- Wondering about the top things to do in Berlin? Read our one-, two- and three-day Berlin City guide.
- Discover famous places to visit in Berlin including the Berlin Wall, the Reichstag, Brandenburg Gate and Museum Island.
- Plan the perfect Berlin itinerary that includes plenty of time to enjoy traditional German currywurst and beer.
November 2019 marks the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, so if you’ve been considering holidays to Berlin, there’s never been a better time to visit. City breaks are easy to organise, lots of fun and you’ll find plenty of fascinating things to do in Berlin, whether you’re staying for one, two or three days.
Berlin walking tours are enriching, allowing you to wander from one famous sight to the next. However, public transport is also an efficient way of getting around. Here are our city recommendations to help you plan your Berlin itinerary.
Top things to do in Berlin… if you have one day
If you’ve only a day in the capital, perhaps if you’re cruising the rivers in Germany, your Berlin itinerary has to include a visit to the city’s most iconic landmark, the Brandenburg Gate. The monument, built in a neoclassical style in the latter half of the 18th century, has come to symbolise peace and unity. You can view this spectacular sight at the end of Unter Den Linden, the city’s famous linden-tree boulevard.
Nearby is the architecturally magnificent Reichstag, the seat of the German parliament and a building with a turbulent and fascinating history. A tour of its impressive glass dome is a must – though note that advance registration is required.
Day visitors to Berlin should also try to take in another splendid dome, this time at the city’s cathedral. Crowned by a lantern with a golden cross and flanked by four towers, Berliner Dom is equally as breath-taking inside. On a guided tour, you’ll witness a lavish array of mosaics, statues and a marble and onyx altar. You’ll also have the chance to visit the Hohenzollern Crypt, home to nearly 100 sarcophagi.
No trip to Berlin would be complete though without seeing the city’s infamous wall, the remains of which are now a protected historical monument. The East Side Gallery is the oldest surviving section in situ, but you can also head to the bustling Potsdamer Platz to view part of the Berlin Wall preserved in the public square, and a metal strip in the ground that marks the wall’s route. A 15-minute walk away is Checkpoint Charlie, another poignant symbol of the Cold War. Today, the former border crossing between the West and East is a popular selfie spot and actors staff a replica US Army guardhouse. The original building is on display in the Allied Museum.
Top things to do in Berlin… if you have two days
Berlin is a great year-round destination so you can enjoy holidays to Germany whatever the season. If it’s cold, rainy or if you’re just a culture vulture, your first port of call should be to the city’s Museum Island, one of the most famous places to visit in Berlin. The ensemble of five UNESCO-listed museums are home to an unrivalled collection of treasures – exhibits include the bust of Egyptian queen Nefertiti, the Ishtar Gate to the inner city of Babylon and artworks by Claude Monet and Auguste Renoir. The buildings’ architecture is outstanding too. Note that museums close on Mondays, but stay open until 8pm every Thursday.
The Topography of Terror, another museum that is free to enter, stands on the former headquarters’ site of the SS and Gestapo. A place of remembrance, it provides a thought-provoking and heart-wrenching insight into Germany’s bleak past.
When the sun is shining, the perfect spot to stretch your legs – or unwind with a drink – is the Tiergarten. The park is just slightly bigger than London’s Hyde Park and was once a royal hunting ground. Today the green space has a tea house, lake café and a beer garden. Within the park, you’ll also see a Soviet war memorial, a though-provoking Global Stone peace project and the 67-metre-high Victory Column.
As night falls, reward your sightseeing exploits with a well-earned drink at one of Berlin’s many authentic beer Kellers – many also serve traditional German food. If visiting the city in early August, you can enjoy the International Berlin Beer Festival.
Alternatively, catch a show at Friedrichstadt-Palast, Berlin’s top entertainment spot and one of the world’s biggest theatre stages – grand performances have taken place here since 1910. The permanent exhibition of the theatre’s history is also well worth a look.
Top things to do in Berlin… if you have three days
A Berlin 3-day itinerary can include landmarks a little further afield, so venture on the city’s U-Bahn underground trains and make your way west to the impressive Charlottenburg Palace. Named after Sophie Charlotte, the first Queen consort in Prussia, the palace is one of the city’s most magnificent buildings. Must-see areas include the staterooms and Golden Gallery ballroom, and there’s also an impressive display of the remaining pieces of the Prussia crown jewels. The baroque gardens in the surrounding park are attractive too.
Continue west again, and you’ll reach the Olympiastadion Berlin, the stadium built for the 1936 Summer Olympic Games. It is now home to football’s Hertha BSC and has hosted the World Cup final and athletic World Championships. Daily 60-minute highlight tours on non-event days allow access to players’ cabins and VIP areas.
If you’re more of a fan of royal residences, then travel approximately one hour from the city by train to the mid-18th century Sanssouci Palace, the summer retreat of the Prussian king Frederich the Great. It’s a worthwhile journey as the UNESCO-listed palace and park are breath-taking. Elegant rather than opulent, it was built as a place of relaxation, where Frederich could enjoy the country air in the company of his dogs ‘without a care’ (sans-souci). Don’t miss the Picture Gallery and the Chinese House.
Sightseeing can be hungry work, so when you return to the city, visit Berlin’s Markthalle Neun, an indoor market selling international food. Vendors stay open until 10pm every Thursday and, according to their website, sell ‘beautiful things’! Interestingly, the market hall also supports local nutrition, biodiversity and environment projects. Failing that, try some currywurst. Stalls selling the popular Berlin spicy sausage street food are everywhere.
Start your own Berlin city adventure
A captivating city-break destination, Berlin is sure to take your breath away, and after a one-, two- or three-day visit, you’ll be yearning to return. With so much to see and do, including a charming Christmas market, one trip will never be enough. Think about Berlin city breaks 2020 today such as the five-day Berlin, Dresden, Meissen and Colditz city break.
Still not sure about Berlin? Read why you should add this incredible German destination to your bucket list here.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.