Things to Do in Berlin

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Looking for travel tips on things to do in Berlin?

As part of our city guides series we interviewed Yvonne Zagermann who has been living in Berlin since June 2010. Yvonne first visited Berlin when she was 18 and immediately fell in love with the city.

Yvonne share’s with us her insider tips on what to do in Berlin for those looking for the best things to see and do, where to eat, stay, drink, and play. Take it away Yvonne…

Why Visit Berlin?

Berlin is the heart of Europe and full of history.

It’s vibrant and multicultural and it doesn’t matter if you’re interested in history, food, art, nightlife or culture – you’ll find exactly what you’re looking for in Berlin.

It’s maybe not the prettiest European city but – as mayor Klaus Wowereit said – it’s poor but sexy. And it has it’s very own charm, especially in summer.

Things to do in Berlin

Oh, where should I start? There are so many things to do and see in Berlin.

For first-timers I recommend for sure the Brandenburg Gate, the East Side Gallery, the TV Tower and Checkpoint Charlie. But that’s kind of the “tourist” program.

What to Do in Berlin
east side gallery

If you’re really into history you should visit the Berlin Wall Memorial at Bernauer Strasse. We recommend this tour here!

Get your skip the line tickets to the Wall followed by a historical guided bike tour.

The best photo op with the TV Tower IN the picture is from top of the Park Inn Hotel at Alexanderplatz. Ever heard about Base Flying? Because when you’re up there you should think about “flying” down.

And one of my favorite places to go in Berlin is the abandoned airport Tempelhof, where you can go for a run or watch kite surfers on the old airfield.

There are also different occasions throughout the year like the Berlin Festival in September when you even can go into the old building.

What to Do in Berlin
inside the Tempelhof airport

Places to Eat in Berlin

When you visit Berlin you have to eat a Currywurst.

Every Berliner will recommend another place but I think the best Currywurst is the one from Konnopke’s at Eberswalderstraße.

If you want to learn more about Currywurst I recommend the Currywurst Museum near Checkpoint Charlie.

Did you know Doner Kebab was invented in Berlin too?

My favourite kebab booth is the one from Mustafa at Mehringdamm, where you also get a tasty vegetable kebab.

And as nothing in Berlin starts without a cafe, here’s my pick where you get the best coffee in town: The Barn. And don’t forget to get also a piece of their homemade carrot cake.

Where to Drink in Berlin

In Berlin every day there is a new bar opening.

One of my favourites is the Butcher Bar. It feels like entering a speakeasy, when you finally find the entrance.

Here’s how to get there: Go to Rosenthaler Platz and find the “Fleischerei”, a fast food restaurant where you also get a good Currywurst, go to the back room and there, IN the hidden phone booth, you’ll find the entrance to the Butcher Bar. But: no pictures allowed!

Best Place for a Night on the Town in Berlin

There’s a one stop place for dinner, live concerts, dancing the night away and even getting a tattoo: The White Trash. It’s not only famous for its yummy burger but also for its unique interior, it’s extremely cool stuff and great parties.

Most nights you party there you’ll crawl up the stairs when leaving.

Where to Stay in Berlin

For places to stay in Berlin choose from the largest range of hotels, apartments, and guesthouses with our partner Booking.com. You get free cancelation on most rooms, and in most cases you only pay when you stay.



Booking.com

For a unique local stay, don’t forget about Airbnb. To check out all the properties available in Berlin click here. 

There are so many hotels and hostels in Berlin it’s hard to choose.

I recommend the Meininger Hotels, as they offer good quality and a good price. There are six of them all over the city, so you just have to choose the neighbourhood you want to stay in.

If you want to splurge on yourself I recommend the Ritz Carlton, not only because Robbie Williams and Brangelina use to stay here when they are in Berlin but also because of the great staff who will remember your name.

Markets and Shopping in Berlin

What to Do in Berlin
Mauerpark flea market

The most famous shopping district is the Kurfürstendamm, called Ku’damm.

On this avenue, you can shop till you drop. Here you also find the famous KaDeWe (Kaufhaus des Westens). It’s Europe’s biggest mall with a gourmet section as large as 7,000 square meters. But don’t ever go there on a Saturday.

On Sundays, stop by Mauerpark where you’ll find Berlin’s most famous flea market with vintage clothes, art, food and more.

One thing I really love about visiting Berlin are the Late Night Shops, you’ll find them at every corner and most of them are open 24 hours.

Here you can not only buy a late night beer but also everything you need for a party or stuff you’ll need when you’ve forgot to go to the supermarket.

Events and Festivals in Berlin

If you love music festivals you should come to Berlin in September when you can go to the Berlin Festival at the abandoned airport Tempelhof.

In October at the Festival of Lights an illumination artists light up historical buildings and other important landmarks in a spectacular show of lights. A cool photo opportunity!

What to Do in Berlin
Berlin festival toilets at the old airport

Getting around Berlin

Although Berlin itself is a very cheap city, public transport isn’t.

The best deal is to buy a Welcome Card, there are 8 options, from 48hrs up to 5 days, and you can use unlimited public transport but also get a discount on more than 200 tourist and cultural highlights.

Besides this public transport often is late, or not running or you have to use buses as a replacement service.

Although Berlin is huge it’s also a city you can explore by foot or by bike. I recommend you take a walking tour or bike tour.

Finding WiFi in Berlin

Yes, Berlin is very WiFi friendly, you’ll get free WiFi in most cafes, bars and restaurants. Just ask the staff for the password.

Best Time to Visit Berlin

Definitely Summer as Winter in Berlin can be VERY cold.

But in summer the city shows its pretty side and you can even go for a swim in one of the many lakes in and around Berlin.

I always tell people to visit Berlin for the first time in Summer, as you’ll probably fall in love with the city and if you then come back in winter it won’t be that hard for you to still love the city.

What to Do in Berlin
Lake around Berlin

Getting There and Away

Check out this German budget airline, Germanwings. You can also easily get to Berlin by train although it can be more expensive. The best and cheapest way to get to Berlin (when you’re already in Germany or Europe) is a ride-share.

Best insiders tip for travel to Berlin

It’s hard to find a “real” insider tip in Berlin, but one thing you shouldn’t miss is the Open Air Karaoke Sundays in Mauerpark and the abandoned amusement park Spreepark.

 The Berlin Pass gives you free entry to 60+ top Berlin attractions, Hop on and Off sightseeing tours, and an optional travel card for unlimted travel. Get yours and save money your visit to Berlin.

I love Berlin because …

This city doesn’t expect anything from you but to be yourself. And Berlin has more bridges than Venice. Period.

Planning a Trip to Berlin

Accommodation in Berlin

  • Booking.com has 1,212 hotels, apartments and hostels worldwide. You get free cancellation on most rooms and a best price guarantee.

Flights to Berlin

  • Skyscanner is a comparison website that searches millions of flights. Once you find your best deal, book directly through the airline (no extra fees).

Car Rental in Berlin

  • RentalCars.com is the world’s biggest car rental booking service that compares all the major brands like Hertz, Avis, Alamo, and Europcar.

BIO – Yvonne Zagermann is an award winning German TV journalist based in Berlin, who travels around the world and writes about it in English and German on her travel blog Just Travelous

Do you have any tips on what to do in Berlin? Share in the comments.

33 thoughts on “Things to Do in Berlin”

  1. I loved visiting Berlin for the first time last December – for the history and memorials as well as the festive Christmas Markets. Nice ideas here for my next trip. I’ve got to try the Currywurst!

      1. Hello!

        Thank you both for the post, I am planning on visiting Berlin for the first time in mid December Thursday & Friday, sadly only two days. I REALLY want to do base flying but know the season is over =,( so I will come back in the future during summer. For now, is there anything else of this sort of exciting adventure you can recommend?? Thank you!

  2. Wow, didn’t expect to see Russian language in an article about Berlin 🙂 I guess that makes sense with the Berlin Wall, but it still goes against my natural intuition that Russian is an obscure language that nobody outside of Russia knows.

  3. Very nice to meet another husband and wife team. I’ve been to Berlin and concur with a lot of your suggestions. Thank you for sharing. Looking forward to seeing you again in the blogist-sphere.

  4. Berlin is one of my favourite places in the UK, even though I’ve only been there once. It’s definitely on my to-do list once I return from Oz next year. Being a history student I tend to zone in on those places when I travel and that’s easy with Berlin. There is so much history and so many amazing places to learn about it. I’ll make sure to keep the above post in mind next time I visit (Especially where to eat!).

  5. I haven’t been there but I know that Berlin is a beautiful city. I’m quite intrigued on how to get to Butcher Bar (hidden phone booth).

  6. I adore Berlin but agree it can be a tough place to visit in winter! I struggle with the cold but otherwise I would totally move there to live for a while. It’s one of my favourite cities in the world. In summer, behind the East Side Gallery they have some great beach bars, perfect to meet up with friends when the sun eventually comes out. 🙂

    1. Yes, Berlin in summer is awesome. Will escape the cold winter in Berlin this year with a trip to SouthEastAsia and I’ll come back as soon as the sun is back 😀

  7. I was in Berlin a couple of summers ago and really enjoyed it. I took one of the free alternative walks from Alexanderplatz, and had my eyes opened to some of Berlin’s cultural history. That would be my recommendation to anyone looking for something a little different. The tour even took in Berlin’s sticker museum. Who knew?!

  8. I actually went to Berlin first in winter, then in summer. Winter was sooooo cold. -10°C, but it especially felt cold because of the wind. When I went back in summer it was 36°C, non-stop. Couldn’t sleep at night because of the heat. But I loved both trips and wouldn’t mind going back there during any season:)

  9. Hi Craig/Yvonne,

    I came across your informative website and was wondering if you could recommend any places to eat & drink that also provide live music in Berlin? My partner is a vegan, so can you recommend any places that cater for veggies/vegans (ideally with live music)?

    We will be travelling to Berlin from 22nd Dec to 27th Dec and would appreciate any tips/advice you could give us with regard to what we can see/do in Berlin in such a short time.

    Thanks in advance,
    Charlie

  10. Berlin is an amazing city and one that almost everyone seems to find something to love in! IT’s past s fascinating and it’s people are amazing.

    I would love to live there for some time but sadly the poor part of the poor but sexy is changing and it’s prices are rising rapidly. I expect things will get a little classier in the next 10 years which is sad as it could lose some of it’s edge. Still, it’s always going to retain some of it’s awesomeness.

      1. Thanks for the vegan tip Forest Parks. Much appreciated.

        Would you happen to know what places will be open on the 24th & 25th of Dec in Berlin, i.e. attractions as well as restaurants/pubs/bars?

  11. Blog Berlin Getaway

    Visiting Berlin was fun in summer, but in winter I was like a bear :p I plan revisiting Berlin next spring. Thanks for the tips 🙂

  12. Currywurst was invented by Herta Heuwer in Berlin in 1949 as an affordable but filling meal for the people of Berlin at a time when food was in short supply.

    When you order your Currywurst you can ask for it skin on “Currywurst mit Darm” or without skin “Currywurst ohne Darm”. Sausage casings were in short supply in the Soviet-controlled side of the city. If you grew up in East Berlin, you like sausage without skin; if you grew up in West Berlin, you probably prefer sausage with skin.

    I’m not from Berlin, I prefer Currywurst without skin and in my opinion the best place to get it is from Fritz & Co (a Currywurst stall) on Wittenberg Platz in the Schöneberg area of Berlin.

  13. Hi,
    Being a resident of Europe, I have travelled to many areas and I really admire the beauty that Germany has, however I find Berling to be little gloomy. I have read a lot about the different unfortunate incidents that took place there and the architecture in Berlin hasn’t change much.
    But Cologne, Munich are must visit for the beer lovers..:)

    Thanks For sharing great information on the places belonging to different geographical location. Your blog in really helpful in pre checks before taking up a travel.

    Susan

  14. Hi Craig,
    Nice tips – I visited Berlin January (God I will not do that again). I have to say it was quite warm during the day but when you wake up in the morning it is like -3 C and you can barely walk. I loved the The Memorial Church (Gedächtniskirche) & the Victory Column (Siegessäule)

    Cheers,
    Endri

  15. A great post – and very valuable in most respects, even two years after it was posted!
    There is one major change in transportation opportunities within Germany: there now are a couple of bus companies that offer services to and from places all over the country for very good prices.
    You will definitely find them on the net!
    Regards from Berlin, Alex

  16. My hubby and I are heading to berlin for 5 days at the very end of October. What should I expect weather wise and any specific tips? Pleeeeease

  17. Butcher Bar is a rip off ! Do not be fooled like I did by this stupid guide. Unless you want to pay for a small foreign beer at the unbelievable price of 5 euros. No surprise that its completely empty for most of the evening, staff is also very disagreeable.

  18. I would definitely like to try the Currywurst and the Kebab once I get to Berlin. I find experience in a new place more fulfilling if I get to eat my full. I can’t stand the cold much so it is a good idea to go there in the summer.

    Thanks for info.

  19. Thanks for your great Berlin tipps! I’ve also been there one time, but because of a bit lower travel budget hotels were no option. For those who like also historical charm, but don’t got a high budget, a place to stay could be the Three Little Pigs Hostel (http://www.three-little-pigs.com/en/): It’s placed in a former nunnery, built in 1907 – I felt a bit like a monk 😉

  20. Hi, thanks for the great post! I will be traveling to Berlin with my girlfriends, we are looking to visit the highlights, some shopping, bars and some nightlife. At which neighborhood to you recommend us to stay? Thanks!!!

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