How to spend a weekend in Berlin
Berlin is one of Europe’s top city break destinations, and it’s not hard to understand why.
There’s cosmopolitan bars, interesting history, beautiful architecture and tasty food. There’s no denying that there’s a lot to do in Berlin and it can be very difficult to fit it all in. If you’re only going for a weekend, here are our recommendations for making the most of it.
Day 1 – Fernsehturm and exploring the city centre
No trip to Berlin is complete without a trip to the top of the Fernsehturm. The queue for this gathers quickly so we recommend arriving early. If a line has already formed, your ticket will tell you what time to come back. Thankfully, the tower is beside many other well-known Berlin monuments that you can visit while you wait, or after you’ve been to the top.
Nearby is the Neptunbrunnen, a 19th Century water foundation depicting the God of Water, Neptune, and four women representing Prussia's main rivers. Look closely at the fountain, as you’ll spot some animals carved into the ornate display as well.
Just over the river, you’ll find The Berlin Cathedral and Museum Island. The Berlin Cathedral is one of the most prominent buildings in the city and there’s a large grassy area outside if you feel like relaxing. If it’s culture you’re looking for, we recommend heading over to the north side of the island where many of the city’s most significant museums are located. The Altes Museum, Neues Museum, Alte Nationalgalerie, Bode Museum, Pergamon Museum, and the Humboldt Forum will keep your mind captivated for a few hours.
After you’ve been to the top of the Fernsehturm, make sure you head along Unter den Linden towards the Brandenburg Gate. Take some snaps (and a selfie). Then move towards the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, which is around the corner, and feel the quiet eeriness as you wander between the blocks.
By now, you’ll probably want your bed. But if you’ve still got a bit of energy, stroll around the Großer Tiergarten (Berlin’s oldest and biggest park) which is across the road.
Day 2 - Checkpoint Charlie, Berlin Wall and Jewish Museum
When you leave your hotel, head south from the centre towards Checkpoint Charlie and the other WW2 attractions in this area. After you’ve stopped for a picture with the soldier guards, head inside the adjacent Wall Museum. Founded by human rights activists you’ll learn more about the wall, the events that led up to its construction and life after its fall.
Also in this area, you will find remnants of the wall itself. The most prominent is west of Checkpoint Charlie where a timeline gallery has been set up. Remember to stop for some currywurst at Curry by the Wall.
Head further south now to the Jewish Museum. Aside from acting as a Holocaust Memorial, it also explores German-Jewish history in general. The history is massive and there’s plenty to see, so give yourself a few hours to explore.
The Topography of Terror is also nearby and is well worth a visit to really understand the atrocities of WW2 and the Third Reich.
Day 3 – East Side Gallery and evening drinks
If your weekend in Berlin involves a third day, we recommend taking it easy. While it’s great to have a checklist of attractions, sometimes the best way to explore a city is to let your feet wander.
The only main attraction left to see is the East Side Gallery. Here you’ll find another remaining section of the Wall, now covered in street art. Alongside it is a gift shop where you can get your passport stamped to prove you crossed the historical border between East and West Berlin.
To finish your weekend, we recommend checking out some of Berlin’s excellent bars. Berghain is by far the most famous, but it is notoriously difficult to get in to. If you get knocked back (or if Techno isn’t your scene) we recommend a wander around Hackescher Markt Square. It’s nicely lit up at night and is lined with several bars. It’s a great place to head to if you’re not sure what you fancy, but want pretty scenery for your final night in this German mega-city.
If you’ve been to Berlin how would you split up one weekend?
Edited by Morag@BarrheadTravel