Although perhaps you may not recognize the name, you’ve definitely seen the landmarks around its area. Unter den Linden is the main vein in the beating heart of Berlin. The street has seen its heyday in the 1920s as one of Europe’s most grand boulevards but even before then it was a symbol of Prussian opulence and after the Second World War, it was considered the main artery of East Berlin. Then the wall came down and Unter den Linden went back to its former glory with hip cafes and clubs as well as iconic Berlin landmarks like Brandenburg Gate on one end and City Palace on the other. If you’re spending some time in Berlin, here is a guide to Unter den Linden.
Things to do
The story of Unter den Linden is an interesting one. The translation means “under the linden trees” and is so named for the trees that line the boulevard’s grassed median. The trees are so favored and such an iconic part of the city that when Hitler had them removed to be replaced with Nazi flags, the people protested, and he had to replant them. Walking from one end to the other grants you a beautiful little mini-tour of some of the most important spots in the city.
The stunning 18th-century neoclassical monument is known all throughout the world and is an iconic landmark in the city. The everlasting symbol of Berlin was commissioned by Prussian King Frederick William II. Behind it is the Berlin Wall which has been a part of major events in European history and continues to be a symbol of peace, freedom, and unity. It has been visited by many people the world over from Presidents Kennedy and Barack Obama and composer Leonard Bernstein.
Deutsches Historisches Museum
Simply referred to as the DHM by many, the museum is considered one of the most important in Berlin. If you haven’t gathered from the name, the museum devotes itself to German culture and history as well as the shared history between Germans and Europeans. There are collections of everyday life and culture like household objects and toys from the 15th to the 20th century as well as documents, arts, print, and militaria.
Crown Prince's Palace
The neoclassical building at the other end of the Unter den Linden was once home to the ruling family of Prussia until the abolition of the monarchy after the first world war. Afterward, it became a sort of museum housing modern art until it was closed by the Nazis and destroyed during WWII. Finally, after the war, the building was used as a guest house for visiting officials to East Germany before becoming a center for cultural events today.
What to eat
Café Einstein Unter den Linden
Located right on the boulevard, Cafe Einstein is popular among the tourists that come to Unter den Linden but that shouldn’t deter you from coming in and grabbing a bite. The stylish cafe has outdoor seating for the warm summer months so you can watch the crowds of people go by while you sip your coffee and have your freshly baked German cake. Cafe Einstein brings the 1920s cafe culture to the modern era.
Continuing on the trend of the 1920s-themed eateries comes this Berliner favorite. Take a step back in time and taste some classic German dishes, cooked just like they were years ago. The restaurant gets pretty busy you may want to make a reservation in advance and if you’re really feeling the 20s vibe, maybe even dress up a little. Enjoy traditional German plates like pork knuckle in beer sauce as well as modern favorites like currywurst and desserts like a delicious strudel.
Things to buy
Mini souvenirs are a great little way to bring back something with you on your travels. They don’t take up a lot of room in your luggage and you’ll always have something to remember your trip by. For a place with so many iconic landmarks, you’ll be hard-pressed to find something you don’t like. Try a little figure of Brandenburg Gate or if you’re lucky an authentic piece of the Berlin Wall.
The mascot of the city is a bear. A black bear is featured on the city’s coat of arms and since 1954 it was a symbol of West Berlin, but the iconic bear association with the city of Berlin goes as far back as the 12th century. Bear merchandise is found all over the place from teddy bears to gummy bears, T-shirts, and jewelry. Nothing says “Berlin” like the bear.
The best tip for eating out at a restaurant is not to tip. If you’re coming from North America you might be surprised to find that there is no tipping culture in Germany and the rest of Europe for that matter. Waiters and waitresses get paid a living wage and don’t rely on tips and might even consider it rude if you tip them. Generally, it is always easier to round up your bill to the next Euro.
While Berlin and Unter den Linden are very safe areas, precaution should still be taken especially in denser areas. Places where many tourists congregate have a higher chance of pickpocketing which has been on the rise in recent years. Always watch your things and don’t let your bags or valuables out of your sight. If you have any issues, keep in mind that most locals and police speak English, if you do not speak any German.
How to get there
Germany has some of the best public transit in the world and is usually a lot more affordable than most European cities. The Unter den Linden is central and served by the bus lines 100, 147, 245, 300, and N6.
By U-Bahn & S-Bahn
The U-Bahn runs underground like the metro and the S-Bahn runs above ground like a train and both have stops at Unter den Linden right at Brandenburg Gate. To get there hop on the U55 U-Bahn or the S1, S2, S25, or S26 S-Bahn and get off at Brandenburger Tor station.
Berlin is very bike-friendly with no steep hills and well-maintained and marked bike paths. Bike rental shops are also found all throughout the city with prices starting around 8 EUR (9 USD).
Unter den Linden information
Unter den Linden
Address: Unter den Linden 10117 Berlin, Germany
Official website: Unter den Linden
Department of tourism website: Visit Berlin
Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)
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