Berlin is a city that holds a certain mystery, due to its interesting history that forever changed the world. Between its storied past and its modern present day, Berlin is a great place to visit.
If you’re planning a trip to Berlin, we’ve got you covered with our complete travel guide to Berlin, which includes what to do, see and eat in the city, along with an informative and helpful infographic that will give you a quick peek at all the top things you should plan to do in Berlin.
Do keep in mind that Berlin is a very popular tourist destination, so hotels, tours and activities fill up quickly. It pays to plan ahead for your visit to Berlin, by booking your hotel, figuring out transportation, and deciding on what you’d like to do.
If your plans take you to other parts of Europe, check out our how to plan a trip to Europe guide.
What Are the Top Things to Do in Berlin?
The top things to do in Berlin are seeing the Brandenburg Gate, the Reichstag Building, visiting Museum island – which houses a cathedral and art museum, admiring the Berliner Philharmonic building, the spire with its viewing platform, and Checkpoint Charlie. There are walking tours of the city that will help you understand its history, as well as foodie things to do (don’t miss Markthalle Neun on Thursdays)!
With so many great things to do in Berlin, you really need to set up a good itinerary before you leave, to make sure you can fit everything in. You can pre-book some of the activities listed in our shortcut travel guide to Berlin (below) on Viator. (Note: These are affiliate links for which we may receive a small commission.)
- Berlin Half-Day Walking Tour – this tour lasts 3.5 hours and gives a great overview of the city and its history, while visiting the Brandenburg Gate, the Reichstag, the Holocaust Memorial, Checkpoint Charlie and the Topography of Terror.
- Private Walking Tour: World War 2 and Cold War Sites in Berlin – If you’re a history buff, you’ll enjoy this private 4-hour historical walking tour.
- Berlin Neighbourhood Food Tour: Classic Bites and Culinary Trends – You can’t miss the opportunity to do a food tour in Berlin to try some of the most classic foods from the city, like Currywurst, Austrian Dumplings, and handmade falafel. The tour is 3.5 hours long and includes many food and drink samples.
- Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp Memorial Tour – On this 6-hour tour, you can visit and learn more about Sachsenhausen, one of the first concentration camps established by Nazi Germany’s Third Reich. It leaves at 10am from the train station.
Where is the Best Place to Stay in Berlin?
The best locations for tourists in Berlin is right in the center of the city, called Mitte. From here, you’ll be in easy walking distance of all the top sights and you won’t need to take public transportation unless you want to head further outside the main areas. Of course, the prices are much higher in the center of Mitte, so if you’re looking for affordable luxury at a slightly lower rate, check the areas just on the fringe of Mitte, especially to the west, near the park.
A great choices in the affordable luxury range in the center of Mitte is the Hilton. It’s right in the center of the Mitte area, and the closest hotel to everything. We enjoyed staying at the COSMO Hotel (newly opened Design Hotel) to the southeast. The Radisson Blu to the northeast and the Grand Hyatt to the southwest are also good choices.
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How Long Should You Spend in Berlin?
Most travelers spend from 2-3 days in Berlin. If you’re short on time, or combining Berlin with other Germany destinations, then that’s plenty of time to see the main attractions and get a feel for the city.
The main sights most visitors wish to see are within close proximity to each other in Mitte. You can expect to do a lot of walking, but it’s also easy to get from sight to sight on the tram or metro. If you want to take side trips outside of Berlin, to the concentration camps for instance, you’ll need more time.
When is the Best Time to Visit?
Berlin is a fun and vibrant city that is always alive with activity. The nicer weather leads to many outdoor festivals and beer gardens. The winter brings out the Christmas market stalls and Gluhwein drinking while strolling through the festive streets. I wouldn’t really say there’s a bad time to visit Berlin. It all depends on what season you like best and what activities you are hoping to do.
What To Eat in Berlin
You might be expecting the typical German foods in Berlin, but schnitzel isn’t the only thing on the menu in this melting pot of a city. There is a great international food influence in Berlin that leads to a lot of fusion. If you’re lucky enough to be in Berlin on a Thursday, be sure to check out all the street-food vendors at Markthalle Neun. It opens at 5pm and features dozens of food options.
Currywurst – Even before I spent any time in Berlin, I knew about the Currywurst. It’s Bratwurst served with curry powder and ketchup, plus generally a side of fries. It’s one of the most popular street food dishes in Berlin.
Schnitzel – It wouldn’t be Germany unless schnitzel was on the menu. It’s a huge piece of breaded, fried pork cutlet, typically served with potatoes.
Berliner Pfannkuche – Yes, it’s a Berlin pancake, but it’s really more like a donut without a hole. It often comes stuffed with jam and dusted with powdered sugar.
Falafel & Doner – Just about as popular as the currywurst is the falafel and doner in Berlin. It’s a great snack, even if it’s not particularly German, and you can find it everywhere.
Shortcut Travel Guide to Berlin
No matter how much time you spend in Berlin – from just a few days to a full month – you’ll be able to discover fascinating parts of the city you would never believe existed. We hope this travel guide to Berlin helps you easily plan your trip. We’re happy to help answer your questions, if you need help planning.
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Laura Lynch, creator and writer of Savored Journeys, is an avid world traveler, certified wine expert, and international food specialist. She has written about travel and food for over 20 years and has visited 70+ countries.