If you are going on a trip to Berlin, make the most of your time away by planning what to do and where to eat in the central Mitte district. There are lots of great bars to relax in after a day of sightseeing and places to find unique gifts for loved ones back home.
Sightseeing in Berlin
Berlin is one of the world's most exciting cities and the Mitte district is home to some of the most important tourist attractions, many of which were once in former East Berlin. Mitte literally means 'middle' or 'centre' in German and fittingly this district is located in the centre of the city along the Spree River. The river is home to Museum Island (Museumsinsel) with its many fascinating museums and the Berlin Cathedral (Berliner Dom). Take a look at our top Mitte tourist attractions before you go.
Get a bird's eye view from the TV Tower
Get your bearings by starting your day with a trip to the top of the TV Tower (Berliner Fernsehturn). From the Radisson Blu Hotel Berlin it's just a 5 minute walk to the foot of this impressive tower. From 203 and 207 metres you can see the whole city spread out before you including the Parliament building (Reichstag), the Brandenburg Gate, Museum Island (Museumsinsel) and Potsdam Square (Potsdamer Platz).
This is one of Berlin's most popular tourist attractions and with 12 million visitors per year. So it's a good idea to book tickets in advance. A standard adult ticket costs €12.50 and €8.00 for children aged from four to six. The tower has a bar and a restaurant where you can get a 360 degree view of the city. The whole restaurant 'sphere' makes a complete turn once every 30-60 minutes.
Museum Island - Museumsinsel
Now you've seen the city from the sky, it's time to put your feet back on solid ground and get exploring. From the Berliner Fernsehturm it's just a short walk to the Museumsinsel where you can make a stop a Berlin's largest church, the Berliner Dom. Known as the 'Protestant St. Peter's' this impressive basilica was bombed by the Allies during World War 2 and underwent extensive reconstruction from 1975 before re-opening in 1993. The dome and interior are worth a look as is the crypt which is home to more than 80 sarcophagi of Prussian royals.
As well as the Berliner Dom the Museumsinsel is home to five world-renowned museums:
• Neues Museum
• Alte Nationalgalerie
• Altes Museum
It's worth devoting a good few hours to the museums. There's so much to see here including the Pergamon frieze and the Market Gate of Miletus. Doing some research into each museum's exhibitions and collections can also pay dividend and save time and energy.
The Brandenburg Gate
A trip to Berlin wouldn't be complete without a trip to the iconic Brandenburg Gate. From the Berliner Dom it’s a 20 minute walk or a quick 5 minute bus ride down the famous Unter Den Linden to the Gate. The 18th century triumphal arch was buit between 1788 and 1791 by the Prussian King Fredrick William II.
The famous statue of the goddess Victory driving a chariot of four horses was removed and shipped off to Paris by Napoleon Bonaparte before returning to Berlin after that city's capture by Prussian soldiers in 1814. The gate was also a central part of Hitler's propaganda before World War 2. It survived the war, albeit damaged and was then behind the wall in East Berlin until re-unification in 1989.
A visit to the Brandenburg Gate puts you right at the heart of some of the most famous newsreel moments in 21st century. Take a few moments to sit in the Room of Silence (Raum Der Stille) and contemplate some of the epic world events that have happened right here.
After all that heady history take a stroll through Berlin's favorite inner city park, the Tiergarten. The park is a popular place for picnics, cycling, jogging and just generally strolling around and people watching. If you are in Berlin in the summer this is the perfect place to chill out and soak up some sun. In the winter you may even be able to skate on some of the small lakes if it's cold enough.
By this time you are going to want some refreshments, and Italian restaurant Enoteca L'Angolino is just a few minutes from the western end of the Tiergarten. With a menu that changes weekly using some of the freshest seasonal ingredients this is a good option for a leisurely lunch or dinner especially if you plan to sample their extensive Italian wine list.
Continue your exploration of Mitte by heading back east to Alexanderplatz. You can catch a direct bus that takes 25 minutes or if you have a car then it's just a 10 minute drive. This space in central Berlin has been a cattle market, a military parade ground, and a gathering place for Berliners protesting against political regimes.
Nowadays the Alexanderplatz is a busy transit junction and shopping area. Many of the buildings around the square were erected during the cold war period and showcase the modern socialist approach to architecture. The city's Christmas markets are here in the yuletide season and the rest of the year you can find top high street brands if you are in the mood for some retail therapy or searching for some gifts.
You'll find great examples of German cuisine all around Mitte. Head to dasWins restaurant 15 minutes by taxi or the S Bahn (Savignyplatz) from Alexanderplatz. Feast on classics like Wiener schnitzel, and on a Sunday relax over a long lunch including their home-marinated salmon. You can also sample Berlin's own favorite snack: Currywurst with spicy ketchup. Lecker!
More of a shopaholic? Check out our blog post on independent shopping in Berlin.