotes Rathaus on your way to Alexanderplatz.
The Alexanderplatz, aside from being the transportation hub of Mitte, is also bustling shopping center. There are plenty of opportunities for shopping here, so you might want to linger and explore. If, however, your interests lie elsewhere, keep walking towards St. Marien Kirche. The latter is a medieval church that dates back to 1270. Regular service is still celebrated in the church to this day.
Continue on your way to Hackescher Markt, which makes for the perfect spot to take a break and grab some snacks. After you have filled up with the local fare, you might want to retrace your steps to the Museum Island and make the most of what the Pergamonmuseum, Alte Nationalgalerie, Altes Museum and Berliner Dom have to offer.