POCKET GUIDE GER­MANY

10Best Lo­cal Ex­perts take you to the best spots around Berlin, Frank­furt, Mu­nich

USA TODAY International Edition - - NEWS - Robyn Polzin Mike Richard­son An­drea Schulte-Peev­ers in BERLIN in FRANK­FURT in MU­NICH

GO SEE ... BERLIN 1. Berlin Wall Me­mo­rial

The Berlin Wall may be gone, but it will never be for­got­ten. This out­door mu­seum, which in­cludes the last re­main­ing stretch of the wall in its orig­i­nal lo­ca­tion, ex­plains how the bar­rier di­vided a city and its peo­ple for 28 years. Ber­nauer Strasse 119 +49 30 467 986 666

2. Stasi Prison

For­mer in­mates lead tours of the prison where the East Ger­man se­cret po­lice held sus­pected op­po­nents of the regime — most of them in­no­cent of wrong­do­ing. Gensler­strasse 66 +49 30 9860 8230

3. Panorama­punkt

For the best bird’s-eye view of cen­tral Berlin, let Europe’s fastest el­e­va­tor whisk you 24 floors to this lofty perch above Pots­damer Platz in a mere 20 sec­onds. Pots­damer Platz 1 +49 30 2593 7080

4. Schloss Char­lot­ten­burg

See how the Prus­sian kings who ruled much of Ger­many un­til 1918 lived at this mini-Ver­sailles, framed by a lovely park per­fect for sum­mer pic­nics. Span­dauer Damm 20-24 +49 30 320 911

5. Hum­boldt-Box

This mul­ti­me­dia ex­hibit ac­com­pa­nies the on­go­ing re­con­struc­tion of the city’s Prus­sian im­pe­rial palace, which was de­mol­ished by the com­mu­nists in 1950. Hum­boldt-Box in­tro­duces the fu­ture ten­ants and ex­plains how the huge build­ing will fit within the city’s his­toric cen­ter. Schloss­platz 5 +49 180 503 0707

6. Perg­a­mon­mu­seum

This crowd-pleaser wows with mon­u­men­tal an­tiq­ui­ties from Greece, Rome and the Mid­dle East. Star ex­hibits in­clude the ra­di­ant blue Ishtar Gate and the in­tri­cate fa­cade of a caliph’s palace. Bode­strasse 1-3 +49 30 266 424 242

7. Neukölln neigh­bor­hood

Cat­a­pulted from gritty zone to vi­brant dis­trict, Neukölln is per­fect for DIY ex­plo­ration. Cafes like Katie’s Blue Cat in­vite lin­ger­ing be­tween stops at vin­tage bou­tiques and hip­ster bars. Katie’s Blue Cat Friedel­strasse 31 +49 178 806 9701

8. Jüdis­che Mäd­chen­schule

A for­mer Jewish girls’ school in a Bauhaus-era build­ing has evolved into a cul­tural hot spot, fea­tur­ing cut­ting-edge gal­leries, a mu­seum about the Kennedys and even stel­lar res­tau­rants. Au­gust­strasse 11-13 +49 030 3300 6070

9. Mu­seum in der Kul­tur­brauerei

This ex­hibit in a for­mer brew­ery uses orig­i­nal doc­u­ments, pho­to­graphs and ob­jects to peel back the Iron Cur­tain on daily life in com­mu­nist East Ger­many. Knaack­strasse 97 +49 030 4677 7790

10. Bikini Berlin

Browse fash­ion and de­sign at Ger­many’s first “con­cept mall,” in a 1950s land­mark build­ing with front-row views of the mon­key en­clo­sure of the Berlin Zoo. Bu­dapester Strasse 38-50

GO SEE ... FRANK­FURT 1. Pal­men­garten

Es­tab­lished in 1868, this oa­sis in the Wes­tend is Ger­many’s largest botan­i­cal gar­den. Dis­plays in­clude more than 13,000 trop­i­cal and sub­trop­i­cal plant species. Sies­may­er­strasse 61 +49 69 2123 3939

2. Haupt­bahn­hof Sta­tion

The busiest train sta­tion in Frank­furt con­sists of a mas­sive main vestibule and two ad­join­ing neo­clas­si­cal halls made of steel and glass. In­side are a se­ries of plat­forms, shops and food stands.

Am Haupt­bahn­hof

Marien­platz, above, has been the main square of Mu­nich since 1158, although New Town Hall dates only to 1874. West of Frank­furt lie the ru­ins of Rhe­in­fels Cas­tle, left. 3. Mu­se­um­sufer

A walk along the Main River’s Mu­seum Em­bank­ment is a must. Twelve mu­se­ums sit on a sin­gle tree-lined street, the most no­table be­ing the Städel art gallery. Städel, Schau­mainkai 63 +49 69 605098 232

4. Rhe­in­fels Cas­tle

West of the city, this cas­tle’s an­cient stone ram­parts rise over the Rhine at Sankt Goar. The ru­ins re­call the Mid­dle Ages, while the res­tau­rant and its lovely ter­race her­ald the modern day. Schloss­berg, Sankt Goar

+49 6741 7753

5. Goethe­haus

Grand wood stair­cases take vis­i­tors through the re­con­structed tim­bered house where the writer Jo­hann Wolf­gang von Goethe spent his child­hood.

Grosser Hirschgraben 23 +49 69 138 800

6. Ger­ber­mühle

Af­ter cy­cling along the Main River, re­lax in the gar­den at this 16th-cen­tury flour mill ren­o­vated as a ho­tel com­plex. Ger­ber­müh­lestrasse 105

+49 69 689 7779 0

7. Hauptwache Sta­tion

This busy rapid-tran­sit sta­tion re­sem­bles an un­der­ground city with its street per­form­ers, chalk artists, in­ter­na­tional mar­kets, dry clean­ers and even an en­trance to the Ga­le­ria depart­ment store.

An der Hauptwache 17

8. Klein­mark­thalle

This mar­ket hall hosts some 60 ven­dors sell­ing fresh food, wine and flow­ers ev­ery day ex­cept Sun­day. Lo­cals like a glass of wine in the out­door garten up­stairs. Hasen­gasse 5

+49 69 2123 3696

9. Römer­berg

Heart of Frank­furt’s old town, this charm­ing cen­tral square is lined with re­con­structed half­tim­bered houses. Be sure to visit the Zum Römer, where Holy Ro­man em­per­ors were coro­nated. Römer­berg, Alt­stadt

10. Alte Oper

The Ital­ian Re­nais­sance-style Alte Oper is Frank­furt’s orig­i­nal opera house. Can’t make a show? Linger at an out­door cafe on Opern­platz, the Opera Square. Opern­platz 1

+49 69 1340 0

GO SEE ... MU­NICH 1. St. Peter’s Church

Mu­nich’s old­est church, “Al­ter Peter” (Old Peter) is rec­og­niz­able by its 91-me­ter tower, of­fer­ing some of the best views of the city. Rin­der­markt 1

+49 89 2102 3776

2. Hirschgarten

This used to be part of the royal hunt­ing grounds. To­day it’s the site of a fam­ily-friendly beer gar­den (Bavaria’s largest), serv­ing top-notch lo­cal food. Hirschgarten 1

+49 89 1799 9119

3. Odeon­splatz

For photo op­por­tu­ni­ties, it’s hard to beat this square in cen­tral Mu­nich. Odeon­splatz, named for the Odeon con­cert hall, is bor­dered by some of the city’s most sig­nif­i­cant build­ings. Odeon­splatz 1

+49 89 222 324

4. Vik­tu­alien­markt

From sausages and fish to ex­otic fruit, Mu­nich’s open-air food mar­ket boasts the high­est-qual­ity gourmet gro­ceries in town. At its cen­ter lies a beer gar­den with a lively at­mos­phere. Vik­tu­alien­markt 3

+49 89 8906 8205

5. Alte Pi­nakothek

The for­mer royal col­lec­tion of Old Mas­ters paint­ings re­sides here. Dürer, Rem­brandt, Peter Paul Rubens and El Greco are among those rep­re­sented.

Barer Strasse 27

+49 89 2380 5216

6. Marien­platz

Mu­nich’s main square since 1158, Marien­platz is abuzz with ac­tiv­ity and a great place for pho­tos, with the Gothic Re­vival-style New Town Hall in the spot­light.

+49 089 2330 0115

7. Res­i­denz

Take a tour of the for­mer main royal palace of Bavaria, with its 130 rooms and 10 court­yards. Res­i­den­zs­trasse 1

+49 089 290 671

8. BMW Mu­seum

From the ear­li­est BMW en­gines to modern pro­to­types, the per­ma­nent ex­hibit here ap­peals to the car lover in all of us and rolls out fun for all ages.

Am Olympia­park 2

+49 89 125 016 001

9. Nym­phen­burg Palace

This baroque beauty housed Bavaria’s rulers be­gin­ning in 1675. Per­haps more spec­tac­u­lar than the palace it­self are the 490 acres of for­mal gar­dens.

Schloss Nym­phen­burg 1

+49 089 179 080

10. Asamkirche

A ro­coco gem, Asamkirche was built as a pri­vate chapel for the broth­ers who com­pleted it in 1746. Now it’s open to the pub­lic. Sendlinger Strasse 32

+49 089 2368 7989 Want even more great ideas? Go to 10Best.com for handy travel lists, cool pics and hot tips by Lo­cal Ex­perts in pop­u­lar des­ti­na­tions around the world.

SBORISOV, GETTY IM­AGES/ISTOCKPHOTO

GÜN­TER ST­EF­FEN, VISITBERLIN

Nar­row slits in bar­ri­ers at the Berlin Wall Me­mo­rial pro­vide glimpses of the “death strip,” where those flee­ing East Berlin were of­ten gunned down.

MAR­TINA BERG, GETTY IM­AGES/ISTOCKPHOTO

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