Looking for the best Berlin attractions? Many visitors to the German capital are! There are lots of amazing attractions in Berlin to check out.
From the Berlin TV Tower to famous landmarks and museum after museum about art or war history, there are plenty of things to do in Berlin to keep you busy whenever you visit.
We really like Berlin and have visited the city many times. Eric first stopped through Berlin on his classic Europe itinerary years ago. Lisa (being German) has also been there quite often.
One of the best ways to explore Berlin is through its history. Many of the top Berlin attractions take you on a journey to learn all about it. No matter how many times you visit, there’s always something more to learn.
So, here’s our list full of places to visit in Berlin – with a few additional travel tips and recommendations along the way!
Berlin Quick Guide
Best Time to Visit: Spring or Fall is less busy, summer for hot weather, December for German Christmas Markets!
Getting Around: Flat and walkable but very spread out. Use BVG Website for buses, trams, U-Bahn(subway), and S-Bahn.
Top Things to Do: Spree River Sightseeing Cruise, Berlin TV Tower, Reichstag and Glass Dome Tour, Third Reich and Cold War Walking Tour
Where to Stay: NH Collection Berlin Mitte Friedrichstrasse for a central location, TITANIC Gendarmenmarkt Berlin for upscale, the Schulz Hotel Berlin Wall for the Berlin Wall (East Side Gallery).
Top Berlin Attractions
Let’s dive into some of the best things to do in Berlin. In the second part of this article, we’ll also share some helpful info that you should know before your trip!
These Berlin attractions are in no particular order so have a read-through to decide on what you want to see and do!
The Brandenburg Gate
Address: Pariser Platz, 10117 Berlin, Germany
No visit to Berlin is complete without a walk to (and through) the Brandenburg Gate. Built in the 18th century, this neoclassical monument is not only pretty to look at – but it has served a few important functional purposes over the centuries.
The gate itself was used as one of the entry points into what is known as the Berlin Customs Wall. This is different from the Berlin Wall – which actually went around the gate at the time it stood!
The gate is located in the city centre – right on the square known as Pariser Platz. It’s a popular gathering area for photos.
Many top walking tours – like the City Highlights Walking Tour and the Third Reich + Cold War Walking Tour start in Pariser Platz right in front of the Brandenburg Gate!
As one of the most recognizable monuments in the world, you should definitely check out the Brandenburg Gate!
The Berlin Wall (East Side Gallery)
Address: Mühlenstraße 3-100, 10243 Berlin, Germany
One of the top attractions in Berlin is undoubtedly the Berlin Wall. This barrier – erected in August of 1961 – fell physically and symbolically in 1989 and effectively led to a unified Germany and the start of the end of the Cold War.
Today, the wall is one of the most universally recognized symbols in the world.
You will come to realize that there are a few places across Berlin where you can still experience the Berlin Wall standing. We’d suggest that you check out the portion known as the East Side Gallery.
The East Side Gallery is a 1.3 km long stretch of the Berlin wall that is still standing in the East end of Berlin.
Artists were brought in over the decades to paint sections of the wall with murals about – well, pretty much everything. The result is a stunning mix of street art that is moving and fascinating.
To get there, you can take the S-Bahn to Berlin Ostbahnhof or Warschauer Straße (which is a station for both S- and U-Bahn). You can’t miss the wall from either one.
We have both been fortunate enough to visit the Gallery multiple times now and each time the experience is still worth the trip. You might also be interested in checking out the exhibit at The Wall Museum.
If you want to learn more about the history and plan your visit to the East Side Gallery, you can also check out the official Visit Berlin site.
Berlin Wall Memorial
Address: Bernauer Str. 111, 13355 Berlin, Germany
If you are interested in learning more about the Cold War era in Berlin and the divide between East and West Berlin, then there is no better place than the Berlin Wall Memorial.
Located in the north end of the city – close to Berlin Nordbahnhof S-Bahn transit stop, this section of the Berlin Wall is different from that of the “East Side Gallery”.
This section of the wall remains largely untouched with a memorial park featuring information and a museum that gives visitors views of the best-preserved sections of the Berlin Wall.
A Guided Berlin Wall Walking Tour of this area will help you to immerse yourself in the area’s rich history.
One such section is preserved with the full barrier in place (sand, guard tower, barbed wire, etc). The surrounding area – including Mauerpark – is full of history which you can learn about, too.
Address: Platz der Republik 1, 11011 Berlin, Germany
Located just a block north of the Brandenburg Gate you can find one of the most iconic buildings in all of Germany – the Reichstag!
Originally built starting in 1884, the German Parliament building has seen its share of struggles over the years.
The Reichstag was damaged and partially destroyed both by fire (1933) and then by the events of World War II and the Battle of Berlin.
Today, it serves to house the German Parliament (Bundestag) and you can enter it and take a tour. If you want to visit, you have to pre-register your details to clear security for the day you wish to visit.
One of the most visited elements of the building is the iconic glass dome that was constructed on the building’s rooftop.
The structure replaced another glass atrium that stood there over the decades. Now, you can actually walk inside it and up the ramps as you learn about the building and the city below!
If a regular visit isn’t enough for you, you can also have Breakfast at the Reichstag’s Rooftop Restaurant with stunning views of the city below!
We’ve both been to the Reichstag multiple times and it is definitely a popular attraction that’s worth the visit.
Berlin TV Tower
Address: Panoramastraße 1A, 10178 Berlin, Germany
As you gaze over the Berlin skyline, from time to time, you might see a silver ball on a spire gazing back at you.
That’s the Berlin TV Tower – or Berliner Fernsehturm in German – located at the very famous public square Alexanderplatz.
The square is full of shops, restaurants, and a few other attractions which you can check out. It’s also a popular transit hub with many modes of transport passing through.
Built back in the 1960s, the TV Tower was meant to stand as a symbol of Communism over the then-divided Berlin.
Today, you can visit the tower, and learn about its history and the history of the city below with amazing views from 203 metres above the ground!
Our Tip: The Berlin TV Tower is popular – so we’d recommend visiting with a Skip-the-Line Ticket for Faster Entry!
We went up the tower a few years back and it was pretty cool. The observation deck is one thing – but there’s even a bar/restaurant up there that rotates!
If you want to visit, skip the line, and make a window-seat table reservation for dinner overlooking Berlin – then you should definitely check out this TV Tower Window Seat Reservation Ticket.
When we visited, it was at night which made the lights of Berlin cool to see – but we kind of missed the views of the city during the daytime. You can learn more about the Berlin TV Tower here.
River Spree Boat Cruise
Location: Along the River
If you’ve had enough of exploring by land, you might want to try your hand at exploring Berlin from the water. Luckily, the River Spree is a defining feature of the city.
Snaking its way through the city from east to west – and helping to form Museum Island (more below) – the River Spree and its artificial canals provide life to the city in many ways.
Aside from the practical uses like shipping goods, the waterway is part of the much larger geographical area and part of a watershed ecosystem that covers this area of Germany and into Czechia!
As a visitor to Berlin, a popular way to see the city is to hop on a classic boat cruise of the Spree. From the water, you can learn all about the historical buildings from the comfort of your seat. Lisa did a boat cruise during one of her visits and it was a really nice way to see the city.
Due to its popularity, there are lots of different Spree River boat cruises you can venture out on. It all depends on how much time you have to spend:
- Quick 1-Hour Berlin Cruise on the Spree
- Longer 2.5 Hour Berlin Boat Cruise
- 3.5 Hour Boat Tour with Seat Guarantee
Berlin Story Bunker & Museum
Address: Schöneberger Str. 23A, 10963 Berlin, Germany
If you’re keen to dive into Berlin’s history – specifically World War II history – then a visit to the Berlin Story Bunker is a must.
Jam-packed with information across multiple floors, this original bunker-turned-museum documents the rise and fall of Nazism and of Hitler himself.
The bunker is popular for its dense exhibits and recreation of Hitler’s study. The museum covers some difficult topics like the Holocaust so it’s important to give yourself time to take it all in.
Get your Entry Ticket and Audio Guide for the Berlin Bunker Story.
Audio guides in multiple languages are provided to help visitors get the most out of their experience.
The bunker is only a 10-minute walk south of Potsdamer Platz so it’s very centrally located. Lisa visited a while back and found it really interesting – so we would definitely recommend it!
Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe
Address: Cora-Berliner-Straße 1, 10117 Berlin, Germany
You cannot go around Berlin without finding constant reminders of the past – both positive and negative. Just south of the Brandenburg Gate, you will find one such reminder: the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe.
This outdoor memorial consists of over 2700 concrete “stelae” of various heights.
There are many reasons and interpretations for the design – one of which is that you are supposed to feel disorientated among the tallest ones at the core much like Jews did during the Holocaust.
You can wander the grounds for free. There is even an exhibit underneath the memorial with more information and details about this point in history.
Admission here is also free – but it has opening and closing hours. You can learn more about the information centre exhibit here.
If you want to learn more about the city’s history with regards to Nazi Germany and the Third Reich in Berlin, you can also go on a Third Reich Tour around Berlin.
Eric went on a walking tour that incorporated loads of pre-World War II history and it was really interesting, shocking, and fascinating – all at once.
Our Tip: If you’re interested, you can dive deeper into Jewish History specifically on a Jewish History in Berlin Walking Tour.
Address: Karl-Liebknecht-Str. 1, 10178 Berlin, Germany
For another blast from the past experience, head to the DDR Museum.
Located just across the Spree from Museum Island (and just south of Hackescher Markt), the DDR Museum (short for Deutsche Demokratische Republik) chronicles life in East Germany during the German separation.
Inside the museum, you get to experience – through many recreated rooms and hundreds of thousands of authentic objects – what life was like. From mass surveillance to home life, no themes are left untouched!
The Museum is one of the most visited in the city. So, if you’re interested in going, consider getting your ticket in advance.
Get your Ticket for the DDR Museum here.
Again, Lisa has been to the museum a while ago and found it very interesting.
Address: Friedrichstraße 43-45, 10117 Berlin, Germany
If you head there today, you might not feel the tension that was present during the Cold War – but “Checkpoint Charlie” remains, to this day, one of the most visited attractions in Berlin.
This tiny white guardhouse on Friedrichstraße served as one of the entry points dividing East and West Germany during the Cold War.
The name Charlie was given in accordance with the NATO alphabet as the third border crossing opened by Allied forces.
Our Tip: A Berlin Third Reich and Cold War Walking Tour or a Cold War, East Berlin, Communism & Berlin Wall Tour is for you if you’re interested in this period of history.
Today, visitors can walk freely from one side to another. There is a cobblestone line where the border once was and plenty of opportunities to take photographs.
Nearby, there is also a museum called the Mauer Museum (Haus am Checkpoint Charlie) where you can dive into the history of the location and the city. It’s worth a visit if you want to learn more.
Address: Spandauer Damm 20-24, 14059 Berlin, Germany
If you want to visit the largest palace in Berlin, then you need to head to the west end to Charlottenburg Palace. Built back at the end of the 17th century, this royal palace was much smaller and more modest.
Over the years, it expanded and changed architectural/design styles to include baroque and rococo. It was badly damaged in World War II but has since been reconstructed.
Today, you can visit the palace and grounds for a fee which includes interior rooms, the gardens, and many smaller structures like the Belvedere and the Orangery.
If you are looking for more than just a visit, consider a Dinner and a Concert in the Palace!
In the winter, they hold Christmas Markets on the grounds which draws in huge crowds.
Address: Am Lustgarten, 10178 Berlin, Germany
Adding to the theme of “buildings that have changed over the years in Berlin” is the Berlin Cathedral.
First built back in the 16th century, the famous church on Museum Island (we will dive into this area below) was built in its current version in the early 1900s.
Fun Fact: it’s not actually a cathedral AND the long form of the name is actually the Evangelical Supreme Parish and Collegiate Church! In German, you may see it referred to as the Berliner Dom.
Inside, you can find a gorgeous interior and one of the largest pipe organs in Germany with over 7,000 pipes!
If you want to enter the Dom and take a tour or attend prayers (since it is an active place of worship), you can learn more about the Berliner Dom here.
Once inside for a fee, you can visit the interior, the museum, and the crypt, and get views from the outer Dome walkway!
Tip: You can get a full appreciation of Berlin’s architecture and history if you go on a Berlin Historical Walking Tour!
Address: Str. des 17. Juni 31, 10785 Berlin, Germany
Known in German as Großer Tiergarten or just The Tiergarten, the park in Berlin’s centre is the largest in the city and one of the largest urban parks in the whole country!
With paths crossing in all directions leading to various important landmarks or squares in the city, it’s no wonder people get lost in there.
Besides expansive green space, you will find many statues and monuments in the park – including the Victory Column (which we talk about below) and the Soviet War Memorial.
You can learn more about the Tiergarten and some of the more important monuments and points of interest on a Berlin Walking Tour.
We got to hang out in the park for New Year’s Eve celebrations the first year we travelled together. Between the fireworks and the music, it was definitely a night to remember!
Berlin Victory Column
Location: 52°30’51.9″N 13°21’00.5″E
Visible from the Brandenburg Gate in the kind-of middle of Tiergarten, the Berlin Victory Column stands today to commemorate the Prussian victory in their wars (unification wars) in the 19th century.
The column was actually closer to the Reichstag but (true story) the Nazis moved it and that actually (likely) saved it from bombing in World War II. On top is a massive bronze sculpture of Victoria – the Roman goddess of Victory – weighing 35 tonnes!
To get to the base, you can take one of four tunnels under the road to check out the outside up-close.
For a fee during open hours, you can head up to the viewing platform for great views of the surrounding park and the city. You can learn more about the Berlin Victory Column here.
Location: 52°31’02.4″N 13°24’02.0″E
If visiting museums and galleries is more your thing, then you will need to head to Museum Island – an island that is home to multiple different museums!
Located at the end of Unter den Linden, basically opposite the Brandenburg Gate, the island also has the Berliner Dom on it.
Besides offering visitors a great green space for photos in front of the Berliner Dom (Lustgarten), the island in the middle of the River Spree is absolutely jam-packed with museums to check out.
In no particular order, you can find the following museums:
- Pergamon Museum – Known for many antiquities and showcasing the Ancient World
- Alte Nationalgalerie (shown above) – Known for paintings and sculptures from many of the classic eras (Romanticism, Impressionism, etc.)
- Neues Museum – Known for Egyptian History, more antiquities, and the bust of Nefertiti
- Altes Museum – Known for even more antiquities lie vases, coins, jewellery, etc. from Greek and Roman Empires
- Bode Museum – Known for its collection of sculptures and other art
Address: Hackescher Markt, 10178 Berlin, Germany
If you want to get in a bit of shopping, grab a bite to eat, or go cafe hopping, then head to Hackescher Markt!
This popular area (and public square) is also a busy transit stop making it super easy to get to and from other places in the city.
The area itself is located just to the northeast of Museum Island on the other side of the River. You can learn all about the area and what shops await you at Hackescher Markt here.
The area is also popular for walking tours to leave from since it’s central/north in the city centre and close to many of the top attractions.
Our Tip: Here is a Berlin Walking Tour that leaves from Hackescher Markt, should you be interested!
It’s also a great area to stay near with that many cafes around!
We really liked Röststätte Berlin and Ben Rahim for cafes close by!
Address: Gendarmenmarkt, 10117 Berlin, Germany
As one of the most beautiful squares in the city, Gendarmenmarkt is understandably a bit overwhelming. This is because there is just so much to do and see here!
Located in the city centre to the south of Museum Island and the main street Unter den Linden, this massive open square is home to the Berlin Concert Hall (Konzerthaus Berlin), the French Church (Französischer Dom) and German Church (Deutscher Dom) at the north and south end.
Learn all about beautiful, historic Gendarmenmarkt on a City Highlights Berlin Walking Tour!
Funny enough, the German Church is actually not a church at all – but a museum dedicated to German parliamentary history which you can visit.
The French Church is also not actually a church – but a tower – and houses the Huguenot Museum which is dedicated to the history of the French community in Berlin. From the tower, you get great panoramic views.
In the middle of the square, you will find a beautiful monument/fountain dedicated to the German poet Friedrich Schiller (Schillerbrunnen).
In the summer, there is outdoor seating for a few cafes in and around the square while the wintertime brings German Christmas Markets to check out!
Address: Unter den Linden 7, 10117 Berlin, Germany
Also along the Unter den Linden street is a massive building that you cannot miss – this is because it’s also very pretty!
The Berlin State Opera House, originally founded in 1742, was damaged and rebuilt after World War II.
Today, the Opera House features top performances in the city from ballet and theatre to orchestras, and more! If you want to see a performance while you are in Berlin, check the Berlin Opera House schedule here.
The square to the west of the building is also a very important spot in Berlin’s history – as this is where you find Bebelplatz.
Bebelplatz is the site of the infamous 1933 book burning by the Nazi party. Today, there is an underground library you can see through a glass window – to empty shelves – which has space for the 20,000 books that were lost here.
Things to Consider When Visiting Berlin
If you are planning a trip to Berlin, here are a few things that you should know before you set off exploring.
We thought it would be helpful to cover things like history, language, weather, transportation, accommodations, and more!
General Information About Berlin
You might already know this, but Berlin is the capital – and the largest city – of Germany. We could tell you all about the history of Berlin but wow would be a very long blog post.
In short, the city has many rich historical sights from both good and darker times over the 19th and 20th centuries. The city was even divided up after World War II and was physically divided by the Berlin Wall.
You can definitely learn about this when you are there exploring places and checking out exhibits like the East Side Gallery, Checkpoint Charlie, the Reichstag, and more.
It’s important to be respectful when visiting historical sights and not make fun of the German past. It can be a sore spot for many people – even to this day.
The language spoken is German but English can be found at many of the top attractions and restaurants in the city.
Just so you know, the money used in Berlin (and Germany, in general) is the Euro. This makes travelling around other parts of Europe easier – but you’d be surprised how many different currencies you may run into!
Best Time to Visit Berlin
The best time to visit Berlin definitely depends on the activities you wish to do and the size of the crowds you are looking to face.
It should come as no surprise that the summer months from June to August are warmer – but there can also be very large crowds at many of the top attractions.
Lots of the top attractions are enjoyed outdoors in the open air – so this is important to consider.
Berlin doesn’t get super cold in the wintertime – the temperature hovers around 0 degrees Celsius. However, those months bring with them wind and rain with occasional snow.
If you do book a Berlin walking tour, they usually run in rain or shine but have reduced tour times in the winter season. However, during the winter there are classic German Christmas markets to enjoy in Berlin!
So with all that in mind, if you are flexible, we’d suggest the spring or fall for travel – May or September and October – when the crowds aren’t too crazy.
Read More: If you need help with packing, here’s our packing list for Europe!
Getting Around Berlin
As for getting around Berlin, you have loads of options. It’s easy to walk to top attractions when you are in the city centre (Berlin Mitte).
That said, Berlin is very large and spread out pretty well. You’d get tired of walking after some time – and you’ll need your feet to explore the attractions once you get to them!
If you plan on seeing lots of top Berlin attractions and using public transportation, you might be interested in an EasyCityPass or a BerlinWelcomeCard.
Berlin has a pretty good transport system for you to use. It’s made up of four main ways to get around: subway (called the U-Bahn), street trams, buses, and S-Bahn trains (overground metro) to use.
If you want to use public transportation, you can check out the different options for tickets/passes on the BVG Website. You could also get a taxi if needed.
If you don’t want to get around Berlin yourself, another excellent way to see Berlin if you are short on time is with a guided tour. Berlin – being the historic capital of Germany – has many different non-walking tour offerings to take in different perspectives of the city:
Where to Stay in Berlin
If you’re visiting Berlin for a few days, you’ll need a place to stay. Luckily, Berlin is a large city with a place to stay for everyone.
There are lots of great districts to stay in – each with a variety of accommodations (hotels, apartments and aparthotels, hostels, etc.) to suit everyone’s styles and budgets.
Check for Hotels and other Accommodations in Berlin here.
For specific examples of hotels in Berlin, the NH Collection Berlin Mitte Friedrichstrasse is a top choice for a central location close to the Brandenburg Gate.
Those looking for a bit of an upscale stay might be interested in staying at TITANIC Gendarmenmarkt Berlin.
Finally, the Schulz Hotel Berlin Wall is a very popular option for those wanting to stay close to the Berlin Wall (right beside the East Side Gallery).
Otherwise, we’ve also stayed at Meininger Hotel Berlin Central Station which is a more affordable hotel option located just outside of Berlin HBF.
The area outside this station (contrary to what you might think about train stations) is very developed and busy with travellers.
And there you have it – some of the most classic things to do in Berlin. Of course, there are so many other things to check out in Berlin – touristy and non-touristy – so there’s always going to be something for everyone.
You will have no problem filling up your time in Berlin!
As always, Happy Waddlin’,
Also, if you are planning a trip to Berlin (or planning a Germany itinerary, in general) here are a few more posts that you may find helpful:
- Must-Knows When Travelling to Germany For the First Time
- Our One Day in Berlin Itinerary!
- Explore Cities Like Hamburg or Wiesbaden
- See Bavarian Gems Like Würzburg and Bamberg!
- Some Useful German Phrases to Help You Out!