Dec 15, 2022
Berlin, Germany’s capital city, is a nothing-less-than-incredible holiday destination – whether you’re visiting for a long weekend, few weeks holiday or an extended stay. The city sprang up at the crossing of two major trade routes in the Middle Ages, and has been a centre of trade, art, culture, education, and sport ever since. Whatever your interests, the city has something to offer you. Discover things to do in Berlin as well as all sorts of handy information with our ultimate guide.
Read on to find out:
The guide can be downloaded below and taken with you wherever you go. Happy reading!
Enrich your appreciation of Berlin with a few fun facts and interesting things to know about this city renowned for its diversity and freedom. Perfect to drop into conversation as you explore the city with friends or family to show them your travel prowess!
Berlin has more bridges than Venice
Berlin has more waterways than Amsterdam, Stockholm, and Venice together, so it’s not surprising that the city also has more bridges than Venice! Looking for a bridge that’s oh-so-Instagrammable? Head to the Oberbaumbrücke between Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain.
Berlin is nine times bigger than Paris
Berlin is an incredible nine times bigger than Paris, but it’s not nearly as crowded as the City of Lights. While Paris has 21,000 inhabitants per square km, Berlin only has 4,000 inhabitants per square km.
Berlin has the most visited zoo in Europe
Berlin’s zoo has 20,000 animals and 1,300 different species in an 82-acre area. No wonder it’s the most visited zoo in Europe.
Berlin is home to the world’s longest open-air gallery
Located on the banks of the Spree in Friedrichshain near the remnants of the Berlin Wall, the East Side Gallery is 1,316 meters long and showcases over 100 murals from artists from around the globe.
The Berlin public transport system is 4,473km long
Combine the various elements of Berlin’s public transport system, and it can go round the world over 8 and a half times.
There are more museums than rainy days in Berlin
On average, Berlin sees 106 rainy days annually. By contrast, there are 180 museums in the city.
Use the following travel tips when visiting Berlin to experience the city like a local.
Carry cash with you: While major tourist attractions, department stores, and supermarkets are happy to accept card payments, its good to have some cash for tips at bars, cafes, clubs, and restaurants.
Explore beyond Mitte: Many of Berlin’s most famous landmarks are in the Mitte district, but there’s so much more to experience in this city. Explore further and discover family-friendly Prenzlauer Berg, exciting Friedrichschain, the hipster haunt of Kreuzberg, and the Turkish neighbourhood of Neukölln.
Sunday planning is important: Many bars, restaurants, shops, and supermarkets are closed on Sundays, so put careful thought into planning your Sunday activities. If you want to be out and about on a Sunday, consider heading to one of Berlin’s many flea markets, such as those at Mauerpark and Boxhagener Platz.
Head to the Reichstag Dome instead of the TV Tower: Enjoying the view from the TV Tower is on many tourists’ lists of the top things to do in Berlin. However, that view comes with a €16.50 price tag. Head to the Reichstag Dome for a budget-friendly view that’s just as spectacular. Book online, and you can visit the dome for free and enjoy an audio tour while you’re at it.
Every season in Berlin has a special magic of its own. Spring offers cherry blossoms, autumn brings foliage of reds, rusts, oranges, and yellows, and winter boasts Christmas markets, mulled wine, and gingerbread. However, the city really comes to life in summer.
The best time to visit Berlin is May through September when the weather is ideal for sitting at cafes, lazing in parks, and leisurely strolls through the city. Winter, on the other hand, is chilly. Temperatures tend to range from 20 to 30 degrees Fahrenheit (that’s -6 to -1 degrees Celsius).
Progress and tradition meet with amazing results in Germany’s capital city. Take a look at our pick of top things to do in Berlin for city lovers.
Attend the Berlinale: Known as the Berlinale, the Berlin International Film Festival takes place every February. The festival includes screenings of feature-length films, short films, forums, events, and more. If you’re a movie-buff, you won’t want to miss the Berlinale.
Unwind in Tiergarten: Summer in Berlin isn’t summer without a visit to Tiergarten, the city’s most famous park. If you’re in need of a breath of fresh air, head to Tiergarten, where you can explore historic monuments, snack on a sausage and beer, and even find a spot to do a bit of nude sunbathing (sunbathing in the buff is legal in most of the city’s parks).
Explore Berlin by bike: Riding a bicycle is one of the best ways to see the beauty of Berlin. The city is bike-friendly, so you’ll have no trouble finding cycling lanes, routes through parks, and canal paths. The terrain’s also wonderfully flat. Even though many locals don’t wear helmets, get one if you can and be cautious of tram lines, cobblestones, careless drivers, and other cyclists.
Enjoy shopping and music in Mauerpark: Mauerpark hosts one of the city’s biggest Sunday flea markets. You’ll find artisanal goods, vintage items, bric-a-brac, and pretty much anything else you can think of. The park’s also home to the popular outdoor singing session known as Bearpit Karaoke where you can spend the afternoon watching the good, the bad and the hilarious perform.
Spend a morning at Markthalle IX: A late 19th century covered market, Markthalle IX is a wonderland of locally sourced meat, vegetables, and fruit. The market also hosts regular themed events, and it’s home to the Sironi Milanese bakery and the fantastic Heidenpeters microbrewery.
Take in a Freiluftkino film: If you’re in the city in summer, add a Freiluftkino film to your list of top things to do in Berlin. The city’s biggest parks unveil their open-air cinemas, where you can take in a film while enjoying snacks and beer on a balmy summer evening.
Beautiful Berlin is a fantastic destination in which to spend quality time with the person you love. Here’s our pick of the top things to do in Berlin for romantics.
Explore Little Venice by bicycle: Take the S-Bahn trains via Wilhelmshagen to Neu-Venedig, also known as Little Venice, and spend a few hours exploring this enchanting spot by bicycle. This area of wooded riverways and streams is on the banks of the Müggelsee on the city’s south-eastern edge. Riding a bicycle is the best way to immerse yourself in Little Venice’s rustic charm. While there, enjoy a picnic lunch near a lily pond.
Enjoy classical music and dinner at Charlottenburg Palace: A grand Baroque building, Charlottenburg Palace was the centre of the Prussian royal court. Choose an evening package that offers a tour of the palace’s artworks, as well as fine dining accompanied by the music of Bach and Mozart played by the Berlin Residence Orchestra in the Great Orangery for a date night you won’t forget.
Learn a ballroom dance at Clärchen’s Ballhaus: Open since 1913, Clärchen's Ballhaus has become a staple of showbiz in Berlin. Treat yourself and your special someone to an evening of dance lessons, where you’ll learn a classic ballroom dance such as the bolero, the cha-cha, the foxtrot, the tango, or the waltz. The venue also boasts an outdoor beer garden. You’ll find the ballroom around the corner from the Oranienburger Straße S-Bahn and tram station.
Indulge in a couples’ spa at Liquidrom: Relax and unwind together at Liquidrom, a spa that resembles a circus tent near the Landwehr Canal. Some of the highlights include a thermal pool, a sound pool, a Japanese-style outdoor area with a hot water onsen pool, a Finnish sauna with special infusions, a Himalayan salt sauna, massages and treatments, and good food.
Take in the view from a captive hot air balloon ride: You won’t find a better view of the city than from a captive hot air balloon (not even from the TV Tower). Being tethered to the ground means the balloon cannot drift away, so it’s a case of going up and enjoying the view before returning to solid ground. If you and your partner aren’t afraid of heights, add this activity to your list of the top 10 things to do in Berlin.
Berlin is a wonderfully family-friendly city, making it a great spot for a break with your partner and kids. Explore some of the best family things to do in Berlin.
Be dazzled by the Museum für Naturkunde: The Museum für Naturkunde (Museum of Natural History) is anything but a dusty collection of rocks and bones. You and your family will be dazzled by a fascinating journey back in time, to days when giant reptiles roamed the earth.
Discover the Computerspielemuseum: If your children are gamers, they’ll love the Computerspielemuseum (Computer Games Museum). Explore the history of video gaming in an interactive museum that boasts functional rarities, classic games and consoles, 3D simulators, milestone games and gadgets, and the latest innovations.
See the animals of Zoo Berlin: The oldest zoo in the city, Zoo Berlin is a must-see if your children are fascinated by wildlife. With more than 20,200 animals representing approximately 1,380 different species, the zoo and its aquarium have one of the most comprehensive collections of species in the world. The zoo’s involved in breeding programmes, endangered species conservation, and wildlife reintroduction initiatives.
Explore Legoland Berlin: Lego continues to delight children and adults, so celebrate the famous building block by taking the kids to Legoland Berlin. In addition to marvelling at an array of displays, exploring the mediaeval dragon castle and enjoying other attractions, you and the little ones can go on a factory tour and watch a movie in the 4D cinema.
Learn through fun at the Deutsches Spionagemuseum: Take a trip through the history of spying at the Deutsches Spionagemuseum (German Espionage Museum). Thanks to cutting-edge technology, you and your children will discover ancient secret scriptures, famous espionage cases, and spectacular techniques and secret operations. There are more than 1,000 exhibits, 300 of which are grouped in themed areas, and there are interactive installations for you to test your spying skills.
Berlin is renowned for being a centre of art, culture, and technology, but it’s also a city that loves nature. Parks and waterways cover almost half of the German capital, making it one of Europe’s greenest cities. Here are some of the top things to do in Berlin for nature enthusiasts.
Go swimming at Weissensee: A mere 5km from Alexanderplatz, Weissensee is a beautiful small lake that’s perfect for cooling off in summer. You can pay the almost €4 entrance fee per person for the man-made Caribbean-style beach, which offers deckchairs, cocktails, and lifeguards, or you access the lake from the park for free.
Wander through Grunewald Forest: Located on the west side of the city, Grunewald Forest is an ideal location for nature walks and short hikes. The forest contains all sorts of attractions, from amazing plant and animal life to landmarks such as the 19th-century Grunewaldturm lookout tower, the Renaissance-era hunting lodge known as Jagdschloss Grunewald, and the charming 1920s-era Haus am Waldsee, where you can find contemporary art.
Soak up the sun at Strandbad Plotzensee: Located 8km from Alexanderplatz, Strandbad Plotzensee is a larger lake than Weissensee and an even more popular destination for swimming and soaking up the sun. The spot also offers activities such as basketball, table tennis, and trampolines. You’ll also find an area for sunbathing and swimming. Lifeguards are on duty.
Discover Tiefenwerder Wiesen: Looking for a relaxing day trip? Explore Tiefenwerder Wiesen, a protected meadow near Spandau. Take the S9 from Alexanderplatz in the Spandau direction, get off at Heerstrasse, and then take bus M49 to Pichelswerder. The spot is known for its beauty and tranquillity (and you might even catch a glimpse of the resident water buffalos). Tiefenwerder Wiesen is a perfect place for a picnic.
Cycle along the remnants of the Berlin Wall: If you want to combine some exercise with your love of the outdoors, cycle along the perimeter of the old Berlin Wall. The Mauerweg cycling route is a whopping 155km long, and it follows what remains of the infamous wall that surrounded West Berlin. If you’re there in spring, you’ll be treated to the sight of cherry blossoms, thanks to the 9,000 trees that were planted after the wall was demolished.
Berlin is a magical destination for culture vultures. Here’s our pick of cool things to do in Berlin if you love cultural activities.
See the Dutch Masters at the Picture Gallery: Immerse yourself in the world of the Dutch Masters at the Picture Gallery. The 72-room collection includes works by Goya, Rubens, Titian, and Vermeer, although the highlight is the octagonal Rembrandt room, which boasts 16 of the artist’s canvases.
Explore ancient history at the Pergamon Museum: You’ll love the Pergamon Museum if you’re a history buff. See the 160BC ancient Greek Pergamon Altar with its marble frieze showing a battle between giants and gods, the Ishtar Gate, the world’s oldest written documents, and beautiful Islamic art.
Listen to the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra: Head to the Berliner Philharmonie for a performance by the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of legendary conductor, Sir Simon Rattle. Listening to the orchestra in the modern concert hall is one of the top 10 things to do in Berlin if you love arts and culture.
Attend a jazz gig at Quasimodo: Berlin’s oldest jazz club, Quasimodo has hosted iconic musicians such as Curtis Stigers and John Lee Hooker Jr. Make sure you’re there before 9pm for a decent seat on a gig night.
Relive the decadence of the Weimar Republic at Bar Jeder Vernunft: A 1920s-style cabaret venue, Bar Jeder Vernunft will take you back in time to the decadent days of the Weimar Republic. Enjoy a beer or a glass of champagne, good food, and entertaining cabaret, comedy, and variety acts.
Berlin’s top annual events attract visitors from across the country and around the world. Take a look at some of the fun things to do in Berlin at different times of the year.
The Berlinale: The Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin (AKA the Berlinale) is one of the world’s most prominent film festivals. Screenings and other film-related events take place at numerous venues, the main one being Potsdamer Platz. The festival takes place in February.
Christopher Street Day Parade/Berlin Pride: Held annually in July, Christopher Street Day/Berlin Pride commemorates the Stonewall Riots that took place in New York City in 1969. The event is Europe’s largest LGBT+ street party.
Karneval der Kulturen: A celebration of the many diverse cultures that call Berlin home, the Karneval der Kulturen takes place every year on Pentecost weekend (May/June). The four-day celebration was inspired by London’s Notting Hill Carnival, and it features parades, floats, musicians, dancers, food, stalls, performances, and much more.
Berlin Art Week: Every September, the city celebrates contemporary art with the events, fairs, and exhibitions that comprise Berlin Art Week. Every year features a different theme. Whether you’re looking for established artists or up and coming talent, you’ll find them at Berlin Art Week.
Charlottenburg Castle Christmas Market: Usually held from the final week of November until the final week of December, the Charlottenburg Castle Christmas Market is one of the best things to do in Berlin at Christmas. You’ll find hundreds of stalls selling seasonal treats, decorations, gifts, and arts and crafts, and a Winter Forest with attractions for children.
If you’re not hiring a car at the Berlin Airport, you can take the Airport Express or one of the regional trains that run four times an hour from station T1-2 to Berlin Central Station. You also have the option of taking the S-Bahn S9 or S45 from T1-2 to the city centre. If you’re hiring a car at the airport, you can take the A113 and the B96a to the city.
Getting around Berlin is easy, thanks to the range of transport options available. The public transport network is comprised of fare zones A, B, and C. Zone A includes the city centre and the S-Bahn ring, Zone B extends from outside the S-Bahn ring to the city limits, and Zone C includes the outskirts, the airport, and Potsdam city. Tickets are valid for all forms of public transport. You can purchase single tickets, 24-hour tickets, or 7-day passes.
U-Bahn: The Berlin U-Bahn is the best way to get around the city. Subway trains run every five to 10 minutes to almost every part of the city during the day. There are 173 U-Bahn stations, 10 lines, and 146km of track, making the subway efficient and convenient.
S-Bahn: The overground S-Bahn trains are a great option for covering longer distances, visiting the outskirts of the city, and making day trips. Please be aware that the trains don’t run as frequently as the U-Bahn.
E-scooter: Electric scooters are an inexpensive, fun way to cover small distances in the city. You can take them on the city’s cycle paths, and they’re great for sightseeing within Berlin.
Buses and trams: Buses and trams are a good way to see Berlin from a different perspective. They’re slower than the S-Bahn and the U-Bahn, but thanks to a massive network, buses can take you to every corner of the city. You’ll find most of the city’s trams in former East Berlin.
Bicycle: With 620km of cycling paths, Berlin’s a city made for cycling.
Walking: Squares, large avenues, parks, and pedestrian-only areas make it easy to walk around Berlin’s various districts.
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