Short Break in Berlin
Nowhere are the forces and pressures of Europe’s past, present and future, more vividly on display than in Berlin. At the heart of the continent, the city has often been caught at the nexus of world-events, with sometimes triumphant, sometimes tragic consequences. Trace the development of the city over 600 years: from Prussian capital and leading cultural light of Northern Europe during the Enlightenment, to the most modern town in the world during the 1920s. Nick Jackson, an archaeologist and long-term Berlin-resident, also introduces the darker days of the 20th century, with the rise of Nazism and division under the Berlin Wall. The highs and lows of a city divided and reunited.
- Beyond the Berlin Wall - from proud Prussian capital to years of division as the Iron Curtain descended.
- Grand parks and iconic palaces - we visit the World Heritage Site of Potsdam.
- Dinner on the roof of the Reichstag with panoramic views over the city.
- Great Cities
- Special Access
- Low Single Supplement
- Just One Hotel
- All Inclusive
Upon arrival in Berlin, we meet at our hotel for an early evening stroll through the classical cultural forum of Friederick the Great. We take in the Opera House, Humboldt University and the site of the infamous Nazi book burning.
This morning we start our tour of Berlin at Märkisches Museum. Although Berlin is best known for its 20th century history, we can find a historical narrative here that stretches back over centuries. Within the museum there are artefacts from the Palaeolithic, to 9th century Slavic settlements to the Middle Ages. We continue our journey of Berlin through the ages at the German Historical Museum. This afternoon, we have lunch in a traditional restaurant, before continuing to the Old Jewish Quarter of the City. You can enjoy free time here or choose to join Nick’s optional Architectural Secrets tour.
Today, we travel to Potsdam whose grand parks and palaces now form part of Germany’s largest World Heritage Site. We spend an afternoon at Frederick the Great’s summer palace Sanssouci (literally ‘without cares’). Often described as the German Versailles, the palace itself is quite a modest affair (only 11 rooms), but is surrounded by lavish landscaped gardens, with enough follies, avenues, temples and lawns to satisfy even the grandest Prussian monarch.
We travel to Zossen, a World War II and Cold War bunker complex that included 19 air defence shelters. Back to the centre of Berlin. We alight at Alexanderplaz – the heart of the former GDR. From here we walk to Karl Marx Allee, a monumental, Moscow-style boulevard. The Berlin Wall once ran down the length of Bernauer Strasse - a section of the Wall has been preserved here as a memorial. We continue to Nordbahnhof Station, which hosts a poignant exhibition of photos, placards and testimonies by East Berliners. Finally, we take the train to the World War II complex of bunkers at Gesundbrunnen, used to shelter from Allied raids.
We walk in the 17th century square Gendarmenmarkt, which was badly damaged in World War II and not fully restored until 1994. Here, we view the French and German domed cathedrals, the former built as refuge for Protestant Huguenots expelled from France in 1685. Continue to Wilhelmstrasse: centre of Nazi administration – site of the SS and Gestapo HQ, and Friedrichstrasse bisected by the Berlin Wall and home of ‘Checkpoint Charlie’, the infamous crossing point between East and West. Our final visit is to Potsdamer Platz, which in the 1920s was the centre of the notoriously permissive Berlin ‘scene’ as immortalised by Brecht, Isherwood and Weill. Our programme will end after lunch when we disperse for our journeys home.
- Expert Guide Lecturer
- Tour Manager
- Local Travel - Private a/c coach and trains
- Meals - All meals included with wine at dinner
- Entries & Tips - Entry to all sites in programme; tips included
- Field Notes
For full information about Passport validity and Visa requirements as well as Health and Vaccination information please click here.