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Top things to do in Berlin for your ultimate Berlin itinerary

Top things to do in Berlin for your ultimate Berlin itinerary

If you are planning to visit Berlin then read on – this post includes all the top things to do in Berlin and tips to help you make the most of your time there and put together the best Berlin itinerary!

We visited Berlin as part of a train journey around Europe travelling from London to Berlin and onto Prague by train. If you plan to travel to Berlin by train you may be interested in reading about our journey.

These are our top choices and tips for a Berlin itinerary


BUY A BERLIN WELCOMECARD


Buy a Berlin WelcomeCard this will give you unlimited access to the S-bahn, U-bahn, buses and trams for a period from 2 – 6 days. You can choose a ticket for zones A and B which covers Tegel Airport and all of Berlin or for zones A, B and C which also includes Potsdam, Schoenefeld Airport and surrounding towns in Brandenburg. It also saves you money – between 25/50% at some sights and it also gives you priority admission at some too.  The card start at €19.50

  • Tip – make sure you validate the card in one of the machines before you start using it
Berlin welcome card brochure a must when putting together your Berlin itinerary

Pick up a Berlin Welcome card


GO ON A WALKING TOUR OF BERLIN


For me the perfect Berlin itinerary starts with a WALKING TOUR. This will help you to get orientated and visit all the main sites – we went on Insider Tour’s FAMOUS  WALK. This runs daily all year.

We thoroughly enjoyed our tour and we saw a lot during the 4 hours including Bebelplatz the site of the 10 May 1933 book burning, Museum Island, the Reichstag, the site of Hitler’s bunker, the Brandenburg Gate, and Ai WeiWei’s art installation at the concert hall. There were about 25 in our group from all over the world (the tour was in English) Our guide was very knowledgeable and I am sure we found things out we wouldn’t have from a guidebook.

  • Tip – make note of places you want to visit in further depth – we decided to visit the Topography of Terror Documentation Centre as part of our second day itinerary after hearing about it on the walking tour.
The Berlin Wall

The Berlin Wall – a truly sobering sight


LEARN ABOUT THE HISTORY OF BERLIN


Learn about HISTORY – Berlin was the seat of the Nazi Third Reich during WW11 and then subsequently the pivotal city in the power struggle to control post-war Europe during the Cold War. The past is inescapable in Berlin and it is a good way to think about those history lessons you had at school (I was one of those teachers by the way!!) and remember the past is about people – ordinary people like me and you. Places such as the Topography of Terror documentation centre, the Holocaust memorial and also the stories of those living on the other side of the wall in East Germany certainly bring this home.

Holes in The Berlin Wall

Gaps in the Berlin Wall


See the SIGHTS, ATTRACTIONS, MUSEUMS and MEMORIALS IN BERLIN


‘Berlin, the greatest cultural extravaganza that one could imagine.’ — David Bowie, Singer, 1970s Click To Tweet


OUR TOP SIGHTS TO SEE WHEN YOU VISIT BERLIN

MUSEUM ISLAND

  • Museum Island . This is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is home to 5 museums and I am embarrassed to say we didn’t get the time to visit any – though they will definitely be on my itinerary next time we are in Berlin. The two most famous are the Neues Museum which has the bust of Nerfetiti and the archaeological museum the Pergamonmuseum. Next time!!
Museum Island a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Berlin

Museum Island

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REICHSTAG


  • Reichstag. It is free to enter the dome but you need to register ahead of your visit (minimum 2 days) on the official website. This has been the seat of the German Parliament since 1999. It was completed in 1894 but mysteriously burnt down in 1933. It was rebuilt between 1961 – 1971 with the glass dome added and completed in 1999 (this was designed by British architect Norman Foster)
Reichstag in Berlin germany

The Reichstag


BERLIN WALL – EAST SIDE GALLERY


Berlin Wall – East Side Gallery. Most of the wall was demolished but there is a stretch that runs along the side of the Topography of Terror Documentation Centre and a one mile stretch called the East Side Gallery where artworks made on the eastern side of the wall by artists are preserved. The East Side gallery is on Muhlenstrasse in Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg and I really would recommend a visit. We took the S-bahn to Ost Bahnhof and then walked the wall until we reached the end at the U-bahn stop Warshauer St. This was one of the highlights of our trip and definitely one of the top things to do in Berlin.

East Side Gallery in Berlin

A very famous mural on the wall

East Side gallery in Berlin

An East German soldier escapes


BRANDENBURG GATE


Brandenburg Gate. Probably Berlin’s most famous landmark and since 1989 the symbol of a reunified Germany. It is situated near the Reichstag and at the end of Unter den Linden a grand boulevard lined with trees. The gate is made of sandstone and is a neoclassical arch and is rather nice!!

Brandenburg gate in Berlin

The Brandenburg Gate


CHECKPOINT CHARLIE


Checkpoint Charlie. This is the famous east-west border control during the Cold War. Much of what you see is reconstructed eg the wooden barrack or copied from the original eg the sign saying ‘You are leaving the American sector’ but I think it is still an important place to visit due to its historical importance.

Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin

Checkpoint Charlie


HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL


Holocaust memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. Close to the Brandenburg gate in the centre of Berlin this memorial was designed by architect Peter Eisenman and consists of 2,711 blocks (stelae)of varying heights and sizes with no two being identical. There is an information centre located under the field of stelae.

Holocaust Memorial in Berlin

The Holocaust Memorial

Holocaust Memorial in Berlin

The Holocaust Memorial in Berlin

TOPOGRAPHY OF TERROR


Topography of Terror Documentation Centre. This is located where the SS headquarters buildings were situated between 1933 and 1945. It has permanent as well as temporary exhibitions. The permanent exhibition focuses on the SS and police during the ‘Third Reich’ and the crimes they committed throughout Europe. It is very word heavy but the visual support from the photographs (some heartbreaking) is excellent.

Topography of terror building from the outside


AND SOME OTHER EXPERIENCES I RECOMMEND FOR YOUR BERLIN ITINERARY


  • And….we saw Ai WeiWei’s art installation on the Concert Hall, the location of  Hitler’s bunker, the building that was Goering’s Air Defence Ministry, the site of the 1933 book burnings on Bebelplatz, and more on the walking tour.
Ai WeiWei art installation in Berlin

Ai Wei Wei

  • Visit Trabi World!
  •  Visit POTSDAMER PLATZ – lots of places to eat and shop around this busy square. Close to the Berlin Mall and on a cold day a welcome stop off for a hot chocolate!

 

  • Eat CURRYWURST! This is pork sausage covered in tomato ketchup and curry powder and can be found everywhere!!!
Curry at the wall in Berlin

You have to try currywurst!


ADD A TOUR TO YOUR BELIN ITINERARY


 


TIPS YOU NEED TO KNOW IF YOU VISIT BERLIN

  1. December, January and February are the coldest months to visit Berlin with average temperatures just above or below freezing so make sure you dress for the weather. While there are lots of things to do inside (Museum Island etc) you will spend a lot of time walking so ensure you have comfortable, warm footwear.
  2. Berlin is always busy so book tours/walks etc in advance. Although it may not be as super crowded as in the summer months it is still a very popular destination.
  3. Read about the history of Berlin – it does help to understand about its role in the 20th century.
  4. Stay near the main train station if you want excellent transport links. We arrived in Berlin by train and travelled the city by foot or on public transport. We stayed at Motel One which was really convenient during our stay in Berlin. You can book this hotel here! 

 

READ MORE
Motel One Berlin-Hauptbahnhof

 


OTHER GREAT EUROPEAN CITIES TO VISIT


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3 UNESCO SITES TO ADD TO YOUR BERLIN ITINERARY


UNESCO

Museumsinsel (Museum Island), Berlin

Berlin Modernism Housing Estates

Palaces and Parks of Potsdam and Berlin


PIN FOR LATER – PLAN YOUR BERLIN ITINERARY
VISITING BERLIN GERMANY IN WINTERTHINGS TO DO IN BERLIN in winter
visiting Berlin

Author: Tracy

Working my way around the globe for 30 years – teacher, traveller, and train lover. Sharing authentic experiences from my travels and life as an expat in Australia.

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62 Comments

  1. Andrea
    February 29, 2016 / 8:29 pm

    Hi Tracy we just happen to be off to Berlin at Whit. Will def follow some of your recommendations, Can’t wait.

    • May 22, 2016 / 6:36 pm

      You will have a great time Andrea! let me know what you think

  2. October 11, 2016 / 12:57 pm

    Never been to Berlin, but I’m hoping to go someday. I’d love to see the Berlin wall and learn more about the history of the place.

  3. October 12, 2016 / 4:45 am

    Great list of things to do in Berlin. Thanks for sharing #CityTripping

  4. October 12, 2016 / 5:07 pm

    I’ve been to Berlin two times now and both trips were organised by an organisation. I’m incredibly glad for that cause Berlin has SO MUCH to offer, I wouldn’t even know where to start! 😀 I’ll keep Trabbi World in my mind for my next trip though, thanks for the tip!

  5. October 12, 2016 / 7:15 pm

    Ahh thanks so much for this post! I’m looking to go to Berlin sometime in the next few months so this is wonderful 🙂

    • October 13, 2016 / 4:26 pm

      Brilliant – have a great trip! Berlin is an amazing city

  6. October 13, 2016 / 3:42 pm

    This is such a great introduction to the city- I haven’t been to Berlin since I lived in Germany (a long time ago!) and there was masses to do then, not to mention a lot that’s changed. Some great tips when I finally get back there. Thanks for linking up with #citytripping
    Cathy (Mummytravels) recently posted…Little Passports review and giveawayMy Profile

    • October 13, 2016 / 4:25 pm

      Thanks for reading the post and commenting 🙂 We are definitely returning to Berlin as there is so much to see and do – we thoroughly enjoyed it!

  7. October 14, 2016 / 9:00 am

    Great round-up of things to do in Berlin. There is so much to do and see and so much history to absorb there. We only managed a few of the things in your list but will no doubt be back one day. #citytripping
    Elizabeth (Wander Mum) recently posted…City Tripping #48My Profile

  8. October 15, 2016 / 12:07 am

    I loved Berlin when I visited a few years ago, but really wish I had more time there! There’s so much to do (As you’ve outlined here.) I did the free walking tour, which I loved. And also a street art tour which included the Berlin Wall. Still, looks like I missed out on a lot that Berlin has to offer. Just excuses to return!

  9. January 7, 2017 / 4:47 pm

    I loved Berlin! There is just so much history! It fascinates me thinking about what the city was like before the wall came down. I also really like the really modern architecture that is mixed in with all the historic sites. Thanks for sharing on #TheWeeklyPostcard.

    • January 7, 2017 / 5:07 pm

      It is a great city isn’t it? We loved it.

      • Jim antcliffe
        February 6, 2017 / 11:15 am

        Thanks for this Tracy. Kiran has been several times for work and music stuff and he is convinced we would love it. Long weekend seems like a good idea.

        • February 6, 2017 / 8:13 pm

          Thanks Jim I think you will really enjoy it!

  10. February 23, 2017 / 10:39 am

    My husband and I were just talking about going to Berlin for his bday because he’s never been and he’s German! If you didn’t get the chance, you should definitely go back and do a tour of the Reichstag! Benn in twice and it’s amazing! #FarawayFiles
    Lolo recently posted…A Delicious Guide for Coffee & Cake in ViennaMy Profile

    • February 24, 2017 / 7:58 pm

      We definitely will! That and Museum Island!

  11. February 23, 2017 / 11:33 am

    LOVED Berlin! It was pouring rain and pretty cold when we were there, but so much to see. We loved the Eastside Gallery – so interesting. So much history in this town, crazy when you realize how much has happened here. We were not able to get time slots to go up in the Reichstag, next time! Great post – thanks for sharing with #FarawayFiles, cheers from Denmark, Erin

    • February 24, 2017 / 7:57 pm

      Thanks Erin! Yes its an interesting city to visit.

  12. February 24, 2017 / 2:59 pm

    I’m not sure I could eat currywurst, Tracy! Great reasons for taking a tour in Berlin – I think it would make so much more sense of the history if you were with a guide. I’ve still not been to Berlin so this is very useful. Thanks for sharing with us on #FarawayFiles

    • February 24, 2017 / 7:54 pm

      I don’t ever what to eat it again Clare! Wasn’t my favourite food ever!

  13. February 24, 2017 / 10:02 pm

    Excellent write up of what to do in Berlin! I’d love to go to see Berlin (and other parts of Germany) someday. There is so much history to see.
    TheSterlingTraveler recently posted…Don’t Delete Uber!My Profile

  14. February 25, 2017 / 4:19 am

    I have never been to Berlin (and I will have to wait to visit). That is why I find this post fascinating. I get excited thinking about the places I can visit. Thanks for all the tips! #FlyAwayFriday
    Ruth recently posted…Danube Bend: Day Trip from BudapestMy Profile

  15. February 25, 2017 / 8:48 am

    I revisited Berlin after a 20 year break last year and found the vibrant and buzzing city in touch with its past that you describe here Tracy. We did a bike tour of East Berlin and discovered the beautiful but haunting Soviet memorial. Thanks for sharing on #FarawayFiles

  16. February 25, 2017 / 4:04 pm

    Museum Island is so cool! I was only in Berlin for a few days but I’d love to go back one day (ideally when it isn’t so cold). I could really do with some currywurst right now! #flyawayfriday

    • February 25, 2017 / 9:25 pm

      I definitely want to go back and explore more too!

  17. March 7, 2017 / 11:26 pm

    I want to go to Berlin SO BADLY!!! There’s so much history and your photos look amazing! Thanks for joining #FlyAwayFriday, hope to see you again this week! xo

  18. March 8, 2017 / 8:25 pm

    awww I’ve been dying to go to Berlin!! I’ll definitey have to pin this for whenever we make it over there!! Great post!

  19. November 25, 2017 / 12:54 pm

    Very helpful list! Can I just say I love your header? The personalized drawing is awesome.

  20. November 26, 2017 / 2:47 am

    Thanks for this list, especially the historical components which are so important to visit.

  21. November 26, 2017 / 10:59 am

    Hi! This is a very informative post. I’ve been to Berlin several times, and I couldn’t agree more with you. Especially the area around the Brandenburg Gate… You can spend a whole day exploring the Museum Island… Ahh, the memories are back 🙂
    Thank You for Your post!
    Good luck!

  22. August 4, 2018 / 7:09 am

    I’ve wanted to visit Berlin for many years, I remember the wall coming down and what this represented so have been fascinated with this place ever since. Alas, it’s on my list of places to see, so this post has been pinned for when I do! #feetdotravel

    • TracyJane
      Author
      August 4, 2018 / 7:40 am

      Thanks Angie – it was on my ‘to visit’ list for as long as i could remember and we definately want to go back to see more!

  23. Jenn | By Land and Sea
    August 4, 2018 / 1:43 pm

    We recently visited Berlin and I feel like we saw a ton, but also missed some of these great spots. I’m bummed we missed some of the murals and Checkpoint Charlie. Guess that just gives us a reason to go back one day!

  24. August 5, 2018 / 12:02 am

    What a great guide! I’ve been twice but would love to take my German husband one day who has never been! We had hoped to go this year, but that’s been put on hold. #feetdotravel

  25. August 5, 2018 / 1:53 pm

    Great guide to Berlin. We have yet to get to Germany and considering it’s not too far from the UK we are not sure why. Have pinned this guide for when we do eventually get there! #feetdotravel

    • TracyJane
      Author
      August 11, 2018 / 6:39 am

      It took us ages to get there too! But so glad we did!

  26. August 6, 2018 / 5:52 pm

    Great in-depth post of places not to miss in Berlin! I’ve been there only once and saw the main sights but I would love to go back. I didn’t realize how spread out and varied Berlin was. We stayed right at Potsdamer Platz, which I booked looking at Google maps, and that was an ideal place to walk from and to hop on the train or a bus to venture farther. How I loved this intriguing city!

  27. August 10, 2018 / 4:39 pm

    Berlin is one of the main European cities that I am yet to visit – definitely want to do it justice and explore it properly. So much to see and do! Love all the history that you can soak up but also love the city’s modern, edgy side! Great post and definitely will follow your tips!

    • TracyJane
      Author
      August 11, 2018 / 6:39 am

      I am sure you will enjoy Berlin – a fascinating city to visit!

  28. August 10, 2018 / 5:47 pm

    Great post with an itinerary I would use with lots of history and museums to visit while there. Berlin is a city I have yet to visit and would love to include this interesting city on my next trip to Europe. Pinned this for later! #feetdotravel

    • TracyJane
      Author
      August 11, 2018 / 6:38 am

      Thanks Stephanie – it is a great city and well worth a visit!

  29. Helena
    August 11, 2018 / 11:00 pm

    Great post. Berlin has always been really high on my list. I like the history and the architecture. Thanks for the heads up on having to register for the Reichstag!

    • TracyJane
      Author
      August 26, 2018 / 9:06 am

      No problem helena – enjoy your trip when you go!

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HI THIS IS ME – TRACY

Hello from Australia

Traveller, teacher, train lover, and milkshake connoisseur.Now living and working in my 7th country and experiencing life as an expat in Queensland, Australia.

I write to inspire others whatever their age to explore the world - near and far!

I have travelled for over 30 years including solo in my 20's , as a single parent in my 30's and now in my 40's and beyond with my husband. House sitter and aspiring grey nomad a life of location independence is my goal.

Over 40 years ago I dreamt of a life well travelled and that is the life I live!

Dream it, plan it, do it!!

Tracy

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