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Olympics Past: Berlin

While the 11th Summer Olympic Games went down as one of the most controversial in history, the host city itself has now become a must-visit destination in its own right.

After calls to boycott the Games were ignored, the Berlin Olympics opened on 1 August, 1936. Despite Germany winning in the overall medal tally, this Olympic Games will be remembered for Jesse Owens, the African-American sprinter who took gold in four events and broke three world records.

Seventy-five years on, Berlin has emerged from wars, walls and reconstruction as one of Europe’s most vibrant, cultural and cutting-edge cities. Pay a visit to the Olympiastadion in the west of the city, but be sure to check if there are any events going on if you want to take the full guided tour (10€/£9). After much renovation of the original stadium, it’s now home to the Hertha Berlin football team, has hosted bands like U2, and was the venue for the 2006 World Cup final. Take the fast and frequent U-Bahn (underground) or S-Bahn (overground) trains to Olympiastadion station, just under 15 minutes from the centre of the city.

While you’re in the area, take a trip to Charlottenburg Palace, the palace built by the future King Friedrich I in 1695 as his wife's summer retreat. Its large gardens are free to visit and perfect for a peaceful escape from the city. 

And while no visit to Berlin is complete without visiting historic landmarks like Checkpoint Charlie and the Reichstag, don’t forget the city is also home to some of the best archaeological treasures and art collections in the world. Most of these are found on Museuminsel (Museum Island) in the Mitte district.

Save money and jump the queues with a 3-day Museum Pass (buy from participating museums and tourist information points). For 19€ (£17) this covers entry to over 60 museums over three consecutive days, including the stunning Pergamon Museum, filled with architecture transported from ancient Greece and 6th-century BC Babylon, and the Altes Museum, worth a visit for its neo-classical building alone.

Once you’ve had your fill of culture, check out Berlin’s nightlife and entertainment. The city is filled with hip, all-night dance venues, but if that’s not your thing, head to the creative district of Prenzlauer Berg. It’s packed with beautifully restored houses, boutiques and cafes, and the Kulturbrauerei – once a 19th-century brewery – is now home to a variety of bars, restaurants, concerts and a cinema.

We found flights to Berlin on Fly.com for as little as £46 return, click here to check availability.

Previous Olympic host city posts:
Athens

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Tips by
Aysha

Deal Expert, London
Tuesday, 27 September 2011
See more Tips from
Aysha Flitcroft