A Student’s Guide to Berlin

Schlag Ein and welcome to Germany! The home of the bratwurst, schnitzel and strudel. The food was enough to call me to Berlin, but there’s plenty more of interest in the city, at a seriously low cost for students. I visited Berlin on an Interrail trip and most of what I went to see in Berlin was free, and accessible by just a short train ride. Just make sure to validate your train ticket before boarding, or face a €60 fine (like me!)

Brandenburg Gate -FREE!

One of Berlin’s best known landmarks once acted as a start to the road from Berlin to Brandenburg. It’s the site of many historical events, and now seen as a sign of peace and unity in Germany.

Checkpoint Charlie – FREE

Checkpoint Charlie was one of the best known crossing points between Eastern and Western Germany during the Cold War. Though the Berlin wall has been mostly removed and the divide no longer exists, you can still view Checkpoint Charlie, present still in modern Berlin.

Berlin Zoo – €10-€15

Berlin zoo hosts some of the coolest animals in the world, including polar bears (pun totally intended.) Students can get a discount with valid ID, meaning it’s just ten euros to visit the zoo (fifteen if you’d like to see the aquarium too.)

The Holocaust Memorial – FREE

The haunting Holocaust Memorial is free to explore and with no official entrance, can be approached from all angles. Situated near the Brandenburg gate, it was created to remember the fallen Jews during World War II. There’s also an information centre where visitors can learn more about the suffering the Jews endured.

Reichstag – FREE

The Reichstag is one of the most important buildings in Berlin, acting as a German parliament building.  It was almost destroyed in a fire in 1933, and only rebuilt after the war. Now, it attracts thousands of visitors for it’s beautiful exterior, rich history and the stunning glass dome that tops it. Admission to the Dome is free, but booking a slot to go in is advised.

 

East Side Gallery  – FREE

The remains of the Berlin Wall are now host to some pretty awesome graffiti, and not your bog-standard scribble. Founded in 1990, the ‘gallery’ walls bear paintings and satirical cartoons, stretching for over a thousand metres. It celebrates freedom and the end of the divide between East and West Germany. Though the art has suffered from erosion and vandalism, it’s still one of the best preserved and longest running outdoor galleries.

by Hayley Anderton

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