Help! Berlin itinerary for 3 days

Old May 28th, 2012, 07:58 PM
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Help! Berlin itinerary for 3 days

My husband and I are going end of september for 3.5 days. We want to concentrate on Jewish history as well as main sites. It is our first time on Berlin and i am overwhelmed!

How do we divide our time ? Private tours are expensive, but worth it for 1 day, and a group tour for another? Also how do we divide up the city to maximize our time? Are walking tours for 4 hours worth or don't you see enough?
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Old May 28th, 2012, 08:41 PM
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"checkpoint charlie" is a must to understand the impact the wall had on both sides of the city . Hitle's bunker which is now a Holocust museum I would do by myself. A tour does not give you the freedom to spend it where you wanted. You don't mention your age,but I found Berlin an easy city to explore. On a sunny day,walk over to the Brandenburg gate. I tried to see some synagoges but they were close both times I was there. I hope this helps a little...if you want a little adventure,go over to the east side of the city for some great food.Ugly communist era buildings are still up,the bullet holes where left in place
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Old May 28th, 2012, 09:18 PM
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I used to live in Berlin. There is a little known Jewish school and memorial on GrosseHamburger Str. near Hackesche Markt. Right next door is Sofienkirche, which is a Christian Church that still has bullet holes from WW2. Take the S-Bahn to Hackesher Markt, spend a few minutes looking at the Hackeshe Hoefe (one has an Anne Frank Museum), then walk down Oranienburger Strasse where you can take a detour at GrosseHamburger. From there you can walk all the way down to the famous Synagogue.

The transit system may seem overwhelming, but I assure you it is among the best in EU.
http://www.s-bahn-berlin.de/pdf/s_bahn_netz.pdf

Enjoy Berlin! It's amazing!
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Old May 28th, 2012, 09:51 PM
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Check out "The Berlin Expert" for a reasonably priced private tour with a Jewish Berlin theme.

http://www.theberlinexpert.com/

Some of the regular tour companies also offer Jewish Berlin tours. Check out Insider Tours, or Gaiblinger Tours.
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Old May 28th, 2012, 10:09 PM
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What time of year will you be there? If the weather is nice, a walking tour can be great. I've been on a few, including one specifically themed for Third Reich sites. But you'll get a lot out of a general one. My one tip would be to make sure it's geared for English-language speakers (if that's what you are!) and that there aren't more than 20 or so people in the group.

Berlin itself is a wonderful city, easy to see a lot of it "DIY" without any organized tours. As the previous poster said, the transit system may seem overwhelming from afar, but it's easy and well-run.

Three and a half days is a good (if not generous) amount of time. Look to divide your time between the two geographical sides of the city (former West and East). I agree that the Checkpoint Charlie Haus is a must-see. I also love the reconstructed ancient architecture inside the Pergamon Museum. In terms of time allotted, I spent a lot longer in the former - so many stories to learn about! - than the latter, who's large scale objects don't require a lot of reading for each.

If you don't know of them already, check out the Stolpersteine. I find them so moving on so many levels...
http://www.stolpersteine.com/index_EN.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stolpersteine
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Old May 29th, 2012, 04:24 PM
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We will be there in Sept. So, if we divide the city into east and west, is it REALLY necessary to have a private guide, or are good group tours sufficient?
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Old May 29th, 2012, 06:06 PM
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I have visited Berlin several times....albeit longer than 3 days each time.
If you take a look at the location of the sights you wish to see and group them ...per day
you might not need a guide or a tour.
The city has so much history, great museums and galleries....you could choose what interests you
not what some tour offers.
It is a big city, but public transit is terrific
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Old May 29th, 2012, 08:43 PM
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I agree with danon. And now that I think of it, none of my trips to Berlin have been longer than 5 days at a stretch-!

IMO, weather in Sept could be good for walking. Very roughly, I would suggest:
- Day 1: Take a walking tour at the beginning of your first day. It will really help you to get orientated and understand where some of the bigger sights are in relation to each other and to your lodgings. If this is a full day and you have the energy/inclination, see a museum in the afternoon. (Thanks to Mainhattengirl, I now remember the name of the company I liked is the Insight Tours.)
- Day 2: Choose the half of the city where your lodgings are.
- Day 3: Do the other half.

This means you won't get out to Potsdam or Charlottenburg, but it will give you a good taste of the city for when you go back in the future!

You might also want to look for proposed itineraries in guide books: some of the major ones provide destination itineraries for varying lengths of time, which could give you a basis from which to plan your own.
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Old May 30th, 2012, 02:56 PM
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Thanks ggreen! Am I wrong or is the city divided into eats and west even today as far as sites??? We would see the Jewsih Museum on our own...any other things to see on own?
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Old Jun 1st, 2012, 08:13 AM
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We have been now 6 times and two times hired a private guide for 5 hours. I have been an avid WWII history buff since my teens and even though I read a lot and researched a lot, having a great guide (we used Jeremy Minsberg) made it all the more enriching and meaningful.

For us, when we visit an important city like Berlin, we make the investment in a private guide and have always benefited from that investment,
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Old Jun 1st, 2012, 10:34 AM
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wordsmith, IMO I'd say you're mostly correct - except the former no man's land between the two is now filled in. For example, Potsdamer Platz went from bustling square to no man's land to high-tech development in the time from WWII to the Iron Curtain to present day... (Though to be clear, I've only seen the latter two instances firsthand. The rest I got from history books - and the walking tour!)
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Old Jun 2nd, 2012, 02:13 PM
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Hi, I will be in Berlin for 4 days in early September and am interested in the same type of sites. I will try to post my trip report by end of September -- but can't promise! you can also PM me at Trip Advisor, alison18losangeles, and we can exchange emails and that way share info easier. I have done a lot of research already for this trip.
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Old Jun 2nd, 2012, 02:17 PM
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And a question for you Berlin experts who responded to see checkpoint charlie haus museum. I have read conflicting reviews of it - many saying it is an expensive tourist trap. I am very interested in the stories about the wall, etc., so am interested in guidance about whether really worth it to see the inside of this particular museum. thanks.
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Old Jun 2nd, 2012, 05:32 PM
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Hi alison, it's been a few years since I visited Checkpoint Charlie Haus. But I remember it as packed with stuff - both physical objects related to when the wall was there, and people's stories. For me, it was great for example to see the actual paired suitcases one person had rigged in which to escape on a train and read the story about it. Once you're in Berlin, and see for yourself how close everything is to each other, how the subway crosses to both sides, etc., experiencing the objects in this museum becomes even more poignant. Or at least that was how it occurred for me!
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Old Jun 2nd, 2012, 06:20 PM
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Yes, CC is expensive, but it was worth seeing.
It is true about a different feeling about the East/West Berlin when you see at all.
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Old Jun 2nd, 2012, 08:15 PM
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Out of the blue tonight, my boyfriend said he'd heard a piece on NPR about these memorial plaques in Germany and elsewhere. I guess I'd never told him about the stolpersteine! Anyway, turns out NPR did a piece about them on Thursday (see my mention up-thread):
http://www.npr.org/2012/05/31/153943...o-nazi-victims
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Old Jun 2nd, 2012, 10:04 PM
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I read about it just a few days ago. Thanks for posting.
What a project!
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