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Berlin is the cool capital city of Germany and I can’t recommend it enough. It’s a raw, vibrant city where there’s always something going on. There is a lot of (street) art, culture, history, nightlife and so much more. I’ve written this guide to make your first-time visit in Berlin unforgettable. In this complete guide for a first-time visit in Berlin you can find 22 things to do in Berlin, including museums, landmarks, abandoned places and places to shop. Furthermore, I also share 5 unique hotels in Berlin that make your stay even more comfortable and 7 great restaurants to eat. Lastly, of course we also talk about the nightlife in Berlin. We hope you have an amazing time in Berlin!
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Complete Guide for a first-time visit in Berlin
Best time to visit Berlin
Any time of the year is fine for Berlin, although it really depends what your preference is for the type of weather. Overall, the best time of the year to visit Berlin is in either May or September, as the temperatures are usually pleasant in those months. The summer in Berlin is usually too hot, while the winter is extremely cold. But of course winter does offer the amazing Christmas markets and decorations!
How to travel around Berlin
We always prefer to use the public transport in Berlin. In Berlin you have the BVG, which operates the bus, U-Bahn (subway system) and tram networks. Then you also have the S-Bahn which is the above the ground and is run by its own authority.
For more practical information about public transport in Berlin, we recommend to take a look at the BVG website. There you also have a journey planner.
Now on to the good stuff, below you can read about 22 things to do in Berlin!
22 Things to do in Berlin
1. Go to Berlin Wall and explore the art
A very impressive piece of history is the Berlin Wall. It was demolished in 1990, but there is still a small part that you can visit, such as the East Side Gallery. The East Side Gallery is a big open-air gallery that shows a series of impressive artworks on the former Berlin Wall.
2. Visit Check Point Charlie
Be sure to visit the famous East-West border control during the Cold War: Checkpoint Charlie. It was the border crossing between East and West Berlin when the wall still divided the capital. Now, it’s one of the most popular tourist attractions in Berlin.
3. Visit Mauer Park to shop, eat and enjoy local performances
If you love flee markets be sure to visit Mauer Park. Not only is it a lovely green park where you can relax, every Sunday they have a lot of stalls where you can buy pretty much everything: food, souvenirs, antique, vintage clothing and much more! During our visit there was also a live performance, so we could grab a bite to eat and listing to the music.
4. Drink cocktails near Warschauer Strasse
Warchauer Strasse is a great area to go for a drink or to go clubbing. Just a few of the popular places for a cocktail are Gin Chilla Bar, Envy Bar and Goldfisch Bar.
5. Enjoy the view at Victory Column (Siegessäule)
A beautiful monument in Berlin where you have a panoramic view over the city. It’s in the heart of the Tiergarten Park and is near the Brandenburger Tor.
6. Visit the Brandenburger Tor
The Brandenburg Gate is one of Berlin’s landmarks. It’s the most important gate in Berlin because of all the historical events that have taken place.
7. Go to the Reichstag Building
Close by the Brandenburger Tor you’ll find the Reichstag Building, which is the historic German Parliament building in Berlin. There is a beautiful glass dome that is really cool!
8. Visit the Potsdamer Platz to shop
At Potsdamer Platz there are a lot of theaters, cinema’s and restaurants. Furthermore, it’s also possible to go shopping at the Potsdamer Platz Arkaden, a modern shopping center.
9. Badeschiff Berlin
If you’re in Berlin in the summer and need some cooling down, then it might be a great idea to visit one of the pools! A popular option is Badeschiff, which is a floating public swimming pool. The pool floats on the Spree in front of Arena Berlin. Here you can find more information about the pool.
10. Visit the Oberbaumbrücke
This bridge once marked the border between East and West Berlin. During the Cold War spies were exchanged here. Now the bridge connects Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain and is divided into two levels: one for cars and pedestrians and one for the subway.
11. Go to the abandoned amusement park Spreepark
This amusement park in East Berlin has been closed for years, giving it a bit of a spooky feeling. It used to be possible to enter the park, but I’ve read in the TripAdvisor reviews that it’s more guarded now. However, you can still take a peek inside from behind the fence.
12. Explore the Berliner Dom
The Berliner Dom is one of the most important churches in Berlin. It has beautiful details and decorations. It’s also worth it to take a look inside.
13. Take cool photos at the abandoned Teufelsberg
Another incredibly cool abandoned spot is Field Station Teufelsberg. Teufelsberg is a hill of 120.1 meters above sea-level and is made from war rubble pushed together. There is a lot of graffiti and art here, making it a very cool place to shoot some photos. Find more information about Teufelsberg on TripAdvisor.
14. Shop at the BiOriental Turkish Market
This street market is great to get fresh produce and spices. The market is located in Kreuzberg and takes place on Tuesdays and Fridays.
15. Go vintage shopping
Berlin is a paradise for vintage lovers. There are a lot of amazing vintage stores that sell one of a kind items. Are you looking for some unique pieces? Check out some great vintage shops in Berlin.
16. Learn more about the Cold War History at Tempelhof
This was one of the European airports in the early 20th century and is mostly known for Nazi and Cold War History. Now, you can walk over the old runways. Pretty cool, right?
17. Learn more about the Jewish history at the Jewish Museum
Not only is the building of this museum very impressive, the exhibitions are also very interesting. Here you can learn more about the Jewish history.
18. Enjoy the view with a drink at TV Tower Berliner Fernsehturm
From the famous TV Tower you have an amazing 360-degree view of the city. While you’re there, why don’t you have a bite to eat or something to drink?
19. Visit the unique Kaiser Willhelm Memorial Church
Another impressive building in Berlin is the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, or the Gedächtniskirche. This church had to be reconstructed with the remains of the original building, after it suffered damage by an Allied bomb during World War II.
20. Experience former East Berlin at the DDR Museum
In this museum you can learn what life was really like in for citizens of East Berlin during the Communist rule. It is a replica of a high-rise tower block, so you can actually experience how the people lived.
21. Visit Charlottenburg Palace
This palace was built in the 18th century and has a beautiful baroque style. Especially the garden behind the palace is gorgeous.
22. Learn more about the Holocaust at the Memorial
Of course Berlin has a lot of history and in particular there is a lot of interesting to learn in Berlin from the Second World War. One popular tourist attraction is the Ermordeten Juden Europas, also known as the Holocaust Memorial, as it’s a memorial to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust. The New York architect Peter Eisenman placed 2711 concrete slabs of different heights, making it an unusual sight to see.
Looking for places to stay in Berlin? Below we discuss some cool hotels in Berlin!
Where to stay in Berlin
We often prefer to book via Airbnb when we stay in a city, as it’s often easy to find unique accommodations for small prices. If you haven’t booked with airbnb before, use our code to get a discount! That way we also get a discount on our next booking, so it’s a win-win!
But of course you can also choose to book a hotel or hostel. There are a lot of unique and cool places to stay in Berlin, and we’ve listed a few of them below:
5 Cool and unique hotels in Berlin
1. 25hours Hotel Bikini Berlin
The 25hours Hotel Bikini Berlin is located in the West of the city between the Berlin zoo and Breitscheidplatz. The cool thing about this hotel is that there is a play between nature and culture. Furthermore, there is a cool rooftop Monkey Bar with a panoramic view over the city, an in-house bakery, and complimentary hire of cars and bikes.
2. Hotel nhow Berlin
This music and lifestyle hotel is located on the banks of the River Spree in Berlin’s Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg district. Next to 304 rooms, designed by New Yorker Karim Rashid, the hotel even has two professional recording studios and the world’s only guitar room service. Furthermore, there are exclusive concerts and club events and of course there is a bar too. A stay at this hotel is definitely memorable!
Hüttenpalast is a former vacuum cleaner factory in Neukölln and has been completely transformed in to a quirky accommodation. Instead of a hotel room, you get to stay in huts, campers or caravans that are all located indoor. Definitely a one-of-a kind hotel!
4. Ostel – Das DDR Hostel
In this hostel you can a glimpse of what it was like to live during DDR in communist East Germany. It’s located in an original concrete tower and completely furnished in the Communist style. The 1970s wallpaper, transistor radios, they thought of everything.
5. The Circus Hotel
This popular budget boutique hotel is centrally located near Alexanderplatz. The rooms are quirky, colourful and very comfortable. Fantastic option if you’re looking for a unusual hotel in Berlin.
Need some inspiration for restaurants too? Read our recommendations below!
Where to eat in Berlin
I love the food in Berlin! Not that it’s so different from where I come from, but most restaurants we’ve tried are a lot cheaper. And there are so many amazing places to eat. You can easily get some streetfood at Warschauerstrasse or eat at some cool place just about anywhere in the city. Below we share 5 cool restaurants for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
7 Cool restaurants in Berlin
1. Fine Bagels
For breakfast we found this cute bagel shop Fine Bagels located at the Shakespeare and Sons bookshop, making it a cute combination of bagels and bookstore in one. The tables outside were made out of drawers, and the whole interior was just great!
Address: Warschauer Str. 74, 10243 Berlin
2. Miyaki Sushi
We met up with friends and they took us to Miyaki Sushi. It’s the perfect place if you’re on a budget. We seriously only paid 10 euros per person and didn’t hold back on ordering food.
Address: Boxhagener Str. 121, 10245 Berlin
Another great place for dinner is Amber, an Indian restaurant at Simon-Dach-Strasse. It’s very affordable and delicious food. If you are looking for a nice, affordable place to eat and want a wide range of possibilities, that street is the place to be.
Address: Simon-Dach-Str. 8, 10245 Berlin
At Bunbao you can get the finest Asian burgers. They also have delicious vegetarian options, plus you should really try their sweet potato fries! You can go here for lunch, dinner and drinks.
Address: Kollwitzstraße 84, 10435 Berlin
5. Hamy Café
There are a lot of great Vietnamese restaurants in Berlin. Hamy Café is both affordable and serves delicious food. The service and location is excellent too.
Address: Hasenheide 10, 10967 Berlin
6. Ban Ban Kitchen
At Ban Ban Kitchen you can get delicious Korean food! Try one of their great Bimbim Bowls and be sure to order sweet potato fries with it.
Address: Schillerpromenade 32, 12049 Berlin
7. Café Anna Blume
If you’re looking for some delicious sweets, then be sure to visit Café Anna Blume. Order some of their cakes or their amazing high tea. A great way to spend a relaxing Sunday in Berlin!
Address: Kollwitzstraße 83 in 10435 Berlin-Prenzlauer Berg
And now let’s discuss the nightlife in Berlin!
The nightlife in Berlin
Berlin has a lot of amazing clubs and is well known for it’s nightlife. A lot of tourists mainly go to experience a crazy night in Berlin. A few of the most popular clubs include: Bargain, Watergate, Weekend, White Trash Fast Food, Tresor, Picknick, Trust and Ashpalt.
The club worth mentioning is Berghain, a club on the border of Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain. Berghain is actually considered to be one of the world’s best nightclubs, but is probably most known for the strict door policy. It seems completely random whether you get in or not, but we’ve got some tips from locals that go frequently: go on a Sunday afternoon and always wear black. No eye contact with the bouncer or playing with your phone.
If you don’t get in: don’t take it personally. Just try again later or go to another cool club in Berlin, there are enough options in Berlin.
We hope this guide will prove useful for your visit in Berlin. Have you ever been to Berlin? If not, are you going to visit? Let us know in the comments!