11 Best Things To Do in Berlin

You'll be captivated by Berlin's history, but also by its way of life and the contrasts between its neighbourhoods. Take note of its must-sees!

Ana Caballero

Ana Caballero

7 min read

11 Best Things To Do in Berlin

Brandenburg Gate | ©Hakon Sataoen

Berlin is one of the cities that has fascinated me the most because of the stories that every corner tells. In contrast to the respect that the Holocaust memorial or the remains of the Wall command, Berlin is also a modern city full of life. Here are my top 10 must-sees in Berlin.

1. Take a guided tour of Berlin

The Berlin Wall, East Side Gallery Museum| ©Nick Fewings
The Berlin Wall, East Side Gallery Museum| ©Nick Fewings

I always say that if you have to choose just one experience in a city you are visiting for the first time, a guided tour is the one that will give the traveller the most. In a city with as much to tell as Berlin, this recommendation becomes even more relevant.

Because Berlin is such a large city with so many significant sights, the guided tours of Berlin are mostly divided into zones.

You'll get to know the best things to see and do in the centre of Berlin, but you'll also get to see the inner workings of Berlin's neighbourhoods, some of them as unique as Berlin's Jewish quarter.

Book a guided tour of Berlin

2. Take a cruise on the river Spree

Berlin boat cruise| ©Dennis Jarvis
Berlin boat cruise| ©Dennis Jarvis

Berlin is a city that constantly demands your attention and energy and for that reason there will be times when you need a break and simply want to enjoy the city and its sights in a relaxed way. When this happens, I recommend taking a one or two hour cruise along the Spree River and sightseeing the city.

Book a dinner cruise in Berlin

3. Take a sightseeing bus tour of the city

Sightseeing bus through the streets of Berlin| ©Janusz Jakubowski
Sightseeing bus through the streets of Berlin| ©Janusz Jakubowski

This is a must-do, especially if you're only in the German capital for a few days. Taking a sightseeing bus pass is not only a comfortable way to get panoramic views of Berlin while you stroll around the city, it's also a great way to move between the main points of interest, saving time and long walks.

But Berlin is also a great city to get around by bike, as is the case in other central European capitals. There are few more fun ways to get around the city than with these recommended bike tours, so dare to experience the city your way!

Book a place on a Berlin sightseeing bus

4. Visit the Museum Island

Bode Museum| ©Reiseuhu
Bode Museum| ©Reiseuhu

Berlin has one of the most important museum complexes in Europe and is located on the so-called Museum Island. Presided over by the iconic Berlin Cathedral, this area is home to five major museums:

  • The Pergamon Museum: the most visited thanks to antiquities such as the Pergamon frieze or the Miletus market gate, although it is currently closed for works.
  • The Old National Gallery: with classicist, romantic, impressionist and modernist works.
  • The Old Museum: Prussia's first museum.
  • The New Museum: with an important collection of Egyptian art.
  • The Bode Museum: Byzantine art.

If you want to visit these and other museums during your trip I recommend you take a look at the Berlin Welcome Card and Berlin Pass which include free or discounted admission to these museums.

Book your ticket for Berlin museums

5. Photograph the view of the city from the television tower

View of Berlin from the TV Tower| ©bvi4092
View of Berlin from the TV Tower| ©bvi4092

Visiting a city and wanting to see the aerial views of it is a classic for all travellers and there is always a special place from which to do so, which is usually a symbol of the city in question. In the case of Berlin, the TV tower on Alexanderplatz is this place.

As well as being the tallest building in Berlin at 368 metres, it is also a key landmark in the German capital. It was built during the years of the German Democratic Republic as a symbol of communism. You can visit it all day for approximately 18 euros.

Book tickets to the Berlin TV tower

6. Visit Charlottenburg Palace

Charlottenburg Palace| ©Dmitry Makeev
Charlottenburg Palace| ©Dmitry Makeev

This 18th century palace, built to serve as the summer residence of the first queen consort of Prussia, Sophie Charlotte, is one of the largest and most important palaces in Germany. It is somewhat remote from the centre, but can be easily reached by public transport.

The interior of the Palace retains most of its original decoration and is open to the public every day except Mondays. In addition to the various experiences you can enjoy at Charlottenburg Palace, the real jewel of the palace is its gardens, which you can stroll through free of charge.

Book a guided tour of Charlottenburg Palace

7. Take a stroll through the Mauerpark market

Detail of a stall at the Mauerpark market.| ©Roman Kraft
Detail of a stall at the Mauerpark market.| ©Roman Kraft

If you're spending a Sunday in Berlin, save it for a trip to the Mauerpark flea market and one of the concerts that are sure to take place there in the evening. This place is an example of the alternative culture that is becoming increasingly important in Berlin.

The Mauerpark market sells antiques, vintage clothes, art pieces, homemade food and curiosities of all kinds and is located in one of the most important green spaces in the city, along with the Tiergarten. The atmosphere of this place will not leave you indifferent.

8. Climb the Reichstag Dome

Inside the Reichstag dome| ©Sven Przepiorka
Inside the Reichstag dome| ©Sven Przepiorka

I already mentioned that the German Parliament deserves a separate visit, and one of the reasons for this is its glass dome. You will have seen hundreds of photos of visitors next to this architectural curiosity, but the sensation of walking through its labyrinth of mirrors cannot be emulated by any portrait.

It's open to the public all day for free, and from here you can watch members of the German government at work. I recommend avoiding weekends and public holidays as it tends to be quite crowded. Check out this post to find out how to book tickets for Reichstag Berlin.

9. Enjoy the nightlife in the Kreuzberg neighbourhood

Kreuzberg at night| ©David Soto-Karlin
Kreuzberg at night| ©David Soto-Karlin

Berlin is not all about museums and monuments. The city is also known for its nightlife and one of the areas where this is most present is the Kreuzberg district, also known as the Turkish quarter because of the immigrants who live in the area. Although this neighbourhood has a lot to offer at all hours of the day.

If you want to get to know one of the most alternative and authentic areas of Berlin, be sure to stroll through this neighbourhood in the evening. During the day you'll find excellent kebab stalls, interesting shops and on Fridays there's a flea market that's well worth a visit.

10. Try the beer, currywurst and pretzel

Beer and currywurst in Berlin| ©James Cridland
Beer and currywurst in Berlin| ©James Cridland

It was inevitable to name German beer as one of Berlin's must-try's (in some places, in fact, you'll find it's even cheaper than mineral water). Try as many varieties as you can and let yourself be recommended. If you're a beer lover, I also recommend you consider a guided tour of Berlin's most important beer bars, including a beer tasting.

Book a beer tour in Berlin

11. Other must-do's near Berlin

There are must-see stops near the German capital that, either for their unique views or for the importance of the recent history they represent, you can't miss on your trip to Berlin:

Potsdam, residence of the Prussian royal family

Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this small bourgeois city located about 20 km from Berlin is undoubtedly one of the best possible excursions. It has its own Brandenburg Gate, older than Berlin's, and its Cecilienhof Castle and Spy Bridge will not leave you indifferent.

In this post I'll tell you how to get from Berlin to this beautiful city.

The Sachsenhausen concentration camp, a necessary visit

It is necessary to know history in order not to repeat it. You cannot leave Berlin without visiting the Sachsenhausen concentration camp. Get to know this concentration camp, a model of Nazi Germany, where you will see the watchtowers, the barracks and the punishment rooms.

I recommend that you first find out how to get to Sachsenhausen from Berlin.

Book a tour to Sachsenhausen

Tips for travelling to Berlin

Being one of the most visited European capitals and with so many options for sightseeing, I recommend that you plan your trip well so that you don't leave anything out. For this reason, I leave you with these necessary tips for travelling to Berlin.

Also, if you are travelling with children, it is best not to leave anything to improvisation and it is advisable to have the transfers between the airport and Berlin arranged.

What to do in Berlin month by month

If you're still waiting for your travel dates, don't miss these guides to the best things to do in the German capital:

They are also available by time of year:

Plan your trip according to its duration

I also recommend that you plan your itinerary according to the number of days you are going to spend in the city. But don't worry, I know it's not easy, that's why you have these fabulous guides, so you only have to worry about enjoying Berlin: