Oh, the endless things to do in Berlin! Are you ready for my list of best things to do in Berlin?
Berlin is truly the freest city I have been to!
A city that will leave a strong impression on you. A place that keeps many stories on the surface for you to see: the stories of the East and West Berlin, the stories of the past, the present and the future, stories of former tragedies and modern tolerance.
Today, Berlin is a melting pot of serious business, artistic expression, hipsters, incredible parties and, of course, a ton of beer! 😉
If you are reading this because you want to visit the city soon and you want to create a list of what to see and what to do in Berlin, I’ll stop with the spoilers and give you a hand:
I explored Berlin non-stop for one full month with the declared purpose of visiting new places, discovering new things and gathering information to help you plan your trip there!
Here is my Berlin top attractions map that I will recommend down below – top things to do, free things to do, unusual things to do and day trips from Berlin.
Here are 22 activities that are definitely worth your time:
Best Things To Do In Berlin – 22 awesome things that cannot be missed!
1. The impressive Brandenburg Gate
The Brandenburg Gate is a neoclassical monument that has witnessed the history of the city since the 18th century and it should be on top in your list of things to see in Berlin!
As you might already know, the gate is a symbol of separation between East and West Berlin, and probably one of the most significant landmarks in the city! Be sure not to miss this historical spot and the photo opportunities it brings!
2. Have an art appreciation session on Museum Island
Located in the middle of River Spree, Museum Island is a complex that made it to UNESCO World Heritage Sites. If you’re into museums, it’s best to take a 3-day museum pass and dedicated a whole day to fully appreciate the beauty of the place. If you would prefer to have a Berlin Welcome Pass with Museum Island (which offers 3 days of free public transportation, free entry to the Museum Island museums once a day (excl. special exhibitions) and some bonus discounts, you can buy it here.
Also, take a bottle of water with you. You’ll be thirsty after a couple of hours of roaming around, and the only store in Museum Island sells a bottle of water for 3€ each!
Here are the museums I have been to and their respective short descriptions:
- Pergamon museum – One of the most visited museums in Europe! There’s Ishtar Gate, the Processional Way, the Market Gate of Miletus, and Islamic art, among others. I liked it a lot, the most out of the 5 of them!
- Bode museum – sculptures, Byzantine and Antique art
- Neues museum – ancient Egyptian art
- Altes museum – Greek, Etruscan, and Roman art
- Alte Nationalgalerie – a national art gallery with Neoclassical, Romantic, Impressionist and early Modernist artwork
PRO TIP: An audio guide is included in your ticket in each of the museums, don’t forget to take it!
3. Meet the sunset on the top of the TV Tower Berlin
Berlin TV tower, also known as Fernsehturm Berlin, gives the best 360-degree view of Berlin. It can hardly stay unnoticed as it is the highest building in the city!
Climb up in this concrete jungle during the sunset hour for a more scenic experience! The price for a track ticket is 21.5€.
As in most of the TV towers around the world, you can have some cocktails and/or dinner at the Berlin TV Tower Restaurant, which is a revolving one! If you are interested in this experience, you can book a table here. The prices for booking a table are 21.5€ (for the inner circle) and 24.5€ if you want a window seat and they include a skip-the-line ticket to the Observation Deck. Food and drinks are not included.
If you would like to get a combined ticket for the skip-the-line entrance and a VIP dinner including a 3-course meal and unlimited mineral water, here is a great option. If you would prefer a skip-the-line ticket and a 2-course lunch, here is a good option that offers this.
In case the tower entrance gets crowded, you can consider getting a VIP fast access – it saved me at least 15 minutes of waiting in line when I was there!
4. Visit the Reichstag building
Another historical site to visit in Berlin is the Reichstag, a place where the Parliament sits. It has a glass dome, which represents the political transparency of the city.
The entrance to Reichstag Berlin is free of charge, but be sure to book your visit well in advance! I booked mine (a guided tour followed by a visit to the dome) 2 weeks in advance and there were not many places left. There is no need to print your booking form, just show it on your phone at the entrance. Don’t forget to bring your valid photo ID!
If you would prefer to take a private tour instead of Reichstag and the Glass Dome, where a guide will explain everything you need to know without having to be in a big group of people, you can book yours here and you can choose to have it in your preferred language (English, French, Spanish, Italian etc.)
PRO TIP: If you didn’t book the visit in advance and there are no spots available, you can try to come there in the morning to see if there are any drop-outs.
If a guided tour of Brandenburg Gate and Reichstag Dome is something you would like to do in, you can book a combo tour here.
Another option to get inside the dome would be to have a breakfast there. The price is around 20€ and you can usually buy your ticket even one day in advance. You will not get a tour of the Parliament in this case, but you will visit the dome just like the other visitors (free audio guides are available on top) and you will get to enjoy some coffee in the only Parliament building in the world that has a restaurant open to the public! Another option would be to have dinner there.
5. Admire the Berliner Dom
Berliner Dom, otherwise known as the Berlin Cathedral, is Neo-Renaissance style building built in 1905. Paying a visit to this gorgeous cathedral is considered to be one of the top ten things to do in Berlin!
The Dome is located right on the Museum Island where numerous other museums are nested (see number 2 above). You should go up to the top of the cathedral for an incredible view of the city! The admission is 7€
NOTE: Please note that the Berlin Pass does not give you a free entrance to the Berliner Dom.
6. Time travel through East Side Gallery’s paintings
If you are a street art lover, East Side Gallery is one of the best places to visit in Berlin!
East Side Gallery Berlin is a 1316-meter long gallery where 105 paintings by artists all over the globe can be found.
Ok, so what’s so special about it?
Oh, did I mention the paintings are all made on a wall? Yes, I am talking about The Berlin Wall, the one you will learn so much about during your Berlin trip. Take a walk around this memorial of freedom and learn Berlin’s history through it!
NOTE: There are other pieces of the wall that remained untouched, so you can see how it looked before, but this one is a gallery, a place where artists can express themselves on the topic.
P.S. You can also fabulously pass by the gallery in a Trabi (see number 7 for details).
7. Drive around the city in a Trabi
Trabant or Trabi is a slow and noisy car, popular in the former “Eastern Block”, that became a symbol of bygone East Germany back in the days when the city was separated.
Even if it is one of the most touristic things to do, I found it very entertaining and I consider it to be an alternative sightseeing of Berlin! The guide will drive ahead of you in his own car and he will talk about the main points of interest via the radio when you pass by them. No worries, you will not be on your own and you will surely get to see the best of Berlin!
They are located just 2 steps away from Check Point Charlie.
NOTE: Keep in mind that it is not that easy to drive this car – you should be able to manage a manual car. Also, it is not new as you might understand, so some things might work so and so. It is a lot of fun and we still remember our trip, but you have to pay attention at all times.
8. Join a free walking tour
A free walking tour of the city might be the best thing to do in Berlin if you are traveling on a tight budget!
The best thing about free walking tours is that at the end of the tour you get to decide how much the tour was worth for you. Nothing? That’s fine! You loved it? Great, leave as much as you think the guide deserved.
Usually, these kind of tours are highly interesting because the tour guide wants you to like it, and make it memorable! I think it’s a great concept!
If you liked the free walking tour of Berlin and want more, I recommend you also try an alternative free walking tour, which is equally fun, informative and free! It will tell you more about the rich street art of Berlin. Without this tour, you cannot fully feel Berlin in my opinion!
9. Holocaust Memorial
The Holocaust Memorial in Berlin is a memorial to the murdered Jews of Europe.
The memorial is an open space structure and you can freely walk around it. Please respect the memorial – I saw some people climbing on it and even jumping. Do they even understand how disrespectful this is? You can read this article on this topic.
A stone’s throw away is the place where Adolf Hitler hid during the end of World War II (WWII), which is a normal parking lot right now. There are many theories about his end, but my guide believed that Hitler could have escaped to South America.
10. Take a photo at Check Point Charlie
Check Point Charlie was one of the most famous crossing points between West and East Germany back in the days. Now it is a tourist spot that boasts of double-tap worthy sightings and talking a picture at Check Point Charlie is definitely a must do in Berlin! The place was even revamped in order to make it look exactly as it did during the Cold War!
Another point of interest worth visiting here is the Checkpoint Charlie Museum.
11. Indulge in some Currywurst
Ok, “wurst” is sausage is German, but how the hell did a curry dish became a typical food of Berlin?
The legend says that the curry-wurst was originally created by an East Berlin woman in 1949 who got ketchup and curry powder from some British soldiers. As she did not have much available, she mixed what she had, added some grilled pork sausage and voila – the currywurst sauce was born!
The Berliner Currywurst rapidly became one of the signature fast food dishes of the city. It is a great meal idea if you are traveling on a budget or if you just don’t have much time for a proper meal.
Interestingly enough, there is also a Curry Wurst Museum here! I told you there is a museum for everything in Berlin, didn’t I?
12. Jump from the Park Inn Hotel
No, really, I mean it. I did it and it was one of the craziest things I have done lately! P.S. Just don’t take it literally, ok?
If you ever find yourself searching for some crazy fun things to do in Berlin, search no further, I know just THE place!
Head to Park Inn Hotel Berlin that is located right in Alexanderplatz, one of the centers of the city. Go all the way upstairs with an elevator (someone from the front desk will explain everything). Aaaaaaaaand – yes, that is right, you will jump from the hotel’s roof which is 125 meters high!
What you will do is called base flying and it is a bit different from bungee jumping. It is a bit hard to explain, just watch this video and you will see what I am talking about!
Here is the official site where you can check the current prices.
You can get an official video that will record your face for 19€ (you get an SD card with the footage at the end) or you can take your own GoPro and have somebody record you from the top. As I am a blogger, I opted for both versions! 🙂
By the way, in case you were wondering what to do in Berlin at night, you should know that you can do base flying in the dark too if you wish!
If you want your boyfriend/girlfriend/wife/husband/mom etc. see your jump, they are welcome on the roof too!
PRO TIP: The price is 79.9€ on the website, but often times tickets are sold 10€ cheaper right at the door. If they have some free spots left, there will be a promoter close to the Holiday Inn entrance giving out flyers with the discounted prices. The catch? You will have to decide on the spot if you are going to do this!
13. Bike your way to the corners of Berlin
When in Berlin, do what Berliners do!
There are plenty of bike rental outlets all over the city that you can rent out for about 8 to 12€ a day. Renting a bike is a great way to get to all those famous Berlin tourist attractions (especially because they are quite spread out) and to also feel like a real Berliner!
What’s more, you can even get a bike tour that will show you the best spots around with a local guide!
I took Berlin’s Best Bike Tour which I can highly recommend because in almost 4 hours of biking around with our knowledgeable guide I saw some amazing places that I haven’t seen after 1 month of staying in Berlin. We stopped by in some trendy neighborhoods, we saw the historical city center, the Brandenburg Gate, Reichstag, and many other places. All stops were accompanied by some stories about the place, told by our guide.
14. Go night clubbing
Looking for some fun things to do in Berlin?
Well, you are in the right place – Berlin is well-known for its crazy nightlife!
Berlin has some of the best night clubs in the world that you surely don’t want to miss if you are a party animal! Even though I am not a crazy clubber anymore, I still went to some places that were recommended by locals.
I suggest you try Berghain – this is one of the most famous Berlin clubs and one of the most known in Europe, too! Please note that you can never be sure if you will be let in; the weirder you will be dressed, the better! Even that’s a bet.
Also, try Klunkerkranich, it is a pretty cool bar that has an amazing view of the city and you have to go through a parking lot in order to get there!
One other cool place that you can check out during the day is the Yaam Beach where you can have a taste of banana beer, dance to the beat of live concerts and DJs, and play on the riverside beach club in both basketball and volleyball courts! It’s so much fun!
15. Relax at Tiergarten park
Another thing that I love about Berlin is that you can never run out of parks to slumber in. Tiergarten is the biggest one, it stretches over 500 acres right in the middle of the city.
You can have nature strolls here, rent a boat, have a picnic, or just enjoy a cold German beer in a traditional beer garden. More so, the Zoo is just a stone’s throw away!
16. Visit the Botanical garden
Did I tell you that I am a huge fan of Botanical Gardens? I try to visit them in every country I go to. The insanely huge Botanical Garden Berlin is somewhere in the top 5 on my list, that’s for sure!
It houses over 22,000 species of plants such as giant bamboos, white waterlilies, orchids, and cacti. Whether you’re a green thumb or not, walking around those endless greenhouses will surely delight you with the vast and refreshing flora and fauna. Not to mention the fresh air!
Price: The entrance fee is currently 6€
17. Check Charlottenburg Palace
Just like any palace in Europe, the 300-year-old Charlottenburg Palace is located a bit outside the city center, but it is still reachable by metro in only 25 minutes. The entrance fee is 10€ for adults and 7€ for students, and if you choose to go to the New Pavilion too it is 17€ for adults and 13€ for students.
PRO TIP: If you own one, make sure to take your student ID for a discount. And don’t forget to ask for an audio guide, it is included in your ticket!
The entrance to Charlottenburg Park is absolutely free and it is open until sunset. This is considered to be one of the best Berlin attractions, so make sure to visit it while you’re there!
TIP: If you want to enjoy some classical music and a Baroque atmosphere in Charlottenburg Palace, you can take this tour during which you will listen to the Berliner Residenz Orchestra!
18. Enter a WWII Bunker
Story of Berlin Museum was probably my favorite museum out of them all in Berlin!
The name speaks for itself, this museum shows the city’s unique history. I especially liked the rooms of West Berliners and East Berliners – you can walk around the room, touch the objects and see what their TV shows were like, etc.
Other than the actual museum where you can learn about the 800-years-old history of the city in an interactive way, you will also get to see a real Berlin bunker that, supposedly, people would use in case of a nuclear strike!
NOTE: There are many more things to see on floor -1 and the continuation is not that obvious, so don’t miss it! Floor -1 of the WWII Bunker is interesting enough because it provides some of the histories of WWII in details in a very interactive way. This is definitely on my list of top places to visit in Berlin!
The ticket price is 10€, which I think is well worth it, considering that you will almost spend half a day there! Did I mention you also get to go inside a real bunker?
NOTE: The story of the Berlin bunker tour in English takes 30 minutes and it starts every 2 hours, from 12 PM.
UPDATE: It seems like the bunker is closed for restoration from 15th of July 2018 for an undetermined period of time. Please double check the info on the official website and let me know (please!) if it becomes available again, I will update the post!
P.S. Don’t confuse it with the Berlin Story Museum (the names are almost the same!), where you will learn everything from the foundation of the city to its recent days in chronological order. I did not manage to visit it, but it seemed a bit less interactive
19. Have a coffee run in Kreuzberg
Kreuzberg, Berlin is a district full of all kinds of hip cafés, artsy restaurants, art galleries, parks, clubs, bars, and hotels (among others), that everybody can enjoy! Plus, the neighborhood is one of the main cultural centers of the city, which makes it the perfect place for a relaxing walk. While you admire the beautiful buildings and streets, you might one to stop in one of the cool cafes and enjoy the perfect cappuccino or flat white!
I also stayed in this area, and it is perhaps one of my favorites parts of the city!
20. Shop at a flea market
Berlin has endless flea markets because Berliners love them! One of the most popular flea markets is every Sunday and is located at Mauerpark. There you can find all sorts of vintage stuff such as clothes, shoes, bags, pieces of jewelry, furniture, bikes, vinyl records, and many others -this is definitely a shopping heaven!
21. Visit the Berlin Zoo
I heard that Berlin Zoo is one of the biggest zoos in Europe!
Pay a visit to this amazing zoo if you have time, it is definitely worth it! In case you are visiting Berlin with kids, they will surely be happy to spend some time there and admire all the exotic animals and colorful birds! The zoo actually has more than 1.350 species and more than 20.000 animals, so you can never get bored there!
Price: 14,5€/person for adults and 7,5€/person for kids.
22. Visit an abandoned airport
Tempelhof Feld (Tempelhof Berlin Field)is a non-operational airport located right in the middle of the city. Nowadays, this area is used for all kinds of various activities starting from simple picnics and finishing with kitesurfing!
Oh, and you can also visit the inside of the non-functioning airport with a tour! If you want somebody to show you all the secret places in the airport AND guide you through the largest underground bunker system in Berlin, you can take this tour.
Bonus – Free things to do in Berlin
If you are looking for free things to do in Berlin, I’m here to help! The city houses tons of free and interesting museums, but here are some that I highly recommend for you to visit:
- Topography of Terror – a must visit when in Berlin!
- Jewish Museum (can’t find the link, sorry) – don’t confuse it to the Museum of Jewish History (more about this one below)
- German-Russian museum – I did not manage to visit it as it is quite far away, but I bet it is interesting to add it to your Berlin To-Do list, given the history and the relationships between these two countries
- Allied Museum – this museum covers everything on the Cold War topic
- Museum Flat WBS 70 – if you want to walk around a real 3-room apartment of an East Berliner and see how it looked like back in 1987, this is the place to be! The apartment was left untouched during the renovation of the building so they can transform it into a museum.
You can view the complete list of museums here.
Other random things to know about Berlin
- Did you know you can easily figure out in which part of the city you are – East or West Berlin? Just look for a traffic light around you – if it represents a funny man, you are in the East side, a normal semaphore – you are in the West side! Check out this website to read more about this topic.
- You can get some of your money back for your plastic/glass bottles in any kiosk or supermarket. It is generally about 25 cents per bottle. Just ask at the cash register if they collect the bottles, many of them do. There are also some special machines in big supermarkets that automatically take your bottles.
- Sony Centre at Potsdamer Platz is pretty cool too if you are searching for unusual architecture.
Things to visit a bit outside of Berlin
- Sanssouci Palace – Schloss Sansoucci, also known as Sansoucci Palace, was built back in the days of German kings and queens. With its fountains and nicely arranged gardens, it might remind you of Versailles a bit (and Peterhof in Saint Petersburg). It is located in Potsdam and it is definitely worth a day trip if you have some time left! If you are interested, you can book a tour from Berlin to Postdam by bus, which will take you on a beautiful tour of Sanssouci and tell you everything you need to know.
- Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp Memorial – this is one of the first Nazi concentration camps in Germany and you can see all the horrors of the regime there. It is very… sobering. I have been to Auschwitz Concentration Camp in Poland and I will never forget it. You can also take a guided tour from Berlin.
- Potsdam – If you have some more time on hand, you can go to Potsdam to experience the vibe of this city too! A very convenient option is this private guided tour that includes a transfer from Berlin with a private limousine or minivan. Your private driver-guide will take you from your hotel and show you the most famous sites in the city!
- Spreewald (Spree Forest) – this is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located only 1 hour away from Berlin, right near Spree River. This is probably the best place to go if you want to escape the concrete jungle of Berlin and enjoy some relaxation while being surrounded by nature. You can enjoy it by foot, boat or bike! If you feel especially adventurous, you can take the archery tour in Spreewald and test out your skill! Or you can book a complete culinary tour with 2 nights at a 3-star hotel, included meals and more!
If you have more time – Unusual things to do in Berlin
Here are a couple of things that you can do if you wish to visit the off-the-beaten-path Berlin:
- Museum of Jewish history – This is a pretty cool museum if you are interested in knowing more about the Jewish history in the area
- Climb up the Victory Column for an epic view of the city (the price is only 3€)
- River cruise – Enjoy a relaxing boat cruise on rivers Spree and Havel, while also admiring the attractions from a different angle. Here is another option for a 4-hour boat tour on river Spree and Landwehrkanal and here is a nice boat tour of the idyllic Havel Lakes! If you would prefer a shorter tour, here you can find a 1-hour boat tour with guaranteed seating.
- AquaDom – This is the largest fish tank in the world – it contains one million liters of water and more than 2500 fish of over 50 different species. You can take an elevator inside the water tank. I recommend it especially if you are traveling with kids!
- Madame Tussauds Berlin – If you are a fan of the world-known museum with wax statues, there is one also in Berlin! You can buy the fast track ticket here.
PRO TIP: Take a look at Berlin Welcome Card – for the price of 20€ this card gives you 2 days of using public transport for free (airport transfer included) and discounts of up to 50% to over 200 attractions.
It’s best if you get the visitor’s card, it will give you free transportation and tons of discounted museums.
When to visit Berlin?
I have been to Berlin twice. The first time was at the beginning of October and it was quite cold. And the second time was at the beginning of September when the weather was fabulous! There’s a drastic difference, so you better check the weather report twice before you start packing your stuff.
PRO TIP: Even if you will only stay for one day in Berlin, make sure to get some warm clothes, as it can be windy!
I have also heard that Berlin is amazing to visit during the cherry blossom season, from April to early May, when all the gardens wear endless shades of pink!
Where to stay in Berlin
Here are some hand-picked accommodations all located in the center, close to the metro and with fabulous reviews. Check them out and see which one is perfect for you!
Luxury (US$ 240 and up): Hotel Adlon Kempinski Berlin is a great 5-star hotel situated right in the city center, half a kilometer from Sony Center. This hotel has all the facilities you may ever need, including a TV with satellite channels, DVD player, bathrobes etc. Berlin Marriott Hotel is the best place to stay in Berlin if you are looking for luxury service and amenities. This hotel is a 10-minute walk from Brandenburg Gate and it offers awesome room, fitness center, mahogany furnishings and more!
Middle (US$ 120 to US$ 240): Meliá Berlin is one of the greatest middle-priced hotels out there. Every room includes a flat-screen TV and some of them even have an awesome view of the river or city! Steigenberger Hotel am Kanzleramt is located only half a kilometer away from the Brandenburg Gate. You should also know that Berlin Main Station is right next to the hotel – how convenient!
Budget (US$ 62 to US$ 120): If you’re looking for a great budget hotel, then The Circus Hostel is a great choice. Located right in the city center, this hostel is very friendly and it also offers bike rental facilities! Another good choice is Select Hotel Berlin The Wall. Situated half a kilometer from Sony Center , Select Hotel offers great facilities and even a 24-hour front desk!
Any German will tell you that Berlin is not Germany and Germany is not Berlin. But you know what they also say? “Berlin is poor but sexy”. And I could not agree more with it!
It keeps alive a tale of two cities – the East and West Berlin, and it also has a strong avant-garde vibe. Berlin is full of free-spirited people and you will see that right from the start! There is a lot of respect in Berlin for people. There is also a lot of beer. 😉
The city is constantly changing and evolving and it doesn’t let anything keep it back. I will return here for sure, and I wish you a great visit to this magical city of freedom!
I think this list of 22 unique things to do in Berlin will help you create the best vacation!
I hope you liked my list of Top Things to do in Berlin, Germany and, as usual, you can ask me anything in the comment section below!
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