Updated: Aug 20, 2019
Cosmopolitan, diverse, glamorous, mesmerising: that is Berlin.
A multicultural capital which is undoubtedly enjoying its present times, yet never forgetting its past. Berlin, by all means, is a vast stage where every sort of play is presented. So yes, the city is booming and flourishing. Not only its popularity as a tourist destination but also its entrepreneurial scene.
Surely you can spend days and days exploring and enjoying all of Berlin’s attractions. Apart from the main sites, there are plenty of different neighbourhoods to visit, along with their markets—where you can taste a vast assortment of food and drinks. And if you’re a night owl, the city’s extensive array of party scene won’t let you down.
Berlin is celebrated for its diversity, and there is considerably more to this capital beyond its famous monuments. Be seduced by this known trail, but don’t fail and miss the chance to learn of its history—which, in our humble opinion, is the true soul of Berlin.
Best time to visit: Spring (Late April-May) or Autumn (Late September-October) for pleasant weather and lower prices. Avoid August as it is the most crowded and the most expensive. November-December for Christmas Markets.
Currency: Euro (€)
Language: German and English
Tip: Berlin Tegel Airport (TXL) also known as Otto Lilienthal, is the main international hub of Berlin. Bus TXL connects the airport to Hauptbahnhof (Berlin Central Station) while buses X9 and X109 takes you to S+U Zoologischer Garten. Tegel International Airport doesn’t have any railway station. ICE, InterCity and EuroCity trains are also top choices for getting in the city, especially when part of a bigger trip.
Tip: Interrail and Eurail (for non-EU residents) are great options when planning to visit a number of European cities by rail. Visit their website for more info here
Getting around: Berlin is an immense city with a massive, yet excellent, network of public
transport, plus a pinch of walking and you’ll definitely have a wonderful time of discovering and sightseeing. Fare: Buy the BERLIN WELCOME CARD 48 hours for €23 here
WelcomeCard Perks: Unlimited use of buses, trams, trains within Berlin and Potsdam zone. Discounted tour rates and entrance fees (over 200 partners). Valid for 1 Adult plus free travel for 3 children below 14y/o. **as of the date of publishing
Tip: Use this in combination with the HOP-ON HOP-OFF bus tour for a hassle-free sightseeing. Fare: 16,50€ after discount. You can check here for more tour options.
How’s it going? : Wie geht’s? (vii-gets)
Thank you : Danke
Excuse me : Entschuldigung (ent-shul-di-goong)
Please : Bitte (b-te)
One beer please : Ein bier bitte
Where is …? : Wo finde ich ...
Do: Buy a piece or two of freshly made Pretzels; Party after midnight
Don’t: Throw away your empty beer bottles (leave them under/beside the bins)
Here’s your complete guide for a 2 day Berlin sightseeing tour.
Berlin’s Historical Dome
Feel Berlin’s political power by heading to Reichstag on your first day.
This Neo-Baroque edifice was completed in 1894 to house the Imperial Diet of the German Empire, then fell into disuse from 1933 until 1999. Because of the damage it accrued over the years of decrepitude, it was restored to finally be used again by the German Parliament (Bundestag).
A distinct element added to the remodelled Reichstag was its grand glass dome which offers a beautiful panoramic view of the city.
Alight at BUNDESTAG station,
the building is in front of Platz der Republik
Entrance Fee: Free but ADVANCE REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED here
Opening hours: 8am-12am. Open Daily.
Admission: Every quarter of an hour.
Tip: Go on a weekday to avoid the swathe of visitors and try to be there very early. However, going at night is also a good time.
10AM BRANDENBURG GATE
The Symbol of Reunification
Six minute walk South of Reichstag is another powerful monument of Berlin.
The Brandenburg Gate, recognisable by a chariot drawn by four horses atop it (called Quadriga), served as a backdrop for tumultuous events throughout the history of not only Germany but also the entire European continent.
Go ahead and try your most authoritative pose in front of this ancient gate.
12PM HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL
To Remember All the Murdered Jews
A short walk from the Brandenburg gate is another architectural wonder in Berlin. Covering 19,000m² of land with 2711 dark grey concrete slabs of varying heights and widths; The Memorial for the Murdered Jews of Europe sombrely beckons its visitors to snake through its gaps, walk on its uneven floor, and embrace this dark part of human history.
If you want to learn more, you could head underground to a small museum. Mind you, it’s heartwrenching to put faces on the holocaust victims; to see their smiling photographs, to know that their lives were forcibly snatched away from them, to find out that an entire family line vanished, you’ll need a strong heart to accept all of this information.
Don’t: Climb the blocks; Play hide and seek
Do: Talk; Take it slow
2PM CHECKPOINT CHARLIE
An Old Crossing Point
Brighten up your mood with a stroll and head over to the most famous part of the Old Berlin Wall. Featured in numerous films and novels, Checkpoint Charlie was the official crossing for foreigners and diplomats from West to East Berlin in the 60’s-90’s.
It still holds onto its symbol of the Cold War through an open-air exhibit describing in detail the Cold War history.
4PM BERLINER DOM
For an Extravagant Church with River View
Dating back to 1451 this grandiose church has stood its ground for centuries, and serves as the final resting place of several Prussian Royals. You can spend hours admiring its lavish and pompous interior, or steer your legs towards Lustgarten, then Spree river.
By U-Bahn and BUS
Take U6 CHECKPOINT CHARLIE station,
Alight at FRANZÖSISCHE STRASSE station,
Follow the street northward,
Take BUS 100 UNTER DEN LINDEN/FRIEDRICHSTR.,
Get off at LUSTGARTEN.
Entrance Fee: €7
Opening hours: Mon-Sat 9am-7pm. Sun 12am-7pm. (February-September)
Mon-Sat 9am-8pm. Sun 12am-8pm. (October-March)
For the Highest View of Berlin
Press on eastward. Built by the East German Government in the 60’s to showcase their Communist power, Fernsehturm or Television Tower in plain English, soars above the districts of Berlin as the tallest structure in Germany.
People are divided when it comes to Fernsehturm, as some consider it tacky—even calling it ‘Toothpick’ and ‘TV asparagus’, while others view it as an important landmark of peace and unity. Whichever side you’re on, you can go up to the observation deck and have a beer at Bar 203, or rather climb a bit more and grab a bite in their sphere revolving restaurant.
Take BUS 245 LUSTGARTEN,
Alight at S+U ALEXANDERPLATZ BH,
Follow the street KARL-LIEBKNECHT southward.
Entrance Fee: €15.50
Opening hours: 9am-12am. Open Daily (March-October).
10am-12am. Open Daily (November-February).
9AM HAUS DER KULTUREN DER WELT
For All the Contemporary Art of the World
Whether you partied all night or rested your feet after a packed first day, your second day will be as full and as interesting.
Your first stop is Germany’s most important museum for non-European contemporary arts. A gift from the Americans, its original purpose was that of a congress hall. However, after the reunification, Haus Der Kulturen Der Welt became another symbol that signifies no borders.
Together with its surrounding park, the whole area creates a vast ‘installation’ in Berlin; perhaps that’s the reason why locals call it ‘the pregnant oyster’ ??? Undeniably, this place is a playground for art enthusiasts, and for those who love taking edgy photos.
Take BUS 100,
Alight at Haus Der Kulturen Der Welt
Entrance Fee: Depends on current Exhibitions. You can check here
Opening hours: 10am-7pm. Open Daily.
12PM STREET ART TOUR
For a Deeper Understanding of Berlin’s Graffiti
Continuing on to an art-filled day, you can join this tour offered by a group of locals who have in-depth knowledge and appreciation for Berlin’s art scene and the city’s raw side, far away from the packed, touristy places.
Your guide will take you on a 3 hour tour from the former East to the former West Berlin and you’ll certainly revel in the extensive colours and styles around you. You’ll also have a greater understanding as to why they keep these arts on the city walls.
Ticket: €14 For more information, click here.
4PM BERLIN WALL PICKING
To Celebrate the Fall of the Berlin Wall
Organised by The Westin Grand Berlin Hotel, this activity allows you the thrilling experience of tearing down a small part of the Wall.
Now after the initial excitement, you can internalise and imagine the conditions on November 1989, and a different wave of feeling will overcome you.
**This activity includes a dinner in The Westin Grand.
Flea Market Galore
A popular Sunday flea market frequented by locals and tourists alike. Here, you'll find an eclectic array of thingamajigs (Ariel would be ecstatic), and of course scrumptious bites!
Do: Haggle; Watch the open-air karaoke
1) Take Tram M10,
2) alight at FRIEDRICH-LUDWIG-JAHN-SPORTPARK
Opening hours: Sundays. 9am-6pm.