Berlin is the capital of Germany, as well as its largest city with an area of 344.1 square miles (891.1 square kilometers). It is also the European Union’s most populous city, with a population of 3.8 million as of 2019. It has become known for its vibrant cultural environment and lively economy that draws people from all over the world.
Berlin is home to many internationally renowned universities, which include ten institutions selected by the government as “Excellence Universities”. The city is also home to the University of the Arts, the largest of its type in Europe, and the Charite University Hospital, the continent’s biggest medical facility.
There are three UNESCO Heritage Sites found in Berlin.
• Museum Island, a complex of five museums highlighting how museum design has evolved during the 20th century
• The Berlin Modernism Housing Estates, which highlight how the progressive policies of the Weimar Republic (1919-23) resulted in welcoming and light-filled housing for ordinary residents that heavily influenced architecture in the 20th century
• The parks and palaces of Potsdam and Berlin, which were constructed in the 18th and 19th centuries and whose breathtaking beauty continues to inspire architects and artists from all over the world.
Millions of tourists every year flock to Berlin’s many renowned landmarks of historic importance and cultural interest. These include the
• Brandenburg Gate
• Berlin Wall Memorial
• Potsdamer Platz
• The Reichstag Building
• Charlottenburg Palace and Gardens
A Rich Cultural Scene
Berlin is arguably the live cultural center of Germany. As it had the cultural infrastructure of two major capitals during partition, there are theatres, operas, and universities galore. These are a drag on the empty municipal coffers and lead to complaints by people from other parts of Germany about subsidies, but they help keep one of the most vibrant cultural scenes in Europe alive.
A comprehensive platform that lists cultural events is offered by Berlin Bühnen on behalf of about 80 venues. Berlin’s notable cultural institutions for performed arts, both classical and modern, can mostly be found in Mitte and City West. Even if you aren’t going to see a play or concert, many of the venues are architectonically impressive and as such attractions in themselves.
On the theatre side, the “grand old” title might go to Deutsches Theater, a classical theatre with an impressive lineup of actors and directors. Overall, however, famous theatres in Berlin tend to have a more modern character.
The city also has an English theatre in East Central Berlin, if you prefer performances in English. Some theatre venues are known for their musicals: the historical Theater des Westens, the Theater am Potsdamer Platz, and the Friedrichstadt-Palast, which focuses on revue type shows and offers Berlin’s biggest show with over 100 artists on the biggest theatre stage in the world.
Berlin is home to the Berlinale, the annual Berlin Film Festival, which is one of the world’s most prominent film festivals. It is notable for actively encouraging the participation of the general public. With 500,000 admissions annually, the Berlinale has the largest public attendance of any ongoing yearly film festival.
Getting around Berlin:
As Berlin is a major metropolis with pretty decent public transit, you should take buses, trains, and trams whenever possible as those cover most of the city and are often the fastest way to get to places. The Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe (BVG) lists all its fares on its website. Consult their Berlin route planner (in English) to get excellent maps and schedules for the U-Bahn, buses, S-Bahn local trains (RB and RE), and trams, or to print your personal journey planner.
Cruising from Berlin:
Berlin offers day Harbor cruises as well as multi-day cruises along the Elbe River south to Prague and north to Hamburg and the Havel and Oder Rivers cruising north to the Baltic Sea
Distinctive Travel and Tours can assist with rail tours, multi-day tours, and hosted stays in Berlin with excursions.
Distinctive Travel and Tours, located in Spring Texas, has been offering tours of Germany and Switzerland since 1998 and is an Arc credited and bonded travel company.
For more information or assistance with planning a Germany or Switzerland tour, contact Distinctive Travel and Tours at 888-843-7914 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.distinctiveeurotours.com.