Berlin, the German capital, is a fascinating city that attracts more than 11 million visitors yearly. Best known for its historical associations, lively nightlife, numerous cafés, clubs, bars, street art, and an abundance of museums, palaces, and other attractions it’s a city that takes some time to get to know.
Once you covered the major sights, head straight to the back streets and learn about Berlin’s alternative culture. In this city, the locals are edgy, the drinks are affordable, the artwork is vibrant and the bars are plentiful.
Best Time to Visit Berlin
Berlin can be enjoyed any time of the year, but summer (May through September) is when the weather is ideal for roaming around the city and taking in Berlin’s sights. The temperature in the summer often hovers around 23-25°C, with a low chance of precipitation.
Weather in Spring and Fall can be chilly (very chilly), but if you are not afraid of a little cold, this is a great time to visit for travelers on a budget. Low season means several more deals and much cheaper accommodation.
I first visited Berlin in the middle of winter, and despite the cold, found it to be a great time to explore the city. My visit coincided with the famous Christmas Markets and New Year’s Eve celebrations and was a trip that certainly didn’t get spoiled by the cold weather.
Top Things to Do in Berlin
Berlin has no shortage of sights, attractions, and activities to entertain all kinds of travelers. Here you’ll find everything from museums and art galleries to some of the best nightlife in all of Europe.
Art and history lovers will be fascinated by the vast array of museums and galleries to explore in the city. Kulturforum, Mauermuseum at Checkpoint Charlie, and the Berlin Wall Memorial are perhaps the most famous of the bunch, but there are dozens of others. Berlin resident and travel writer Rory MacLean shares some of the city’s most impressive museums in The Guardian’s article 10 of the best museums in Berlin. The majority of the museums charge a small ( €6 to €10) admission fee, but there are some that you can visit for free as well, like these 5 Free Museums in Berlin.
Since the collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989, Berlin has developed into an artist hot spot, with galleries, art fairs, and exhibits popping up in every corner of the city. Bang Bang Berlin bloggers Liz McGrath and Jack Howard share their recommendations in the Guardian’s article 10 of the best galleries in Berlin.
But you don’t have to lock yourself in a museum to enjoy Berlin’s vibrant art scene. Street art is equally as big of an attraction in Berlin, and luckily, one you can enjoy for free. Street art can be found pretty much everywhere, but Kreuzberg is a particularly cool area to check out.
Berlin is also home to the world’s longest outdoor mural, the East Side Gallery, which is a 1.3 km long section of the Berlin Wall that features 105 paintings by artists from all over the world.
One of my favorite experiences in Berlin was an Alternative Berlin Walking Tour. The free 3 hour long tour of the underground sights & sounds, world-famous street art, graffiti culture, haunts and hangouts of the famous and infamous, and the landmarks of rock, reggae, punk, and electronic music. It’s one that I highly recommend to travelers looking to get a better understanding the culture in Berlin.
Active travelers will enjoy checking our Berlin’s parks and outdoor activities, especially if you are visiting in the summer. Top 10 Berlin has a great resource on parks and green spaces in the city.
Shopaholics may enjoy a different kind of outdoor activity, like an afternoon strolling through the Hackischer Markt or Winterfeldt Markt. Here are Berlin’s 20 best shops and markets to check out during your visit. In December, the Christmas Market is another must to add to your list.
There are also concerts, theatre, sporting events, festivals, parades, and so much more! Unlike many other European cities, Berlin doesn’t have a set list of top 10 things to see/do. It’s diversity is what makes it a city appealing to all kinds of travelers. Want some more advice on top things to do in the city? Here are a few articles worth reading:
- 9 alternative things to do in Berlin via Wanderlust Travel Magazine
- Top 20 free things to do in Berlin via Lonely Planet
- A local’s guide to 10 top things to do in Berlin via Skyscanner
Nightlife is another huge draw card for visitors coming to Berlin. The club scene here is one of the biggest and most progressive in Europe, with over 200 clubs concentrated in East Berlin. Electro and techno are the biggest music styles in Berlin, but there are also many other clubs playing alternative and more mainstream music. The best clubs in Berlin are often tough to find and even tougher to get into, especially as a visitor. This 10 of the best clubs in Berlin maybe a good place to start but nothing beats getting some tips from locals during your visit.
Where to Stay in Berlin
If you plan on spending a few days exploring Berlin consider staying in the Mitte area to take advantage of the close proximity to major sights and attractions. Charlottenburg, home to the main shopping district of Berlin, is another good option, especially if you are looking to do some shopping in the city. The trendy bohemian and artsy areas of Friedrichshain and Kreuzburg are particularly good options for visitors hoping to experience the best of Berlin’s nightlife.
Adam, from Travels of Adam, has an awesome guide to Berlin’s Best Neighborhoods, sharing his local knowledge on each one of Berlin’s kiez (that’s German for neighborhood, according to Adam)
When it comes to choosing a great accommodation option in Berlin, you’ll be spoiled for choice.
Those looking for something a bit more unique can choose from one of Berlin’s best boutique hotels as recommended by The Guardian. If you are looking for the cheapest options, the Budget Traveller has compiled a list of 6 best budget places to stay in Berlin that features great hostels like the Generator Berlin and Meininger Hostel, perfect for solo travelers, couples, and families.
Wondering where to stay in Berlin? We recommend the Mercure Hotel Berlin City for its central location. Click here to check availability for your travel dates! We also recommend CALMA Berlin Mitte for its friendly prices. Click here to check availability for your travel dates!
Berlin is also a perfect city to swap a boring hotel for a trendy Airbnb apartment
Don’t have an Airbnb account yet? Sign up now and receive USD $20 to put towards your first Airbnb stay!
Where to Eat in Berlin
Food is an important part of visiting Berlin. Germany is well known for its deliciously hearty meals, ranging from the famous schnitzels and pretzels to the gooey jelly-filled donuts.
Start with this list of 9 Iconic Berlin Dishes by the Thrillist to get the feel for the delicious foods you can get your hands on in Berlin. Take particular note of the Döner Kebab, the Eisbein (Pork Knuckle) and of course, the Berliner/Pfannkuchen.
Foodie in Berlin has a comprehensive guide of the Best Eats in Berlin broken down by Cafes and Delis, Fast Food, Restaurants, Shops, and Markets. For the best cheap eats check out The Guardian’s 10 of the best budget eats in Berlin or this fantastic post of the Top 10 Berlin Cheap Eats Under 5 Euros by Uncornered Market.
How Much Time Do You Need in Berlin
Berlin is a perfect destination for a weekend escape from anywhere else in Europe. Cheap EasyJet and RyanAir flights make it easy to hop over to Berlin without spending your weekends budget before arriving in the city.
Finding Berlin Blog has put together a great guide to the perfect Weekend in Berlin, with general travel advice and great suggestions for things to do from Friday to Sunday. Viator offers their take on 3 Days in Berlin and provides a few decent tours you can book if you are uncomfortable roaming around the city on your own.
Those with a bit more time to spare, should check out HostelWorld’s itinerary suggestion for 5 Days in Berlin.
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Have you ever been to Berlin? What advice would you give to fellow travelers?