You are in Berlin but you do not have more than one or two days to spare? You want to come back home with pictures of the major sights? You want to concentrate on the best touristic highlights of Germany’s capital city? Then this travel profile is what you have been looking for.
Find here our recommendation for making the best out of your short first trip to Berlin.
If you want more general information, check out our ultimate guide to Berlin. We also wrote other profiles if you rather want to avoid the touristic areas and discover the alternative Berlin or if you want to learn all about Berlin’s fantastic history.
Berlin in a nutshell
You probably already know that Berlin is the capital city of Germany and one of the biggest cities in Europe.
With more than 3.5 million inhabitants, you can imagine that there is a lot of stuff to see and to do in Berlin. Which is not especially an advantage when you only have a very limited time at your disposal. So, what should you see?
The big three – The attractions that everyone should see in Berlin
If you think about Berlin I am sure that the first thing which will pop up in your mind is the Brandenburg Gate. This iconic landmark is not only beautiful but it is also a strong symbol for many Germans.
Built in the 18th century, the Brandenburg Gate has been a iconic site for major historical events throughout time. In recent history, the gate was part of the wall splitting Eastern and Western Germany. When the wall was demolished in 1989, the gate border was reopened and the building became a symbol for freedom and unification of Germany.
The center of political events. The impressive glass dome is offers a beautiful view over the city. It is best visited in the evening and with a pre-booking as it is very crowded.
As the name suggests, the “museum island” is an Island packed with Museums, 5 of them to be precise. They are all very impressive and worth a visit but, if you don’t want to step in, the buildings and their imposing facades alone deserve to be seen.
We really recommend you to stroll around the buildings and take some time to enjoy the relaxing atmosphere on the greens.
Some more time during your short stay ?
Right in the core of Berlin Mitte, Hakesche Höfe is Germany’s largest area of enclosed courtyards. Constituted of 8 large courtyards, Hakesche Höfe is filled with bars, boutiques and artist exhibitions.
Famous for its Art Nouveau architecture, this place offers a unique mix between commercial and residential corner and is simply beautiful to visit. You will not regret coming here.
Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe
Berlin is a city with a very strong historical background and, as you know it, not all of it was good.
The memorial site that opened in 2005 next to the Brandenburg Gate was built with the objective to remind and warn about the events of the past.
The museum located underneath is very aggrieving but also an intense experience.
Touristic places that are not worth your time
The TV tower is one of the most frequented place in Berlin but I still do not understand why. Yes, the view is nice but the area around is one of the worst of the city. Anyway, if you are looking for a nice view, you are much better off visiting the Reichstag or getting a drink in one of the numerous rooftop bars that can be found in Berlin.
Alexanderplatz is a well-known shopping area but there are way nicer ones in Berlin and the whole area can get quite dangerous at night.
Checkpoint Charlie is one of the most disappointing sights in Berlin. Yes, it was a checkpoint to cross the border during the time of the wall but all you can see there nowadays is a couple of poorly costumed soldiers asking 10 Euros to take a picture with you. Just avoid it.
If the topic of the wall is interesting you, you might want to check out the Checkpoint Charlie Museum though. You will there impressive examples of techniques that were used by people trying to flee the East side of the city.