Our 4 Days Family Holiday in Berlin

Berlin is the capital of Germany and is a treasure trove of history and culture. Its numerous monuments, official buildings, memorials, and other landmarks symbolize Germany’s history like no other city.

During the Christmas vacation of 2019, we as a family did a 10 days holiday and visited 3 important cities in Germany: Nuremberg, Berlin, and Hamburg. After spending 3 days in Nuremberg, we headed to our next destination, Berlin. Here we spent about 4 days.

Here is the itinerary we followed in Berlin:

Day 1: Reach Berlin, Visit the Christmas Market

Day 2: Visit Alexanderplatz – Fernsehturm; Berlin wall-West Side; Brandenberg gate, and nearby areas

Day 3: Visit DDR Museum ; Spy museum; Legoland Discovery Center

Day 4: East side gallery; Checkpoint Charlie, and then head to our next destination, Hamburg

Before I get on with the details of the places we visited, let me take my readers through information on Travel and accommodation.

How we reached Berlin:

Berlin was the 2nd leg of our ten days trip to see the highlights of Germany. As a part of that trip, we visited Nuremberg, Berlin, and Hamburg. We traveled to Berlin using the Deutsche Bahn (Train) from Nuremberg. It took approximately 5 hours. So we left in the morning from Nuremberg and reached Berlin around the afternoon.

The tickets for Deutsche Bahn trains can be bought on their official website:

https://www.bahn.de/

Where we stayed:

Since we are a family with kids, having enough space for each of us is essential. Hotel rooms are not spacious and restrict everyone to a small room. So, off late, we have started booking through Airbnb. We usually reserve a flat or house, preferably with an equipped kitchen and a minimum of two bedrooms, so that each of us has our own space and there is always an option of cooking something. 

We, as a family, like having a good breakfast and starting our day, and Airbnb allows us to make simple meals at home. Also, we like exploring the local supermarkets, finding what’s new, and trying out foods and drinks that are locally available. Airbnb is an excellent option for all the people who want to add this to their holiday experience. 

For this trip, too, we booked an Airbnb, and as usual, the experience was great.

Airbnbs can be booked using this link:

https://www.airbnb.com/

How we traveled around the city

In Berlin, we used public transport to travel around places.

The public transport that works in Berlin is:

https://www.bvg.de/en

We purchased the Berlin Welcome card for 4 days from the main railway station on the day we reached. This card allowed us to use any public transport in Berlin for 4 days.

https://www.bvg.de/en/tickets-tariffs/all-tickets/tourists/welcomecard-4-days

Now, let’s get on with the itinerary:

Day 1 :

From Nuremberg, we took a train and reached Berlin. While Nuremberg is located in the south of Germany, Berlin is located 500 km away in the north. It took us about 5 hours on the train to reach Berlin. It was already dark by the time we checked in, freshened up, and were ready to head out. So, we decided to see the Christmas market in Berlin on our first evening.

About Christmas Markets:

Christmas markets are a very old tradition in Germany. Its origins can be traced back to the 14th/15th Century. Almost a month before Christmas, markets are set up at city centers, becoming the hub of activities until Christmas eve. Game stalls, food stalls, and those selling a range of products from local handmade goods, souvenirs, winter wear, and deco articles are put up, and locals flock to the markets in their city to enjoy the festive atmosphere, eat, drink and make merry.

After visiting the biggest Christmas market in Nuremberg, we were keen to see what Berlin offers. So, we visited the Christmas market and enjoyed Germany’s famous Bratwurst, Gluhwein, and Lebkuchen.

Photo by Babak Habibi on Unsplash

Day 2 :

Our first destination for today was Fernsehturm at Alexanderplatz

About Fernsehturm, Berlin

At the height of 368m, the Fernsehturm ( TV tower ) is the tallest tower in Germany. It has a viewing gallery that can be accessed with a lift, and you get fantastic city views from there.

You can spot important landmarks of the city through its various windows. It also houses a revolving restaurant.

The official website for booking tickets for the visit is:

https://tv-turm.de/en/

You will need about an hour/hour-and-a-half to visit the place.

After our visit, we explored Alexanderplatz for a while. Alexanderplatz is a shopping hub of Berlin and is a great place to buy Berlin souvenirs and local goods, even do your regular shopping.

After lunch at Alexanderplatz, we headed to our next destination, Berlin Wall ( west side)

About the Berlin Wall:

The Berlin wall was a guarded concrete barrier that divided Berlin from 1961 to 1989. After the 2nd world war got over, Germany was divided into 4 zones. The western zone was occupied by the US, France, and the UK, while the east was occupied by the Soviet Union. Due to the difference in political ideologies and plans to reconstruct the country and the increasing divide, a wall was constructed, and entry/exit from either side was strictly restricted. There are numerous stories about people trying to escape from one side, having faced severe difficulties, and even being shot while trying to escape in the worst cases.

Both the east and the west side of the wall are accessible today and speak a great deal about this part of Germany’s history.

We visited the west side of the wall first. We visited Ackerstrasse-one of the first places where the wall was constructed and one of the first where the dismantling started.

Various information pillars with audio explain how it all took place.

Some part of the wall is retained here, and a memorial of the people who lost their lives is also an important part of this place.

After this, we headed to Brandenberg Gate.

About Brandenburg Gate:

Brandenberg gate is an 18th-century monument built on the orders of Prussian king Frederick Wilhelm II. It has been the site of important historical events in Berlin and symbolizes Germany and Europe’s history. It is undoubtedly the most important landmark of Berlin. It is accessible all through the year.

Many important official buildings are near the Brandenberg gate, including the Reichstag (German Parliament Building).

One can walk along the boulevard (called Unter den Linden) after crossing the gate and explore important memorials, official buildings, etc.

We spent the rest of our day here.

Day 3:

Today was a busy day. We started our day by visiting the DDR museum.

About DDR Museum:

DDR museum is an interactive museum that showcases all about life during the rule of the GDR ( German Democratic Republic)-The side of Germany under the Soviet Union ( the part that was created about Germany was divided into the west and the east zone).

It showcases everything about how life was on that side of Germany, including the history of the wall, the regime, the homes and kindergartens of common people, the food the people ate, the gadgets they used, and in general, the lives they lived. Its highlight is a simulation ride of the Trabant, a popular small car of those times manufactured in east Germany.

The Museum is located along the river Spree. After the visit, we walked along the river and saw the Berlin Cathedral from the outside.

The DDR museum is big and requires at least 2-3 hours to see everything.

After the museum visit, we had lunch and headed to The German Spy museum.

About the German Spy Museum:

The German Spy museum is a unique and one-of-its-kind museum. This museum is all about the history of spies and espionage.

The museum uses exhibits, artifacts, and multimedia to cover centuries of espionage stories and tactics, providing visitors an immersive experience.

It’s a must-visit in Berlin, because you may not get a similar experience in another city.

After having an experience of a lifetime in the German Sply museum, we headed to our next destination – Legoland Discovery center.

About Legoland Discovery Center, Berlin:

Legoland Discovery Centres are a smaller versions of Legoland. They feature models and attractions inspired by Lego and are housed indoors. Berlin also has a Lego discovery center.

There are Lego models on display and plenty of lego to play with too. They also organize small tours for kids in which they explain how legos are made. It is ideal for visiting with small kids and engaging them in the winter months.

Day 4:

Today was our last day in Berlin, and we had two places planned. The first one was the East side Gallery.

About the East side Gallery:

East side Gallery is an open-air gallery with works from various artists from Germany and abroad on the last surviving parts of the Berlin Wall. It has more than 105 paintings, and the wall is a heritage-protected landmark of Berlin.

One can walk along the wall, see the paintings, and admire the works of various artists.

After spending an hour or so at the East Side Gallery, we headed to our last destination in Berlin-Checkpoint Charlie

About Checkpoint Charlie:

Checkpoint Charlie, though today a tourist attraction, was a crossing point between east and west Berlin during the cold war. If anyone from either side wanted to cross and go to the other side, they had to go through this point after rigorous checks. It represented the cold war and the separation of the west and the east.

This place gives us a glimpse into how things might have been during the cold war period.

This is an active place, which many shops and restaurants. If you walk a bit further, you will find a small section where some parts of the wall are preserved, and the history is explained through exhibits and displays.

With this, we came to the end of our 4 fantastic days in Berlin- Days that were full of fun and learning. By afternoon, we took the train and headed to our next destination-Hamburg.

Check out more pictures from Berlin on my gallery page.

Click here to read about the first leg of our 10 days holiday in Nuremberg.

Check out photos of many other wonderful locations on my gallery page.

To read about other holiday destinations, click here.

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