Berlin is one of Europe’s culture and entertainment capital. It houses museums that feature huge collections, restaurants that serve exquisite cuisine, and architecture that wows every visitor. It also gives you a nightlife like no other, colorful, and exhilarating festivals, a wonderful experience that satisfies our cravings for shopping, and fun-filled activities that makes it a truly unforgettable vacation.
There are so many museums (more than 140) that you might get confused which ones to visit first. Of course, you won’t be able to see all of them if you stay for a short time. You need time to absorb what each museum offers. So staying longer is recommended.Berlin has a rich and fascinating history. This is mirrored in the various architectural gems that dot the city.
Also you have all the time to drink the famous Berliner beer and sample international and local delicacies, such as wurst. Food is certainly something you can enjoy 24 hours a day. You can even get something to satisfy your craving palate or fill your crumbling stomach at 3 or 5 in the morning.
It is impossible to walk through the German city without running into a pub, a bar, a theatre, a cinema or a disco, where locals and visitors meet to spend their evenings and leisure time. Life is buzzing in every single quarter of this fantastic capital.
If you’re planning on visiting this historical city in the near future, make sure to time your visit during one of Berlin’s major festivals. It can be a music festival, the Berlinale film festival or even a very famous beer festival.
One of the exciting pastimes in Berlin is shopping. It is famous for its countless shops for shopaholics to go to. There are myriad designer stores in several shopping centers of the previous West-Berlin.
If you think that sports fans have no place in Berlin, you are mistaken. Home to so many professional and amateur sports, Berlin has lived up to its reputation as one of the world’s sports havens beginning from the year when it hosted the Olympic Games way back in 1936.
Berlin as the capital of Germany is rich in history. This is evident in its various architectural treasures that are scattered all over the city. Aside from eating local delicacies such as wurst and drinking Berliner beer, you can spend your time as a tourist exploring these historical heritages. However, you might suddenly feel overwhelmed with various architectures to see. Here are some suggested places to visit:
Murdered Jews of Europe Memorial
This was opened to the public May, 2005 and is near downtown Berlin. The added bonus is that it is so near the public transportation that you won’t really miss it. This architecture can best be appreciated during summer because it showcases a beautiful garden. There are also stories and histories on the Jewish victims of World War II with photos.
St. Nicholas Church
The St. Nicolas Church is many centuries old dating back to 1307. If you visit this church, you will see a portion of the old church. This was rebuilt later after bombs hit it during World War II.
East Side Gallery
The East Side Gallery is an architectural testament to a divided Berlin in the past. It is considered to be a painful past because the Berlin wall is witness to many people who have tried to cross it from communist eastern Berlin to capitalist western Berlin and then died. The East Side Gallery is the name given to the longest stretch of what remains of the then Berlin Wall. It shows artworks with bright colors, and emotional and political statements.
If you prefer to see how the royalty lived in the past in Berlin, you might be interested to see architecture in Berlin called Charlottenburg Palace. It showcases Baroque architecture, which makes it a must-see.
You can explore the palace even without a guided tour and see the grand rooms. However, you might want to read on background information or if not, you can join a tour. There are so many treasures revealed in a tour. It is also suggested that you pick up some information sheet on the lobby, which is available in many languages. Unfortunately, the tour is conducted in German.
Berlin’s history is reflected in its architecture. Although many of these are sadly destroyed during World War II, conscious efforts have been made to restore and rebuilt the glorious Berlin architecture of the past. This is evident in the various churches and buildings scattered around the city.
Do you have plans to visit Berlin in the near future? Why don’t you time your visit in this historical city during one of Berlin festivals. It can be a music festival, film festival or even the very famous beer festival.
Berlin Beer Festival
This festival is interesting for beer lovers all around the world. It usually happens on the first week of August. It is said to be the longest beer garden in the world where beer worldwide is presented to all the visitors, may it be Czech beer or Bohemian beer.
In 2008, there were approximately 800 thousand tourists and visitors who came to see the different breweries with 1,800 beer specialties. Aside from the beer, it is also a venue of culture and sociability that makes it more fun and special. There is also live music and culinary specialties. The good thing is that admission is free.
Berlin Music Festival
Berlin also showcases many annuals musical festivals may it be classical, rock or just plain marching bands. One of the most popular annual events in Berlin is the Carnival in Berlin wherein different groups and floats come together for an outdoor festivity.
Another popular Berlin festival is the Carnival of Cultures, which usually happens on the second week of May. It is a celebration of different cultures and ethnicities. It is worth seeing because many people from different nationalities come to see the parade of dancers, musicians and singers from 70 countries.
If you prefer classical, baroque and orchestral music, then the Berlin Philharmonics Open Air at the Waldbuhne is perfect for you. It is an outdoor concert held in the middle of June.
You must also not miss Fete de la Musique, which is also held in mid-June or on the day of the summer solstice. In this event, musicians from all over Europe come to participate to play traditional or modern music.
Berlin Film Festival
This film festival called Berlinale happens every February of the year. It is a must see for all film buffs because it showcases many movies from all over the world. Moreover, you can also see other special events, panel discussions, exhibitions, and maybe your favorite international celebrities. Aside from Cannes and Venice, the Berlinale is considered to be one of the special film events in Europe. The difference with the first two, however, is that Berlinale is more open to the public.
Berlin is a good travel destination choice and you can make it a better experience when you time it with a Berlin festival.
The Berlin performing arts scene is one of the most vibrant in Europe. If you are a performing arts aficionado, Berlin is the best place to go because the city offers great opera houses, theaters, and even street performances.
Berlin Street Performance Artists
Visit the Museum Island, which is considered as the heart of Berlin’s art district, so you can enjoy street presentations of various performance artists.
It is best to visit the place in late afternoons or early evenings. At these times, you can witness an extravagant display of artistic performances on almost every street corner of the district.
Just walk around the streets of the district so you can watch jugglers, painters, instrumentalists, singers, and street dancers. You will certainly have a good time at the arts district of Berlin.
Berlin Opera Houses
The Berlin performing arts scene is also rich in classical presentations. There are dozens of opera houses in the city where you can enjoy classical music and opera.
Head on to Gendarmenmarkt square to enjoy the performance of world famous Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra at the Concert House. Nearby is the Philharmonic Hall which offers daily performances of classical presentations.
You can also visit the Deutsche Oper Berlin which is located at Bismarckstr at Berlin-Charlottenburg. This opera house will delight you with world class performances of Berlin and International opera singers.
Great Places for the Theater Buffs
Berlin Theater is famous for its tragedies and avant-garde contemporary dramas and comedies. You can certainly enjoy superb productions from several local and international groups performing at Berlin’s theaters.
Take a walk at the Berlin-Mitte and you find the theater house of the Berlin Ensemble. This is a historic place and hosts excellent productions since the 18th century. You can enjoy unforgettable daily performances here from some of the world’s finest theater groups.
The Deutsche Theater, which is located also at Berlin-Mitte, is the ultimate theater venue in Germany. This has an elegant and massive structure so simply visiting the place is good enough.
But if you want to have an unforgettable visit, you must watch the controversial theater productions hosted by the facility. Famous theater directors Robert Wilson and Peter Zadek usually mount their productions here so you better not miss their excellent performances while you’re in Berlin.
Any time of the year, the Berlin performing art
s scene is at its peak. You can visit Berlin anytime and enjoy excellent opera and theater performances of international and German artists.
Berlin theaters can offer spectacular performance for you to make your visit unforgettable. You can find almost two dozens major theaters within the central districts of Berlin.
Just visit any major Berlin theater any time so you can want to watch and enjoy a magnificent theater production of local and international ensembles. If you are staying in the Berlin central district, then you need not go far to find an excellent theater that can entertain you.
Here is a partial list of some of Berlin’s famous and world-class theaters.
Berlin Kabarett Anstalt Theater
If you are fond of comedies, musical shoes, and theatrical party atmosphere, then the BKA is the best place for you. This is located in the Berlin-Kreuzberg area in Mehringdamm Street. It has intimate surroundings and comfortable armchair seats.
Grips Theater for Children
If you want your children to enjoy Berlin, then bring them to the Grips Theater. This is the most famous theater for children in the entire world. Unlike most Berlin Theaters, the productions here purely dedicated for the young tots.
The children’s plays here are usually translated into 40 major languages. Your children will be delighted by the spectacle presented by the ensembles of Grip Theater.
The Theater of Maxim Gorky
This theater is the best place if you love the works of the famous author and novelist Maxim Gorky. This is one of the oldest and probably the finest theaters in Berlin.
You can find it at the Mitte district. You will be able to watch contemporary plays here aside from the regular presentations based on Gorky’s works.
You can watch world-famous artists and theater performers in this theater. This is the only theater house in Berlin with an Art Deco design. That is why you will not only enjoy the productions here; you can also enjoy the exquisite architecture of the Renaissance Theater.
Buying Theater Tickets
If you want a convenient way to buy theater tickets, simply buy it online from Berlin’s online information website. Or you can also buy tickets at the gate but if the show is very popular, it is always best to buy online and reserve a seat for you and your family.
There are still other excellent Berlin theaters that can entertain you during your stay in the city. The theater scene of Berlin is very active it is not difficult to find a show suitable for you.
One of the things you should not let yourself miss out on while having a vacation in Berlin, Germany is a Berlin opera. There are lots of Berlin opera performances in Germany that is definitely worth watching but just the same you should make sure that you get the chance to have a look at them. This musical performance is of a rare kind so you should take the time to be there and experience it.
However if you are a new traveler visiting Berlin it may be hard for you to spot a great Berlin opera. What’s even worse is that you may not get to fully enjoy the Berlin opera when you think about the fact that it seems too advanced for you. If you are more into the popular culture then you might not appreciate Berlin opera that easily. To help you out on the deal, here are a few things you can do:
1. Familiarize yourself.
Know what an opera is in the first place and what you would likely expect when you watch one. Note that it is not the same as movie houses and that a Berlin opera may be sung entirely in full. You should come into a Berlin opera house not expecting just actors and actresses speaking their parts. After all, an opera is a musical play sung in this classical style.
2. Know the types of Berlin opera.
Berlin opera comes in different types too. There are operas that are a rendition of another musical play, a derivation from a book, or even coming from a movie adapted in Berlin opera style. There are actually plenty of these that you can choose from so it would be best if you research the upcoming operas in Berlin so you can look forward to the ones you really like to watch.
3. Find out where the opera theaters are.
There are some Berlin opera theaters that may offer free shows or teasers of upcoming performances. This can be a good opportunity for you to size up those shows that you would like to see. You can also ask your local guide for possible venues and check them out yourself. It would also be nice to have a Berlin opera venue where you can actually attach some historical account. This makes the experience of watching a performance much better because you feel privileged to be there.
Music in Berlin cannot be described in one word and could not be put in one box. It has a variety that caters to everyone’s taste may it be opera or mainstream music. When it comes to music, Berliners don’t like to do anything halfway.
Music opera in Berlin
Berlin takes pride in its love for opera music. This is the reason why there are so many opera houses for people who can’t get enough of the various classical repertoire and performances.
There is the Die Staatsoper Unter den Linden or the Berlin State Opera which is considered to be most popular opera companies in all of Germany. This opera house is also claimed to be the most beautiful among opera houses in the world. Architect von Knobelsdorf built it during the reign of Friedrich in 1741.
There is also the Die Komische Oper Berlin, which presents German language productions, mainly operas, operettas and musicals. It also emphasizes works from Mozart and Händel and also compositions from the Slavic repertoire of the twentieth century.
Another well-known opera house is the Die Deutsche Oper, which was used to be in Cold War West Berlin. It was constructed after 1945 and is home to its own opera company and the Staatsballett Berlin. This opera house offers an outstanding acoustic quality with modern seating arrangement. The repertoire is huge and varied such as Debussy to Weil and others.
Electronic and mainstream music in Berlin
For the young and modern, electronic and mainstream music in Berlin might be more interesting. If you are a dance freak, Berlin might just be your heaven. It has so many electronic dance clubs that you really need time to explore all of them.
Many people say that the music preferences in Berlin tends to be nostalgic and wants to go back to dark atmosphere of the past before the stylish 1990s. Also, there are many diverse groups of young people who have built underground dance communities based on past and ideas.
As said before, you can never define what Berlin music is because of its diversity. You might want the classical repertoire, then you can explore the different programs being offered for the season. Or you might want the rave music, house to trance, hardcore techno, trance and others. You might also prefer the chill out and ambient music.
Music styles in Berlin will continue to evolve, so why don’t you explore the different sides of Berlin music and have the best time of your life.
One of the things you can look for in the scene while in Berlin is a Berlin concert. If you wanted to have some serious cultural immersion without missing out on the fun then going to a Berlin concert may be the best thing you can do. This can also turn out to be an even greater experience if you do it with your friends or with your loved ones. At least you get to share the experience with everybody else.
There are lots of concerts you can look forward to in Berlin. You can either watch a local Berlin concert or catch your favorite international musicians right at the said place. Actually, you would find that most of the English and other popular European musicians only take tours more often right within the said continent. So it might turn out to be a chance of a lifetime for you. Here are some useful tips on how you can spot a Berlin concert to go to:
1. Look it up online .
You can begin searching for your favorite artists online and browsing through their calendar website. This will help you note which of the artists you like have an upcoming line up of concerts happening right in Berlin. You can also check their schedule and tour dates just in case they will be playing anywhere within the towns near in Berlin. Maybe you can drop by there if it’s just a few minutes away from where you are staying.
2. Secure tickets online.
To make sure you get your spot for a Berlin concert of your choice, you can already make your reservations online. At least soon as you decide that you will be going to a particular Berlin concert, you can already choose the spot where you want to watch and reserve that for a specific period if you are still looking for someone to be with you on the Berlin concert. Either you do this or you can also pay the ticket in full right then and there.
3. Consider a local Berlin concert.
You can also try watching a local act in a Berlin concert so you can have a feel of the music scene there. This can also be great opportunity for you to meet local Berlin friends right at the concert. You can also get to see how locals actually have been influenced by various musical acts through time.