Language course in Berlin: Attractions

Taking a German course in Berlin is the perfect way to explore one of the world’s most exciting cities. Here are some options for your free time:

Badeschiff

ESL - Attractions
Its name means “bathing ship” and that is exactly what you get. A bright blue swimming pool made from a converted barge on the River Spree, Badeschiff is accompanied by an urban beach, a nightclub and a big live music venue under the name Arena Berlin (arena-berlin.de). Summer in the city gets hot and this is the ideal place to cool off and hang out with hip, young Berliners. In the winter, a roof is erected over the barge and it becomes a spa.

There is plenty to enjoy elsewhere on banks of the Spree including beaches, bars, cafes and nightclubs. With long and cold winters, it’s little wonder Berliners really relish the summer sunshine.

The historical stuff

Berlin was one of the centres of twentieth century history and there is a wealth of fascinating sites to explore in the city centre. Take a walk in the glass dome of the Reichstag building and watch Germany’s politicians at work (you need to book in advance, but it is free). See the longest remaining section of the graffiti-covered Berlin Wall in Mühlenstraße. Walk through Peter Eisenman’s holocaust memorial. Get a great view from the top of the Fernsehturm TV tower (tv-turm.de). Get your photo taken at checkpoint Charlie. Visit the DDR Museum (see below) or marvel at the majestic Brandenburg Gate. So much to see!
ESL - Attractions

Clärchens Ballhaus

For a taste of Weimar-era decadence Clärchens Ballhaus (Auguststraße 24-25, ballhaus.de) is one of the last remaining traditional dancehalls in the city. Going since 1913 and named after founder Fritz Bühler’s wife Clara (“-chen” is a diminutive in German), the ballroom still welcomes guests who have been coming for decades, but has also been rediscovered by some of Berlin’s hipsters. Don’t let that put you off though; dance classes in the beautiful old hall are a great way to experience a real Berlin tradition. Back when the ballroom was in East Berlin, locals would visit to get away from the grind of daily life and enjoy a little glamour.

Explore Berlin’s “underworld”

ESL - Attractions
Discover what lies beneath the surface of the city. Berlin’s underworld tours (berliner-unterwelten.de) are run by a local not-for-profit organisation and offer the chance to explore the large network of tunnels, bomb shelters and bunkers underneath the city. Get a fascinating insight into Berlin’s twentieth-century history from the bottom up.

Berlin Galleries

The Neue Nationalgalerie (smb.museum) at the Kulturforum is Germany’s state museum of modern art, while the Alte Nationalgalerie covers the older stuff. There are many other institutions at the Kulturforum including the Gemäldegalerie (European art from the 13th to the 18th centuries).
Potsdamer Straße

The Berlinische Galerie (berlinischegalerie.de) is a favourite among Berlin’s local artists. Situated in a renovated glass warehouse, it balances new exhibitions with a superb collection of Berlin art from 1870, including Expressionist, Nazi-era and Berlin Dada era art.
Alte Jakobstrasse 124-128

Book an appointment at Sammlung Boros (sammlung-boros.de) and explore a 3000m2 World War II bunker that has become one of the city’s hippest art destinations.
Reinhardtstrasse 20

Founded in 1991, Carlier Gebauer (carliergebauer.com) consists of three white rooms that welcome both established and up-and-coming artists. Entry is free. Markgrafenstrasse 67

The Hamburger Bahnhof (www.hamburgerbahnhof.de) is, as the name suggests, an old railway station. Nowadays, the museum is home to an exceptional collection of modern art from Lichtenstein, Warhol, Beuys and many more.
Invalidenstrasse 50-51

Because many of the old spaces in the city that housed galleries and artists have either been, or are being, turned into flats, when you learn German in Berlin you will need to keep your eyes open for the next pop-up gallery. And then get in there before the property developers!
ESL - Attractions

Berlin Museums

The Bauhaus Archiv (www.bauhaus.de) is a museum dedicated to the most influential of all 20th century schools of design. You can take a free guided tour every Sunday at 3pm.
Klingelhöferstrasse 14
The Neues Museum (www.neues-museum.de) on Museuminsel (Museum Island) remained closed between the end of the Second World War and 2009. After its prolonged break, the museum is back in style, with the building itself proving almost as fascinating as the superb Egyptian and classical exhibits. Bodestrasse 1

Also on Museuminsel, Pergamonmuseum (www.smb.museum/smb/standorte/index.php?p=2&objID=27) is one of the world’s most important archaeological museums. You can buy a day ticket that offers access to all of the museums on the island.
Museuminsel

At Museum Berggruen (smb.museum)) you can see one of the greatest private collections of the 20th century, including over 100 works by Picasso, alongside Matisse, van Gogh, Seurat and Cézanne. Heinz Berggruen, whose collection forms the basis of the museum, sold the works to the German state at a huge discount as “an act of reconciliation” after being forced out of Nazi Germany for being Jewish.
Schlossstrasse 1

The Jewish Museum (www.jmberlin.de/main/EN/homepage-EN.php) tells the story of 2000 years of German Jewish history in what was, at the start of the 20th century, home to one of the world’s largest Jewish populations.
Lindenstrasse 9-14

If you spend more than a couple of evenings watching German TV, you may well see a drama about love in divided Berlin, with one lover in the west and one stuck in the east... switch off the telly and check out the DDR Museum (www.ddr-museum.de/en/museum/) instead. It is much more interesting and offers a fascinating view into life in East Germany. For next-level nostalgia, try the Trabi Safari (trabi-safari.de/) tour of the city in an old Trabant.
Karl-Liebknecht-Strasse 1
ESL - Attractions
Image credit: Olivier Bruchez (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Why choose ESL?

  • Voted best agency

    Voted best agency

    ESL is a Lifetime Award winner after being voted Best Agency in Europe 5 times at the ST Star Awards.

  • Best price guarantee

    Best price guarantee

    Get the price difference refunded if you find a better deal for the same programme with another agency.

  • Free service

    Free service

    Enjoy our free and personalised services – 97% of our clients would recommend us to their friends and relatives.