Germany’s capital is in the north-east of the country, with Hanover to the west and the Polish border to the east. Visitors taking a train to Berlin from another major city will probably arrive at Berlin Hauptbahnhof, the major train station of the city’s five, providing international connections. It is a sparkling new construction that opened in 2006 and it is the largest in all of Europe, attracting tourists to Berlin from all over the continent. Those wanting to visit the vibrant and lively capital from other German cities can travel by train from Hamburg in 2h37mins, or from Hanover in 1h35mins. The rail network serving the city includes both Inter-City and Inter-City Express services.
It only takes a 10-minute walk south from the station to reach the iconic Reichstag building where a guided tour is available, although advanced booking may be necessary. Even without a booking though, visitors can still go up to the dome of the building for a magnificent view of the city. The futuristic shape of the Bundeskanzleramt (German Chancellery) is only a five-minute walk from here, via Willy-Brandt-Straße.
A mere 6-minute stroll from the Reichstag, visitors will find Berlin’s most iconic monument, the Brandenburg Gate. This stark Neoclassical structure is a must-see attraction, and one that defines the city almost as much as the nearby Checkpoint Charlie. Other iconic sites cluster around the city centre, all within easy walking distance after arriving at the train station. The Mauermuseum and the Berlin Holocaust Memorial, for example, are just next to the Brandenburg Gate. When the weight of history becomes a little much, visitors can seek light and artistic relief in the museums around Museumsinsel (Museum Island), a 20-minute walk away. Or, to save tired legs, there is a number 200 sightseeing bus travelling the route every 10 minutes.
Shopping fans will appreciate the delights of Friedrichstraße, which is the city’s famous shopping mile. When all that sightseeing has worked up an appetite, the central Mitte district is the place to be! Here, there is a plethora of bars, restaurants and street-side cafes, where visitors can find any kind of international dish. Of course, tourists may prefer to try traditional German Schnitzel with a stein of beer for the full experience. Mitte is also the area for nightlife, with the legendary creativity and liveliness of the city finding its full expression in the many clubs, dance spots and bars in this district.