September 18, 2021

Berlin’s Renaissance

Berlin’s famous Brandenburg Gate.


When the Berlin Wall collapsed in 1989, the rebirth of the city began. It took years to restore neglected monuments and bullet-riddled buildings to their former glory, before war and oppression tarnished historic landmarks. The city’s dark past is reflected in various memorials that have been erected near Brandenburg Gate, while today’s Berlin is filled with youthful optimism and social tolerance. It’s also filled with summertime tourists, who come to experience the remarkable post-Cold War transformation of Germany’s major city.

When cruise ships dock at Warnemünde on Germany’s Baltic Sea coast, many passengers are drawn to Berlin, despite its distance (about 160 miles) from the cruise port. It takes about three hours by train to get from the port to Berlin, but with a bit of pre-planning you can pack a lot of sightseeing into a quick day visit to this interesting city.

Most cruise ships dock at the Warnemünde Cruise Centre, which is a five-minute walk to the town centre and local train station. The S-Bahn (inter-suburb train) from Warnemünde to Rostock makes eight stops before arriving at Rostock Hauptbahnhof (Central Station) where you change trains for Berlin. A single traveler ticket from Rostock to Berlin is about 90 euros (round-trip, 2nd class) and schedules are available at DB Rail . You arrive at Berlin’s Hauptbahnhof, which is near the Reichstag. Assuming you caught the early-morning train, you will have three or four hours to spend in Berlin before catching a train back to Rostock, and then to Warnemünde.

Map of Berlin from our book Northern Europe By Cruise Ship.

Berlin’s Hauptbahnhof is located a short walk from the Government Quarter (see map) lying just across the River Spree. Here you will find several of Berlin’s best-known attractions, namely the Reichstag, Brandenburg Gate and Holocaust Memorial. Museum Island is also a short (15 minutes) walk away. Several other attractions are within walking distance of the Reichstag, but Berlin is a sprawling city and the City Circle hop on/hop off buses (painted yellow) are a good way to get from one attraction to another. Their stops are located throughout the city (from Alexander Platz on the east side to Charlottenburg Palace on the west side) and several popular stops in between such as Potsdamer Platz and Checkpoint Charlie (number 10 on the map). One of the 14 stops on the circular route is conveniently located just outside Hauptbahnhof. The cost for a one-day pass is 15.50 euros (a two-hour river cruise can be included for a total cost of 28 euros) and an illustrated map is provided.

Berlin’s public buses #100 or #200 also drive past many of the tourist sights. For more information, visit Berlin Tourism’s website at: Berlin . Shore excursions offered by the cruise lines include guided tours and coach shuttles for independent sightseers.

To learn more about Berlin and other Baltic ports, see our book Northern Europe By Cruise Ship available in print or in ebook format at bookstores and online across North America.

About Anne Vipond

Anne Vipond is the author of several guidebooks to cruising destinations around the world. She draws on an extensive sailing background to impart her enthusiasm for cruise travel. From her home port of Vancouver, she travels by cruise ship to a wide range of destinations to keep her books current and useful for her cruise readers. Her cruising articles have been published in magazines and newspapers throughout North America and over seas.