Exploring Berlin


We were excited to have the opportunity to return to Berlin. According to our original flight schedule, we were headed into the Berlin’s new Brandenburg Airport, but two weeks before our flight we were informed that the new airport would be delayed until early 2013. So we were redirected to tired, cramped Berlin Schönefeld Airport. More on that later.

Berlin is one of our favorite cities. Much of the city has been rebuilt after the terrible devastation of WWII and contains many historical sites. We stayed in East Berlin (again). We’ve stayed in the Eastern side the last few trips to Berlin and we always enjoy this part of town. Certainly much of the area has changed dramatically since the end of WWII and after the wall came down in 1989, and we find the area vibrant and continuing to evolve.

For us, this trip was more about recreation and relaxation than exploring historical sites… but they’re unavoidable and we still were drawn to a few. One site I did want to see was the East Side Gallery. The East Side Gallery is a 1.3km-long section of the wall near the center of Berlin. There are more than 100 paintings by artists from all over the world. This memorial for freedom is the largest open-air gallery in the world.

Berlin Wall East Side GalleryBerlin Wall East Side GalleryBerlin Wall East Side Gallery

Some of the best known paintings such as “The Mortal Kiss” by Dimitrji Vrubel, of Erich Honecker and Leonid Brezhnev’s mouth-to-mouth embrace and Birgit Kinder’s Trabi (Trabant) knocking down the Wall.

Berlin Wall

On the “backside” of the East Side Gallery painting, the side of the wall facing the West, you can get a good idea of the “no-man’s land” that escapees had to cross. Not sure how any of them made this long run.



To return to our starting point, we jumped on the S-Bahn train. Getting around Berlin is easy. There are multiple train options, the underground, the bus lines, trams, canal boats, charter boats, limousine services, many, many taxis available – and some unique forms of transportation. Living in Europe, we’re used to using public transportation, so we opted for a one-day AB zone pass, costing 6.30€.

vespa in Berlinboating on canals in Berlinbike taxi in Berlinbeer bike in Berlin

We spent our day wandering in East Berlin. This trip we utilized a chartered canal boat to see the city from a different viewpoint. We did not realize that there are more than 1700 bridges in Berlin – more than Venice, Amsterdam, and Stockholm combined! The ride winding through the city was amazing.


The Pergamon

We’ve been to many museums in Berlin – and this vast city has many! One museum we always wanted to discover was the Pergamon, located on Museum Island. The Pergamon displays original-sized, reconstructed monumental buildings such as the Pergamon Altar and the Market Gate of Miletus. These displays consist of parts transported from Turkey. as you would imagine, there is controversy over the legitimacy of the acquisition of the collection. More than one million people visit the Pergamon making it the most visited art museum in Germany.

Pergamon MuseumPergamon MuseumPergamon MuseumPergamon Museum

The Pergamon contains multiple halls and exhibitions. We spent a couple of hours wandering through 5,000 years of history. Give yourself plenty of time if you’re planning on visiting this museum.


Virtuoso Hotels

There is so much more to see in Berlin; Also, great food, and great music! As you would expect, a city like Berlin has some incredible hotels – and there are four very impressive Virtuoso hotels: the Hotel Adlon Kempinski, Berlin, the Regent Berlin, the Rocco Forte Hotel de Rome, Berlin, and the Ritz-Carlton Berlin.

The Hotel Adlon Kempinski, Berlin

The Hotel Adlon Kempinski is located in the very heart of Berlin. Since its reopening in 1997 the new Adlon has once again reclaimed its reputation as one of Germany’s finest hotels and has continued its long tradition of excellent service and supreme quality. Located adjacent to Brandenburg Gate, the Hotel Adlon Kempinski is a great starting point for your discovery of Berlin.

Very close to the Reichstag building, across from the Tiergarten, and at the start of great shopping along the Friedrichstrasse, the Hotel Adlon Kempinski features 304 luxurious guestrooms and 78 suites. It is an ideal venue for conferences, conventions, receptions, balls and banquets and even includes two majestic ballrooms.

The Regent Berlin

Considered by the influential ‘Conde Nast Traveller’ to be one of the ‘best places to stay in the world,’ the Regent Berlin prides itself on impeccable service and first-class amenities.The Regent Berlin offers 204 sumptuously decorated rooms and suites. All of the rooms are equipped with high-quality amenities, including multiple telephone lines, satellite television, DVD player, computer and High-Speed Internet Access.

Rocco Forte Hotel de Rome, Berlin

The Rocco Forte Hotel de Rome, Berlin opened in the heart of Berlin in October 2006 and is located in the historic former “East” part of the city. Housed in a beautifully restored, former bank building from 1889, which was not been destroyed in the war, the Rocco Forte Hotel de Rome, Berlin is the only luxury hotel in Berlin in an original building, making use of its architectural splendour, offering guests an authentic Berlin Experience.

The Rocco Forte Hotel de Rome, Berlin has 146 rooms and suites and offers maximum privacy and it located on the Bebelplatz, one of the city‘s most impressive squares, just off Prussian boulevard “Unter den Linden.”

Ritz-Carlton Berlin

The Ritz-Carlton Berlin is one of the most exclusive hotels in Berlin and is located near the Potsdamer Platz, the city center that inspires visitors with soaring architectural edifices, upscale shopping, and over 40 screens to support the city’s world renowned film academy and famous film festival.

The Ritz-Carlton Berlin features high-quality bedding and classical décor. The en suite bathrooms have heated flooring. The Ritz-Carlton Berlin wellness area features an indoor pool with a sparkling crystal ceiling, a sauna, hot tub and fitness center!

Berlin is an incredible city and a great gateway to Germany. Every time we return to Berlin, we find new parts of this city to discover.

For more photos of our recent trip to Berlin, head to our Berlin Pinterest board.

copyright (c) 2012 by Ron Phillips Travel LLC – luxury travel and consultancy. All rights reserved. If you have comments on this column, or questions about booking travel, Contact Ron Phillips Travel