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What to do in Berlin: The ultimate Berlin city guide

by May 22, 2019Berlin

Berlin is one of our favorite cities in the world. It is cosmopolitan, worldly, quirky, exotic, bohemian, evolving, vibrant and so very, very alive — there is something to do or see or experience 24 hours a day if you are so inclined. Little wonder so many tourists, wanderers, artists, authors, musicians, actors and creative minds discover and fall in love with Berlin.

You will fall in love with Berlin too. Marvel at the Brandenburg Gate or immerse yourself in history and art on Museum Island. Enjoy a sunset from the top of the TV Tower. Visit the Reichstag building and wander up into the dome. Climb to the top of the Berliner Dom and walk around looking out at Berlin. Appreciate history and art colliding in the East Side Gallery. And that’s just for starters There’s The Holocaust Memorial – Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, the Topography of Terror, the Memorial of the Berlin Wall, Checkpoint Charlie, the Stasi Museum and still more. If you are into street art, you’ll want to visit Urban Nation. No matter what your interests are, there is something here for you.

Whether you are visiting for one day, two days, a week or more, the best way to begin your quest to find what to do in Berlin is here. Our resource guide and links, map, as well as numerous articles highlighting insider traveling tips for you will ensure your visit to this historic city is memorable.

Know what to do in Berlin – Travel Resources

Berlin Travel Weather

Click on the image below to launch our 36-hour forecast.

Getting to and from Berlin

  • By Train – It is easy to get to Berlin on either the fast train (InterCityExpress) or the other lines (InterCity, EuroCity, and InterRegio). For booking information, go to the Deutsche Bahn website here. Trains will depart or arrive primarily from the Berlin Hauptbahnhof (Berlin’s central train station and also its newest station), Ostbahnof (the east train station connects with S-Bahns going to Friedrichstraße, Alexanderplatz, or Bahnhof Zoo), and Südkreuz (north-south trains pass through here), Bahnhof Spandau (the ICE train from Hamburg / Hannover stops here).
  • By Plane – Most international flights will arrive and depart from Tegel TXL International Airport. There is no S-Bahn or U-Bahn station near the airport. To connect to the local trains and U-Bahn requires riding the TXL Express Bus or taking Express Bus X9. Both arrive and depart right outside the airport terminal.

Getting Around In Berlin

The official Berlin website offers detailed information regarding transportation, including ticket, fare and route map information. This is also the clearest way to understand the various tariff zones that Berlin is divided into — AB, BC and ABC.

  • U-Bahn, Bus, Tram  – (operated by BVG — bvg.de) Use the company’s Journey Planner to find the best routes combining all forms of public transportation, including the S-Bahn, between point A and B. Be sure to download the BVG app to use on your Android or iPhone.
  • S-Bahn – The local railway and a subsidiary of the Deutsche Bahn (the German railway system), and an often faster and more direct way to get places that are farther apart. It also runs mostly above ground.

Managing Money

The Euro is the currency Germany. Use the calculator from Oanda below to help you manage your money exchanges and know how much something selling in Euro would cost in dollars.

Currency Converter by OANDA

Berlin Welcome Card

One price includes admission to museums, attractions, special tours, as well as public transportation. Click on the image to open buying information.

Berlin Welcome Card

Language basics

Learning at least a few key phrases of the local language will be helpful and appreciated, even if many Germans (especially the younger generation) do speak English quite well. Be sure to read A German language cheat sheet for travelers and A traveler’s guide to dining and shopping in Germany before you go. Both have downloadable PDF’s you can take with you.

 

Guided Tours of Berlin

Know what to do in Berlin — traveling tips & destination advice

Seelow Heights museum memorializes Battle of Berlin 75th anniversary

Seelow Heights museum memorializes Battle of Berlin 75th anniversary

Reading Time: 5 minutes In the last days of World War II, the Battle of the Seelow Heights to the east of Berlin was a bloody massacre. The small Seelow Heights museum and memorial features exhibits, artifacts, and graves documenting the Battle of Berlin and the tens of thousands of lives lost in just three days.

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Climb the Berlin gasometer for the best sunset views of the city

Climb the Berlin gasometer for the best sunset views of the city

Reading Time: 12 minutes Take a Berlin gasometer tour to experience what could arguably be one of the best views of the city, sunrise to sunset. View a photo gallery of our gasometer tour to get a look at the adventure of a lifetime you could have. The 360-degree views of Berlin are stunning, night or day.

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Best Berlin Photos – Our favorite Berlin Instagram photos

Best Berlin Photos – Our favorite Berlin Instagram photos

Reading Time: 4 minutes Berlin is endlessly fascinating and remains one of our favorite cities in the world to photograph and explore. We’ve included a few of our top Berlin photos in this Best Berlin Photos – Our favorite Berlin Instagram photos post. Scroll through to discover what to see on your Berlin visit.

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Visiting the Reichstag Dome – Amazing Berlin views and history

Visiting the Reichstag Dome – Amazing Berlin views and history

Reading Time: 6 minutes If you are planning a trip to Berlin, then visiting the Reichstag dome is an absolute must, not only for the Berlin views, but for the amazing history. The Reichstag dome and the Reichstag building along with the celebrated TV tower have become iconic symbols of Germany’s capital, Berlin.

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Christmas Garden Berlin – Christmas lights and mulled wine

Christmas Garden Berlin – Christmas lights and mulled wine

Reading Time: 3 minutes There is something very magical about Christmas lights at the Christmas Garden Berlin. Add in equal parts of Christmas music and servings of hot glühwein (German spiced mulled wine), and you have the recipe for an enchanting evening at the Berlin Botanic Garten.

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Fall of the Berlin Wall 30th anniversary

Fall of the Berlin Wall 30th anniversary

Reading Time: 3 minutes In 2019, Berlin is commemorating the fall of the Berlin Wall with a fall of the Berlin Wall 30th anniversary celebration. We have the best Berlin Wall information links so you are ready.

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Berlin October days filled with a festival of lights

Berlin October days filled with a festival of lights

Reading Time: 6 minutes The Festival of Lights in Berlin and Berlin Leuchtet (Berlin Illuminated) provide a delightful bright diversion for anyone visiting Berlin in October. The two light festivals illuminate hundreds of Berlin buildings, parks, monuments and facades with dancing lights, often moving to music.

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Stasi sights in Berlin not to miss

Stasi sights in Berlin not to miss

Reading Time: 3 minutes No visit to Berlin should be without a closer look at history – specifically the horrific history of East Germany’s former secret police, the Stasi. These Stasi sights in Berlin should find a place on your to-do list.

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Open-air exhibit traces fall of the Berlin wall

Open-air exhibit traces fall of the Berlin wall

Reading Time: 3 minutes As a part of the developing “Campus for Democracy” at the former headquarters of East Germany’s state security or Stasi in Berlin, an open-air exhibit details the fall of the Berlin Wall and the peaceful revolution Berlin that helped bring about German unity.

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Urban Nation Berlin street art museum reopens with new exhibits

Urban Nation Berlin street art museum reopens with new exhibits

Reading Time: 4 minutes After being open just a year, the Urban Nation Berlin street art museum re-opened with a reinvention that truly speaks to its roots. A new street art exhibit, redesigned interior with an authentic street feel, and a number of street artists residences make this museum in Berlin a must to visit for art lovers of all kinds.

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Stasi Museum – Berlin museum brings alive Stasi terror

Stasi Museum – Berlin museum brings alive Stasi terror

Reading Time: 6 minutes The Stasi Museum Berlin brings alive the terror lived by GDR’s residents for 41 years before the Berlin Wall fell. Inside the Stasi museum walls a visitor is reminded why the Stasi secret police force of former East Germany was one of the most feared agencies in Europe.

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Urban Nation museum for street art in Berlin turns city into gallery

Urban Nation museum for street art in Berlin turns city into gallery

Reading Time: 6 minutes Urban Nation museum for street art in Berlin is like no other, uniting not only the nation but also the world as it turns the German capital into a giant international open-air street art gallery. Opened in September 2017, Urban Nation is just the beginning of your tour for great street art.

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Prenzlauer Berg Wasserturm: history, wine, and Berlin’s underground

Prenzlauer Berg Wasserturm: history, wine, and Berlin’s underground

Reading Time: 5 minutes The Prenzlauer Berg Wasserturm, an eye-catching round tower in the middle of Berlin, is for most simply a city park with a couple of nice-looking structures. If your timing is good, travelers can time-travel with area experts to the cisterns underground, plus learn more about Berlin’s water supply history.

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Long Night of Museums: all-night festivities in Berlin museums

Long Night of Museums: all-night festivities in Berlin museums

Reading Time: 5 minutes Whoever thought we would stay up all night to go to museums? When the Long Night of Museums in Berlin rolled around this year, however, we were there – along with many thousands of our best friends for the night. This year, the 20th birthday of the museum night drew more than 30,000 visitors all across Germany’s capital city.

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5 great Berlin street food markets

5 great Berlin street food markets

Reading Time: 6 minutes As the burgeoning and bustling capital of Germany, Berlin offers an addicting restaurant scene with any international or trendy cuisine you may desire. But in keeping with its gritty, artistic ways, Berlin has a superior street food market scene. We show you 5 great Berlin street food markets you won’t want to miss.

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Thai Park Berlin a feast for eyes and tummies

Thai Park Berlin a feast for eyes and tummies

Reading Time: 3 minutes Germany’s capital of Berlin offers every international food imaginable, in restaurants, street markets or, in the case of the most authentic Thai food in the city, spread across a park. Thai Wiese (Thai Park) comes alive every weekend with arguably the best Thai food in Berlin.

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Q110 Bank of the Future in Berlin by Deutsche Bank gets revamp

Q110 Bank of the Future in Berlin by Deutsche Bank gets revamp

Reading Time: 3 minutes Earlier in 2016, HI Travel Tales wrote about a new kind of banking experience by Deutsche Bank called “Q110 Bank” or “Bank of the Future.” We were quite enthralled by the casual and friendly, yet efficient and hard-working experience. The concept we wrote about had been active for several years without much change (the branch itself originally opened in 2005), so Deutsche Bank decided it was time to re-think its original “concept bank” and try out something different. The update was unveiled on Nov. 18, 2016, on a rainy day near the outlet not far from Checkpoint Charlie in central Berlin (Mitte).

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Haunting history on Berlin Underground tours

Haunting history on Berlin Underground tours

Reading Time: 6 minutes Underground city tours always seemed to be a tourist come-on to me, but then I discovered Berlin Underground tours. Not a for-profit business, not a tour that drops you off in a gift shop, not a tour that starts in a bar and highlights raucous partying, this is the real deal in Berlin’s Underground.

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Quick Prenzlauer Berg travel guide to a Berlin hotspot

Quick Prenzlauer Berg travel guide to a Berlin hotspot

Reading Time: 6 minutes One of our favorite areas in Berlin is the artsy cool Prenzlauer Berg. Our Prenzlauer Berg travel guide will point you to the top things to do in this Berlin hot spot. Kollwitzplatz and Kastanienallee are particularly beautiful Prenzlauer Berg streets. Farmers markets, street festivals and more are regular occurrences.

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Artist’s Diary – A colorful market near Cafe Anna Blume

Artist’s Diary – A colorful market near Cafe Anna Blume

Reading Time: 2 minutes As we sat at dinner at Café Anne Blume sipping wine on the patio on a warm summer evening, I became entranced by the colors of a small market across the street. I just had to “paint and draw” the scene using my iPad for this watercolor view from Café Anna Blume.

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Artist’s war memorial at Berlin Bethlehemkirchplatz

Artist’s war memorial at Berlin Bethlehemkirchplatz

Reading Time: 3 minutes The memorial on the Berlin Bethlehemkirchplatz (Bethlehem Church Square) is actually the work of Spanish artist Juan Garaizabel to commemorate the Bohemian Bethlehem Church. This small church was built for Bohemian evangelical refugees in about 1735 and was a center of the community. It was destroyed by bombing in 1943.

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Berlin Bank of the Future by Deutsche Bank

Berlin Bank of the Future by Deutsche Bank

Reading Time: 5 minutes A concierge? A gift and trinket store? A bar and coffeehouse? Waiters and fine décor? This is a bank? Yes, this is Germany’s “Deutsche Bank” — the so-called “Bank of the Future” in central Berlin, the company’s one-and-only concept bank where it tests ideas for the world.

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Berlin Wall 25th anniversary commemorates fall and freedom

Berlin Wall 25th anniversary commemorates fall and freedom

Reading Time: 3 minutes It’s been 25 years since the Berlin Wall came tumbling down … suddenly, surprisingly, peacefully. Memories of the wall’s horrors seem like yesterday to those of us old enough to remember it and to have personally seen the wall and its “death zone.” The Berlin Wall 25th Anniversary remembrance reminds us to never forget.

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Where to stay in Berlin

We recommend the following very different though equally wonderful hotels: Hotel Oderberger, Hotel am Steinplatz, and Hotel Tiergarten. You can search for other hotels and accommodations using our Booking.com map, below, showing best deals on top hotels in Berlin. By booking your stay using Booking.com, we receive a small commission and you pay no more than if you would have booked directly … which helps us keep the lights on here in our offices, so thank you in advance for your support.

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The Ultimate Berlin City Guide

About The Author

Michael Hodgson & Therese Iknoian

Award-winning travel writers and photographers, Michael Hodgson and Therese Iknoian, use words, art, video and photography to inspire you to embark on your own travel adventures. They are members of the North American Travel Journalists Association, the International Food Wine and Travel Writers Association, and the Adventure Travel Trade Association.

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Destinations Europe Germany Berlin What to do in Berlin: The ultimate Berlin city guide