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itsanita

Decision on Itinerary on Berlin Tour

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I'm looking for opinions/advice on touring Berlin (adults only).  I am trying to decide what to spend time at, since it will be limited, even on our private tour. 

 

So hoping those of you who have visited Berlin could weigh in.  So far our must sees are the Brandenburg Gate, Checkpoint Charlie and the Berlin Wall Memorial.

 

Choice between the Wall Museum vs the DDR Museum?  

 

Is it worth a visit inside the Charlottenburg Palace, or just a walk around, or even just a drive by?

 

Is it worth it to go to the Reichstag, up to the dome and  viewing platform?  

 

Anything else I'm missing?

 

Any help/opinions/suggestions would be appreciated.

 

Thanks

 

  

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I've been to the Wall Museum.  If you are interested in the the ways that people tried to get across the border, it will be very interesting.  Also, nice history on the construction of the wall.

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If the "DDR museum" is the one along the northern bank of the River Spree it's all about life in Soviet East Berlin.

Interesting, yes.

Must-see, no.

 

There's a small privately-operated Wall museum right by Checkpoint Charlie.

Well worth half an hour and more.

 

The Reichstag, Brandenburg Tor & holocaust memorial (modern memorial of granite oblongs, quite strange but with meaning) are all adjacent each-other. Certainly must-get-out-and-see, don't know about an inside visit to the Reichstag. Hopefully your driver will take you between Brandenburg Tor and Checkpoint Charlie via Unter den Linden and Friedrichstrasse

 

Charlottenburg is a little way west of the other sights - with your limited time I don't rate it as a must-see, even as a drive-by.

But if you do head that way, go via Kaiser Wilhelm kirche (bombed-out shell of an imposing ancient church alongside its modern replacement) and mebbe the adjacent  Kurfurstendammstrasse (known as Ku'dam), which was the city's main shopping & entertainments street.

 

Do spend some time in the former East Berlin - best-preserved length of Wall (mebbe half-a-mile of it)  is here alongside the river, and altho the differences are gradually disappearing you will see architectural differences between east and west. And, if you mix with them at all, you'll find the older East Berliners are quite dour compared to their counterparts in the West and the younger folk in all of Berlin.

 

If your driver knows it and you pass close to it, there's a Soviet watchtower in a very ordinary side-street somewhere along the route of the Wall. Worthy of a photostop.

 

Now don't you wish you were in Berlin for a week? :classic_wink:

 

All just MHO as always. 

 

JB :classic_smile:

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1 hour ago, John Bull said:

 

 

 

Now don't you wish you were in Berlin for a week? :classic_wink:

 

All just MHO as always. 

 

JB :classic_smile:

 

I sure do.  As it is, we only have 1  1/2  days.  We are staying a couple blocks from Berlin Wall Memorial, which I think you referred to as the 1/2 mile or so of the wall.  We plan on spending the afternoon there, the visitor center, walk the length of the mall to the Documentation Center at the other end.  It sounds very  informative.  

 

Then we have the entire next day.  We considered the HoHo bus, but thought we would be able to fit more in with the private tour for the day.   

 

And the Wall Memorial by Checkpoint Charlie sounds interesting too.  

 

Thanks for both of your suggestions and opinions.   

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Checkpoint Charlie is really a tourist trap, walk by and go into the museum there.  I spent 2 hours in that museum, but I have visited Berlin when it was still divided, and it was so interesting to me. 
Not sure about the DDR museum in Berlin, I went to one in Dresden and it was informative. I would suggest going to the Humboldt Box (if it is still there) built as a temporary exhibit space.  Its right by the Museum Island and was pretty interesting, and if its time for a break there is a rooftop cafe.

 

 

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On my last visit to Berlin I visted the Reichstag. I had to book well ahead of time to do an English tour of the Reichstag which was very informative and interesting. After the tour I was able to go up to the dome for the great views of Berlin. You can also register to just go up to the dome. Both options were free but needed to be booked online on the Reichstag website www.bundestag.de.

 

I also went to the Holocaust Memorial to Murdered Jews of Europe near the Brandenburg Gate which was very moving. The Museum of Topography of Terror next to a section of the Berlin Wall near Checkpoint Charlie was also interesting. I also enjoyed walking down Unter den Linden to the Brandenburg Gate and seeing the buildings, Museum Island and Cathedral. I did go to Charlottenburg Palace both inside and outside which I enjoyed but for a first visit to Berlin I would probably skip it and concentrate on sites in the central area. The public transport in Berlin is great and very easy to use. 

 

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Edited by PurpleTraveller

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19 hours ago, itsanita said:

 

I sure do.  As it is, we only have 1  1/2  days.  We are staying a couple blocks from Berlin Wall Memorial, which I think you referred to as the 1/2 mile or so of the wall.  We plan on spending the afternoon there, the visitor center, walk the length of the mall to the Documentation Center at the other end.  It sounds very  informative.  

 

Then we have the entire next day.  We considered the HoHo bus, but thought we would be able to fit more in with the private tour for the day.   

 

And the Wall Memorial by Checkpoint Charlie sounds interesting too.  

 

Thanks for both of your suggestions and opinions.   

 

 

Err, no. The section of wall that I mentioned is known as the East Side Gallery, elsewhere in the city. Left me confused (it doesn't take much :classic_blush:), 'cause the one you mention is very similar similar.

Here are the two on googlemaps

https://goo.gl/maps/V7w61ZVq39A6GaCm6

I guess go see the section near your hotel, or mebbe both. 

 

There's a museum, not memorial, by Checkpoint Charlie.  Looking at googlemaps the museum has expanded along the street since we were last there - still higgley-piggley by all accounts, but still worth a wander.

Lots of original artifacts. One that I remember is two suitcases each with a cut-out on one side and the pair big enough to secrete a child - they were placed on the overhead luggage rack of a train which crossed the East / West German border.

The hut at Checkpoint Charlie has been replaced by a replica, but looks like the original that we passed through decades ago. But sadly there's nothing left of the East German checkpoint, a more complex affair just beyond Checkpoint Charlie with concrete chicanes on the road.

There were always little ways that the two sides used to niggle each-other. We were in a military bus, the vopos (East German guards) weren't allowed on the bus, we all had to hold our passports up to the window while the guard walked down the bus, round the back & up the offside. Just for devilment our driver would stop millimetres from the barrier, so that when the guard had been round he couldn't simply walk across the front - he had to walk right round the back again.  So in retaliation the vopos tightened up the concrete chicanes to make manouvering more difficult for buses. Such were the silly games played at the border.:classic_biggrin:

 

I'd presumed that you were in Berlin on a trunkated port-of-call day, but you have longer than I thought.

But I'd still put Charlottenburg at the bottom of the list.

 

PurpleTraveller's photo is of the Jewish holocaust memorial that I mentioned near the Brandenburg Gate.

There's a small museum underneath, free entry - the entrance & stairs aren't very obvious

 

Trying to figure the bits of the wall on googlemaps I came across the Soviet watch-tower that I'd mentioned.

It's on Erne Berger Strasse just off Potsdamer Platz, the modern heart of Berlin

https://goo.gl/maps/JgQmq6hAMXvNGXpi6

 

The Berlin ho-ho is excellent - but a long & slow route, not advisable in your time-span.

And very good and cheap public transport - but you'll see, and learn, a great deal more with a private tour. IMHO a worhwhile expense.

 

JB :classic_smile:

 

 

 

 

Edited by John Bull

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Itsanita, I’m surprised nobody has mentioned how HARD it is to read the font that you use in your posts.  I lived in Berlin for several years and would be happy to add my 2 cents worth about your touring plans, but I can’t read your posts! 

Edited by GradUT

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44 minutes ago, GradUT said:

Itsanita, I’m surprised nobody has mentioned how HARD it is to read the font that you use in your posts.  I lived in Berlin for several years and would be happy to add my 2 cents worth about your touring plans, but I can’t read your posts! 

Comic Sans looks fine on a desktop, however, on a mobile it is a virtually unreadable script font.

 

@itsanita There is really nothing wrong with sticking with the default font, which looks fine on any platform.

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On 11/20/2019 at 12:30 PM, itsanita said:

We are staying a couple blocks from Berlin Wall Memorial, which I think you referred to as the 1/2 mile or so of the wall. 

Some of our choices have included:

The longest remaining single segment of the Berlin Wall is the East Side Gallery. It is 1.3 km and covered with artwork.

Museum Island - particularly the Pergamon Museum.

Berlin Cathedral (Berliner Dom)

Tiergarten - we walked through the park  on our way to the festivities commemorating the fall of the Wall  - really a lovely park.

Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church (there are remaining mosaics that you can view) & you can pop into the new church (honeycombed with predominantly blue stained glass inlays). 

Topography of Terror - site of SS Gestapo headquarters - very interesting exhibition.

We enjoyed our visit to the DDR museum - found it fascinating albeit depressing.

 

 

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10 hours ago, gnome12 said:

Comic Sans looks fine on a desktop, however, on a mobile it is a virtually unreadable script font.

 

@itsanita There is really nothing wrong with sticking with the default font, which looks fine on any platform.

 

Thanks,  I had cut and pasted some of the  information....had no idea it was hard to read.  

 

And thanks for all the great suggestions!

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1 hour ago, itsanita said:

 

Thanks,  I had cut and pasted some of the  information....had no idea it was hard to read.  

 

And thanks for all the great suggestions!

It wasn't the cut and paste stuff; it was fine (assuming that it was "Brandenburg Gate, Checkpoint Charlie and the Berlin Wall Memorial"); it was the main text of the original post.

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It is the font you gave chosen to post in, it is a script font, not block font.  It is difficult to read. 

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On 11/22/2019 at 6:56 AM, dogs4fun said:

Some of our choices have included:

The longest remaining single segment of the Berlin Wall is the East Side Gallery. It is 1.3 km and covered with artwork.

Museum Island - particularly the Pergamon Museum.

Berlin Cathedral (Berliner Dom)

Tiergarten - we walked through the park  on our way to the festivities commemorating the fall of the Wall  - really a lovely park.

Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church (there are remaining mosaics that you can view) & you can pop into the new church (honeycombed with predominantly blue stained glass inlays). 

Topography of Terror - site of SS Gestapo headquarters - very interesting exhibition.

We enjoyed our visit to the DDR museum - found it fascinating albeit depressing.

 

 

 

Thanks so much, very helpful. 

 

I have contacted several companies and you all have helped me put together a starting itinerary.   I will attempt to get admission tickets for the Reichstag at the end of our touring day.  So we don't use up time during our tour.  

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We were on a day tour to Berlin from Warnemünde. We had about 5,5 h in Berlin so there was no chance for any inside visits. I still regret we weren’t able to visit Reichstag and Pergamon Museum. If I ever return  to Berlin these two sites will be on the first place in my wish list. Another place I personally want to see is the Jewish Quarter. Maybe just  one more - Topography of Terror. I think it will be very depressive for me but it’s still a must see place.

Jess

 

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23 hours ago, itsanita said:

 

I have contacted several companies and you all have helped me put together a starting itinerary.  

 

My friends recently used local company named Essence of Berlin. They were very happy with the service. Enjoy your trip!

Jess

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1 hour ago, CrazyJess said:

 

My friends recently used local company named Essence of Berlin. They were very happy with the service. Enjoy your trip!

 

Jess

 

 

Thanks, I'll  take a look.

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On 11/27/2019 at 11:51 PM, CrazyJess said:

We were on a day tour to Berlin from Warnemünde. We had about 5,5 h in Berlin so there was no chance for any inside visits. I still regret we weren’t able to visit Reichstag and Pergamon Museum. If I ever return  to Berlin these two sites will be on the first place in my wish list. Another place I personally want to see is the Jewish Quarter. Maybe just  one more - Topography of Terror. I think it will be very depressive for me but it’s still a must see place.

 

Jess

 

 

 

 

was that with a bus or a private tour? 

 

thanks everyone for this thread, we are booked a private tour, with private transfer and trying to decide what to do. we have two children with us and really want to go inside the wall museum but it means letting go of a lot of the SPB tours normal itinerary. 

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1 hour ago, shudie said:

 

was that with a bus or a private tour? 

 

thanks everyone for this thread, we are booked a private tour, with private transfer and trying to decide what to do. we have two children with us and really want to go inside the wall museum but it means letting go of a lot of the SPB tours normal itinerary. 

How old are your children? Will they enjoy 6 hours in a van (it takes approximately 3 hours to reach Berlin and another 3 hours to return to port).

In all honesty, tours to Berlin from the port of Warnemunde offer only a taste of the city. Factoring in the travel time to/from port, there simply is not enough time to actually visit inside any sites unless you are not interested in seeing much of anything else in the city. Berlin is a large, fascinating city that offers much to see and do - IMHO it is best visited by spending at least a few days there.

The excursions offered for cruise ship passengers are comprised mostly of driving by the more famous sites with photo stops at some of them. 

Since you are booking a private tour, you can skip the drive by portion (if that is your wish) and actually visit one or two places of interest to you. 

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2 hours ago, shudie said:

 

was that with a bus or a private tour? 

 

thanks everyone for this thread, we are booked a private tour, with private transfer and trying to decide what to do. we have two children with us and really want to go inside the wall museum but it means letting go of a lot of the SPB tours normal itinerary. 

 

If you take a look at what we did it may give you some ideas . Begin with post # 229

 

 

 

 

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On 12/1/2019 at 2:08 PM, shudie said:

 

was that with a bus or a private tour? 

 

thanks everyone for this thread, we are booked a private tour, with private transfer and trying to decide what to do. we have two children with us and really want to go inside the wall museum but it means letting go of a lot of the SPB tours normal itinerary. 

It was a bus tour booked with Best Guides. We booked tours in  St. Petersburg, Berlin and Tallinn with them and got a package discount.

We were lucky as in Berlin in our bus we had only about 15 people. I don’t remember the exact number but it was much less than it had been announced. Yes, we spent about 6 hours on the bus for a round trip but it was not too bad as we slept almost all the time. We had an excellent guide Boris, a very charming and enthusiastic  person. He told us a lot about Reichstag, Pergamon Museum, Jewish Quarter and other places we passed but couldn’t visit. Yes, I agree we only got a taste of the city  but since that very day I have been dreaming to return back to Berlin and stay there for a few days. I’m sure I will … on one beautiful day 😊

Jess

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