Berlin is an incredible city. It’s full of history, great food and great people. There’s something for everyone, even if all your want to do is sit and eat sausages and drink beer all day! I’ve been multiple times and could still return many more times and see totally new things. I’ve therefore split my Berlin posts in to ‘days in Berlin’ and ‘day trips from Berlin’ in the next post. I’ve collated below what I think could fit in to 3 days, but you could easily spend a week there incorporating the day trips too.
My favourite things to do in Berlin ‘mitte’ (the city centre) are:
ONE. Brandenburg Tor (Gate)
The Brandenburg gate was built in the 18th century, over the location of the initial city gate. It’s one of the most famous landmarks in Berlin, and during the cold war was on the East side of the wall, with the East German flag flying. It saw reunification in 1990 and could probably tell a million stories. The gate lies at the end of Unter den Linden which is a great street for shopping and is right next to the Memorial for the murdered Jews of Europe.
TWO. Olympic Stadium
We love the Olympics, but this stadium has something for everyone. The stadium held the 1936 Olympics where Jesse Owens won 4 gold medals under the watchful eye of Hitler. You can still see his name on the stadium walls. The Maifeld just outside the stadium is where Hitler held huge Nazi parades, and there’s a big bell tower you can climb for amazing views. A magnificent Stadium filled with history; all easily reachable in about 40 minutes from the centre to the Olympiastadion S-Bahn station.
THREE. The Reichstag
This is the place where the German Parliament meet. It’s over 100 years old and has been destroyed by fire and fallen in to disrepair before being restored after re-unification. It now also has a snazzy dome on top which you can climb. We also ate in the restaurant looking out from the top. Be warned though, this does all take pre-planning if you want to do it as bookings including passport details are required in advance. The view is totally worth it though!
FOUR. Berliner Dom
I love the cathedral. It also sits on ‘Museum Island’ where the particularly interesting German Historical Museum is – telling the story of Germany from ancient time to the present day; which is quite a story – from Holy Roman Empire, to 2 world wars, to the Cold War, to re-unification.
FIVE. TV Tower
A really, really cool place to have lunch or dinner, in a rotating restaurant getting 360 degree views over the entire city. The food is really good too!
The best of the rest in Berlin (ahhh there’s too much!)
- Gendarmenmarkt – my favourite area of town; a beautiful square with stunning buildings like the Concert Hall, and even better when the Christmas markets are on. If you stay at the Hilton on Gendarmenmarkt, you can get a beautiful view out over it. It’s also really close to Bebelplatz which is a lovely square, and also incredibly historically significant as it is where the Nazis burnt hundreds of books.
- Topography of Terror – An outdoor history museum explaining the rise and atrocities of National Socialism in Germany. It is built on the old site of the SS and Gestapo headquarters.
- Checkpoint Charlie – a bit commercialised but still worth a visit to the site where you could cross between East and West Berlin. You can even get your passport stamped and photos with the guards (for a fee, of course!)
- East Side Gallery – Once the Berlin wall, now a massive open air art gallery – what’s not to like!
- Bratwurst, Bratwurst and more Bratwurst – it goes without saying, the sausages in Berlin are AMAZING. Pratergarten, Fleishcherei, Curry 61 and Best Worscht are all safe bets!
Full Itinerary (for those interested)
- Day 1 – Unter den Linden, Brandenburg Gate, Memorial to the murdered Jews of Europe, Reichstag (lunch and climb the dome), Topography of Terror, Checkpoint Charlie, Potsdamer Platz (dinner).
- Day 2 – Gendarmenmarkt, Bebelplatz, Cathedral, Museum Island (German history museum or The Pergamon), River Spree walk, TV Tower (dinner).
- Day 3 – Olympic Stadium, East Side Gallery (both S or U bahn trips outside of the city centre).
Thanks for reading! Let me know if you’re planning to visit Berlin, have any questions, or what you thought of Berlin yourself in the comments below.