Berlin in 3 Days: tips, what to see, and much more

Three days in Berlin is a long time, so get ready to experience the present, the past and maybe even the future of the German capital.

Ana Caballero

Ana Caballero

12 min read

Berlin in 3 Days: tips, what to see, and much more

Berlin, Germany | ©Gilly

I assure you that it is possible to condense the most important things to see in Berlin in three days. Of course, you will have a lot of walking to do, but I'm sure that the desire to discover one of the most interesting cities in Europe will win over your tiredness.

During your visit you will have the opportunity to see Berlin from above, but also from its squares and from its most artistic side. Over the years the city has evolved a lot, but, today, there are still pieces of wall, memorials and museums that remind us of its history. My tips and the tour I have prepared will surely help you. Shall we start?

Day 1: Take a tour from the Brandenburg Gate to the Cathedral

Brandenburg Gate| ©Giuseppe Milo
Brandenburg Gate| ©Giuseppe Milo

The first day you will be full of energy, so get ready for a long walk that will take you through the center of Berlin. You will stop to see those places that deserve a more detailed visit, such as the Jewish Memorial or the Parliament, but don't worry, there will also be time to relax on the lawn of one of the most beautiful parks in the city.

Cross the Brandenburg Gate

A trip to Berlin has to start by crossing the Brandenburg Gate, as if you were officially entering the city. Undoubtedly, this monument is the great symbol, not only for having been one of the ancient entrance gates, but also because it represents peace.

If you book a guided tour of Berlin, you have a high percentage of chances that this is the starting point. The construction, some 26 meters high, was inaugurated in 1791, although it has been slightly modified over the years. For example, the Victory Chariot above is not the original, as it was destroyed during World War II.

You can cross the Brandenburg Gate and do so via any of the five streets, something that was not possible until 1918. Why? Because the central one could only be used by the royal family and other aristocrats. This place enjoys great popularity and shines with splendor, both during the day (by the sun) and at night (by the lighting that is installed).

Book a guided tour of Berlin

Climb to the dome of the German Parliament

Once you cross the Brandenburg Gate, head to the German Parliament, the famous Reichstag. Its institutional value is evident, but also at an architectural level, as it mixes classical elements and a modern dome.

Historical events have taken place here, such as its occupation by workers and soldiers to declare the Weimar Republic in 1918. With the arrival of Hitler and the Nazis to power, the building and everything it represented were unjustly forgotten, to the point that it burned down in 1933. You can, and should, book a tour of the Reichstag dome.

From the top, you can have an incredible view. In addition, you will have an audio guide to listen to the history of the building and the dome, redesigned by Norman Foster in 1956. Admission to the German Parliament is free, but you must book early because they sell out.

Eat in the Tiergarten

Tiergarten, Berlin| ©edwin.11
Tiergarten, Berlin| ©edwin.11

Has the climb to the dome made you sick to your stomach? Head to the Tiergarten, a former hunting ground that is now one of Berlin's largest and most beautiful parks. There you can stroll through its thousands of square kilometers, although my recommendation is to buy some food at a stall around and improvise a picnic on the grass.

Before you go, walk a little more around the place. There are trails to lose yourself in the lush vegetation; you can walk through them on foot or with a Berlin bike tour. Along the way you will find streams, which will accompany your walk with their soothing sound.

Book a Berlin bike tour

Get closer to the Jewish Memorial

Surely you have heard of the Jewish Memorial, one of the most solemn places in Berlin. It's a place you will get to know if you book the Third Reich tour in Berlin.

The nearly 3,000 concrete blocks there pay tribute to the Jews of Europe who were victims of the Holocaust and Nazi terror. The idea of this monument is to create a kind of labyrinth. You can enter from anywhere and walk between the blocks, which will surround you so that, somehow, you feel the persecution suffered by the Jewish people.

In this same space is the Information Center, a set of subway rooms that tell the story of the Jewish extermination. It includes testimonies of people who lived through it and there is also a large room on whose walls are written the names and brief biographies of the victims of the Holocaust.

Book the Third Reich tour in Berlin

Walk to the Berlin Cathedral

A half-hour walk will take you to the Berliner Dom, i.e. the Cathedral. Dating from the late 19th century (it was completed in 1905), it is a huge and impressive building. It is in an enviable location, with the river Spree nearby and the large Lustgarten garden preceding it.

From the outside it is already striking, but its interior is even more interesting, so I recommend you to buy the entrance ticket (about 7€). Like virtually all buildings in Berlin, it had to be rebuilt after World War II.

The Hohenzollern dynasty is buried in the Crypt. You can not miss the climb to the dome that, although it is somewhat hard because you expect more than 200 steps, provides a nice panoramic view. If you also go up at sunset, you will take some incredible photos. The Cathedral is one of the monuments you will see if you book a Berlin dinner cruise.

Book a Berlin dinner cruise

Day 2: Discover the art of Berlin's museums and its old town

Bode Museum| ©abbilder
Bode Museum| ©abbilder

Berlin is one of the great capitals of art, that can not be argued. If you have doubts, when you visit one or more of its museums you will have it clear. Don't worry, on this second day you will not be all the time between walls full of paintings and sculptures, but you will also walk through the old streets of the city, discovering emblematic places like the City Hall.

Visit the Berlin Museum Island

Start the day by touring the halls of some of Berlin's best museums. You will have the opportunity to travel back in time to Egypt, Ancient Greece, the Roman Empire... Although the reason why this is possible is the artistic plundering that the Nazis carried out. In the Berlin museums you can find important pieces such as the Pergamon Altar or several Egyptian mummies.

The good thing is that you will not have to go from one place to another to see everything, since you can get a ticket for the Berlin Museum Island, located on the banks of the Spree River is a museum complex World Heritage Site.

  • New Berlin Museum: the bust of Nefertiti awaits you there, as well as a collection of Egyptian and Oriental objects.
  • Berlin Old Museum: if you are interested in archaeological excavations and classical antiquities, come on in.
  • Bode Museum: Byzantine art has a home in Berlin, and specifically in this museum that also has a room dedicated only to numismatics.
  • Old National Gallery: here you will only find paintings, but these have been painted by the great artists of European realism.

Book a ticket to the Neus Museum

Head to Nikolaiviertel for a bite to eat

After a full morning visiting Berlin's museums, it's time to stop for lunch. You can book a gastronomic tour of Berlin with 10 tastings or if you don't want to invest a lot of time, just five minutes across the Rathausbrücke bridge will take you to Nikolaiviertel, one of Berlin's best neighborhoods where you will find restaurants serving regional food.

You can try a Schweinebraten, the famous pork and beer dish, order it in one of the local restaurants. When you finish eating, take a walk in the surroundings; you will find the famous Nikolaikirche, which is the first church in Berlin. Another striking building is the Ephraim-Palais, a rococo palace.

Book a private gastronomic tour of Berlin

See the Berlin City Hall

Exterior of the Berlin City Hall| ©Bernt Rostad
Exterior of the Berlin City Hall| ©Bernt Rostad

Known as "the red house", the Berlin City Hall stands out precisely because of its brick facade. It is the workplace of the mayor and the Senate of the city. When the city was divided during the Cold War, this building remained the town hall of East Berlin. Entering is not always possible (it is a place of work and official), but, if you are lucky, you can walk through its three inner courtyards and see inside some rooms.

If you want to get there comfortably you can book a bus tour of Berlin. Inside the "Rotes Rathaus", you can see:

  • Busts of illustrious Berlin personalities, which are displayed in the corridor on the third floor.
  • Grand Ballroom, place of ceremonies and institutional receptions.
  • Hall of Arms, where all Berlin's emblems are displayed.

Book a bus tour of Berlin

End the day at Alexanderplatz

Before ending the day's itinerary, there is one more place you have to see in this area: Alexanderplatz. This square, which Berliners know as "Alex" was the center of East Berlin during the Cold War. Today it is still a meeting point and the most important avenues of Berlin start from it. I recommend:

  • Book tickets to the Berlin TV Tower, one of the most striking buildings that the GDR erected in the 60s to demonstrate its power.
  • Go to see the World Clock, where the hours of all cities are marked.
  • Visit the Fountain of Friendship between Peoples, which in summer is used to cool off.

In addition to having important monuments, Alexanderplatz has a lot of historical value. Here half a million people gathered on November 4, 1989 to call for the end of USSR rule and the fall of the Wall.

Book tickets to the Berlin TV Tower

Day 3: Enjoy a day trip through Berlin's past and present

East Side Gallery| ©Jeanne Menjoulet
East Side Gallery| ©Jeanne Menjoulet

The trip is coming to an end, but you can't leave Berlin without getting to know its more recent history in depth. You will have heard a lot about the Nazi era, the war and the subsequent division of the city, but this day will give you a much better understanding of what happened. Shall we get going?

Tour the East Side Gallery

To start the day, I suggest a walk along the banks of the Spree River, along the Mühlenstraße. Little by little you will start to see pieces of the Berlin Wall. Finally, you will arrive at the East Side Gallery, where the wall is better preserved and on which graffiti has been painted. Converted into a museum of urban art (the largest in the world), this area is one of the most photographed in Berlin.

All the artists who participated in this gallery wanted to represent through their works the hope and euphoria that the wall had fallen. Undoubtedly, this is one of the essential visits during your trip to Berlin. And after it do not hesitate to visit the Wall Museum.

Book tickets for the Wall Museum

Walk through the multiculturalism of Kreuzberg

Kreuzberg was an alternative, marginal neighborhood where squatters, students and artists lived. Although since then it has changed and is now part of what is considered the center of Berlin. It still has a lot of history and culture to walk around. Even today you can still identify two areas, one more gentrified (west) and the other more bohemian (east).

But if anything stands out for its multiculturalism. In this area citizens from all over the world live together, especially Turks. In fact, if you go on a Tuesday or Friday you can buy something in the clothing, handicrafts and food stalls of the Türkische Markt.

Book a private guided tour of Berlin and visit this peculiar neighborhood. One of its most important elements is the art, I recommend you to go to a cultural center such as:

  • Künstlerhaus Bethanien: a former hospital that for years squatters have turned into an alternative gallery.
  • Köpi: the punk center of Berlin and Europe.

Book a private guided tour of Berlin

Get to know the Gendarmenmarkt and its twin churches

Your next stop is the Gendarmenmarkt- you can't leave Berlin without visiting the twin churches! It is one of the most beautiful places in the city, since there, in addition to the churches, you will also find the Berlin Konzerthaus.

Why are there two identical baroque churches on the square? Everything has an explanation: one is French and for Huguenot worship, the other German and Lutheran. You can enter either of the two (5 € approximately each ticket), but I do not recommend it; the views from its towers, having already climbed the dome of the Parliament or the Cathedral, will not surprise you.

Between the two churches is the great concert hall of Berlin, the Konzerthaus. This building was one of those that suffered the most during World War II, as there were rumors that Hitler went there a lot, so it was bombed on multiple occasions. Today it has been renovated. If you want to get close comfortably book the Berlin sightseeing bus.

Book the Berlin sightseeing bus

Salute the soldiers at Checkpoint Charlie

Checkpoint Charlie| ©Giuseppe Milo
Checkpoint Charlie| ©Giuseppe Milo

You don't know Charlie yet? It is the name of the most important border crossing used during the division of the city. Here the citizens of West Berlin could cross to the East, but only from time to time and with reasons approved by both governments beforehand. Today, there is a commemorative sign indicating that the American sector is being abandoned, as well as photos of the last two soldiers (one from each side) who stood guard.

Here you can also hear stories of people from East Berlin who tried to circumvent security to get to the other side and start a new life. Today you can cross from one side to the other without any problem, but there are multiple pictures and texts that remind you and explain that it was not always like that. Most of the guided tours of Berlin include this visit. This is the case of the politically incorrect tour of Berlin.

Book the politically incorrect tour of Berlin

End the day at Potsdamer Platz and take a beer tour

Did you think you were going to leave Berlin without seeing Potsdamer Platz? Although during the day you have approached the past of Berlin, now it's time to enjoy its most modern area. This square was completely renovated in the late twentieth century, so it looks completely different from the rest of the city. However, some elements of the past remain, such as the first traffic light in Berlin and throughout Europe!

One of the most important buildings there is the Sony Center, imposing with its large glass dome that changes color continuously. As it will be getting dark when you go there, you will be able to appreciate the lights better. Also take the opportunity to sit down for dinner and have a drink on one of the terraces. And to end the day, book a beer tour of Berlin.

Book a beer tour in Berlin

A summary of your 3-day tour in Berlin

  • Day 1
  • Cross the Brandenburg Gate
  • Climb the Reichstag Dome
  • Visit the Jewish Memorial
  • Enter the Berliner Dom
  • Day 2
  • Visit the Museum Island
  • Tour the Nikolaiviertel
  • Visit the Rotes Rathaus
  • Discover Alexanderplatz
  • Day 3
  • Contemplate the urban art of the East Side Gallery
  • Stroll through the Kreuzberg district
  • See the twin churches of Gendarmenmarkt
  • Visit Checkpoint Charlie
  • Visit Potsdamerplatz

The sightseeing bus, the best way to get around Berlin

Sightseeing bus through the streets of Berlin| ©Janusz Jakubowski
Sightseeing bus through the streets of Berlin| ©Janusz Jakubowski

There are many activities and plans that you can do in Berlin. Having been divided for so many years has caused different city centers to be built. If you are worried about wasting a lot of time walking from one place to another, but you don't want to ride public transport either, you can consider moving around Berlin in a tourist bus, a means of transport to go from one point to another in a direct way and without transfers or long waits. You have several options:

In addition, you can bet on a combined ticket as:

If you are going to be in Berlin for three days, you want to see a lot. Walking is an option, but for those longer distances, it is best to go by bus. The bad thing about the public transport lines is that they make many stops in between. However, the tourist buses are much more comfortable because they only stop at the emblematic places, those that are on your route.

Book a seat on a Berlin sightseeing bus