Hip and trendy, Berlin has it all! If you’re looking for a fun city full of history and culture; this is the perfect place for you! Formerly divided into East and West Berlin, the capital of Germany has an overwhelming array of amazing things for you to enjoy and, with so much on offer, it can be hard to decide what to do.
From clubbing and museums to monuments and more: Berlin has endless options that will delight any visitor. With only 3 days in Berlin, here’s how you can see the best of this amazing city.
Day One in Berlin: Berlin Wall and the History of the City
Before delving into the heart of the city, a great way to start your trip is to gain an understanding of Berlin and Germany’s recent history. You have to understand this part to really get the most out of your three days in Berlin. Now a thriving, cosmopolitan country that commendably opened up its borders to over a million refugees in 2015, Germany underwent a massive societal change after the Second World War.
One of the best ways to get a crash course on what took place in Berlin in the 20th century is to visit the Allied Forces Museum. With fascinating exhibitions on denazification, the Berlin Crisis and the Berlin Airlift; you will definitely come away enlightened about all the changes and challenges that Germany has undergone in the aftermath of the Second World War. West Berlin, for example, was surrounded by the Soviets and so food supplies had to be airlifted in to feed the population and all around the city you will see remnants of the past.
From the museum, it is a two-hour journey to a place that, sadly, you should visit. Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp is 35 kilometers north of the city and, as you can guess, it offers up a chilling look at the atrocities committed by the Nazis. The camp was the training center for SS officers who were then sent to persecute people all around the territories under Nazi influence. Although intended to house mainly political prisoners, mass executions were also carried out here. As such the camp is regrettably a must-see when visiting the city.
Head back into the city and stop off for a bite of lunch before continuing on your journey of Berlin’s history. A great restaurant to try is Nobelhart and Schmutzig – if you’re super hungry you can try their ten-course option! Sourced from local products from the surrounding area; this restaurant will definitely give you a taste of the city.
Not far away is the Jewish Museum which documents how the Jewish community has shaped the city over the millennia. It makes for a memorable visit and the Fallen Leaves art installation is a beautiful tribute to victims of war and violence. To reconcile the country with the meaning of the Holocaust, the museum has a number of exhibitions that aim to educate people about the horrors that were committed during the Second World War.
A half an hour walk away, is the haunting yet strangely peaceful Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. The site is filled with 2711 blocks of concrete presented in a grid format and you can walk amongst the slabs that vary in size. Due to its abstract nature, there are a number of different interpretations as to its design. A must-see memorial in the city as is our next destination…
The famous Berlin Wall Memorial! Not far away from the first memorial; this part of the wall is 1.4 kilometers long. For 28 years the world-famous wall delineated the West from the East and prevented families from seeing each other. To learn more about the history of it and how it divided the city and country, head to the memorial part which has an exhibition explaining it all. You will undoubtedly see other stretches of the wall around the city, brightly colored with beautiful graffiti.
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After a day full of impressive historical sites, you’re probably feeling all the weight of history on your shoulders! Head to Curry 7 for some of the best currywurst in the city and the delicious food will brighten up your mood. The traditional sausage and sumptuous sauce of curry ketchup with curry powder on top is a great way to end your first of 3 days in Berlin.
Related Article: 20 Things to do in Cologne
Day Two in Berlin: Berlin’s Quirky Gems
Quite an eccentric city in many respects, Berlin certainly has a free and laid-back feel to it. Before heading to some of the quirkier sights in the city; head to the bustling Alexanderplatz where you will find the gigantic Fernsehturm towering over the city. The television tower dominates the otherwise low-lying Berlin skyline and looks very distinctive. At 368 meters high, make sure you take a trip up to the observation deck for amazing views of the whole city. From up here, you can already see your next destination…
Brandenburg Gate! Before your 3 days in Berlin are up you just have to visit this place as no trip is complete without having stopped at what is possibly the most widely recognized landmark in Germany. Now a symbol of peace and unity, it also represents Europe’s turbulent past that has at times seen the continent descend into war.
Just around the corner is the Reichstag which is the second most visited building in the whole of Germany. The building formerly housed the parliament of the German Empire and later on Nazi Germany. Now popular with tourists, you can book in advance to visit the impressive glass dome that sits atop the building.
Before exploring what the rest of your day has in store for you; it’s time for some lunch! The Alt-Berliner Wirtshausern is a lovely old tavern to stop off in for some traditional German cuisine and, a stone’s throw away from the Reichstag, it is super convenient too. Try the delicious Kartoffelpfanne – you won’t regret it! The pork medallions are sumptuous and will keep you fuelled for the rest of the day.
Now that you’ve got the historical sites and lunch out of the way, it’s time for the quirkier side of the city that we promised. Anyone up for some nude sunbathing?! That’s right! In the massive Tiergarten in the center of the city, almost anything goes! The huge public park is delightful to relax in and it is lovely taking a walk through the tree-lined roads that break up the endless grass of the park. Nudity is quite normal in Germany so no one will bat an eye at you stripping off. Enjoy the sun and get that perfect tan!
If the sun is still shining, head south to the abandoned Tempelhof Airport for a taste of Berlin’s uniqueness. While the airport has a long and varied history, it is now used for recreational activities and hosts a number of festivals and events each year. The expansive public park is great to visit and you’ll often see people barbecuing in the summer sun, preparing for a picnic. The old runways and tarmacs are great for bike rides and just about anything with wheels.
For another quirky and unique experience, you’re going to want to visit the nearby Lavanderia Vecchia for some dinner. This restaurant is what Berlin is all about! With German-Italian cuisine, the dining tables are set up in an old Laundromat. It makes for a tasty and ambiance-filled dinner and while you’re at it, make sure to have one of the delicious and refreshing Berliner Weisse beers. So good!
For dessert, you’re going to want to head to the quintessential Berlin nightclub: Berghain. It is so trendy/hip/fashionable/cool/Berlin that, well, you’re probably not going to get in! Located in a concrete block of a former power plant, the club’s bouncers are notoriously picky and if you don’t fit with the vibe of the place, you won’t get in. The hedonistic style of the club is unique and unlike any other clubbing experience so it’s worth giving it a shot anyway.
Day Three in Berlin: Museum Island and Kreuzberg
With such a wealth of museums to choose from, your 3 days in Berlin could solely be spent looking at all the marvels on display. Make your way to Museum Island and see how many you can visit! Ok, so there’s the New Museum, the Old Museum, the Bode Museum, the Old National Gallery, and the Pergamon Museum to choose from. These museums have art, history, culture, the lot – so they’re definitely worth checking out.
A personal favorite is the stunning Pergamon Museum which is huge and has a wealth of ancient artifacts and monuments on display. The museum has impressively reconstructed a number of massive monuments such as the Market Gate of Miletus, Ishtar Gate, and Pergamon Alter; they really need to be seen to be believed!
After having spent the morning exploring the museums, it is but a short walk to a completely different side of Berlin: Kreuzberg. Renowned for its alternative vibe and atmosphere, it’s great walking around this part of the city that gives off such a cosmopolitan feel.
With its residents from all around the world, you can really find any type of food under the sun and before exploring further it’s time for some lunch. In ‘Little Istanbul’ an amazing restaurant with authentic Turkish food is Adana Grill Haus. The perfectly cooked meat is to die for with the Eskender being particularly awesome!
To keep with the Turkish vibe, wander along the canal banks nearby and enjoy the Turkish market that takes place every Tuesday and Friday. With vegetables, fruits, Turkish delicacies and more, the bustling market is lovely to wander around. There are also performances that are put on by street artists and you can definitely find some bizarre yet fun spectacles going on. This is the perfect place to buy a couple of distinctive and quintessentially unique souvenirs from the quirky city.
The home of the punk rock movement in the city, Kreuzberg also has significant hip-hop and LGBTQ cultural movements in the area. It is a thriving and fun part of the city to explore and as such you’re going to want to check out the amazing street art in the area. While graffiti abounds in Berlin, many of the best and most iconic pieces are in Kreuzberg. Head to Oppelner Strasse for an impressive yellow man plastered over the side of a building or to Skalitzer Strasse for the giant stencil astronaut. Everywhere you go there will be amazing artworks both large and small for you to discover.
With the day coming to an end, quickly head to Checkpoint Charlie before it closes. During the Cold War, this well-known site was one of the main crossing points between East and West Berlin and is now a popular tourist destination. You can even get your passport stamped with a symbol from the checkpoint!
To end your trip on a high, Burgermeister is the place to go. If ordering burgers out of a former public toilet doesn’t appeal then there is a new one where you can sit down. The toilet part is the main reason for its fame, however, try not to be squeamish as these burgers are amazing! Very popular among locals and tourists alike, you may have to queue up for this fine dining experience.
Berlin has everything you can want from a city and while you can see a lot of it in three days, there will always be enough reasons for you to return as it is constantly changing. Next time you’re in town try and find time to visit the rest of the museums as well as the impressive Berlin Zoo and Mauer Park. In this quirky and unique city, there are just too many amazing things to see and do but all these tips will definitely help you to see the best highlights with just 3 days in Berlin.
Recommended Berlin Hotels
- Luxury Berlin Hotels $200+: Hotel AMANO Grand Central
- Midrange Berlin Hotel $100-$200: Hotel Berlin Mitte managed by Meliá
- Budget Berlin Hotel: Generator Berlin Prenzlauer Berg
- Best hostel in Berlin: ONE80° Hostel Berlin Mitte – Alexanderplatz
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