Berlin is an absolutely amazing city! Out of all of the places I have lived, this city is one of my favorites; I created memories there that will last a life time. Now, while there are loads of things to do in Berlin for just about everyone, this post is geared toward those who are visiting this amazing city for the first time. I want to ensure you hit all of the most important spots! I will focus on all the must-see attractions you can visit on a short stay, but don’t worry – there will be plenty more posts in the future that will cover Berlin’s most exciting hot-spots and the incredible bar/club scene in full detail. Trust me, you’ll need more than a couple of days to get through the many music venues and bars this city has to offer!

A friendly tip: If you want to explore Berlin in style, grab a Berliner Pilsner to accompany you along the way. Yes, that’s right – drinking on the open streets of Berlin is allowed. In fact, it’s allowed in most parts of Germany. This is widely accepted and I promise you, no one will stare you down thinking you’re an alcoholic. This is the norm in Beer-country!

What To Do in Berlin:

1). Branderburger Gate

The Brandenburger Tor is a neoclassical monument dating back to the 18th century. This is of course a major tourist attraction, but capturing a quick selfie or a nice portrait in front of it is definitely a must. This will act as the ultimate proof you did in fact visit Berlin – no one would believe you’ve visited this bustling city without visiting one of Germany’s most famous landmarks. Oh and, have I mentioned you can actually walk underneath it?

2). The Berlin Wall  

The iconic Berlin wall may have fallen in 1989 but there are still original bits erected throughout the city. The most famous and longest stretch can be found at the East Side Gallery. What was once the symbol of a separated nation was turned into a symbol of hope, peace and joy by various artists who painted the grey wall with mesmerizing murals. While some depict the pain felt by the population at the time, and the political environment it found itself in, most of the murals aim to embrace a bright future, rather than Berlin’s bleak past. Parts of the wall are not the only remnants of history in the city: you can still find old guard towers, wires, and other bits of the wall throughout Berlin. It is a special place to visit.

3). Potsdamer Platz

The Potsdamer Platz is a public square in the center of Berlin, and home to the famous Sony Center, a complex with an impressive glass roof that lights up at night. If you’re on the celebrity-hunt or want to experience the real red-carpet-glamour of famous movie premiers, this is where it’s all happening. The cinema here is absolutely amazing, but I advise you to book your ticket and your seat online in advance, seeing as seats are assigned here. There are a lot of modern bars and restaurants around and the fancy shopping center is always worth a visit.  If you want to try your luck at the casino in the hopes of being able to splurge on some VIP treatment in Berlin’s famous clubs with your winnings, you can hit the Spiel Bank casino which offers a range of standard table games, a poker room and slots.

4). Museum Island 

Located on the Spree River, this island boasts an extraordinary ensemble of five world renowned museums: Pergamon Museum, Bode Museum, Neues Musum, Alte Nationalgalerie and Altes Museum. During the spring and summer months, the Museum Island is also home to some of the best flea-markets in the city.

5). Reichstag

This historical edifice is the seat of the German Parliament. If you’re looking for things to do in Berlin this is a great place to just sit in soak up the sun and take in the city. If you’re planning on strolling around the Reichstag, plan your visit in advance to ensure you get a few solid hours booked for the full experience. And be prepared to walk. A lot! The glass dome at the top is actually a 360 degree observatory with a view over Berlin – absolutely stunning!

6). Fernsehturm 

Ah, another iconic symbol of Berlin – the TV tower. While it may not look like much from the outside I highly recommend booking a trip or queuing up to visit the top of the tower. Berlin may be a big city but it is generally pretty flat which allows for fascinating views from the top of the tower. There is a nice little bar at the top, it’s nothing fancy but hey, there’s always time for a Pilsner and with this breath-taking view it’ll taste even better!

6). The Jewish Memorial

The Holocaust memorial is marked with over 2,711 concrete structures on a sloping field, and an underground museum. I won’t lie – it is a somber experience but one that everyone should visit at least once in their life time.

7). Olimpic Stadium

This is the original sports stadium built for the 1936 Olympics. These days it is the home field for Hertha BSC Berlin and also acts as a venue for a variety of events.

8). Checkpoint Charlie

I am sure most of you have seen the historic photograph of a solider moving across Checkpoint Charlie, which has now become a popular tourist attraction. A lot of its history remains intact and the feeling you will get freely walking from Berlin East to West is rather unique. This is a great place to take photos!

9). Tiergarten Berlin Zoo

Berlin’s Tiergarten is similar to New York’s Central Park: a vast green space in the middle of the city. You should also visit the zoo here, the oldest zoo in Germany with over 20,500 animals. The way the zoo is set up allows you to get up close and personal with a lot of its attractions.

10). Gendarmenmarkt 

To me, the Gendarmenmarkt is one of the most beautiful places in Germany. This is where you will find the French cathedral, the German cathedral and the impressive concert house.

11). Berliner Dom (Berlin Cathedral)

The Italian Renaissance style, royal court church is on triple duty: it is a place of worship, a museum and a concert hall, all in-one.

12). Charlottenburg Palace

You will find beautiful castles all over Germany, but the royal palace of Charlottenburg is truly one of a kind.

If you have a little extra time or want to do something a bit different during your first visit, here are a few more things to do in Berlin:

• Karaoke at the Mauer Park 

Thousands of people visit the Mauer Park every Sunday to enjoy the performances of various artists and musicians. This is a unique way to put your Karaoke skills to the test in front of a bunch of random strangers.

• Gorlitzer Park

During the day, this park will give you great insight into Berlin’s underground scene. However, I wouldn’t advise you to wander around here at night as it is generally overrun with drug dealers, but if you’re with a friend or a group you will be fine.

• Victoria Park

It’s a bit of a hike to get to the top of this park but it’s worth it – the view is fantastic! The park’s waterfall makes this an idyllic place for a picnic or a relaxing afternoon in the city.

• Berlin Unterwelten

No, this is not the underground, but rather a series of tunnels, bunkers, and other WW2 remnants. A tour is highly recommended, that way you’ll learn all there is to know about Berlin’s secret underworld.

• Templehof Airport

I love airports, especially airports where you can have a BBQ on the runway. That’s right! Templehof airport may no longer be in service, but it has been converted in to an open park. The terminal buildings are used for parties and events, and yeah, there is even a night club! Visit the Templehof Airport by bike and you’ll have plenty of opportunities to cruise along the tarmac for a smooth ride.

• Berlin Operating Base

Featured in numerous music videos and movies this is an abandoned military base once used by the CIA. While not all parts are open to the public, you can easily wander around and climb up some of the old buildings. This is a brilliant spot for awesome views and photographs. This is a really cool place that has a particular feel to it and will definitely leave a long lasting impression.

• Graffiti near Warschauer Strasse

Take a walk down to the bridge near Warchauer Strasse and you will find one of the largest remaining stretches of the Berlin Wall, which is now decorated by different artists with graffiti paintings.

38 COMMENTS

  1. It seems Berlin is calling my name – I’ve been reading so much good about it lately! I remember when the Berlin Wall came down – I was so moved and I thought to myself that I have to make it to Germany to see the remains. Alas, I still haven’t been. 🙁

  2. Definitely a country on our travel list to visit. My wife’s father is from Berlin and we are definitely making plans to visit this city. So much to see and do with so much history. I didn’t realize they still had Checkpoint Charlie set up as a tourist destination. Thanks for sharing the beautiful photos and info! Rob

  3. All the attractions look amazing.

    Also, a blogging feedback: you can scale the photos anywhere between 600-1200 px. I think your photo are way too large. The page went crazy when all started to load.

  4. I went to Berlin in March of 2016 !! It was a great experience!! This guide is awesome and useful with great pictures!! I m in love with the view from tv tower 🙂 Thanks for sharing with us !!

  5. Living in Europe I’m embarrassed to say that Germany is one of the countries I’ve never been to – Really hope to change this this year. Berlin is top of my list so thanks for the tips!

  6. I would to visit the Berlin Wall and the Jewish Memorial. The Jewish Memorial would be significant as my Grandfather was Jewish and had family in Germany. Museum Island sounds fascinating too.

  7. I want to visit Berlin so badly! I think I would want to visit during Christmas time like you because the photos with all the Christmas lights you took are incredible! I also love the architecture you’ve captured! This looks like such a fun city to explore!

  8. I was in Berlin in 1990 just after the wall came down. I actually have pieces of it. I was very young though and I wish I could make the trip now. The last time I was in Germany was in 2009 and I went to Hannover. Nonetheless great blog and if I do go I’ll have to remember to make reservations to see those attractions. I’ll remember to bring some good shoes for the walking too!

  9. Woohoo! We did a lot of your suggestions on our first visit to Berlin. We went this past Christmas, and I absolutely LOVED the city. Visitng the Berlin Wall, the Jewish Memorial and Checkpoint Charlie were all thought-provoking and meaningful experiences to have in the city. Although due to the holiday and weather we didn’t get to do as much as I wanted, we’re already planning a visit back in the summer months. I really want to visit Templehof Airport! Thanks for even more inspiration to go back!

  10. A wonderful list of things to do. We are heading to Europe in sometime. I will see if I can make to Berlin though it is not on the original plan. If I am able to , I will definitely visit these beautiful places you have listed here

  11. I did a most of those things when I visited Berlin, what I didn’t do is visit the Olympic Stadium from 1936. I recently watched the movie, Race, and I am sure it was filmed there. Thanks for the great list, there are a couple of things I missed which I’ll be sure to visit next time (with a beer in m hand!).

  12. I haven’t been to Berlin yet (I know being in Europe and not go to Berlin is a crime of sorts) but my other half has, in fact to a music festival in that same airport! It is definitely something on my bucket list! Thanks for sharing,

  13. I lived in Berlin for 6 months in 2013and have been to most places you listed here. I really enjoyed the city and always wish I could come back soon. There are certainly lots of things to do in Berlin especially in the summer. I’d add to this list open-air cinema and markets as well 🙂

  14. Totally agree with your suggestions. I have been to Berlin a few times and loved it. Few of my favourite things included the Berlin Wall, Brandenburg Gate and inside the Berliner Dom.

  15. Awesome post. I’m actually looking at going to Berlin soon so I will definitely be back to reference. To be honest you had me sold in the first paragraph, why would I not want to visit a city where it is actively encouraged to wander around with a beer? I will definitely go to the top of the TV tower and visit the Holocaust Memorial, for the rest I will have to decide when I get there. I will probably share your post on my site soon, I some Berlin content already but I think this will still fit in well. Feel free to check it out, http://www.thetravelblogs.com.
    Happy Travels!

  16. In my opinion Berlin is one of the most interesting cities in Europe. I like your summary – my two big favorites are Checkpoint Charlie and the Pergamon Museum. An additional nice spot to visit – especially with kids is the Berlin Aquarium.

  17. Great recommendations, and perfect timing! Berlin is on my list of places to visit for this year (I wanted to go last year but ended up going to Italy instead), so these will be helpful! I had no idea you were allowed to drink in public – as far as I know, it’s forbidden here in the UK, so that’s good to know! The view from the TV tower must be gorgeous, and that waterfall will definitely be on my list! Thanks for the tips!

  18. I’m a visual person and you added the right amount of information and representation (which has great appeal with the colors and variety of photos) of each thing to do in Berlin. I haven’t traveled to Berlin yet but will use your suggestions as a guide for when I visit. Thanks for the post!

  19. Great post and photographs too. I’ve been to Germany, but not yet to Berlin. Would love to do a graffiti tour, especially as I hear it’s one of the top destinations for street art and graffiti. Great pics from Warschauer Strasse.

  20. It seems to be a great selection of places to visit. Even I have been in Berlin couple of times, I haven’t visited all of them. I am big fan of Tiergarten, especially of the pool with hippopotamus swimming in it. Thanks for sharing!

  21. Lovely blog. Germany seems like an interesting country. I have long nursed the dream to see the Berlin Wall. It’s amusing to see that what was once a political tool is now a place of touristy interest. I like places with history.

  22. Although I prefer to see animals in their natural habitats, I could imagine myself getting lost for a day in the ZOO. It would be a perfect wildlife escape to hang out with some of those 20.000 animals there.

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