The Palaces of Berlin

Packing Berlin into 4 days was a challenge, especially when we had planned a day trip out to a Schloss- which is a castle or a Palace. Perhaps it was just my ignorance, but I hadn’t expected quite so many beautiful and grand buildings when I first imagined Berlin. There are so many, in close proximity to the city centre, and further out.

As written about in a previous post- we visited the Presidents Palace.

Bellevue

Bellevue

The building was huge, set in some beautiful gardens where people could picnic and relax. Whilst it wasn’t possible to enter, it provided a great background for a little relaxation time. It is situated in the city centre, in Tiergarten park.

The next castle we visited was Charlottenburg. We had seen photos, and it has amazing gardens. It is also in the city centre, so easily accessible by public transport.

Charlottenburg

Charlottenburg

The downside of Charlottenburg was the cost. We had to weigh up whether it would be worth it to go in. We had planned other things to do on this day, so to pay 10€ entry and not make the most of it seemed pointless. It was still nice to see the exterior.

There was also an outdoor market with a live concert right next to it, which apparently goes on a lot. This provided a great atmosphere around the area!

The main palace we had planned to visit was called Schloss Sans Souci. It is in the South East of the city in a place called Potsdam, and took us around 1 hour to travel to from the centre of Berlin using public transport (metro then bus).

We were lucky enough to be there in a clear and very hot day, which I find always makes scenery look even more impressive. We were welcomed by a large windmill coming into the area.

Windmill

Windmill

Large columns arranged into a semi-circle welcomed us into the palace.

Entrance to the castle

Entrance to the castle

The palace was built in 1745 for Frederick The Great- King of Prussia.

First impressions on the building were fantastic. It was so clean and well-kept. The architecture was amazing, considering how old the building was!

First impressions

First impressions

The detailing on the palace was impeccable, the many sculptures were incredibly well done.

Detail on the palace

Detail on the palace

The gardens were really something special. There was a great view looking down from the palace over the fountain and the gardens beyond.

View over the gardens

View over the gardens

The steps up to the palace from the fountain added to the grandeur of the entire place.

View from the fountain

View from the fountain

We continued to explore the gardens, which many people seemed to miss out on. We are glad we did as we came across many smaller but still very grand buildings. Whilst we did, we took some photos for Garance’s fashion blog.

Hidden buildings

Hidden buildings

There was a possibility to visit inside, but we decided against it, and just to make the most of the beautiful weather outside.

So there we have it, the beautiful Palaces of Berlin. Do not miss out on them if you come to visit this magnificent city!

Ich Bin Ein Berliner


Things to do:

  • Visit all of the monuments in the centre of Berlin
  • Take a trip to the various Schloss (castles) in and around Berlin 
  • Go to the top of the Dome in the German Parliament Building- the Bundestag
  • Visit the Olympic Stadium- which has a lot of history, and some great views of the city
  • Head over to the East Side Gallery to see remnants of the Berlin Wall

How could I write a post about Berlin and not start with this famous speech?! Berlin is in the east of Germany, and with so much modern history to its name, I would recommend doing a little reading up about the city before you visit, as I did!

Map of Germany

Map of Germany

So I took a little trip to Berlin in the summer. I took the TGV from Lyon to Paris, then flew with Air Berlin. I’ve got to say, I was very impressed with Air Berlin- a free snack and soft drink, and I even got to watch the Looney Tunes (it seems rare nowadays to have TV’s on such short flights!).

Something that hit me immediately- the prices of everything- so cheap! Arriving in Berlin was a bit of a shock: 2,40€ from Tegel Airport to the city centre via public transport. Drinks in bars were incredibly cheap- 2€ for a pint of beer. We ate out for less than 10€ every night. It was great!

So packing a huge city like Berlin into a 4 day trip- is it possible? Most certainly. Although the transport system in Berlin is very good and efficient, I decided to make the most of the sunshine, put my trainers on, and walk around the city to see all of the monuments.

Starting point: Alexander-platz. It is the first building I noticed- the tallest structure in Berlin. It is also central- and so easy to walk to many other monuments from here.

From Alexander-platz, we took a stroll down to Museumsinsel (Museum Island). And it is exactly what it says on the tin- a very small island full of museums. The buildings were all striking- very old but all very grand.

Altes Museum

Altes Museum

However one thing that I was very quick to notice- the buildings all seemed dirty and unkept. In Lyon, often buildings will have scaffolding up for a few weeks during the year to clean the front and make the building look very clean, so perhaps this is why these buildings appeared run-down to me.

Berliner Dom

Berliner Dom

Next, we headed to the Tiergarten area: Berlin’s biggest park, situated right in the centre of the city. The Bundestag is the German Parliament building, and it really is huge!

The Bundestag

Reichstag/Bundestag

If you get the chance, book up early to go to the dome inside the Bundestag, it’s a great view! There are visits to see inside the actual parliament building itself, I was just unfortunate enough to be there in the only week that it was closed!

Up close

Up close

A 2 minute walk from here was the world famous Brandenburg Gate, or, as someone kept insisting I say- Das Brandenburger Tor.

Das Brandenburger Tor

Das Brandenburger Tor

Next, something that my friends from Berlin told me that many people miss, or are simply oblivious to: A memorial to the murdered Jews of Europe. I guess in a way it is a very simple memorial, but so powerful and effective as well. I would describe it as a maze- and it would be very easy to get lost in here! You just don’t realise how high the monuments rise, or how low the ground goes.

Denkmal für die ermordeten Juden Europas

Denkmal für die ermordeten Juden Europas

Continuing down this road took us exactly along where the Berlin wall had been- separating East and West Berlin. We evntually reached Potsdamer Platz, which shows off how far Berlin has come since the communist era. The huge modern skyscrapers are a symbol of capitalism and modern Germany, as can be seen in the background of the photo above.

Further into the centre of the Tiergarten Park are a couple more striking monuments. First of all is the Siegessäule (Victory Tower). Please note: Don’t be stupid and run across the very busy roundabout like we did- best to use the underpasses!

Die Siegessäule

Siegessäule

The Bundespräsidialamt (Office of the Federal President) is a short walk from here, and worth a look, it is a very beautiful building. The actual mansion is called Bellevue.

Bellevue

Bellevue

A final recommendation would be to visit the Olympiastadion. The Olympic Stadium was home to the famous 100 and 200 metre wins by Jesse Owens in the 1936 Olympics. It was renovated for the 2006 Football World Cup. It is absolutely imperative to go to the bell tower, for an incredible view of the stadium with the city glowing in the background

Olympiastadion

Olympiastadion

So these were the main sites that I visited in 2 days in Berlin. Whilst it felt rushed getting around the city, it was relaxing enough to appreciate each place I went to.

There will be more posts coming with the other things I got up to in Berlin. We visited a couple of castles where I took a lot of beautiful pictures. There is also the East Side Gallery, an old part of the Berlin wall which remains, with many hundreds of art murals. I think this deserves its own post as I took so many photos! Here are a couple of teasers to bring you back next time 😉

Schloss Sans Souci

Schloss Sans Souci

Berlin Wall

Berlin Wall