Berlin is different. This is something you will notice immediately just walking down the streets. The city of Berlin is the most hipster and artsy destination we know, amongst all the German-speaking countries. It is anything but spruced up. We would not necessarily say that Berlin is beautiful in the classical sense. However, we do believe that you should experience at least once, the unique charm of this city.
In this travel guide, we will share with you what you can expect on your trip to Berlin. Which sights should you not miss? What are the top things to do and see in Berlin? Where are some good places for coffee and lunch? And very importantly, our hotel tips for where you should stay. After countless trips to Berlin, we have summarised our best tips for you.
1. Travel Guide Berlin: What to Do and See
One thing is for certain: You simply cannot miss the landmark of Berlin. It is one of the top things to see in Berlin. The classical gate of triumph is considered a symbol of the turbulent history of the division and reunification of Germany.
The Brandenburg Gate itself is quickly explored, as there are no museums or exhibitions to visit nearby. Nevertheless, we like to simply admire the beautiful structure and would recommend you to come twice if you can. Once during the day and once in the evening, because the illuminated Brandenburg Gate is quite stunning when contrasted against the night.
Information about visiting the Brandenburg Gate
Address: Pariser Platz, 10117 Berlin
Getting there: U-Bahn or S-Bahn to Brandenburger Tor Station
The largest church in Berlin is also very worth seeing. There is a little special activity waiting for you here: you can actually climb up to the top of the Berlin Dome. There are 270 steps to conquer before you can enjoy the magnificent view, directly overlooking Berlin Mitte and the Museum island. Definitely a highlight!
Our tip: You can do some great long exposures at the back of the Berlin Dome from the banks of the Spree river.
Information about visiting the Berlin Dome
Address: Am Lustgarten, 10178 Berlin
Getting there: U-Bahn or S-Bahn to Alexanderplatz Station, S-Bahn to Hackescher Markt Station
Admission: 9 Euros
East Side Gallery
Who hasn’t heard of the famous street art mural showing the kiss between Brezhnev and Honecker? It is located on the longest surviving section of the Berlin Wall, the so-called East Side Gallery.
The East Side Gallery houses a total of 100 paintings and over 1.3 km. This makes the East Side Gallery the largest open-air gallery in the world. You can either walk along Warschauer Straße or Ostbahnhof. There is no other place in Berlin where the history of division and reunification is as present as it is here.
Information about visiting the East Side Gallery
Address: Mühlenstraße 3-100, 10243 Berlin
Getting there: U-Bahn/S-Bahn to Warschauer Straße Station
Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church
The striking Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church is one of the most important sights in Berlin. It consists of a historic church ruin and two new buildings, which stands as a memorial against the war.
A very well known sight, is the view of the altar inside the octagonal building. The front face of the new building is decorated with stained glass art, however the interesting fact here is: the reason why the stained glass windows glow so intensely blue, is actually due to the LED lights behind them.
Information about the visit of the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church
Address: Breitscheidplatz, 10789 Berlin
Getting there: U-Bahn or S-Bahn to Zoologischer Garten Station or U-Bahn to Kurfürstendamm Station
The Reichstag building is one of the most famous and beautiful buildings in Berlin. This historic building was renovated in the 90s with an extension of the glass dome and observation deck, which you can visit.
Entrance to the dome is free but you do have to register in advance. For more information, you can visit the official website of the German Bundestag: Reichstag Building – Dome & Roof Terrace.
Perhaps you would rather take part in a guided tour? Then maybe this will be of interest to you: Guided Tour of Parliamentary District & Reichstag with Plenary Hall and Dome.
Information about the visit of the Reichstag building
Address: Platz der Republik 1, 11011 Berlin
Getting there: U-Bahn to Bundestag Station
One of the most impressive places to visit in Berlin is the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe – also known as the Holocaust Memorial in short. It consists of 2711 different sized concrete blocks, which are strung together across a huge area. While you can view the memorial from the outside, there are also many gentle sloping corridors for you to stroll around.
The memorial is accessible for free at any time of the day. There is also an underground exhibition that is very worth seeing, called the “Place of Information”. This exhibition is open every day except Mondays.
Information about visiting the Holocaust Memorial
Address: Cora-Berliner-Strasse 1, 10117 Berlin
Getting there: U-Bahn or S-Bahn to Brandenburger Tor Station
Jewish Museum Berlin
Not to be confused with the Holocaust Memorial, the Jewish Museum of Berlin is the largest Jewish museum in all of Europe in fact, and we find its elaborate designs very impressive.
If you are in Berlin for a long time or perhaps looking for an alternative on a rainy day, then we can certainly recommend a visit.
Information about the visit to the Jewish Museum
Address: Lindenstraße 9-14, 10969 Berlin
Getting there: U-Bahn to Hallesches Tor Station
Admission: 8 Euros
This former border crossing of historically divided Berlin is well known, but is not one of the big highlights of the city, in our opinion. Nowadays, at Checkpoint Charlie, you’ll find somewhat of a remodelled guardhouse with “soldiers”. Our conclusion: perhaps worth seeing once if it fascinates you, but there are much more exciting places in Berlin.
Information about visiting Checkpoint Charlie
Address: Friedrichstrasse 43-45, 10117 Berlin
Getting there: U-Bahn to Kochstraße/Checkpoint Charlie Station
The Hackesche Höfe is a complex of historic buildings and, as the name Höfe (meaning courtyard) suggests, it consists of a total of eight courtyards in its complex. In these courtyards, you will find several shops, restaurants and cafes. They even have a cinema here.
Some of the building fronts are very artistically curated, so it might be worthwhile to walk through the courtyards at least once to admire the all various art works. The Haus Schwarzenberg courtyard was the one that stood out the most to us with its crumbling walls and scattered graffiti art. In this particular courtyard, you will also find the entrance to the Anne Frank Center as well as to the Museum Blindenwerkstatt Otto Weidt.
Information about visiting the Hackesche Höfe
Address: Rosenthaler Straße 40-41, 10178 Berlin
Getting there: S-Bahn to Hackescher Markt Station
2. The Best Lookout Points Over Berlin
Siegessäule – Victory Column
One of our favourite views of Berlin is from the Siegessäule or Victory Column in English. At 50 meters high, there are just 285 steps separating you from the viewing platform. Once at the top, you are greeted with a stunning panoramic view in all directions. The viewing platform is very narrow and sometimes it can be quite windy, but the view is just a dream.
Our tip: Depending on the season, you can witness an incredible sunset from the Siegessäule – Victory Column. Unfortunately, they close the gates too early for sunsets during the summer months, but you might get lucky during the winter months and even certain months in autumn and spring. If the weather is on your side, the view can be really stunning!
Information about visiting the Siegessäule – Victory Column
Address: Großer Stern 1, 10557 Berlin
Getting there: S-Bahn to Bellevue Station or U-Bahn to Hansaplatz Station
Admission: 4 Euros
Berlin TV Tower – Fernsehturm
The Berlin TV Tower is the classic when it comes to lookout points in Berlin. At 368 metres high, this makes it the tallest building in Germany. After all, the viewing platform is around 200 meters high and you have a spectacular view over Berlin.
However, the Berlin TV tower has two disadvantages in our opinion: Firstly, it is strictly an indoor viewing platform behind glass panels. While this is understandable from a safety point of view, the feeling you get is, of course, different from that of an open-air terrace.
The second drawback is the costly ticket price. In addition, if you buy your tickets on site, you will have to allow extra time ‘in line’. On our most recent visit to Berlin, we ended up waiting two hours. Therefore, you’ll see many people take advantage of the Fast View Ticket, which you can order online and directly select your desired time of visit.
You can view buy your ticket in advance here: Fast View Ticket
Information about the visit of the Berlin TV Tower
Address: Panoramastrasse 1A, 10178 Berlin
Getting there: U-Bahn or S-Bahn to Alexanderplatz Station
Admission: 24,50 Euros (Fast View Ticket)
Panoramapunkt – Panoramic Point
You could call the Panoramapunkt (Panoramic Point) at Potsdamer Platz a little secret. The viewing platform is “only” 100 meters high, much lower than the Fernsehturm (TV Tower). But as this is an open-air lookout point, it gives you a different feeling and has its own charm. You can get up to the platform in as little as 20 seconds with what is supposedly the fastest lift in Europe.
However, the highlight here is not only the view of Berlin, but also the architecture of the Panoramic Point itself, which has obviously been designed to look like a mirror image!
You can buy your ticket in advance here: Panoramapunkt Berlin
Information about visiting the Panoramic Point
Address: Potsdamer Platz 1, 10785 Berlin
Getting there: U-Bahn / S-Bahn to Potsdamer Platz Station
Admission: 9 Euros
3. Our Favourite Cafes and Restaurants in Berlin: Culinarly Travel Guide
Monkey Bar & NENI at the 25hours Hotel Bikini Berlin
NENI is a restaurant chain also found in our hometown of Vienna. It is one we have known and loved for years, so you can imagine our excitement when we realised they opened up another branch in Berlin. They serve creative Israeli and Mediterranean dishes here.
The restaurant is located on the 10th floor of the 25hours Hotel, so you have a great view over the Tiergarten – Animal Park. If you’re just feeling like a drink, then you’re in good hands at the Monkey Bar.
Address: Budapester Strasse 40, 10787 Berlin
Getting there: U-Bahn / S-Bahn to Zoologischer Garten Station or U-Bahn to Kurfürstendamm Station
In the trendy Kreuzberg district, there is a very cool cafe called the Silo Coffee. We came here for breakfast and found it to be quite pleasant. The menu includes hipster classics such as Avocado Toast and Chia Pudding. The coffee is also excellent.
We really liked the cozy atmosphere, therefore we would recommend that the best time to come is during the week. Silo Coffee is supposedly said to be extremely busy during the weekends.
Address: Gabriel-Max-Strasse 4, 10245 Berlin
Getting there: U-Bahn / S-Bahn to Warschauer Straße Station
House of Small Wonder
One of the most hip locations for brunch in Berlin is the House of Small Wonder. This place is just incredibly unique. With its spiral staircase and numerous plants, the House of Small Wonder is more reminiscent of a Brooklyn apartment than a restaurant.
Most of the dishes served are of Western influence with a touch of Japanese cuisine. We just went there for brunch, but they are also open for dinner. The only drawback is that this place is extremely popular so they don’t accept reservations during the day – only in the evenings. This meant we ended up waiting for about half an hour for a table.
Address: Johannisstraße 20, 10117 Berlin
Getting there: U-Bahn to Oranienburger Tor Station or S-Bahn to Oranienburger Straße Station
4. Hotel Tip for Berlin: Where to Stay
Boutique Hotel: 25hours Hotel Bikini Berlin
Do you prefer staying in a more stylish boutique hotel? Then we can highly recommend the 25hours Hotel to you. The rooms are all individually decorated and with a little luck you might get a room with a beautiful view over the Tiergarten – Animal Park.
We really liked the atmosphere of the hotel, it was very ‘hip & cool’. The breakfasts were excellent and very much to our liking. You really cannot fault this hotel. A clear recommendation from us!
You can view and book the hotel here: 25hours Hotel Bikini Berlin
Disclaimer: Affiliate Links
This travel guide contains our personal recommendations in the form of so-called affiliate links. If you book or buy something through these links, we will receive a small commission. For you, this does not change the price at all. A million thanks from the both of us!
Have you ever been to Berlin? Perhaps you have some more recommendations and would like to share them? We look forward to reading your tips about attractions, restaurants or cafes – thank you!