Berlin – 3 days guide to the hipster city with culture & travel tips

by deertraveler
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Berlin - we have already visited this city two times, but we would return hundred times again!  Full of history, art, culture, hipster, hippie corners, bars, exhibitions and colorful humans. Let’s explore together this city in 3 days!

At the Christmas market in the Alexanderplatz

1.day

On the first day we cover the Gendarmenmarkt, Reichstag Building, the Victory Column, the Brandenburger Gate, the Memorial to the Murdered Jews in Europe, the Potsdamer Platz.

 

You can change the order of visiting these attractions, because they’re close to each other.  

Gendarmenmarkt

Opening times: Everyday: 24 hours

Entrance fee: -

Time spent: At least 20 min.

Waiting to enter time: -

Public transport: Subway: Station - Hausvogteiplatz

The most remarkable attractions of the Gendarmenmarkt square are the twin churches, the French and the German cathedrals. Did you know that they were not built at the same time? Flanked by the churches you can find the concert house (Konzerthaus) of Berlin, where you can attend the presentations of the Orchestra of Berlin. You can also drink a coffee in one of the pretty cafés or restaurant around the square.

From this square you can easily walk to the Potsdamer Platz.

 

Gendarmenmarkt

Potsdamer Platz (Potsdam Square)

   Opening times: Everyday: 24 hours

   Entrance fee: -

   Time spent: At least 30 min

   Waiting to enter time: -

   Public transport: Subway: Station: Mohrenstrasse

The Potsdamer platz was in the past one of the most important economical spots in Germany and Europe. The first traffic light of Europe was constructed here as well. At the end of the II. World War the square was destroyed and during the occupation the place was abandoned. After the fall of the wall, the people of the city dedicated a lot of energy and time to reconstruct the square. Nowadays you can find a lot of restaurants and a shopping mall on the square. There is also an open exhibition, you can watch the remains of the Berlin Wall. The last original segments were torn down in 2008, but six sections were later erected in front of the entrance to the Potsdamer Platz station.

Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe - Holocaust Memorial

      Opening times: Everyday: 24 hours

      Entrance fee: -

      Time spent: At least 20 min

      Waiting to enter time: -

      Public transport: Subway: Station: Mohrenstrasse

Designed by the architect Peter Eisenman, this place is a memorial for all the murdered Jews during the second world war. The place is designed to create an uncomfortable atmosphere with its 2711 pillars and represents the “disordered order” that lost contact with the human reason. If you decide to visit this place, remember that it’s a memorial spot and you need to keep silence and be respectful.

From here you can just walk some metres and you will find yourself in the Pariser Square.

Holocaust Memorial

Pariser Platz - Brandenburger Tor

      Opening times: Everyday: 24 hours

      Entrance fee: -

      Time spent: At least 30 min

      Waiting to enter time: -

      Public transport: Subway: Station: Bundestag

The Brandenburger Gate is a neoclassical monument from the 18th century, it was built by the king of Prussia and it was the city gate to the capital of Margraviate of Brandenburg. This gate was often the center of historical events, it witnessed all the important social and political changes of Berlin, and that’s why it’s represents European history, unity and peace at the same time. Nowadays it’s the gate to the long boulevard of Unter den Linden.  The gate and most of the Pariser Platz - which is the square in front of the gate - are now closed for vehicle traffic and you have to go there early if you want to beat the crowds.

Brandenburger Tor- Brandenburger Gate in rain

Reichstag Building

      Opening times: Everyday: 08:00 – 00:00 / Last entrance at 21:30

      Entrance fee: free entrance (I M P O R T A N T: registration in advance is required)

      Time spent: At least 1 hour if you go inside as well

     Waiting to enter time: 00:15 – 00:30 min. Depending of the day and the mass time

      Public transport: Subway: Station: Bundestag

This amazing place is nowadays the parliament palace of Germany, but it has a lot of stories behind. You can’t skip this when you’re in Berlin, the dome is the most famous part of the building.

You have to register in advance to enter. Click here to register on the website of the Bundestag. If you forget to book in advance, you can still go to the service center and ask if they have some free appointments. You can plan your day after you know at which time can you visit the Reichstag, you can start or finish your day here as well.  

You need to be 15 minutes before your appointment in the line to the security gates and pass through the security control. Once you’re inside you will be able to get a lot of infos in different languages and explore the dome on your own, or you can book a guided tour as well.

From the Reichstag you can go to the Victory Column or the Brandenburger Tor, but it also depends on your appointment at the Reichstag. Between the Brandenburger Tor and the Column there is a long avenue called Unter den Linden. This boulevard is running from the City Palace to Brandenburg Gate. This is the most beautiful avenue of Berlin and it’s full of linden trees from both sides.

Reichstag - Bundestag

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Berlin Victory Column (Berlin Siegessäule)

      Opening times: Everyday: 08:00 – 00:00 / Last entrance at 21:30

      Entrance fee: free entrance

      Time spent: At least 30 min.

      Waiting to enter time: 0 - 15 min.

      Public transport: Subway station: Bundestag

This monument commemorates the victories of Prussia and the Austrian empire against Denmark. The place has two entrances with a very lovely tunnel. The monument is on the amazing avenue Unter den Linden, you just have to walk straight away from the Brandenburger Tor to the column. The column is in the middle of this huge park called Tiergarten.

Fun fact: The Angel of Independence in Mexico City looks very similar to this monument, because both of the monuments echo the original, the Alexander Column in Saint Petersburg, Russia.

Nightlife tip:

Hackescher Markt

Explore the nightlife at the Hackescher Markt, which is full of restaurants, bars and cafés. Don’t forget to try the famous Curry Wurst, which is a sausage with curry sauce. 🙂

 

Brandenburger Gate at sunset

2. day

Museumsinsel (Museum Island)

      Opening times: Everyday: 24 hours, Museums: Different time schedules

     Entrance fee: Depending on the museum, General Ticket for all the museums: 18

      Time spent: At least 30 min (outside of the museums, strolling around in the island)

      Waiting to enter time: Depending on the day and the museum

      Public transport: S-Bahn station Hackescher Markt

We decided to dedicate the second day in Berlin to the famous Museum Insel and its surrounding. This trace of land in the middle of the Rhine river is full of beautiful buildings, and each of them is a very important and special Museum.

Good time management is important if you want to visit all the museums the same day, if you click here you can buy the special ticket for entering to all the museums for 18 euros.

The five museums are:

  • Pergamon Museum
  • Bode-Museum
  • Neues Museum (New Museum)
  • Altes Museum (Old Museum)
  • Alte Nationalgalerie (Old National Gallery)

These museums are the result of purpose to share the amazing history and heritage of the German culture, apart from the German explorations and art. In the Pergamon Museum you can see the well-known “Ishtar gate” and a lot of Egyptian, Byzantine and German antique artifacts. In the Old National Gallery you can see the paintings of the famous German painter, Caspar David Friedrich.

Museumsinsel - Museum island

Berliner Dom (Berlin Cathedral)

      Opening hours:

1 April - 30 November: Monday to Saturday: 9am - 8pm, Sunday: 12 am - 8 pm 

1 October - 31 March: Monday to Saturday: 9am - 7pm, Sunday: 12 am -7 pm 

      Entrance fee:  adults: 7 euro, students: 5 euro

      Time spent: At least 30 min.

      Waiting to enter time:  10 min

      Public transport: S-Bahn Station Hackescher Markt

Another one of the amazing constructions in the island is the Berlin Cathedral, this is one of the most beautiful photo spots. Even if it has the title of cathedral, the building has never accommodated a catholic bishop. The basilica serves the Protestant community of Berlin and the surrounding areas.  You can enjoy a 360° panoramic view from the dome of the church, and you can visit the beautiful baroque crypts of the Hohenzollern dynasty as well.

You can book your ticket in advance on the webpage of the basilica here.

The Berlin City Palace -still under construction- is on the other side of the Unter den Linden, in front of the Cathedral.

People Tree

Alexanderplatz and Fernsehturm (TV-Tower)

      Opening times: Everyday: 24 hours

      Entrance fee: Tower price: 16, 50 euro

      Time spent: At least 30 min + 1 hour in the tower

      Waiting to enter time: -

      Public transport: Subway station: Alexanderplatz

The Alexanderplatz used to be the center of the old Berlin, but nowadays it’s still a very representative square. Thousands of people are crossing here the railway tracks. The television tower was constructed in 1969 by the of the Democratic German Republic to show the superiority if their government. You can also buy a ticket online to avoid the queue and enjoy the amazing panorama view over Berlin! The World Clock is also here, you can check the time in every city of the world. There is a restaurant in the tower which rotates over Berlin at a height of 200 metres.

Rotes Rathaus (Red town hall)

      Opening times: Mon - Fri: 09:00 - 18:00

      Entrance fee: Free entrance

      Time spent: At least 30 min.

      Waiting to enter time: -

      Public transport: Subway station: Alexanderplatz

The Rotes Rathaus is next to the Alexanderplatz, it’s the Berlin mayor’s office. This unique building is the town hall of Berlin. The facade is made of red bricks, the name comes from there. You can visit a lot of amazing rooms in the building and see a collection of paintings made by Rolf Dübner, who painted all the star citizens of Berlin.

After visiting the town hall, you can stroll around the district called Nikolaiviertel. It’s  a picturesque neighbourhood with along the Spree river, with lots of cute cafés and restaurants. Here you can take look at the St. Nicholas’ Church as well.  

 

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Nightlife tip:

Kreuzberg is definitely the party district of Berlin, so we recommend you to go out in the night experience a bit of the hister mood of the city. Kreuzberg is known as Europe’s hipster central, and it’s reasonable: the streets are full of graffities, vintage shops, cool cafés and artists. Don’t forget to make friends and get to know the locals! 🙂

3.day

Berlin has a remarkable history: some of the most important events of the 20. century happened here. We have already been to Berlin two times, so we know that there is a lot to see. Everyone is different and has different preferences. On the third day in Berlin you can also decide to visit more museums in Berlin (there is a lot, like: Modern Art Museum, Jewish Museum, German History Museum, Natural History Museum). You can also follow our plan and visit the Charlottenburg castle, then head to see some remains of the Berlin Wall.

Charlottenburg

   Opening hours:

April - October: Tue-Sun 10-18 

November - March: Tue-Sun 10-17

   Entrance fee: 10 euro, reduced ticket: 7 euro

   Time spent: At least 3-4 hours

   Waiting to enter time: 10 min

    Public transport: S-Bahn: Westend

This palace was built by Friedrich III Prussian king in 1699 for his wife Charlotte. It was built as a summer palace directly by the Spree river, mainly in rococo and baroque-style. Inside there is a collection of French paintings, but the visitors can also see the royal rooms, porcelain collections. The extensive baroque gardens are open to the public for no charge.

Topography of Terror

      Opening times: Everyday: 10:00 - 20:00

      Entrance fee: Admission free

      Time spent: At least 2 hours

      Waiting to enter time: 00:10 - 00:15 min

      Public transport: Subway: Postdamer Platz.

This is an impressive outdoor and indoor museum, it’s definitely one of our favourites. The admission is free as well, the visitors can walk next to the remains of the Wall and read all the historical informations in signs next to them. In the building of the museum were located  the central institutions of Nazi persecution and terror between 1933 and 1945. The exhibition is both in English and in German, however the German parts contain more information. The new building is called Documentation Center and it was finished in 2010. It’s hosting 3 permanent exhibitions and temporary exhibitions as well. 

There are also lockers available for visitors. Take your time here and prepare yourself for a cathartic experience, if you really read all the informations and watch all the photos of the Nazi terror.

East Side Gallery

      Opening times: Everyday: 24 hours

      Entrance fee: Admission free

      Time spent: At least 30 min.

      Waiting to enter time: -

      Public transport: S-Bahn: Station: Ostkreuz; Wall Museum: S-Bahn Warschauer Straße

The Berlin Wall is the symbol of the unification of Germany, but 30 years ago it was still representing the opposite. The II. World War left open wounds in the hearts of a lot of Europeans, and the years after war brought even more tensions and suffering. But luckily, the seek for freedom was more powerful, and the wall got destroyed in 1989. Most of the original Wall got torn down, but you can still watch it in different parts of the city. The most famous remains are in Eastern Berlin, and nowadays it’s memorial called East Side Gallery. It’s called gallery because this is the longest connected piece of the Wall covered with amazing artworks, paintings, graffitis. The most famous one is the brotherly kiss between Honecker and Brezhnev.

You can start to walk along the 1,3 km wall from the S-Bahn Station Ostkreuz, and end your journey in the Wall Museum. You can also go from the S-Bahn Station Warschauer Straße directly to the museum and then walk along to wall to Ostkreuz.

 

East Side Gallery

Checkpoint Charlie

  Opening hours: it's open every day, 24 hours

  Entrance fee: You need to pay if you want to take a photo with the actors, but the checkpoint and the open air exhibition are free of charge

  Time spent: At least 15 min

  Waiting to enter time: -

  Public transport: Subway station: Kochstraße

This place used to be the only open spot between East Berlin and West Berlin during the Cold War (1947-1991).The name comes from the NATO phonetic alphabet (Alpha, Bravo, Charlie), and this was the third checkpoint opened in Berlin, so it got the name Charlie.  It was of course heavily guarded by soldiers from both sides. Even if nowadays it’s just a popular photo spot, in the past it meant the hope for freedom to a lot of people. This checkpoint witnessed a lot of attempts to escape from East Berlin, most of them ending with death. Nowadays there is an open air exhibition next to the remains of the wall on the corner of Schützenstraße and Zimmermannstraße, where you can read about the stories of the failed and succeeded attempts to cross the border.

 

Where to stay in Berlin

Berlin is not an expensive city, you can easily find an accomodation on a budget if you're booking it on time. We tried all these three options in Berlin:

Couchsurfing:

Couchsurfing is a global community of 14 million members in more than 200,000 cities. You can open a profile and host other travellers in your home, and get a bed or a couch in return next time when you travel somewhere. It's the perfect place for adventurous people, you can explore a city with a local, or connect and meet up with other travelers.

AIRBNB:

If you're travelling with a group and you want to share the costs of an apartment, this is the best option for you. On airbnb you can also find great options if you're travelling solo or as a couple, and you feel more comfortable in room or flat just for yourself. The rooms and flats are rented by private people. Click here  and get a discount for your booking with airbnb!

Booking:

Explore all the deals of booking your stay in hostels and hotels in Berlin! 

Booking.com is the biggest website for booking your accommodation, with thousands of hotels, hostels, and reviews of all of them. As frequent travelers, we get the best deals here if we want to stay in hostels or hotels. If you want to find other accommodation that fits more to your needs, click on our Booking.com deals finder for Berlin:

 

 

We hope we could help you with our guide! Have a wonderful trip to this amazing city!

If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact us or leave us a comment here below! 🙂

Booking.com

Want to get more inspiration for travelling in Europe? Check out our travel guides:

Madrid, the 2 days ultimate guide 

The best way to spend 3 days in Rome 

Hallstatt, the perfect day trip in Austria

 

 

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