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Best things to do in Berlin

You will be captivated by Berlin's history, but also by its way of life and the contrasts between its neighborhoods. Take note of its must-see places!

Ana Caballero

Ana Caballero

Sep 27, 2021 • 5 min read

Best things to do in Berlin

Brandenburg Gate | ©Hakon Sataoen

Berlin is one of the European cities that has fascinated me the most: you can find a story in every corner. In contrast to the solemn Holocaust memorial or the remains of the Wall, Berlin is also a modern city full of life. Here are my top 10 must-sees in Berlin.

1. Take a guided tour of Berlin

The Berlin Wall, East Side Gallery | ©Nick Fewings
The Berlin Wall, East Side Gallery | ©Nick Fewings

I always say that if you have to choose only one experience in a city you are visiting for the first time, a guided tour is the one that will bring the most to the traveler. In a city with as much to tell as Berlin, this recommendation becomes even more relevant.

Since Berlin is a rather large city with many significant sites, guided tours of Berlin are, for the most part, divided by zones.

2. Visit Charlottenburg Palace

Charlottenburg Palace | ©Dmitry Makeev
Charlottenburg Palace | ©Dmitry Makeev

This 18th-century palace, erected to serve as the summer residence of the first queen consort of Prussia, Sophie Charlotte, is one of the largest and most important palaces in Germany. It is somewhat distant from the center but can be easily reached by public transport.

The interior of the Palace retains most of its original decoration and is open to the public every day except Mondays. In addition to the diverse experiences you can enjoy at Charlottenburg Palace, the real jewel of the palace is its gardens which you can stroll through free of charge.

3. Take a cruise on the Spree River

Berlin boat cruise | ©Dennis Jarvis
Berlin boat cruise | ©Dennis Jarvis

Berlin is a city that constantly demands your attention and energy and for that reason, there will be times when you need a break and simply want to enjoy the city and its sights in a relaxed way. When this happens to you I recommend you take a one or two-hour cruise on the Spree river and tour the city.

4. Tour the city by tour bus

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

You have to take note of this recommendation, especially if you are only staying a few days in the German capital. Taking a pass for the tourist bus is not only a comfortable way to get sightseeing views of Berlin while strolling around the city, it is also an ideal way to move between its main points of interest saving time and long walks.

5. Visit Museum Island

Bode Museum | ©Reiseuhu
Bode Museum | ©Reiseuhu

Berlin has one of the most important museum complexes in Europe and is located on the so-called Museum Island. Presided over by the iconic Berlin Cathedral, this area is home to five major museums:

  • The Pergamon Museum: the most visited thanks to antiquities such as the Pergamon frieze or the gate of the market of Miletus.
  • The Ancient National Gallery: with classicist, romantic, impressionist and modernist works.
  • The Old Museum: Prussia's first museum.
  • The New Museum: with an important collection of Egyptian art.
  • The Bode Museum: Byzantine art.

If you want to visit these and other museums during your trip I recommend taking a look at the Berlin Welcome Card and Berlin Pass tourist cards that include free or discounted admission to these museums.

6. Tour the Mauerpark marketplace

Detail of a market stall in Mauerpark | ©Roman Kraft
Detail of a market stall in Mauerpark | ©Roman Kraft

If you are going to spend a Sunday in Berlin, reserve it to go to the Mauerpark flea market and to attend one of the concerts that will surely be there in the evening. This place is an example of the alternative culture that is becoming more and more important in the city of Berlin.

The Mauerpark market sells antiques, vintage clothes, art pieces, homemade food, and curiosities of all kinds and is located in one of the most important green spaces of the city along with the Tiergarten. The atmosphere of this place will not leave you indifferent.

7. Climb to the dome of the Reichstag

Interior of the Reichstag dome | ©Sven Przepiorka
Interior of the Reichstag dome | ©Sven Przepiorka

I already told you that the German Parliament deserved a separate visit and one of the reasons is its glass dome. You will have seen hundreds of photos of visitors next to this architectural curiosity, but the feeling of walking through its labyrinth of mirrors can not emulate any portrait.

It is open to the public all day free of charge and from there you can watch members of the German government at work. I recommend avoiding weekends and holidays because it tends to be quite crowded.

8. Photograph the view of the city from Television Tower

View of Berlin from the TV Tower | ©bvi4092
View of Berlin from the TV Tower | ©bvi4092

Visiting a city and wanting to see the aerial views of it is a classic for all travelers and there is always a special place from which to do so, which is usually a symbol of the city in question. In the case of Berlin, the TV tower located in Alexanderplatz is this place.

In addition to being the tallest building in Berlin at 1,200 feet, it is also a key landmark in the German capital. It was built during the years of the German Democratic Republic as a symbol to extol communism. You can visit it throughout the day for a price of approximately 20 dollars.

9. Enjoy the nightlife in the Kreuzberg district

The Kreuzberg district at night | ©David Soto-Karlin
The Kreuzberg district at night | ©David Soto-Karlin

Not everything in Berlin is museums and monuments. The city is also known for its nightlife and one of the areas where it is most present is the Kreuzberg district, also known as the Turkish quarter because of the immigrants who live in the area.

If you want to get to know one of the most alternative and authentic areas of Berlin, be sure to stroll through this neighborhood in the evening. During the day you will find excellent kebab stalls, interesting stores, and on Fridays a flea market that is worth a visit.

10. Taste beer, currywurst and pretzel

Beer and currywurst in Berlin | ©James Cridland
Beer and currywurst in Berlin | ©James Cridland

It was inevitable to name German beer as one of the must-try in Berlin (in some places, in fact, you will discover that it is even cheaper than mineral water). Try as many varieties as you can and let yourself be recommended. If you are a lover of this drink, I also recommend that you consider a guided tour with tasting included by the most relevant bars in Berlin.

Things to do in Berlin