Berlin is a modern cosmopolitan in the heart of Europe and one of the most popular places to vacation. Its a city that doesn’t have coastline or exceptionally great weather but offers an international taste you cant find in many other big European cities. Its also a great place to travel on a budget and while the city itself is expensive in terms of hotels and food, many of the sites and attractions are absolutely free.
For example, the Reichstag Building where the German Parliament meets is a free attraction near the Berlin train station. Its free to enter and youll even be given complimentary audio tours of the building that has been at the heart of German history and politics since it was built in 1894. Within the Reichstag youll be taken to see where burn marks still remain from the arson attack against the building in 1933. Since that time and the reunification of Germany and Berlin, a large glass dome has been added to the top of the Reichstag that gives you a 360 degree view of the city. Its also one of the highest points in Berlin. Being a free site, the lines are very long so get there 30 minutes before opening or late in the evening, the Reichstag is open until 10pm.
Very close walking distance from the Reichstag is the Brandenbrug Gate. Its an iconic structure in the city and a wonderful photo opportunity. Behind the gate is a set of cafes and some small shops as well as the massive Russian embassy. This area around the Brandenburg Gate is where German politics take place and its also the commercial district. It gets busy during regular business hours but on the weekends you can hang out without the crowds and rush from the people headed to and from work.
A great area of Berlin to get something to eat is the Kreuzberg district. Mostly known for its high immigrant population, its the best part of Berlin to try a huge variety of international cuisines. The interesting thing about the food and restaurants in Kreuzberg is the blending of foods and recipes from all over the world and the creative chefs in Berlin have come up with some truly unique tastes. There is of course here and throughout the rest of Berlin many doner (Turkish lamb kebab) stands. There is a great one for a good price right by the metro stop stairs that lead up to Kreuzberg.
There are also a large number of walking tours available but you can get around most of the city on foot or using the excellent subway system. Download a copy of the latest Lonely Planet guide to your iPhone or simply print out a list of places you want to see and go exploring on your own. You wont feel quite as restricted going on your own and Berlin is so easily navigable that you shouldnt have too much trouble finding your way around. A walking tour is a good idea if youre taking one to see a specific aspect of Berlin like World War II history.