Edited by Elodi Troskie
There are so many different parts to Berlin that three days are hardly enough to experience everything this city has to offer. Culture, history, architecture, cuisine, art, music, nightlife, shopping – there is something for every mood, every budget, and every kind of traveler. I have been living in Berlin for about four years, and I still find new things to explore all the time. Here are my suggestions for the best things to do in Berlin in three days whether you're planning to visit in the summer, fall, winter, or spring!
Day 1 - Morning
Start your first day in the heart of Berlin in the most central district of Mitte. This is the best area to stay in Berlin if you want to be as close as possible to all the city’s best-known attractions and cultural sites. Alexanderplatz should be your first stop – one of Berlin’s biggest public squares and the perfect first introduction to the city. From Alex, you can easily reach places like the Fernsehturm, Rote Rathaus, Berlin Dom, and Hackesche Hofe. Fernsehturm is a television tower and the tallest building in Berlin at about 370 meters. The tower’s cafe is a great place to grab breakfast with an amazing view of the city! Next, head to the Berlin Dom, or the Berlin Cathedral, a beautiful historic building that everyone has to see. Berlin travel tip: if you’re staying for a few days, get the Berlin Welcome Card to make getting around the city easier. The card will give you unlimited access to trains, trams and buses, and you’ll also get special prices on many attractions in the city.
Day 1 - Lunch
For a typical German lunch, head to Curry 61 in Orarienburger Street. This family restaurant is one of the best places to get currywurst in Berlin. Their famous homemade curry sauce is freshly cooked throughout the day and the kitchen only uses fresh produce, delivered fresh from the nearby Brandenburg. Their prices won’t break the bank and, since there are few things more German than traditional currywurst and fries, it’s only right to try this on your first day in Berlin. Get a takeaway and walk to the beautiful Monbijou Park just a few minutes from Curry 61 to enjoy your lunch. Opening hours are from 11:30 until 22:30 every day, and until 23:30 over weekends.
Day 1 - Afternoon
While you’re in the Mitte district, there is still so much to explore around Museum Island (the northern half of the neighborhood). There are so many beautiful sites and so much impressive ancient architecture in this area that it can be a bit overwhelming to decide which ones to spend time on! This area is home to a collection of five world-renowned historical museums, earning the island UNESCO World Heritage status. For 18€, you can buy a pass granting you access to all five museums – the Pergamon Museum, Bode Museum, New Museum, Old National Gallery and Old Museum. Children up to the age of 18 can enter for free. If you don’t want to spend the entire afternoon in museums, you can also visit the Moorish-style Neue Synagoge, built in the 1850s as the main synagogue of Berlin’s Jewish community. Located in Orarienburger Street, the synagogue is walking distance from the lunch spot, Curry 61. I suggest walking rather than using public transport – Mitte’s streets are too beautiful not to explore on foot!
Day 1 - Evening and Night
For dinner, I suggest the old-school German gastropub, Max und Moritz, also in Orarienburger Street. Since this restaurant opened in 1902, it has been a favorite among the locals. Although it is also a bar, the laid-back atmosphere makes it family-friendly, so no need to leave the kids at home. The traditional German menu also features a range of dishes specific to Berlin. A must-try is the seasoned veal meatballs cooked in a caper sauce. The portions are big and you can get the main course for around 15€. If you want to head out into town after dinner, a really cool nightclub is the riverside Watergate, located in Falckenstein Street. This club is a bit more upscale and admission of 15€ per person is charged. But if you’re in the mood for a night of dancing to the sets of international DJs, the entrance is worth it.
Day 2 - Morning
Spend the morning in Potsdamer Platz, an urban and modern square in the center of Berlin with a big selection of restaurants, cinemas, theatres, and shopping centers. Stroll through the streets, have breakfast at one of the many cafes, and get a feel of modern Berlin. Potsdamer has an interesting history and has undergone massive changes since it was first built in the early 1900s. Look for some pictures online of what this district used to look like before renovations! There is a metal strip that runs on the ground throughout the square, marking the place where the Berlin Wall used to be. A really cool thing you can do in Potsdamer Platz is taking a virtual, interactive trip back in time. Right in front of the Deutsche Bahn Tower, you can scan the digital cobblestone with the QR-scanner on your smartphone to get a view of historical, panoramic scenes. While you’re in the area, an interesting visit is the Holocaust Memorial, an honorary memorial to the murdered Jews of Europe during the war. The memorial is within walking distance from Potsdamer.
Day 2 - Lunch
A great lunch spot is Mar y Sol, the Spanish restaurant in Savignyplatz. This is a warm, atmospheric space convincing enough to make you feel as though you’ve traveled all the way to Spain for an hour or two. Their soups and salads are really good and, of course, the tapas are a must-try. Order a variety of small dishes from the menu to share around the table. At around 4-6€, the tapas are really affordable – a great option for budget eating in Berlin! Try to get a seat on the outside terrace – the ideal spot to enjoy a glass of Spanish wine and plan the rest of your afternoon. Mar y Sol is open from 11:30 until midnight every day.
Day 2 - Afternoon
Something you can’t miss out on in Berlin is the famous Berlin Zoo, the oldest zoo in Germany, home to more than 20 000 animals. Located just outside of the city center, this will be a short escape from the busy streets where you spent the first half of the day. Visiting the zoo is always a very popular activity for families to do with kids. The management of the zoo is focused on responsible animal tourism and offers special programs to teach kids about species conservation. Admission is 15,50€ for adults and 8€ for children up to the age of 15. You can also visit the Berlin Aquarium just next to the zoo. As Europe’s largest public aquarium, prepare for an experience like never before! Entrance prices are similar to the zoo’s, but you can buy joint tickets at 21€ for adults and 10,50€ for kids if you plan on visiting both.
Day 2 - Evening and Night
Continue the European food experience from lunch with an Italian dinner at Trattoria a Muntagnola. This Italian gem located in Fugger Street is the best place to eat in Berlin if you’re craving pizza, pasta and red wine. Service is good, the food is incredible, and the house wine is a winner. This is quite a popular restaurant so it can get pretty crowded, especially over weekends and during peak tourist season. Book a table beforehand to make sure you get a spot in the house. If you head to the restaurant directly from the zoo or aquarium, it’s easily accessible by a 5-minute car or train ride. Opening hours are from 17:00 until 11:45 every day. For cocktails after dinner, Monkey Bar is one of Berlin’s coolest rooftop bars, located on the top floor of a hotel and featuring a beautiful view of the city. You can even see the monkeys at the zoo from up there – hence the name. The bar has a relaxed, lounge-inspired feel to it, which goes perfectly with the pleasant background music and craft cocktails.
Day 3 - Morning
No visit to Berlin is complete without spending some time in the beautiful Mauerpark, one of Berlin’s most famous public parks. The name, meaning ‘wall park’, comes from its location in West Berlin where the former Berlin Wall used to be. This is the perfect spot to have a brunch picnic while enjoying the music of the local street musicians who come here to practice. Mauerpark has a weekly Sunday flea market where you can find anything from vintage clothes and antique art pieces to street food and local delicacies. And if you’re looking for some alternative fun, you can take part in the Sunday karaoke sessions! A great way to start your final day in Berlin.
Day 3 - Lunch
For a real Vietnamese food experience, go to the Dong Xuan Centre, an enormous indoor market selling the most amazing street foods. This is one of the many places in the city where international cultures come together to create something so unique – this is what makes Berlin such an incredibly diverse city. Apart from the food vendors, you’ll also find other small shops and even hair salons, nail technicians and tattoo parlors. A bonus is that the food at this market is generally low-priced and comes in big portions. Dong Xuan’s opening hours are from 10:00 until 22:00 every day except Tuesdays. Leave room for lots of food and remember to bring cash!
Day 3 - Afternoon
After lunch, take a relaxing stroll through the picturesque Kastanienallee, a trendy upmarket area with a big variety of cafes and quirky shops. You can easily get there from the Vietnamese market by walking along Oderberger Street until it intersects with Kastanien. This area beautifully showcases the old-worldly architecture so characteristic to Europe, with narrow streets and ancient buildings. Grab a coffee at one of the romantic little street-side cafes and watch the people go by – you’ll feel like a character in an arty European film! This area has a lot of really good photo-opportunities, so don’t leave your camera (or phone) at home.
Day 3 - Evening and Night
For dinner I recommend Nola’s, a Swiss restaurant on Veteranen Street. Open from 10:00 until past midnight every day, Nola’s offer modern Swiss-Alpine cuisine from breakfast all the way through to dinner and fondue. The kitchen uses locally sourced seasonal ingredients, so everything is fresh and healthy. After dinner, head to the coolest cafe-turns-wine-bar in Berlin, the Weinereri Forum. Located in the atmospheric Prenzlauer Berg district, this bar operates on the concept of paying a small fee for a wine glass, enjoying unlimited amounts of wine and then, at the end of the night, paying what you think is a fair price – one of Berlin’s best kept secrets. They serve food as well, but the kitchen closes between 20:00 and 21:00, so the big attraction here is the amazing wine. A great way to bring your time in Berlin to an end!
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