Not far in distance but seemingly world’s away from the Berlin’s trendy bars, design boutiques and bohemian vibe of the Mitte area, stately and graceful Charlottenburg is a reminder of the glories of the German Empire. The area was named after Sophia Charlotte of Hannover, a Prussian Queen Consort. Her Baroque Palace is not only the area’s landmark but also the only surviving Royal Palace in Berlin.
The palace is surrounded by a lavish park – a superb place to wander around or have a picnic lunch. But there are plenty of other highbrow attractions in Charlottenburg; the neighbourhood was once a pleasure ground of the city’s elite, (followed by the decadent, cabaret crowd of the ‘Golden Twenties’) and many of their stately mansions have become museums.
The Palace (the Schloss Charlottenburg) is a destination within itself, with each separate building holding a unique collection (separate admission prices apply).
Altes Schloss, Spandauer Damm, 9am-5pm Tue-Sun
The oldest part of the Charlottenburg palace is a riot of stucco, rococo, brocade, gilt and the sort of excess European Royalty is renowned for. Don’t miss the 2,600-piece sterling silver dinner service, which has never been used.
Neuer Flügel, Spandauer Damm, 9am-5pm Tue-Sun (11am-5pm Nov-Mar)
The ‘new wing’ of the palace hosts its most sumptuous rooms, including a banquet room and music room filled with 18th century French masters.
Neuer Pavillion, Spandauer Damm, 9am-5pm Tue-Sun (11am-5pm Nov-Mar)
King Freidrich Wilhelm III commissioned this lovely summer villa, which today holds paintings from the Biedermeier period.
Museum Berggruen, Schlosstrasse 1, 10am-6pm Tue-Sun
Modern art from the likes of Klee, Matisse, Giacometti and especially Picasso.
Sammlung Scharf-Gerstenberg, Schlosstrasse 1, 10am-6pm Tue-Sun
This private bequest from a local insurance magnate focuses on surrealism and art brut with works from Ernst, Magritte, Dubuffet and the master of surrealism, Salvador Dali.
Bröhan Museum, Schlosstrasse 1a, 10am-6pm Tue-Sun
Another private donation to the city of Berlin, the rooms of this stately home are decorated with key pieces from the art nouveau and art deco periods.