As the capital of Germany, there are plenty of things to do in Berlin!
The city is a fascinating place to visit, with culture and history oozing out of every corner. I’m in no doubt it’s one of the best places to visit in Germany!
High on the list of places to visit in Berlin is the Berlin Wall. A section of the wall remains standing today and it’s an incredible sight.
The city has many other interesting sights too such as Alexanderplatz and the Olympiastadion, which hosted the 1936 Olympics under the Nazi regime.
Whether you’re spending 3 days in Berlin, or you are there for longer, there is no shortage of stuff to do. I will detail some of the best in this article.
If you’re wondering what to do in Berlin during your trip, then read on!
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Fun Things to do in Berlin
Centre of Berlin
Alexanderplatz is the largest square in Germany and is a great place to head if you want to check out some of Berlin most popular tourist attractions.
The square is located in the Mitte district and was named after Tsar Alexander I, who visited the Prussian capital in 1805.
You have plenty of things to do here, with many shops, restaurants and even a multiplex cinema nearby. The square is also home to the World Time Clock, a continually rotating installation that shows the time across the globe.
The famous TV Tower, known as the Fernsehturm, is close by too and is well worth checking out. It offers an incredible 360-degree view of Berlin!
The Olympiastadion is another place in Berlin with an interesting history. The stadium held the 1936 Olympics which were held under the Nazi regime.
Those Olympics became infamous for promoting Nazi ideals and the shattering of those ideals by the likes of American athlete Jesse Owens.
The stadium is now home to the local football team Hertha Berlin and hosts athletics events throughout the year. However, if you want to learn more about the history of the stadium and those Olympics, a visit to the stadium is a must.
It’s also an impressive piece of architecture. The unique layout of the stadium, with one end uncovered by the roof, makes for a strange sight.
If you don’t want to do a stadium tour, although I recommend you do, walking around the stadium and taking in its history and structure is one of the best free things to do in Berlin!
The East Side Gallery is one of the best things to do in Berlin and one of the most famous places in Germany. The wall has a notorious place in history and although it’s great that it’s been torn down, it’s also nice to have some of it still standing.
This serves two purposes. One, to remind us of the past and that walls don’t work in the long run. The other is that it brings history alive for those of us who were not around when the wall was standing.
The height of the wall surprised me when I first saw it. This makes sense when you consider the East German regime wanted to stop people from escaping, but it still took me by surprise.
The graffiti on the wall makes the East Side Gallery even more interesting and vibrant. It’s a good idea to walk the length of the wall to see the different pieces. Many of them are striking and thought-provoking!
This place has sparked some of the most memorable quotes about Berlin, and you’ll appreciate why when you check it out!
The Reichstag is one of the most iconic buildings in Germany. One reason is due to its beauty. It’s an incredible building to look at, it’s imposing from a distance and impressive the closer you get to it.
The other reason is that’s it’s historically significant. The Reichstag was set on fire just months after Hitler was sworn in as Chancellor. An event which led to him consolidating power in Germany.
I recommend you do a tour of the Reichstag to appreciate its beauty and learn more about its past. You’ll also be able to gain access to the amazing dome which peers above the top of the building.
You will get a good view of your surroundings from up there. Be sure to book tickets in advance, the Reichstag is a popular spot and it can get very busy!
Tiergarten is an inner-city park that stretches over 500 acres. It is one of the most popular parks in the city and a great place to check out while you’re in the city.
Due to its size, there are plenty of things to do in the park. If the weather is warm, you can go for a picnic, play some sports, or just relax and enjoy the sunshine.
Even during the winter months, you can still find things to do. It’s possible to go ice-skating on one of the many ponds in the park if the conditions are right.
If that’s not your thing, you can relax in one of the beer gardens and enjoy a fine German beer!
6. Tempelhofer Feld
A visit to Tempelhofer Feld is one of the more unusual things to do in Berlin. It’s an abandoned airport near the centre of the city, which is open to the general public.
The airport ceased to operate in 2008 ad has been used as a public space ever since. It’s a fantastic place to visit on a summer day’s as there are plenty of things you can do here.
You can have a picnic on the vast grounds, fly a kite or even play football! I’m sure there are those of you curious about the terminal buildings, well you won’t be disappointed!
A guided tour of the airport is available, which take you inside the airport and its now-defunct buildings. It’s a fascinating experience. If you love abandoned buildings as much as me, Tempelhofer Feld is somewhere you have to visit!
If you’re a fan of theatre and drama, Schaübuhne is a place you need to visit!
It’s one of the most well-known and popular theatres in berlin, hosting many shows. throughout the year. If you want to see a show, I suggest you plan your trip around this to avoid missing out.
If you’re not into theatre, then I recommend visiting Schaübuhne to check out the architecture. The building has an intriguing curved facade made of red bricks. It used to be a former cinema and was built in the Bauhaus style which is synonymous with Germany.
It’s a striking building and one of the nicest in Berlin.
8. Brandenburg Gate
The Brandenburg Gate is one of the most iconic places to visit in Germany. The agate is a symbol of the reunification of Germany and one of the most popular tourist attractions in Berlin.
The gate is an imposing sight as you walk up to it and it’s much bigger in person than you might have thought.
I’ll be honest, there isn’t much to do there apart from admiring the gate. However, you can visit the museum at the gate which is worth doing if you want to learn about the gate’s history and that of Germany’s too.
Be warned, the Brandenburg Gate is one of the busiest spots in Berlin and is full of tourists for most of the day. If you don’t like the crowds, there are plenty of cafes and shops you can dive in to escape the hustle and bustle.
Museum Island is one of the best things to do in Berlin. As the name suggests, it is an island that comprises five museums.
Visiting one museum in a day takes up a lot of time, never mind five. You’re unlikely to visit all of them during your trip to Berlin, as such, my advice is to choose which ones you want to visit beforehand.
However, you can buy a ticket which allows you to enter all five museums for a discounted price. It might be a good idea to check out all five in a quick manner if you wish.
The museums exhibit several pieces of amazing art and have collections from Egyptian, Greek and Roman history. If you love to learn new things and have a keen interest in history, Museum Island is somewhere you have to visit in Berlin.
If you’re a history buff like me, Checkpoint Charlie is one of the best places to visit in Berlin!
This was the name given to a Berlin Wall crossing point between east and west Berlin. It is a historically significant place not only in Berlin but in the wider world due to its role in dividing east and west during the Cold War.
While the ball and the barriers are long gone, a reproduction of the original guardhouse stands at the crossing.
You will also find galleries along the walls of Friedrichstraße and Zimmerstraße which give information about escape attempts and info about the checkpoint during the Cold War.
11. Fernsehturm Berlin
The Fernsehturm Berlin, also known as the Berlin TV Tower, is the place to go if you want to get a breathtaking perspective of the city.
From the top of the tower, the viewing platform offers a 360-degree panoramic view of Berlin. You can see for miles from atop the tower! It may be worth waiting until sunset to go up, as the views at this time of the day are spectacular.
One of the quirks of the tower is that there is a restaurant in the tower. As you can imagine it’s a popular place to eat, especially as the restaurant is a revolving one! If you want to eat here it will cost you €21.50 to book a table, or €24.50 to book one next to a window.
If you want to eat at the restaurant, a good idea is to purchase a combined ticket which includes entrance to the tower without queuing, and a VIP dinner including a 3-course meal!
The Berliner Dom is without a doubt one of the best things to do in Berlin. This stunning cathedral was built in 1905 and is located on Museum Island.
The building was built in the Neo-Renaissance style and had an interesting life after the end of the Second World War.
Following the division on Berlin, the cathedral was in East Berlin. The cathedral suffered from Allied bombing in the war and it was only decided to restore the building in 1975. The restoration was not completed until 1993, four years after the fall of the Berlin Wall.
The cathedral is an interesting place to visit in Berlin due to its history. You will gain an appreciation of its beauty and importance to the city of Berlin.
13. Holocaust Memorial
The Holocaust Memorial is one of the most poignant places to go in Berlin. Also known as the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, it’s located in Central Berlin not far from the Brandenburg Gate and Reichstag.
The memorial is comprised of 2,711 concrete slabs, which act as a tribute to the Jews who were murdered at the hands of the Nazis.
The memorial resembles a cemetery of sorts, with the concrete slabs acting as the headstones. This is poignant considering what happened during the Holocaust.
It’s one of the best free things to do in Berlin and one of the most important. This is a place everyone who visits Berlin should visit. It’s a reminder that we must remember the worst of our past and never repeat it.
14. Botanical Garden
One of the things I love to do when visiting a new city is to check out the botanical gardens. Not every city has one, but they should! They are an excellent place to visit, especially if you like walking!
Berlin’s botanical garden is beautiful and well worth a visit. The garden was set up in 1889 with the mission to create “the world in a garden.”
They did a good job!
Walking around the garden you will see a variety of plants and flowers. You can visit three sections; one which focuses on woody plants and roses, a section on plants from around the world and a section dedicated to botany with over 1500 plant species!
If you visit Berlin during the summer, the botanical garden is a brilliant place to visit and relax on a warm day! Even in the winter, it’s still one of the best free things to do in Berlin!
15. Computer Games Museum
The Computer Games Museum is one of the more unusual things to do in Berlin. As the name suggests it is a museum dedicated to the history of computer games. If you’re a fan of Mario, Crash Bandicoot and Pacman, this is the place for you!
The museum is located in the Friedrichshain district in the Karl-Marx-Allee. Over 300 interactive exhibits illustrate the cultural history of video games in the museum. Tickets cost €9, but you can get them cheaper if you book in advance.
You can find video games dating as far back as 1950 and classics such as Pong, Space Invaders and Super Mario. The museum also has exhibits on virtual reality with a peek into what gaming of the future might be like.
This is a fantastic museum to visit with many of the games available to play. Even if you don’t like video games, you’ll still have fun playing games and learning more about their history.
If you’re looking for a lesser-known place to visit in Berlin, Charlottenburg Palace might be the place!
The palace is over 300-years old and was constructed as a summer palace by Prussian kings. It is a beautiful building and the grounds its set in are magnificent too.
You don’t have to pay to visit the gardens, but you do have to pay if you wish to go inside the palace. It costs €10 to enter the Old Palace and the new wing of the palace.
An alternative is to book a tour of the palace complete with a dinner and evening with the Berlin Residenz Orchestra. This is a fantastic experience that shouldn’t be passed up if you have the opportunity!
Most of us visit cities and only look at what is on the surface. We never wonder what lies beneath our feet, or what is behind some of the doors we walk past. Berlin is one city where you should pay closer attention to what is readily visible.
An extensive underground labyrinth of bunkers and tunnels lies hidden in the depths of the city. A trip to the Underworlds Association in a former bunker is one of the more unusual things to do in Berlin!
It’s best to book a tour, as you won’t be able to gain access to much without one.
Plus, the tour guides will be able to fill you in about the history of East German escape bunkers, archaeological discoveries and much more!
19. Topography of Terror
The Topography of Terror is the place to go if you want to learn more about the history of the Gestapo and SS in Berlin and Germany. The museum is based in the old headquarters of both groups.
The museum is large, with both indoor and outdoor exhibitions. I suggest you spend a good chunk of time here, as the exhibits are fascinating and you will learn a lot about a key feature of life under the Nazis.
An exhibition in the trenches excavated along Niederkirchnerstraße looks at Berlin during Nazi rule. You get to see what the capital was like during the Weimar Republic, during Nazi rule and the aftermath of the Nazis reign after the end of the Second World War.
If you’re interested in history and the effect the Nazis had in Berlin and Germany, the Topography of Terror is somewhere you have to visit!
20. German Spy Museum
I’m a big fan of museums, but what I love more are interactive museums and the German Spy Museum is one such museum!
As the name suggests, the museum uncovers the shadowy world of the secret service. Using advanced technology, you will look at ancient secretive scripts and finishes in the present day with the debate around the surveillance state.
The best thing about the museum is its interactive nature. You can test your ability to be a top international secret agent on a laser course akin to scenes in Mission Impossible!
The museum can get busy, so it’s best to book your ticket in advance to avoid long queues! The German Spy Museum is a fascinating place to visit and one you’ll have lots of fun at!
Carrying on the spy theme, the Stasi Museum is another interesting spot in Berlin you should check out.
The Stasi were the secret police in East Germany and were a prominent feature in everyday life in the country. The museum explores this role and more in-depth.
The museum is based in the former Ministry of State Security building and a fascinating aspect of the museum is the second floor. It remains untouched since the fall of the Berlin Wall, complete with desks, chairs and office equipment!
It’s one of the best museums to see in the city and one of the most fascinating places to visit if you’re wondering what to do in Berlin.
Outside of Berlin
22. Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp
The atrocities the Nazis committed were horrific and nowhere is this more evident than at the numerous concentration camps they ran in Germany and occupied territories.
One of these camps is located on the outskirts of Berlin. The Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp is a humbling place to visit and one you should check out if you want to learn more about the awful crimes that occurred there.
The camp was one of the first set up by the Nazis and it’s estimated that at least 30,000 people died at the camp. The camps are horrible places but they are important places of remembrance and essential to visit so we can ensure nothing like this ever happens again.
My recommendation is to book a guided tour of Sachsenhausen. You will learn a lot more about the camp this way and the guides are highly knowledgeable. Most tours pick you up and take you to Berlin, which helps with getting to the camp.
The city was home to numerous Prussian kings until 1918 when Kaiser Wilhelm II abdicated after the First World War. It’s home to beautiful palaces with spectacular gardens. The Sanssouci Palace is one of the more impressive in the city.
You can also check out the lovely Dutch Quarter in the city. 134 red brick houses line the street. Originally built for Dutch settlers, they now house boutiques, craft shops and cafés.
Potsdam is a beautiful place to visit and you won’t be short of things to do while you’re there. It’s an ideal day trip from Berlin if you’re in the city for a while.
One of the best spots to visit outside is the small town of Wannsee.
A quirk of Wannsee is that it’s home to the largest inland beach in Europe! As you can imagine, it gets very busy during the summer! If you’re in Berlin on a particularly hot day, going to Wannsee is a great way to cool off.
One of the darker aspects of the town is the Wannsee Conference that was held there in January 1942. At the Wannsee Villa, officials from the Nazi party met to discuss the extermination of the Jews, which became known as the Final Solution.
The villa is now a memorial and education centre and is worth a visit if you want to learn more about what happened that day and the atrocities that followed.
Spreewald is a brilliant place to visit if you get away from the hustle and bustle of Berlin and experience some nature.
The area is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, and there are plenty of things to do here. You can go hiking, kayak along the extensive network of waterways or go fishing!
You can’t visit Spreeawld without kayak along the numerous streams. This is the best way to experience the area and allows you to see the majority of the reserve as you make your way along the water.
Spreewald is located 100 km southeast of Berlin, and is a great way to spend a day away from the city!
Where to stay in Berlin
Due to the size of Berlin, you won’t have any trouble finding somewhere to stay. Choice and lots of it is the name of the game when it comes to accommodation in Berlin.
The downside is deciding where to stay. With the city spread out over a large area, it’s hard to stay somewhere that gives you access to all the main sights.
My advice is to do some research before you go and decide what part of the city you want to stay in. If you want to stay near the East Side Gallery, Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg is the place for you, while Mitte is the place to stay if you want to be near the Reichstag.
I have listed a few of the best hostels in Berlin, as well as some hotels below, for you to consider during your time in Berlin.
The climate in Berlin can vary depending on the time of year. You must consider this before you book your trip.
If you’re visiting in winter, I recommend you look at my guide on what to pack for Germany, because it will be very cold at this time of the year!
Unless you want to visit Berlin during winter, my advice would be to visit from April to September instead. The weather is much at this time and you will be able to explore the city more.
This does come with a caveat, however. Better weather means more tourists. You will have to contend with more people at popular sights such as the Reichstag and East Side Gallery, but it’s a price worth paying.
A compromise might be to visit during the shoulder months of April and September. You will still get the good weather and you won’t have to contend with as many tourists either.
If you do want to visit during winter, be prepared for snow and chilly weather. However, there will be fewer tourists and you won’t have to contend with the queues you find during the summer months.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Berlin known for?
Berlin is not just one of the most famous cities in Germany, it’s one of the most famous in the world. From the Berlin Wall to the Reichstag, these are places that are famous the world over!
The city is also well-known for its nightclub scene. Berghain is the most famous club in Berlin and somewhere you have to visit if you’re into Techno music!
Aside from this, Berlin is known as the capital of Germany and for its occupation by France, Russia, the United States and the UK following the end of the Second World War.
Can you walk around Berlin?
I love walking! It’s one of my favourite things to do when I get to a new city. However, when it comes to Berlin, it’s neither feasible nor practical. Berlin is just too big to walk around.
The city is gigantic! This is a legacy of its postwar days when the city was split up. As a result, there is no definable centre and a lot of the sights are spread out.
My advice would be to rent a bike or use the public transport system to get around. You can cycle around Berlin without too much difficulty and the public transportation network is excellent and easy to use!
What should I do in Berlin?
If you’ve made it this far into the article you should have a good idea of what to do in Berlin! You have a wide variety of choices when it comes to sightseeing.
Make sure you see the main sights such as the East Side Gallery and the Reichstag. A trip to Berlin is wasted if you do not!
You should also try the local cuisine, in particular, currywurst. Numerous food trucks are dotted around the city serving the delicacy. If you’re vegetarian, they should have an alternative for you to try too!
Is Berlin cheap?
Germany is one of the more expensive countries in Europe, so it stands to reason that prices in Berlin will reflect this. However, Berlin is surprisingly cheap compared to other capital cities in Europe.
Accommodation is not overly expensive, while there is a multitude of options when it comes to eating out. This means you can always find somewhere cheap to eat if you’re travelling on a budget.
Even if you have disposable income, you won’t be out of pocket during your trip to Berlin!
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