Berlin City Break Guide: 72 Hours in Berlin, Europes Leading Accessible City
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How to get to Berlin
There are two main airports in Berlin, and both have budget flights from the UK making it a cheap and easy destination to travel to for a short break from the UK. Berlin-Tegel Airport is the main airport with 5 terminals and Berlin Schönefeld Airport is located 18km out of the city and is used by mainly budget airlines.
I found the best flight based on costs and times using Kayak where I research all my flights and there were several flights from regional airports. There were lots of flight options some of them very good prices depending on what time and day of the week you want to visit. The best thing is it is only a couple of hours from the UK making it a great city break for a couple of days.
Berlin is also easy to get to overland therefore making it a great road trip destination if you are exploring more of Europe.
When is the best time to visit Berlin
Berlin is a great city to visit any time of the year and it depends on what you want to see, what type of weather you like and your budget in order to find the best time of the year to visit Berlin.
I was always told not to go in August as it can be hot, and the city is smelly I don’t know why people said this as I visited Berlin in August and didn’t notice any smog or smells. August is one of the peak times to visit Berlin being the main holiday season for UK as it is the school summer holidays. It was warm but like the UK weather is unpredictable and it did rain during our visit so I would recommend packing a rain mac no matter what time of the year you visit.
Berlin at Christmas is a great time to visit as they have a good Christmas market.
Any earlier than April in Berlin and it might be cold so pack some winter clothes and good shoes as it might even be snowing.
I would suggest that the best time to visit Berlin would be May June and July to have decent weather for exploring and not too many crowds.
Getting around Berlin
Getting around Berlin by public transport is easy especially if you have the Berlin welcome card. The U-Bahn (subway, underground), the S-Bahn (light rail), buses and trams are all really easy to use and reliable keeping to good schedules.
If you don’t have a Berlin Welcome Card tickets can be purchase from vending machines at U-Bahn and S-Bahn stations. The vending machines in stations accept cash but not credit cards and have a few different language options. They are straight forward to use.
You purchase the tickets from bus drivers or from sales offices. Bus and tram tickets must be paid for in cash but drivers only have a small amont of change so try and have the correct fare.
You can find out more information here
I saw a lot of moped bikes, bicycles and even pedal scooters. I was told that the scooters were new to the city and there were various places around the city that you could get one. It looked like you needed to download an app in order to use them. I am not sure if these are going to be a permanent fixture in Berlin.
There were taxis in Berlin but since the public transport system was so good we didn’t use them. Also UBER works which is always a cheaper option that taxis.
You can phone for a taxi or ask your hotel to get one for you or if you are out and about you can flag down a taxi that has its light lit up showing that it is free.
There are taxi ranks at all railways and airports. The fare for what Berlin cabbies call a short trip is €5.00 for a two-kilometre trip. Please tell the driver straight away that you want a short trip (Kurzstrecke in German). You can only get the short-trip fare for flagged taxis, a maximum trip distance of two kilometres and if you do not interrupt your journey. (Souce visitBerlin https://www.visitberlin.de/en/taxis-berlin).
Walking is a great way to explore the city but I would recommend using the public transport to get travel longer distances. The great thing about Berlin is that it is quite a flat city making it accessible to walk around.
Alexander Platz is this the transport hub in Berlin it is a great place to explore day or night with its street artists and local musicians.
There were lots of companies doing hop on bus tours of Berlin and they were very frequent. I did use this option to get around Berlin as I love using these hop on buses that take you to the major attractions. You can find the different bus options on Get your Guide which is where I always do my destination research to see what tours are on offer.
If you are looking for a fun way to get around Berlin there was a beer bus type thing where these guys were pedalling and drinking huge glasses of beers. I am a little lazy though and would rather be in a bar drinking the beer then pedalling.
I have always thought it would be a cool idea to travel around a city in a bed on wheels and in Berlin, it was the first time I have seen this. We had to look twice as we didn’t believe it at first, but there really is a bed tour in Berlin called Berlin Horizontal how crazy!!.
Or for a more personal tour of Berlin you can try one of these rickshaws which were at a lot of the mayor tourist attractions.
Did I feel safe in Berlin
I actually did feel safe travelling in Berlin. I was travelling this time with a friend instead of solo, but I would not hesitate to recommend it as a city to visit as a solo female as I didn’t feel at unease during any part of my trip in Berlin.
Like with any city you need to be aware of your surroundings. We were continuingly told to be aware of pick pocketers and to take care of our valuables and there are also local scams that take place in the city. I saw one of the scams taking place. It was guys who were doing card tricks on the street or in a busy area and whilst tourists are busy watching the trick pick pocketers take advantage. I didn’t see any pick pocketers but saw several tricks being done especially around check point Charlie and I was aware to not be distracted as I didn’t want to fall victim of crime.
I felt safe using the metro at night. It was well lite; it might have been because I was travelling with a friend and I don’t normally go out alone at night when I am travelling solo. We travelled this time in Berlin after dark and felt at ease.
I did notice a few homeless people in the city, but they didn’t beg or hassle for money.
What to do in Berlin in 3 days
My friend and I decided to do a short city break to Berlin as it is only a couple of hours from the UK. We were originally going to have 2 days in Berlin but the more research I did into the city I realised we needed more time.
To be honest even with 3 days in Berlin there is still much of the city we didn’t get to see but this meant we could travel at a slower pace and had a leisurely time exploring Berlin which I don’t normally get chance to do as I tend to have limited time in each place. It made a nice change to be doing slow travel as you seem to absorb more of the atmosphere this way.
Day 1 in Berlin
Use Hop on bus to get your bearings of Berlin. The hop on bus takes you to all the major attractions in Berlin and gives you a panoramic view of the city whilst you are taking in the sites from the open top bus. I always use a hop on bus mainly because I am lazy and don’t like walking too much but they really do give you a insight into a new place.
You can get off at various stops along the way and it will also give you an idea of places you might want to visit later in the trip where you can use public transport.
Berlin has a great transport network and if you have a Berlin City Pass you can use it all for free as I explained earlier.
We arrived in the city around 10am, dropped our bags off at the hotel and got straight onto the hop on bus as we were eager to explore Berlin. It was a cloudy day and the weather can be unpredictable just like the UK, so I am glad I had packed a rain mac.
Luckily, we were able to pop one of the cities many coffee shops during a little shower. The rain did not spoil our Berlin trip as it didn’t last long, after a quick refreshment we went back on our way.
We were staying near Potsdamer Platz so after a day on the hop on bus we visited the Mall of Berlin. Here you can go to Lego land or see an IMAX movie or just go on the big slide which is of course what we did.
We did ask first if adults could go on the slide and at information desk in the mall and he was so excited that we wanted to go on and said he would watch us.
The rules said to not scream I don’t know how little kids could go on this without screaming as I screamed my head off, but it was so much fun. I am not sure if this is a permanent fixture in the mall but if it is there when you visit go on this free slide it is so much fun.
You can visit the Panaramapunkt at Potsdamer Platz to get a panoramic view of the city we were going to go up, but it was a bit cloudy. I thought it was a little expensive at 7.50euro but that’s me being a cheap scape. There are some other cool places where you can get good Klunkerkranich.
The TV Tower also called Fernsehturm is the highest monument in Berlin standing at 368 metres. It is visible in so many parts of the city I kept using it as a marker for where we were. If I could see the TV tower, I sort of worked out which direction we needed to travel. At the top of the tower is a restaurant which turns so you can enjoy a meal getting a great view of Berlin. You can also go up the tower to get the views and not eat.
Weltballoon is a balloon ride in Berlin it only goes up and down but you are going to get some lovely views of the city.
Klunkerkranich is at the top of the Neukölln Arcaden shopping centre on Karl-Marx-Straße and is this cool little bar where you can sit and have a beer and look at great views over the city of Berlin.
Siegessäule is the Victory tower I talk about this a little bit more on day 3 but you can climb this tower to get your views of Berlin.
Of course you have the Berliner Dom where you can get 360 panoramic views of Berlin however there is a lot of stairs to get this view luckily if you dont think you can climb its 270 steps to get to that view there is a lift.
The Reichstag building is the current home to Germany’s parliament. The building is on public transport routes and if you are on the hop on bus it is one of the stops.it is open daily with last admissions at 10pm. You can climb to the dome roof to get a great view of Berlin. You need to get a ticket and you can either book online or get it from the ticket office up to two hours before you want to go inside so you may need to plan if you are adding this to your itinerary.
The Reichstag building which I have just mentioned is the home to Germanys parliament and one of the most popular attraction in Berlin. We did not go inside but the building was beautiful to look at from the outside. There were also some grass near the building where a lot of tourists and locals were sat enjoying the sunshine.
Entrance is free, but visitor are required to register in advance which can be done online or once you arrive at the Reichmann Building up to 2 hours before admission. It is easy to spot the places where you need to register just follow the queues. You are required to register with a passport or official ID. Audio guides are available in 11 different languages.
The Reichstag Building is open daily from 8 am until midnight last admission is at 10pm but check the website for correct times for your visit. It is a great place to see the sunset over the Berlin Skyline and it is fully wheelchair accessible making it a great attraction to visit in Berlin if you have mobility limitations. You can find more information here
Apart from the Berlin wall, Check Point Charlie was the main Berlin point of interest that I wanted to see. But I was a little dissapointed I dont know why as I am not sure what I was actually expecting but this is now obvisouly very touristy.
It is not entirely what I was expecting we walked down what looked like a busy shopping street and then we were at Check point Charlie, for some reason I expected it to be in an open space not to just stumble across it when walking down the street.
You can pose with the actors dressed as allied soldiers to have photos taken for a fee. There is also a museum you can go in to find out more about the history there is a fee which at the time I visited was £14.50 which I thought was very expensive as we looked through the window and it didnt even look that big.
I would recommend finding out more about the history of Berlin at the Berlin Wall museum which is free and very interesting. However you do have to visit Check Point Charlie when in Berlin as even though it is now a set up with actors you can imagine what it would have been like back when it was in use.
If you are nearby Check point Charlie, check out Charlies Beach which is some food carts and a man made beach. This is a great place to chill.
We would have just walked right past as it is behind some corrugated steel but we were told about it from a expat who lives in Berlin and he often goes here to watch the football.
The food here was delicious and it was nice having a cold beer and a little rest before going off to explore more of Berlin. I had a pulled turkey burger which I have never had before and it was so tasty.
There were lots of other places to eat near Check Point Charlie including coffee shops, fast food places like McDonalds and KFC and a lot of Kebab (Kebap) places which I wanted to try but just ran out of time.
After visiting Check point Charlie we walked to East side gallery and also explored the Memorial of the Berlin Wall which both hold so much history about Berlin.
At the memorial wall there is a information centre which is free. You can get really close to the wall it is weird how it is literally running down the street and I can imagine how scary it would have been to have lived in the city when the wall was erected.
The Berlin Wall was built in 1961 I didnt realise it was this late in the century. The wall was built to divide communist East Germany from West and wasn’t knocked down until 1989. I remember seeing it knocked down on the news but I was only 8 so I didnt realise the impact it actually had on the country.
Reading about it now it is unbelievable to think that this could have even happened imagine what it must have been like to see 12 ft high, no-mans land, minefields, guard towers etc being erected and then the border being placed overnight, families and friends divided for many years.
Day 2 in Berlin
After the first day exploring Berlin I was starting to get my bearings. Whilst going around on the hop on Bus I had seen points of interest that I wanted to return to, in order to find out more about the history of Berlin and its people.
The Memorial to the Murdered Jews, is a place you need to visit even if you just spend a few minutes reflecting on the sheer horror of the history of what happened to the Jews in Berlin and other parts of Europe during the wars.
It was quite a strange feeling walking around the monument as it is unbelievable that 6 million Jews were killed during the holocaust and to think that it was not actually that long ago.
I guess thats why it is quite a solemn experience to walk around the memorial it is definitely a thought-provoking place. I learnt so much about the holocaust when I was at school and find it really interesting I have also recently visited Krakow to go to Auschwitz concentration camp which is also a very interesting place to visit if you are into history.
It was slightly irritating how people were taking selfies and jumping on the memorial, it felt a little disrespectful. I didnt even feel comfortable taking pictures of it, it felt a little strange, but I wanted to capture the beauty of what the memorial now represents. The memorial is 2711 rectangle grey concrete blocks in a grid formation.
It is free to visit and fully accessible. There is an underground information centre which is also free to visit which hosts exhibitions.
The Brandenburg Gate is in Pariser Platz a large open square which was very busy with tourists and well worth the visit.
It was a stunning piece of architecture, I first saw it from the hop on bus, but a closer view was needed to see the detail of the structure. At the top is a statue of a chariot drawn by four horses and even those it is high up the detail is incredible.
I could have looked at the gate for much longer and it is a really nice atmosphere around the gate. Apart from the hundreds of tourists we got to see a local dance group put on a display. I was also surprised at the police presence at the Bradenburg Gate.
There were places to get souvenirs and a refreshment we took a few minutes break here to enjoy an ice cream and do a bit of people watching whilst we were waiting for the bus.
Walk from the gate along the long boulevard to Victory Column which you can break it up by walking through the Tiergarden park which is lovely on a sunny after. Try and find the stand my me tree which is located in Tiergarten park in the intersection of Grosser Weg and Grosser Sternallee. The “chorus” is on a nearby tree close to a smaller way leading off from Grosser Sternallee. This is my favourite film and song, but we couldn’t find the tree as we had been waling for quite some time and I was getting tired. If you have seen the tree, I would love to see a photo, please add it to the comments below.
Now it might sound a little strange to visit a car park, but Führerbunker Parking Lot is famous for being the locations of the bunker where Hitler took his own life.
It is now hidden under an apartment building parking lot as a deliberate attempt to stop people from visiting the place but it hasn’t really done the trick as when I visited there were three tour groups there and two more came as we left so it is still a popular thing to see in Berlin even though you are not really seeing anything the site still golds a lot of history.
There is an information board explaining the site which was a little tricky to find we spend a good ten minutes just walking around the car park, but it is in the corner.
We stopped here for a drink I ended up ordering what I thought was a beer, but it turned out to be bright green cherry flavoured beer a little unusual as I felt as though I was drinking some witches brew.
I noticed quite a few fruity flavoured beers in Berlin, and I had to be careful that I didn’t order a banana beer by mistake as I detest bananas so this would have been my worst nightmare.
Day 3 in Berlin
We had to visit Berlin Zoo as my friend is in love with Pandas and they have two resident pandas at the zoo, otherwise it is not somewhere I would have included in my short time in Berlin.
It was quite a small zoo and we visited on Sunday, so it was very busy with families. Luckily the weather stayed sunny as it was mainly walking outside.
As I mentioned the highlight and the main reason for visited the zoo was to see the giant Pandas and it also seemed that this was a very popular animal for all the other tourists as it was hard to even see the pandas due to all the people.
I felt a little sorry for them, but the male panda just sat there eating his bamboo not faxed by everyone looking at him in fact I think he was posing. The female however was a little shy and didn’t come out to the main area often preferring to hide around the corner plus is was hot, so she was probably cooler off but still a cool animal to see.
Some of the enclosures seemed a little small especially for the elephants and the giraffes. I couldn’t even see the hippo who was under water and the water was very murky.
It was interesting to see the wolves I haven’t seen many before and one was howling.
There is a lot of outdoor space and play areas for children making this a lovely thing to do in Berlin with kids or big kids like me who loves seeing animals.
We went on a river cruise and got to see the city from a different perspective. The Berliner Dom is so pretty from the outside I wish I had had time to go inside if I return, this will be on my list of things to do in Berlin.
However, you get a really good view of the cathedral from the river and also when gong around on the hop on bus we passed the cathedral on a number of occasions. I didnt feel as though I needed to go inside as I was getting to see the beauty of it when passing by.
If you are visiting on a Sunday or even just a sunny day then a great spot to sit and relax in the city is one of the luscious Parks in Berlin. Please note a lot of places and shops do close on a Sunday so double check opening hours of places you are planning to visit.
Other Cool attractions to visit in Berlin
If you are near the Radisson Blu hotel get address go inside in the lobby to see the world’s tallest fish tank.
Monster KabinettPart art gallery, part haunted house, this robotic art display is a terrifying experience.
Pergamon Museum is the most visited, and possibly most controversial, museum in Germany. situated on berlins museum island – doesnt sound particularly interesting why is it visited so much
Berliner Medizinhistorisches Museum : Home to 10,000 medical specimens including the remains of Rudolf Virchow’s extensive collection of pathological specimens.
David Hassoholf museum – David Hassoholf is quite popular in Germany I know him from his days on Knight Rider and Baywatch but Berlin has a whole museum dedicated to the star.
Haus Schwarzenberg Street Art Alley is a narrow passage next to a cafe leads to a courtyard exploding with murals, tags, and paste-ups.
Stasi Musum – A museum about the secret police
Wir Waren Nachbarn (We Were Neighbors) : A unique Holocaust memorial tells the personal stories of the Jewish residents exiled from greater Berlin.
Tresor is a underground Techno club if this is your type of music you may want to visit here.
Liquidroom is a cool spa in building resembling a circus tent, with multiple pools, saunas & underwater music.
Charlottensburg Palace : More Information
Gendarmenmarkt : More Information
Berlin Natural History Museum : More Information
Gedenkstaette Berlin-Hohenschoenhausen : More Information
Shasenshausen Concentrations camp memorial
The Topiography of Terror : More Information
Olympiastadion : More Information
President’s home, Bellevue Palace
Berlin story bunker : More Information
Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church : More Information
Museum Island : More Information
Pergamonmuseum : More Information
Food and Drink in Berlin
After all this exploring you are going to be hungry and thirsty and Berlin has many culinary delights. Here are some top tips on places for food and drink in Berlin.
We were taken to Maximillian by a local who has lived in Berlin for 18 years and his is his favourite place to get a beer and have something to eat. The food was delicious and big portions.
The prices were reasonable, but it did get very busy so be prepared to wait for a table and your order, but it is worth it. First, we went here just for drinks, but the menu was so appealing we went back the next night to try the food and it was delicious. They have Bavarian dishes and the goulash was highly recommended my friend had this was really enjoyed it.
I tried the duck and was surprised at the size it was the biggest duck I have been served and it was good. The best thing to have in Maximillian is a (large beer) it will quench the thirstiest of people, I had to use two hands to even pick the glass up.
I mentioned Charlies beach earlier and if you are hungry when visiting check point Charlie this is a cool venue to visit. It is also a great spot to watch a game of football on big screen and enjoy a beer. Two other cool beer gardens in Berlin are Prater Beer Garden and Brlo Brauhaurst Beer garden. If you want something a bit stronger then try Berlins local spirit Berinaluft which is a shot that can be found in most bars and bottles can be purchased as a souvenir to bring home from local supermarkets.
If sausage is your thing then how about trying a Currywurst. There are lots of places to try this popular dish. I personally didn’t like the sound as it’s a bit of a weird combination of sausage topped with tomato ketchup and curry powder.
Thai Park is a weekly weekend outdoor street food market that takes place in Preußen Park in Berlin’s Wilmersdorf neighbourhood during the summer months.
Scnitzel is a common German dish and there are many options to try it in the city. When we were traveling on the hop on bus we were discussing what we wanted for lunch and both said schnitzel then we went around a corner and saw a big sign advertising schnitzel in a restaurant so we got off the bus and it was absolutely delicious.
One of the thing I loved trying in Berlin was pastries and there were so many tasty treats. As soon as we entered the metro station, we were greeted with stall selling some delicious looking cakes, pies and pastries and we couldn’t wait to try them. If there is one thing I regret during my trip in Berlin and it is not eating enough of these delights. Also, a cheap eating option in the it is to visit a local supermarket this is where we would get a snack for travelling around the city and everything e tried was so good.
Where to stay in Berlin
Hotels in The Ritz-Carlton Berlin” target=”_blank” rel=”noreferrer noopener”>Ritz Carlton Berlin : We went past this luxury hotel in Berlin a few times and if money was no object I would stay here and it looked very nice. Even though it is a expensive luxury hotel it might be worth checking my Hotels in The Ritz-Carlton Berlin” target=”_blank” rel=”noreferrer noopener”>favourite hotel website to see if they have a deal for your stay as who wouldn’t want to stay here if you find it at a bargain price.
Mid Range Hotel in Berlin
Hotels in Scandic Berlin Potsdamer Platz” target=”_blank” rel=”noreferrer noopener”>Scandic Berlin Potsdamer Platz : I loved the hotel that we stay at in Berlin and would highly recommend as a mid range hotel the food and rooms were really nice and the location was perfect for exploring the city.
Budget Hotel in Berlin
Hotels in Grand Hostel Berlin Classic” target=”_blank” rel=”noreferrer noopener”>Grand Hostel Berlin : This hostel has won numerous awards and has private rooms as well as dormitories.
Berlin was a really cool city to explore and even though I had three days there I think there is still so much I didnt get to see so it deserves another visit. If you would like to find out more about Berlin City Breaks click on the image below.
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