Planning a trip to Berlin? Get some inspiration on what to do while you’re there with our idea of a perfect three-day itinerary. History, culture, entertainment, restaurants… Pack it all in at a comfortable pace and don’t miss a thing!
Start your weekend in Berlin by discovering the city’s heritage. Exploring Berlin’s cobbled streets, you will discover a host of different sides to the city. Begin by visiting a popular tourist attraction steeped in German history: The Holocaust Memorial. When standing in front of the 2,711 solid concrete headstones spread out over 19,000 square metres, it’s impossible not to think of the hundreds of thousands who lost their lives. Continue your weekend in Berlin by discovering more German history by visiting the Berlin Wall Memorial or Checkpoint Charlie. In front of the latter, a former border checkpoint that is now guarded by two actors, you will find yourself facing the former crossing point between East and West Germany.
However, Berlin’s heritage goes far deeper than a string of remembrance memorials. There are many more aspects of this city’s past to discover. To travel further back in time, head to the remarkable Museum Island. Situated in Berlin’s city centre, Museumsinsel (as it’s known to the locals) includes three main museums. The Pergamon Museum is dedicated to archaeological collections from around the world and showcases thousands of years of history. In the Bode Museum, which is immediately recognisable by its Neo-Baroque dome, there are sculptures from all time periods, including one of Frederick William, Elector of Brandenburg, astride his horse. In the Neues Museum, the exhibits take you back to the Stone Age, but it’s the Nefertiti bust that attracts everyone’s attention.
After that hefty dose of culture, recharge your batteries in a warm and welcoming brasserie along the river, and then head to another Berlin cultural institution: The DDR Museum. Here, over 40 years of German daily life are exhibited via incredibly interactive and varied collections, giving you a unique insight into the former East Germany. The dated charm of everyday objects, combined with a pedagogical approach, will encase you in a time warp bubble. You can even relive the glory days of an emblematic East German automobile, by seeing a Trabant 601 on display. After a day of exploring the city, your weekend in Berlin still has plenty of surprises in store. In the evening, hurry towards the lime-tree lined streets of Unter der Linden to admire the sunset through the majestic Brandenburg Gate, one of the iconic symbols of Berlin. Gute Nacht! Now head to bed to make sure you’re ready for the action-packed day that lies ahead tomorrow.
As well as being steeped in history, Berlin is also one of the main European capitals for underground, countercultural social movements. During your 3-day stay in Berlin, the birthplace of techno and a global centre for street art, you can get up close and personal with avant-garde pieces of art in a graffiti jungle. To see this side of the city, make your way to the Friedrichshain district. Here, you can stand in front of one of the largest pieces of the Berlin Wall, and enjoy the street artworks created by international artists, which have been sprayed directly onto the wall. These works include the famous mural depicting the Socialist Fraternal Kiss between Leonid Brezhnev and Erich Honecker. Walking along the length of the wall, you’ll eventually come across more contemporary art pieces in the East Side Gallery, an open-air street art exhibition which is sure to make its mark on you during your stay in Berlin. This section of the wall is dear to Berliners’ hearts and allows you to experience the city’s contemporary street art scene in the RAW-Gelände, or the “raw area”. Here, every part of the wall has been claimed by graffiti artists. During your weekend in Berlin, you can fully appreciate this colourful, vibrant side of the city.
Now, cross back over the Spree River to explore the buzzing student neighbourhood of Kreuzberg, an urban labyrinth that even includes Burgermeister, a burger bar located in a former public toilet block. Kreuzberg is Berlin at its most creative and distinctive, a trendy, subversive neighbourhood where members of the punk scene and senior citizens live side by side. Here, street names have been fully painted over with gigantic works of art and the weathered walls often hide clandestine art galleries. In fact, it’s often said that of Berlin’s 500 galleries, at least half are illegal.
Then night falls and it’s time to discover Berlin’s nightlife. And what a scene this city has! From the legendary electro club Berghain to more underground establishments, the German capital offers endless possibilities for partying through the night and into the next morning. Alternatively, return to Raw-Gelände, in Friedrichshain, and observe the transformation of a neighbourhood into a rebellious VIP hotspot for Berlin’s in crowd and let the partying commence!
After the events of the night before, use the next part of your weekend in Berlin to recover and explore a more peaceful side of the capital. During your stay in Berlin, you can follow the locals and head to Tiergarten, the green heart of Berlin’s metropolis. Situated behind the Reichstag Palace and its famous glass dome, this huge park is the ideal setting for a morning walk encircling the famous Victory Column, a soaring monument that celebrates Prussian miliary victories in the 1800s. Afterwards, go for a boat trip on the lake to get a real sense of the park, whose complicated history includes being used as a vegetable garden during the post-war period. The park also includes cafés and Biergarten, large eateries originally from Munich, which allow you to eat whilst enjoying the bucolic ambiance.
For the last afternoon of your weekend in Berlin, continue heading westwards to visit the magnificent Charlottenburg Palace. Built in 1713, this former summer residence of Queen Sophie Charlotte is Berlin’s largest palace. While the Baroque splendour of its rooms draws in curious tourists, locals love the incredibly romantic park.
Finally, head back to the centre of Berlin, and the old bohemian district of Prenzlauer Berg. When you get there, leave your worries behind and enjoy the carefree ambiance of the neighbourhood, the colourful facades of the streets leading you down to the famous Mauerpark flea markets. Here. you’ll find vintage items, decorative objects, furniture, new or second-hand clothes, street food stalls, and even impromptu karaoke: all in a convivial, cosmopolitan ambiance that feels unique to Berlin.
As you will quickly discover, there are many sides to this extraordinary city. At turns alternative and political, subversive and courteous, lively yet peaceful, this city is a melting pot, the product of several different cultural and historical influences all shaping each other and producing a truly idiosyncratic metropolis. In the immortal words of David Bowie, Berlin is “the greatest cultural extravaganza that one could imagine”.