Are you looking for a fun and affordable destination for your next city break? If so, you might want to consider Berlin, the capital of Germany and one of the most exciting and diverse cities in Europe. Berlin has something for everyone, whether you are interested in history, culture, nightlife, or food. Here are some reasons why you should book a Berlin city break and some tips on how to make the most of your time there.
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Brief History of Berlin
Berlin’s history is fascinating and complex, and you can see traces of it everywhere you go. From the iconic Brandenburg Gate and the Berlin Wall to the former Nazi headquarters and Checkpoint Charlie, you can learn about the city’s turbulent past and how it shaped its present. You can also visit some of the world’s best museums, such as the Pergamon Museum, which houses ancient treasures from Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Greece, or the Jewish Museum, which tells the story of Jewish life and culture in Germany.
Berlin Culture- Perfect for a Berlin city break?
Berlin is also a cultural hotspot, with a vibrant art scene, a rich musical heritage, and a diverse population. You can admire street art and graffiti in areas like Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain, or visit some of the many galleries and museums that showcase contemporary art. You can also enjoy classical music at the Berlin Philharmonic, or catch a show at one of the many theatres and opera houses. And don’t forget to explore the different neighborhoods of Berlin, each with its character and charm.
Berlin City Break Nightlife
If you are looking for a good time, Berlin has plenty to offer. The city is famous for its nightlife, with some of the best clubs, bars, and pubs in Europe. You can dance until dawn at legendary venues like Berghain, Tresor, or Watergate, or chill out at a cozy beer garden or a trendy cocktail bar. You can also sample some of the delicious food that Berlin has to offer, from traditional German dishes like currywurst and schnitzel to international cuisine from Turkish, Vietnamese, or Indian restaurants.
Berlin is a city that never sleeps, but if you need a break from the hustle and bustle, you can also find some green spaces and relaxing spots. You can take a stroll along the Spree River, or visit one of the many parks and gardens that dot the city.
How many days is ideal in Berlin?
If it is your first time in Berlin I suggest coming for a minimum of 3 days if you want to see some of the main attractions, but 4- 5 days in Berlin if you want to get a sense of the culture, history, and get the full Berlin city break experience.
Is Berlin a walkable city?
Berlin is extremely walkable and easy to get around. If you are not going to take public transit there are also a lot of escooters, and bikes around the city. Making it easy to get around to most of the things to do in Berlin without having to have a car or taxi.
Berlin has an extensive and efficient public transport system that includes buses, trams, subways (U-Bahn), and trains (S-Bahn). You can buy tickets at stations, machines, or online, and use them for any mode of transport within the same zone. A single ticket costs 2.90 euros for zones AB, which covers most of the city center. You can also buy day tickets, weekly tickets, or monthly passes for more savings. Remember to validate your ticket before boarding or you might face a fine.
Berlin is a bike-friendly city with many bike lanes, paths, and rental services. You can rent a bike from one of the many shops or stations around the city, or use an app like Nextbike or Donkey Republic to find and unlock a bike nearby. The average price for renting a bike is 1 euro per 30 minutes or 12 euros per day. Biking is a great way to explore the city at your own pace and enjoy the scenery.
If you prefer a more comfortable and convenient way to travel, you can always hail a taxi or use an app like Free Now or Uber to book one. Taxis are easy to find in most areas of the city, especially near tourist attractions, hotels, and train stations. The base fare is 3.90 euros and then 2 euros per kilometer. You can pay by cash or card, and tip around 10% if you are satisfied with the service. I preferred using Uber, especially after going out at night.
What part of Berlin is the best to stay in?
This is the historical and cultural center of Berlin, where you can find many famous landmarks, such as the Brandenburg Gate, the Reichstag, the Museum Island, and the Alexanderplatz. Mitte is also home to many government buildings, embassies, and business offices. If you want to be close to the main sights and enjoy a lively and cosmopolitan atmosphere, Mitte is a great choice. However, it can also be crowded, noisy, and expensive.
This is the alternative and multicultural heart of Berlin, where you can find many artists, students, immigrants, and activists. Kreuzberg is known for its vibrant nightlife, street art, ethnic cuisine, and creative scene. If you want to experience the edgy and diverse side of Berlin, Kreuzberg is a good option. However, it can also be chaotic, dirty, and unsafe.
This is the trendy and hipster district of Berlin, where you can find many cafes, bars, boutiques, and galleries. Prenzlauer Berg is popular among young professionals, families, and ex-pats. My friend from high school moved here four years ago and loves it. It has a relaxed and friendly vibe, with many green spaces and parks. If you want to enjoy a cozy and stylish neighborhood with a lot of charm, this is the perfect area if you find a Vrbo in the area.
This is the elegant and upscale area of Berlin, where you can find many luxury hotels, shops, and restaurants. Charlottenburg is also rich in history and culture, with attractions such as the Charlottenburg Palace, the Kurfürstendamm Boulevard, and the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church. However, it can also be boring, snobby, and far from the center.
This is the emerging and dynamic part of Berlin, where you can find many young people, immigrants, and artists. Neukölln is known for its cheap rents, diverse culture, and lively nightlife. If you want to discover a new and exciting side of Berlin that is constantly changing and evolving, Neukölln is a good option. However, it can also be noisy, dirty, and dangerous.
What is the best month to visit Berlin?
I would say May through September is the perfect time to visit Berlin. Berlin comes alive in the summer, with its beer gardens, outdoor markets, and ample green spaces to enjoy. Also, there are many events and festivals during this time. The sun also sets after 10 pm in the summer which makes it great for you to have a lot of time to explore Berlin.
Although, I also think Berlin during the holidays and Christmas markets in Germany are special and well worth a visit in December!
Can I visit Berlin without speaking German?
If a language barrier is holding you up to booking your Berlin city break, don’t let that stop you. I love Berlin and I have been more than 5 times now. Don’t worry if you don’t speak German there are many expats, as well as English speakers. So I recommend just downloading the Google Translate app just in case, but you have nothing to worry about.
Berlin City Break – Things to do
Fat Tire Tours – Berlin City Bike Tour
One of the first things I would do is take a tour of Berlin. If you want a great overview of Berlin, I recommend taking a Berlin City Bike Tour with Fat Tire Tours. It was an amazing experience to check out the main attractions of the city by bike, but also bike to some places that would be a little off the beaten path for me. Our guide was very knowledgeable of the city from learning about Nazi Germany, as well as the Cold War to incorporating modern cultural elements in the tour it was eye-opening
They offer a 3-hour city tour and a 6-hour city tour, food tours, Cold War-specific tours, and more.
Berlin TV Tower and Rotating Dining Experience
After a few visits to Berlin, I finally decided to make it my mission to head to the top of the Berlin TV tower and it was so worth it. The Berlin TV Tower stands 368 meters high above the city. It is the highest building open to the public in Europe. It was inaugurated on October 3 1969 in East Germany, built as a symbol to show the world the Communist party was superior to the rest of the West.
After you take in the views, dine at the Sphere restaurant which rotates 207 meters above the city! They serve amazing traditional foods with a modern twist, and there is also Bar 203 if you rather just have a drink. At the end or beginning you can also enjoy a VR experience showing the evolution of Berlin since ancient history.
Finally, enjoy Alexanderplatz located at the base of the Berlin TV Tower. There are many shops, the square also has the World Clock, and the Fountain of Friendship.
Explore Museum Island
One of the most famous places to visit museums is Berlin, Germany. They even have a whole island meant for museum lovers called “Museum Island”. It is also recognized by UNESCO.
World-class museums for travelers looking to experience a range of history, culture, art, architecture, and more. I happened across this, but actually, the first Sunday of the month offers a free museum day throughout Berlin. However, if you know you will be there in advance, book the tickets online (even for free or not) because the most popular museums do sell out!
Altes Museum is the first museum on museum island. It was built in 1825 by order of King Frederick 3 of Prussia. The Altes Museum houses the Antikensammlung Collection, one of the most important collections of classical art in the world. Hours: 10 am – 6 pm Tuesday- Sunday, Closed Monday
The Neues Museum is located in a historic building built in 1843 and houses art from ancient Egypt and artifacts from the Stone Age. The building is worth visiting alone, it was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list for its outstanding architecture. It is the second oldest museum on Museum Island. Hours: 10 am – 6 pm Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Thursday 10 am – 6 pm.
Pergamonmuseum is the most popular museum in Berlin. So definitely make sure to reserve this in advance. The museum includes artifacts from antiquity in Iran, Egypt, etc. Currently, the north wing will be closed for refurbishment until 2025. Hours: 10 am – 6 pm Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Thursday 10 am – 6 pm.
Bode Museum houses one of the largest medieval art collections as well as Byzantine art.
Alte Nationalgalerie is the national art gallery that was originally a contemporary art gallery, and now you can see 19th-century paintings as well as sculptures. Hours: 10 AM – 6 PM CLOSED Mondays
While I did not get to go inside the Berlin Dom or Berlin Cathedral, it costs 10 euros and 6.50 euros with the Berlin Welcome Card. Berlin Cathedral is one of the most iconic landmarks in the city. It is a magnificent example of neo-Renaissance architecture, with a dome that rises 98 meters above the ground. The cathedral was built between 1894 and 1905, and it houses a museum, a crypt, and an organ with over 7000 pipes. The cathedral is open daily from 9 am to 8 pm, except on Mondays when it closes at 5 pm. Visitors can enjoy guided tours, concerts, and exhibitions throughout the year.
Berlin is a city with a rich history and culture, but also a modern and vibrant metropolis. One of the best ways to explore its diverse attractions is by boat. You can enjoy a relaxing and scenic cruise along the Spree River, passing by landmarks such as the Reichstag, the Museum Island, the Berlin Cathedral, and the East Side Gallery. You can also admire the architecture and urban landscape of Berlin from a different perspective, and learn more about its past and present from the onboard commentary. A boat tour of Berlin is a great option for anyone who wants to see the city in a short time and in a comfortable way. Tours last about an hour, some 2 hours, and range in price from USD 25 and up.
Charlottenburg Palace is a Baroque palace in Berlin, Germany. It was built at the end of the 17th century by Sophie Charlotte, the wife of Frederick I, the first king of Prussia. The palace was expanded several times in the 18th century and has rich interior decoration in Baroque and Rococo styles. The palace also has a large formal garden with a belvedere, a mausoleum, a theatre, and a pavilion. Charlottenburg Palace is a major tourist attraction and a cultural heritage site.
- Opening hours: 10.00 – 17.00 (all days except Monday).
- The cost of visiting the castle: adult – 19 euros, child (under 18 years) – 15 euros. Please note that when buying tickets online (through the official website), tickets will cost 2 euros less. Entrance to the park is free.
Free things to do for a Berlin City Break
Take a free walking tour
If you are visiting Berlin and want to explore the city without spending a lot of money, you might want to consider taking a free walking tour. A free walking tour is a guided tour that does not have a fixed price, but instead relies on tips from the participants. You can join a free walking tour by booking online or showing up at the meeting point. Many free walking tours in Berlin cover different topics and areas, such as the history of Berlin, the street art scene, the Third Reich, and more. You can find more information about free walking tours in Berlin on websites like freetour.com or freewalkersberlin.com. Taking a free walking tour is a great way to learn more about the city, meet new people, and have fun!
The Reichstag building is a historic government building in Berlin that has been the seat of the German Bundestag since 1999. It was built from 1884 to 1894 by Paul Wallot in a Neo-Renaissance style. The building has a large glass dome that offers a panoramic view of the city. If you want to visit the roof and the dome, you need to register online in advance and go through a security check. The visit is free and includes an audio guide that explains the history and functions of the Reichstag.
The Reichstag building is more than just a tourist attraction. It is also a symbol of German democracy and history. The building witnessed many important events, such as the proclamation of the German Empire in 1871, the Reichstag fire in 1933, the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, and the reunification of Germany in 1990. The building was renovated by British architect Norman Foster after reunification, who added the modern glass dome as a contrast to the old structure. The dome also symbolizes transparency and openness, as visitors can look down at the plenary hall where lawmakers debate and vote.
The Reichstag building is open every day from 8:00 am to midnight, with the last admission at 10:00 pm. You can register online up to three months in advance or on the same day at the service center near the building. It is required to bring proof of your identity for security purposes. You can also book a guided tour of the building or a visit to the roof garden restaurant. For more information, visit https://www.bundestag.de/en/visittheBundestag.
Jewish Museum Berlin
If you are interested in learning more about the history and memory of the Holocaust, you might want to visit one of the museums dedicated to this topic. One of them is the **Jewish Museum Berlin**, which has a core exhibition that explores the Jewish history and culture in Germany from the Middle Ages to the present day, as well as temporary exhibitions that focus on specific aspects of the Holocaust and its aftermath.
The Jewish Museum Berlin is open daily from 10 am to 7 pm, except for some Jewish holidays and Christmas Eve. Admission to the core exhibition is free for everyone, while the temporary exhibitions cost 8 € at the regular rate or 3 € at the reduced rate. Children and teenagers under 18 get in free, as do a few other visitor categories. You can find more information on their website or buy a ticket online.
The Berlin Wall Memorial
Another museum that you can visit is the **Berlin Wall Memorial**, which commemorates the division of Berlin by the wall and its victims. The memorial consists of an outdoor exhibition on Bernauer Strasse, where you can see the remains of the wall and other historical traces, as well as a documentation center and a visitor center that provide information and education about the wall and its impact on the people of Berlin. The outdoor exhibition is open daily from 8 am to 10 pm, while the documentation center and the visitor center are open from Tuesday to Sunday, 10 am to 6 pm. Admission to the memorial is free for everyone.
Don’t miss a chance to walk along the East Side Gallery in Berlin this is the largest section of the Berlin Wall still standing and there is amazing street art here as well.
Topography of Terror
One day I was looking for free things to do in Berlin and this popped up. I am so glad it did. The Topography of Terror is a museum in Berlin that documents and commemorates the crimes committed by the Nazi regime from 1933 to 1945. It is situated on the former site of the central institutions of Nazi persecution and terror: the headquarters of the Secret State Police (Gestapo), the SS, and the Reich Security Main Office. These buildings were the nerve center of the Nazi terror apparatus, where orders were issued, reports were received and victims were interrogated, tortured, and executed.
The museum consists of two parts: an indoor exhibition and an outdoor exhibition. The indoor exhibition covers 800 square meters and displays more than 800 photos, documents, and media stations that illustrate the history of Nazi terror and its impact on individuals and society. The Topography of Terror is a place of remembrance and education that aims to inform visitors about the Nazi dictatorship and its crimes, as well as to raise awareness of the dangers of dictatorship and violence in general.
Checkpoint Charlie was named by the Western Allies, who also had Checkpoint Alpha and Bravo along the border. It was located on Friedrichstrasse, a historic street in the American-occupied city center. Checkpoint Charlie was the only place where East Germany allowed foreign diplomats, military personnel, and tourists to enter or leave East Berlin. The Allies stationed their guards there to ensure their access to the Soviet sector. The Allied side of Checkpoint Charlie was very simple, consisting of a small shack and some sandbags. The East German side was more elaborate, with guard towers, barriers, and a shed where vehicles were searched for fugitives.
Checkpoint Charlie became a symbol of the Cold War and the division of Germany. It attracted many visitors and protesters, who often expressed their solidarity with the people of East Berlin or their opposition to the Wall. After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, Checkpoint Charlie was dismantled and removed. Today, there is a replica of the original guardhouse and a museum that displays artifacts and stories related to the checkpoint and the Cold War.
Is a picturesque square known for the iconic three buildings that surround it. It is surrounded by three historic buildings: the French Cathedral, the German Cathedral, and the Concert Hall. Gendarmenmarkt is a popular tourist attraction because of its beautiful architecture and cultural events. You can visit Gendarmenmarkt to admire the monuments, enjoy a concert or explore the Christmas market in winter.
Visit Berlin Markets
Mauerpark Flea Market: This is the most popular and crowded flea market in Berlin and for good reason. You can find everything from antiques and vinyl records to art and jewelry. There’s also live music, karaoke, and street performers to keep you entertained. It’s open every Sunday from 10 am to 6 pm.
Markthalle Neun: This is a historic market hall that hosts different themed markets throughout the week. You can find organic produce, artisan cheese, fresh bread, and more. My favorite is Street Food Thursday, where you can sample cuisines from all over the world. It’s open from Monday to Saturday, with varying hours depending on the day.
Nowkoelln Flowmarkt: This is a hip and trendy flea market that attracts young and creative people. You can find clothes, books, accessories, and more. It’s also a great place to chill by the canal and enjoy the atmosphere. It’s open every second and fourth Sunday of the month from 10 am to 5 pm.
Kollwitzplatz Farmers Market is a great farmers market I went to in Prenzlauer Berg. It had over 50 vendors and a lot of great food. Come here and grab a coffee or crepe!
Berlin City Parks
I was surprised to learn Berlin is one of the greenest cities in Europe! There are over 25000 parks and over 1 million trees in the city!
The Tiergarten is one of the most famous parks and comes alive in the summer. Take a bike and cycle through the park, see the victory statue, and even go to one of the best beer gardens in Berlin.
The Tiergarten is like a green oasis in the middle of the urban jungle! The Tiergarten was once a royal hunting ground, but now it’s open to everyone who wants to relax, have fun or learn something new. There are many monuments, museums, and landmarks in and around the park, such as the Brandenburg Gate, the Victory Column, and the Haus der Kulturen der Welt. You can also find a lovely beer garden by a lake, where you can taste some local specialties.
I had a wonderful time walking around the park, admiring the trees, flowers, and animals. The Tiergarten is a must-see for anyone who visits Berlin!
If you love nature and history, you should visit Treptower Park in Berlin. It is a beautiful park along the river Spree, where you can enjoy the sun, the water, and the greenery. You can also see the impressive Soviet War Memorial, the Archenhold Observatory, and the former Spreepark amusement park. Treptower Park is a great place to relax and explore. Come and see for yourself!
Hot tub down River Spree for a fun adventure with friends. Berlin Bootsverleih. It looks super fun, especially from the Zenner Biergarten and Weingarten a cool beer garden located along the river Spree.
If you’re looking for a unique and fun place to spend your day in Berlin, look no further than Tempelhofer Park! This former airport has been transformed into a huge urban park where you can enjoy nature, culture, and sports. Here are some reasons why you should visit Tempelhofer Park:
– Explore the history of aviation and see the old terminals, hangars, and runways.
– You can join the locals in biking, skating, jogging, or flying kites on the vast open space.
– Relax on the grass, have a picnic or barbecue, or visit the community gardens and urban farms.
– Check out the events and festivals that take place throughout the year, such as concerts, markets, and exhibitions.
Tempelhofer Park is a must-see attraction for anyone who loves adventure, creativity, and diversity. Don’t miss this opportunity to experience one of the most amazing parks in the world!
Eat Traditional German Food
In Berlin, there are two staples Doner Kebab and Currywurst. Of course, there is more to German cuisine, but the birthplace of the doner kebab is in Berlin. The sandwich as most of us know it today was popularized by Turkish immigrants in the 1970s. Today there are more doner kebab shops in Berlin, than there are in Istanbul. This is a must for any Berlin city break.
Currywurst is another fast food dish in Germany.The curry wurst is a fried sausage, cut. up, and served with fries and curry sauce on the side.
Don’t forget to spend an afternoon in a beer garden. Don’t worry they have choices too for those not looking to drink.
Watch Sunset at Klunkerkranich
If you are looking for an epic view of the skyline of Berlin and a place to go to watch an epic sunset with vibes, Klunkerkranich is the place. It is located in Neukölln. There are also many vegan options for food, and there was even a DJ. The location is cool, on top of a parking lot that is attached to a mall! Very Berlin and a must on your Berlin City Break.
Day Trips From Berlin
Potsdam is about a 40-minute train ride from the center of Berlin. Here you can find a quaint Old Town, next to the stunning Sanssouci Palace and gardens. This is the Versailles of Berlin. I have been here for the Christmas Market, which was a magical experience and I can only imagine the experience would be amazing with the full bloom of the palace gardens.
The Perfect Berlin City Break Wrapped
As you can see, Berlin has something for everyone, and it’s a great destination for a city break. You can find cheap flights and hotels online, or book a package deal that includes everything you need. You can also get around easily by using public transport or renting a bike. No matter what you choose to do in Berlin, you will have an unforgettable experience that will make you want to come back again.
Cool tip: Take a selfie at the Photoautomat for a souvenir to take home.
Where to stay in Berlin as a solo traveler?
The Circus Berlin Hostel
If you looking for a cool and cheap place to crash in Berlin? Well, you’re in luck, because I’ve got the perfect spot for you: the Circus Hostel. This hostel is not just a place to sleep, it’s a place to have a blast with other travelers and locals. Let me tell you why you should book your stay at the Circus Hostel.
The Circus Hostel is in the middle of Berlin, near the awesome Rosenthaler Platz. This place is happening, with tons of bars, cafes, and shops to check out. It’s super easy to get around the city from here, because there are many modes of public transport options nearby, like the U-Bahn, S-Bahn, tram, and bus. You can also walk or bike to some of the coolest sights, like Museum Island, where you can see some ancient stuff and art; the Brandenburg Gate, where you can feel the vibe of Berlin; and the Berlin Wall, where you can snap some pics of the colorful graffiti and monuments. The hostel has bikes for hire so you don’t have to worry about returning or picking them up elsewhere.
The hostel has all kinds of rooms to fit your style and budget. You can pick from dorms, private rooms, or apartments. All rooms are neat and roomy, and have everything you need, like free Wi-Fi, lockers, and linens. Some rooms also have balconies or private bathrooms. I got lucky with a beautiful view, and apartment, and loved having coffee each morning from my balcony overlooking the Berlin TV Tower and Berlin Cathedral. My apartment/suite was amazing with a wrap-around balcony, full kitchen, fridge, and coffee maker. There was also a seating area with a smart TV. It was by far the best hostel suite I have ever had.
Best Hostel For A Berlin City Break
The hostel also has a 24/7 reception, a laundry room, luggage storage, and a cafe with breakfast all you can eat til 1 pm. This is not your average hostel either. They have a microbrewery in the basement, which makes it easy to meet other travelers.
But what makes the Circus Hostel different from other hostels is its fun and chill vibe. The hostel has tons of events and activities for guests and locals, like pub crawls, walking tours, yoga classes, karaoke nights, and live music. You can also dig into a yummy breakfast buffet at the hostel’s cafe, which has organic and fair-trade stuff; or grab a drink at the rooftop bar, which has an amazing view of the city and a microbrewery that makes its beer.
The Circus Hostel is not just a place to sleep. It’s a place to meet new people, explore new cultures, and have a blast in Berlin for a Berlin city break. If you’re looking for a hostel that has comfort, convenience, and creativity, you’ll love staying at the Circus Hostel. Also, they have a boutique hotel across the street, but I enjoyed my experience at the Circus Hostel as a solo traveler to Berlin. It was a perfect base to set off to explore on my Berlin city break.