First-time travelers to Berlin may wonder how they can possibly visit the capital’s most notable cultural institutions and important sites in the span of just a few short days. It’s a reasonable question and a worthy goal! We recently spent three days there taking all manner of tours, by bike and on foot, seeing landmarks, monuments, museums and more. For Berliner newcomers, we’ve put together a daylong itinerary of the Mitte district, where most visitors start their crash course in this dynamic capital.
Wake up in your suite at the storied Hotel Adlon Kempinski Berlin, situated on the Unter den Linen boulevard, and amble downstairs to the buzzing Bel Étage for an elaborate breakfast buffet. Or, if you’ve chosen to stay at the lovely Hotel de Rome, on historic Bebelplatz, take breakfast there on the terrace of Chiaro restaurant. Before leaving either property, make sure to have your walking shoes on — you’ll be covering a lot of ground today.
Weave your way amid the throngs of tourists taking selfies at the Brandenburg Gate, considering for a moment the significance of the monument. It once symbolized the division between East and West and now stands for a unified Germany. Imagine Kaiser Wilhelm II commissioning the gate in the late 1700s; the engineering prowess it must have taken to place the Quadriga chariot on the top in 1793 and Napolean Bonaparte’s militia tearing it off 15 years later; Hitler’s troops marching through its arches; and the eerie quiet that must have surrounded it when it was located in the “death strip” between East and West Germany, when no one was allowed to visit it.