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10 cool things to do this summer in Berlin

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Europe has a lot of fun activities to offer, even if it's ones far from the coast and the sunshine and the beaches.

Germany, for example, is replete with cities that offer a slightly different but incredibly entertaining take on summer loving in Europe.

Berlin, Germany's capital, is a fun and alternative location for students to spend their summer. The best of clubbing scenes, bars and restaurants aplenty, and very many fun festivals. Here are ten fun things to do in Berlin this summer.

Top tip: Purchase a Berlin Welcome Card for travel between all zones and a plethora of discounts for cultural activities.

A day of culture in Museum Island

This ‘island’ is a gathering of five large museums in the heart of Berlin, which in 1999 was named as a UNESCO World Heritage site. All five museums are not only full of beautiful artworks and historical artefacts, but their architecture also makes for an imposing addition to the Berlin landscape.Berlin’s Museumsinsel’s star, the bust of Nefertiti, is housed in the Neues Museum and is arguably the highlight of any museum tour. Other notable residents of the island include the Pergamon Altar, a monumental structure from the second century BC and reconstructed within the museum, and eighth gate to the inner city of Babylon, the Ishtar Gate. Whether a habitual museum visitor or not, everyone is guaranteed to find something of interest amongst five of the world’s most renowned museums.

Berlin’s Museumsinsel’s star, the bust of Nefertiti, is housed in the Neues Museum and is arguably the highlight of any museum tour. Other notable residents of the island include the Pergamon Altar, a monumental structure from the second century BC and reconstructed within the museum, and eighth gate to the inner city of Babylon, the Ishtar Gate. Whether a habitual museum visitor or not, everyone is guaranteed to find something of interest amongst five of the world’s most renowned museums.

Relax in one of the many outdoor and rooftop bars

Summer is the best time to take full advantage of Berlin’s many outdoor bars, and to drink a cold pint of Germany’s drink of choice, beer. The summer sees bars that otherwise keep themselves indoors put out tables and chairs onto the street so that residents and tourists can soak up some rays whilst enjoying a local brew.

Have a picnic in the sunshine

Berlin is home to many beautiful green spaces and parks, many of which grant a view to some great architecture. Just pop into a supermarket and buy some food, or even a buy a one-way BBQ that you can dispose of easily at the end of your stay. The Tiergarten is a lovely park to go to for a day’s excursion, and you can enjoy the outdoors and still see fantastic historical sites within and around the park, such as the Victory Column, the Brandenburg Gate, and the Reichstag building.

Take advantage of the good weather and see the zoo

Speaking of the Tiergarten, it also houses the Berlin Zoo. It is the most visited zoo in Europe, and one of the best-known worldwide, so definitely shouldn’t be missed. This summer of 2017 also sees the return of Giant Pandas, which promises a fantastic visit.

Most of the animals kept in the zoo are housed in generally spacious enclosures designed to closely recreate their natural habitats; it maintains and promotes breeding programmes in Europe, participates in a number of species reintroduction programs, and helps to safeguard and grow the populations of several endangered species. This way, visitors know that the price of their ticket is being used for something good. Within the Zoologischer Garten complex is also the Berlin Aquarium, home to invertebrates, fish, and reptiles, and is also worth a visit.

Enjoy great views of the city from the Reichstag

The home of the German Parliament has a thoroughly interesting history. First constructed in 1894 to house the German Empire’s Imperial Diet, it was thoroughly damaged during the 1933 Reichstag fire, and therefore was not used during the height of the Nazi Regime.

During the separation between East and West Germany, the building was still out of use for parliamentary purposes. It was only in the 1960s that it began being refurbished, but was only fully restored after the German reunification in 1990. Finally, in 1999 it once again became home to the German parliament.The building’s domed roof is made entirely of glass, offering a truly spectacular panoramic view of the city, especially beautiful in the summer weather.

The building’s domed roof is made entirely of glass, offering a truly spectacular panoramic view of the city, especially beautiful in the summer weather. For equally amazing views but without the historical significance, visitors may prefer to scale up Fernsehturm tower in Alexanderplatz.

Stroll alongside the East Side Gallery

One of Berlin’s most recognisable sights, the East Side Gallery is a portion of the Berlin Wall that stretches over 1.3km, and comprises of 105 paintings from artists all over the globe. It is painted on the side of the wall that faced East Berlin and is intended as an international memorial for peace and freedom, a theme that the paintings all reflect.

As one of the largest and longest-standing open air galleries in the world, it makes it a perfect stop for a summer trip to Berlin, and as it also runs along the river Spree, visitors can easily find a bar or small restaurant in which to relax before, during or after their visit.  

Go see Checkpoint Charlie

In the same vein, those with interests in Germany’s tumultuous recent history should visit Checkpoint Charlie, the famous east-west border control symbolic of the world’s Cold War divide. Walking towards the checkpoint, there is a series of well-written, informative boards telling of the wall’s history in significant detail, stretching to near present-day politics. The surrounding neighbourhood, though highly touristic around the checkpoint itself, is also enjoyable to wander through.

See some of the finest architecture at the Bauhaus Archive

The Bauhaus School, which was prevalent primarily during the 1920s, is one of the most influential schools of architecture, design and of art, and its impact is still noticeable today. The movement’s simple, functional designs are instantly recognisable, and the Archive features the works of some of the most famous masters and artists the movement had to offer. It is also the world’s greatest collection of pieces from the Bauhaus School, so whilst in Berlin why not visit the home of one of the most influential architectural styles of the 20th century?

Visit one of the most unusual and memorable museums in the world

Nearby to the Bauhaus Archive is the Sony Centre. Itself a visually intriguing building complex, it is the home of the Deutsche Kinemathek, the museum of German film and television. As its website describes, the museum takes the visitor on a journey through film and television history which encompasses “cinema’s pioneering years, silent film divas, movies made during the Weimar Republic and under National Socialism, Marlene Dietrich, film professionals in Hollywood exile, the post-war years, and contemporary German cinema, as well as developments in television in East and West Germany”.

Frankly one of my personal favourite museums, its expositions are laid out in a truly engaging, immersive and often enigmatic presentation, that truly transports you through time. Two of its most unique features are the multimedia time tunnel and the spectacular mirror room, which broadcasts television programs and films on mirror walls eight metres high.

And finally, don’t leave without a visit to the German Historical Museum

The DHM is often viewed as one of the most important museums in Berlin and is definitely one of the most visited. A huge building with stimulating visual displays of over 7000 objects and interesting, but concise plaques detailing the long history of Germany and Berlin, it makes for an educational opportunity to learn about the country’s fascinating history and its place in Europe. Chronologically arranged, the exhibitions take the visitor through 2000 years of German history, from the middle ages to present day, from Charlemagne’s conquests to Luther’s Theses, through the origins of WW2 and German reunification after the Cold War.




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