Oktoberfest began in Germany over 200 years ago and has grown into one of the most popular festivals in the world. Every year, an average of around six million people visit the country, who between them consume almost seven million litres of tasty brews and munch their way through thousands of giant pretzels, grilled sausages and wild oxen.
As Oktoberfest is now in full swing, it’s the perfect time to book a last-minute getaway to the German’s lovely capital of Berlin. Here’s our guide of must-see sites:
Platz der Republik 1, 11011 Berlin, Germany
No visit to Berlin would be complete without a trip to see the famous Reichstag. This historic parliament building dates back to 1894 and is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city. At the top of building is a glass dome which offers spectacular views of the government district (you must pre-book this online).
It can get quite busy with tourists so don’t expect a picture-perfect shot, but it is nice to visit. When the weather is nice, it’s lovely to relax on the grass outside and simply take in the gorgeous views. If you get the chance, the dome is well worth a visit but don't leave it too late to book as it books out fast.
Pariser Platz, 10117 Berlin, Germany
A short walk away from the Reichstag you will find the Brandenburg Gate. It is an 18th-century neoclassical monument in Berlin that used to divide the East and West Berlin. Nowadays it is a symbol of unity. Many tourists go to check out this famous gate, and we can see why. Not only has its strong historical roots, it is quite spectacular to look at.
The gate features high level of detail in the design aspect which can be seen on every column or wall of the gate. Take your time to really study these patterns/details. The area is pedestrianised, so you don’t have to worry that you’ll get hit by a car if you want to take a nice photo.
Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe
Cora-Berliner-Straße 1, 10117 Berlin, Germany
Designed by architect Peter Eisenman and engineer Buro Happold, this memorial to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust is a relatively new addition to the Berlin tourist scene. It features two parts; an indoor museum which takes you through WWII and Jewish History, and the outdoor memorial which is an astonishing installation made out of 2711 concrete slabs of different heights, forming a sort of a maze
I really enjoyed walking through the maze-like concrete installation. It is very peaceful, gives you an opportunity to think about the grim past of Jews in Europe. I have mixed feelings about the indoor museum. I would advise getting there early as I queued for 20 minutes before entering, as they only let groups of 10 to go in at a time. The museum gave a brief history of the WWII and the Jewish lives in Europe during that time. For me it wasn’t great as I have seen so many WWII dedicated museums that this one just didn’t make my top spot. There was one room where they displayed quotes and pieces from diary entries on the ground, this was very upsetting, but I liked the way it was showcased. Overall, I do think this memorial represents an interesting part of history and is well worth a visit.
Gleimstraße 55, 10437 Berlin, Germany
Mauerpark is a typical dog walking/relaxing park Monday-Saturday but on Sunday, it transforms into a cultural wonderland that’s not to be missed with flea markets, music performances and delicious food stalls selling tasty dishes from all parts of the world – German sausages, Polish dumplings, Turkish falafels, Scandinavian fish, Chinese rice or Thai noodles. It is a spot you don’t want to miss if you find yourself in Berlin over a weekend.
I definitely recommended a visit to Mauerpark. Listen to the many artists playing in different corners, have a dance off with the groovy body movers, or pop into food heaven and eat as much as you can until you feel sick. This park really comes to life, like nothing I’ve ever seen before so it’s well worth spending a couple of hours in on a Sunday.
The East Side Gallery - Berlin Wall
Mühlenstraße 1, 10243, Berlin, Germany
The 1.3km long, open air gallery consists of a series of murals painted by various artists on the remainder of the Berlin Wall. This part of the wall was built in 1975, and measures at 3.6m tall. What was once a divide between the city, now is the most important historical monument in Berlin, or even all of Germany.
Make sure you find the time to visit this gallery. It is best viewed by foot, it takes about an hour (up and back) to see it all. The place can get quite crowded so it might be difficult to see some of the more popular murals, such as the ‘Fraternal Kiss’ or ‘Thank You, Andrei Sakahrov’. What is now a sort of an art gallery, do not forget the history of the wall while you’re admiring the murals. I wish we had more time to truly study each mural, but I did enjoy what I saw. Even if you’re not into art, or history, this landmark is a must see on your trip to Berlin.
Zimmerstraße 97, 10117 Berlin, Germany
Berlin is full of quirky and unusual activities, but my favourite is the Trabi Safari. You can rent a Trabi (Trabant, which is an old German car) and drive around Berlin for 60 minutes, seeing and learning all about its history. However, a Trabant is no ordinary car, the gear stick is beside the wheel and it is quite stiff to drive but that’s the exciting part!
Important: In order to do this tour you need to have a full licence.
As terrified as I was for the first 15 minutes of the tour, I absolutely loved it in the end. Coming from Ireland, driving a normal car, on the left-hand side of the road, I set myself quite a challenge, but I did it. If you’re a fan of seeing a city from an unusual point of view, and you consider yourself the courageous type, this is an experience you don’t want to miss out on!
This post was written by One4all’s Graphic and Web Designer, Ola Dybul. If she’s not creating trendy social graphics, working on quirky photoshoots or designing brand assets, she’s off travelling the world, learning new cultures and traditions, and meeting new people. She’s been all around the world but is not ready to stop. Stay tuned for more top tips from this expert adventurer.