By Nourah Khan
Travel Writer, The Times Kuwait
Berlin, the capital of Germany, is a city that seamlessly blends a rich history with a dynamic, contemporary culture. With its iconic landmarks, vibrant neighborhoods, and a fascinating past, Berlin has become one of Europe’s top tourist destinations. and I have so far visited Berlin three times. So why this fascination with this land of the Berlin Wall? Let me take you on a journey through this city of cities.
For a first visit to Berlin, there are several attractions and neighborhoods that will give you a great introduction to the city. Let us start our journey with a visit to the Brandenburg Gate, the iconic symbol of Berlin. The ‘Gate’ is a historic monument and a great place to take photos. If you choose to stay at the luxury Adlon Kempinski Hotel, as I did, you will have the best view of this historical edifice, as the Adlon Kempinski is the only hotel that provides a direct view of the gate.
Opened in 1907, the Adlon Kempinski has stood the test of time and witnessed important events throughout history. It has received many famous guests, including celebrities, political figures and royalty. The hotel’s location near the Brandenburg Gate also made it a center of activity during Berlin’s turbulent past. Although severely damaged during World War II, the Hotel Adlon was rebuilt to its former glory in the 1990s, maintaining its historical significance while incorporating modern amenities.
The Reichstag Building, the current German Parliament, is another important historical structure in the city. Situated right next to the Brandenburg Gate, you can take a guided tour or visit the stunning glass dome for panoramic views of the city. Checkpoint Charlie, one of the most famous border crossings during the Cold War, is another great location to visit and explore the history of the city’s eponymous Berlin Wall. Once you finish with Charlie head over to the Berlin Wall East Side Gallery to see the longest remaining stretch of the Berlin Wall, now covered in colorful murals.
And If you’re interested in history and art, do not miss visiting Museumsinsel (Museum Island), home to several world-class museums. For top-class shopping, head over to Alexanderplatz, Berlin’s Central Square where the iconic TV Tower (Fernsehturm) is located, along with plenty of shopping and dining options. I also suggest visiting Berlin Cathedral, on Museum Island to admire the stunning architecture of this stupendous cathedral.
Explore the opulent Charlottenburg Palace and its gardens for a taste of Berlin’s royal history. Also, plan a trip to the engaging Deja Vu Museum, which offers interactive optical illusions, a fun experience for children and family alike. Another attraction that I recommend in Berlin for families with kids is the Gardens of the World, a beautiful park located around a 45-minute drive from central Berlin. The garden contains pavilions for several countries in the world, including a Moroccan-Andalusian corner, a Japanese, and a Chinese corner, and an African pavilion. The garden contains plants brought from all over the world.
If you are into shopping then Berlin is the city for you. There are many unique stores in Berlin, a city known for its many independent boutiques offering a wide range of fashion, art and design. Do not miss walking around neighborhoods like Neukölln and Prenzlauer Berg to discover hidden gems. Whether you are looking for luxury goods, the latest fashion trends, or one-of-a-kind treasures, Berlin’s shopping scene has something for everyone. Be sure to explore the city’s diverse neighborhoods to discover the most unique and exciting shopping experiences.
Berlin offers a diverse shopping experience, catering to all tastes and budgets. Below are some shopping venues to explore in the city:
Kurfürstendamm (Ku’damm): This famous boulevard in the Charlottenburg district is lined with high-end boutiques, department stores like KaDeWe, and luxury brands. It is a great place for upscale shopping.
Friedrichstraße: Another upscale shopping area, it is known for its designer stores and exclusive boutiques, as well as Galeries Lafayette, the famous French department store. The city of Berlin has something to offer to every type of traveler, whether you are interested in history, art, culture, or simply soaking in the unique atmosphere of this dynamic city.
Noura Khan, a travel influencer and content creator, is a Kuwaiti national, holds a degree in law from Kuwait University and has worked as a journalist prior to taking up a position in the government. In 2018 she started blogging on travel and visited more than 57 countries since. She has more than 54k followers on her blog post @nourajtraveller is well appreciated for content and travel information. Noura writes exclusively for The Times Kuwait on her travel visits.