This post is also available in: German
We all know that familiar feeling when the parents are about to come to town. The excitement of having a few days of being pampered by mum and dad, and once again playing the part of the darling child away at university quickly wears off at the dreaded realisation that they think you’ve grown up and will be an excellent host. Insert shocked emoji.
So while you can’t take them to the bars and clubs that you’ve become a regular of, we’ve prepared a cheat sheet for you. In order to give your loved ones an undeniably amazing holiday that they’ll go home and brag to auntie Sue about, here are 11 places in Berlin to go with your parents when they visit you:
A mecca for culture vultures from across the world, Berlin’s Museumsinsel, or Museum Island, is a unique ensemble of five museums floating on the River Spree. The entire complex is celebrated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site for illustrating the evolution of modern museum architectural design over the course of the 20th century.
Collectively, Berlin’s Acropolis of the Arts spans six thousand years of human artistic endeavour: from ancient Babylon and Egypt, to medieval times, Monet and modern art, a trip to the island with the folks is sure to leave you feeling sophisticated. Monocle not included.
And once the ‘rents have left, remember that perched on the northern tip of the island is the fabulous Bode Museum; a gem that not many realise can be rented out for a little after-hours play. Impressed? Check out more facts about Berlin that will blow your mind.
Located in the affluent Charlottenburg district, Schloss Charlottenburg or Charlottenburg Palace is the city’s largest palace and one of Berlin’s most beautiful landmarks.
Originally built as the summer residence of Sophie Charlotte, the first queen of Prussia and namesake for the palace and the surrounding borough, it’s the perfect place to spend a sunny day strolling through the famous palace gardens, adorning its collection of 18th century French paintings and admiring one of few places in Berlin that still reflects the one-time grandeur of the city, a destination now known more for its quirky, off-beat charm.
If there’s one thing that adults like, it’s a lazy afternoon boat ride. Enter: River Spree. Built on the banks of the river, Berlin is the idyllic city in which to treat mum and dad to superb views of famous city landmarks cruising along the water.
Given the city has five times as many bridges as Venice, not taking advantage of it would be a waste. Sit back, enjoy the munchies provided on the tour and soak up the scenery.
If there’s one thing you have to do in Berlin, it’s try the food. The Germans are passionate to pamper their palettes, and in the process, we all win. From kebabs to currywursts, you could try a new dish for every meal and still be surprised by what else is on offer.
To cater for visitors hungry to sample the city’s savouries, there are plenty of foodie tours that celebrate Berliner cuisine, ranging from boutique and specialist markets peppered throughout the city, to the gourmet court at the KaDeWee.
For something really off beat, check out the dinner-in-the-dark experience at Unsicht Bara where diners are invited to dine in a pitch black room served by blind waiters bringing mysterious food. While the concept may seem strange, the ingenious conception was created to give guests an idea of how you could get along without the sense of sight. For some pocket friendly suggestions, check out these insanely cheap places to eat in Berlin.
The capital cities of Europe don’t often conjure images of the lush tropics, but then again, most capitals aren’t as unpredictable as Berlin. While it’s not technically located in the city, a short day trip away will reward you with Tropical Islands Resort, a tropical theme park housed in the former CargoLifter airship hangar.
If the setting isn’t impressive enough, taking your parents on a tour inside of the hangar will leave them seriously flabbergasted. From the indoor rainforest — the largest in the world — to Germany’s highest water slide tower, to swimming, diving or chilling in the luscious lagoon, soaking up some R&R in one of the seven saunas and steam bath complexes, or indulging in a massage after a thrilling day in the tropics, this is THE spot to spoil mum and dad.
What do you do with an old airport? Well, in Berlin you convert it into a beautiful, 300 hectare recreational park. See what I mean about unwaveringly hipster?
The area has a 6km cycling, skating and jogging trail, a BBQ area, a dog-walking field covering around four hectares and an enormous picnic area for all visitors, open from sunrise to sunset. But rather than exploring the park on foot, why not rent a Segway and glide through Tempelhofer Feld?
It’s no secret that Berlin is full of history. Stepping foot on the soil is like choosing to step into a time capsule. Travel back in time to discover its aristocratic life through the plethora of palaces planted throughout the city, or choose to explore the secret bunkers, Holocaust Museum, and underground, the labyrinth world created by the Nazi regime during WWII.
If that’s not enough, the museums such as the DDR will illustrate just what life was like in Berlin during its time as a divided city, which will only be highlighted with a tour of the remnants of the Berlin Wall.
It’s said that the city has more museums than rainy days, so why not invite the Elders to ditch the umbrella for an entrance ticket to one of the cultural institutions?
One of the most striking images of the Berlin skyline is the Reichstag Building, home to Germany’s Parliament, the Bundestag, since 1991 when Berlin was reinstated as the country’s capital city.
Topped with an acclaimed glass dome that stands as the landmark attention of the building, visitors can climb up through onto the roof terrace for 360 degree views of Berlin’s government district and the Tiergarten.
It’s an extremely popular visitor attraction that is only open to a limited audience every day, so be sure to take your adults up there for an educational venture, followed by dinner at institutes celebrated restaurant.
Boasting over 16,000 animals, including 1,500 varieties of the most important creatures from around the world, and Europe’s largest and most lavish aviary, Germany’s oldest zoo is not to be missed.
Set on the south west corner of the Tiergarten, Berlin’s Zoological Garden is a huge urban playground home to colourful species that invite the whole family to enjoy an exciting day out.
For the most cultured of souls, Berlin’s world-renowned Philharmonic is celebrated throughout the global arts community.
Taking a tour with the Berliner Philharmoniker Foundation allows an insight into the Philharmonie and the Chamber Music Hall, and covers topics such as the architecture and acoustics of the building, as well as the history of the Berliner Philharmoniker.
What’s more, while visits to the auditorium cannot be made during rehearsals, it’s certainly worth checking the schedule to book in a night indulging in the melodic tunes and symphonies pumped out by the orchestra.
Standing proud as the most iconic landmark of the city, The Brandenburg Gate symbolises the strength and unity of the German people today.
No tour of the city would be complete without taking mum and dad to the very place that Kennedy bellowed his famous “I am a Berliner” speech, and Reagan demanded the Soviets “tear down this wall!”, so it’s worth waiting for Brandenburg to be the highlight of your family trip.
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What other spots would you take your parents in Berlin? Let us know in the comments. And remember: if you’re studying abroad and need student accommodation, you’ll find the perfect student home on Uniplaces.
This post is also available in: German