Berlin is a beautiful city steeped in culture and rich history. From beautiful museums and historic buildings to delicious restaurants and cafes to try out, there is something for every taste in the city of Berlin.
Here is a little bit of history about Berlin. Berlin was originally part of the Kingdom of Prussia, which eventually changed over to the German Empire in 1871. The city itself was completely destroyed by bombings during the Second World War as a way to eradicate Nazi-occupied Germany. In 1961, the Communist Eastern government chose to build a wall, separating East Berlin from West Berlin. This caused a great period of unrest for the city until the wall finally was removed in November of 1989. These days, Berlin has been fully restored to the beautiful capital city that it was meant to be.
When you visit Berlin, it’s best to find a centrally located hotel that is near the metro stations, there are wonderful hotels, located at city center, that will not break the bank for your trip. Staying in the middle of the city will give you great walkability to your destinations, and ease of use for public transit to get to those landmarks that are further away. Since you only have four days to spend in Berlin, it’s best if you choose a hotel close to the transitways to avoid lengthy rides to and from your destinations.
Here is your four-day itinerary for visiting Berlin:
Day 1 in Berlin:
Museum Island, The Berlin Wall Memorial, and a Boat Tour
You might still be a little tired from your travels, so today will be a little bit about relaxing and quiet visits. The first stop in your itinerary is the Museum Island, a UNESCO heritage site and a home to five famous museums. It’s recommended to purchase a Berlin Museum Pass or the Berlin Welcome pass ahead of time to enjoy these museums (and many other attractions for free). The Museum can be accessed from the U6 subway line, or the S-Bahn lines 1, 2, 25, 5, 7 or 75.
Museum Island is home to five different museums, the Pergamonmuseum, the Bode-Museum, the Neues Museum, the Alte Nationalgalerie and the Altes Museum.
The Pergamonmuseum encompasses vast treasures from the Ancient East. Many of the artifacts are from Asia, Egypt and the Caucasus areas. This museum is home to the famous Ishtar Gates of Babylon, the Statue of a Man at Prayer and many more important pieces. This museum is undergoing a major renovation that will be complete int he year 2025.
The Bode-Museum has had a recent renovation and rejuvenation project completed on it and is now home to an impressive collection of Medieval sculptures. This museum also houses the sculptures of Venus and Mercury within its dome. The Bode is also a popular tourist destination due to its picturesque location and impressive architecture.
Neues Museum was originally founded in 1841 but was seriously damaged in the Second World War. Work on refurbishing the museum began in 1999 and finished in 2009. This museum is home to the bust of Nefertiti which is not to be missed.
Alte Nationalgalerie rises above the other museums on the island, which sets an impressive stage. This museum exclusively showcases pieces from the neoclassical through Biedermeier periods and includes many paintings by Renoir, Monet, and Manet. The museum was closed for a period of time following the Second World War and remained closed until 2001 when it opened it’s doors once again.
Altes Museum is the last museum on Museum Island. It is an impressive columned building and features an expansive atrium and rotunda. The museum is home to primarily Greek and Roman art and sculpture. Many of the museums on Museum Island are closed on Mondays’s, so plan accordingly to avoid disappointment.
The Berlin Wall Memorial
Once you leave Museum Island, get on the U8 towards Bernauer Straße to visit the Berlin Wall Memorial. This memorial consists of the Monument, a Documentation Center, a Chapel of Reconciliation, the memorial grounds, a Ghost Station and the Visitors Centre. Declared in 1990 before the wall was completely destroyed, the monument opened to the public in 1998. No visit to Berlin is complete without a trip to this important monument to learn about the history of the wall and why it came down in 1989.
Your last stop on your first day is a boat tour of Berlin. There are plenty of different tours to choose from like the 1-hour historic tour, or, an evening dinner cruise. Since it is later in the day, it would be the perfect time to see the city in the evening. From the memorial, take the U6 towards Französische Straße and then walk to Friedrichstraße to catch your boat. Berlin is known for its many bridges that cross the Spree and Havel rivers, so no visit to Berlin would be complete without a tour from the water. Boat tours run from April to October, so keep that in mind when planning your trip to Berlin.
Day 2 in Berlin:
City West, the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, Kurfürstendamm, Zoologischer Garten and the Charlottenburg Palace
Day two is jam-packed with things to see, so we hope you are well-rested after your first day. Today, you’re going to see famous churches, a zoo, and a palace. From City Centre, take the U1 towards Kurfürstendamm from which you can walk to your destinations for the day. At the end of the day, make the trip in reverse to get back to your hotel. The Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church stands as a memorial for peace and reconciliation. The building of the church started in 1891 and was completed in 1895 and featured five church bells, the second biggest in Germany at the time. During the Second World War, the bells no longer rang as they were melted down to make munitions at the time. The church was badly damaged during the bombings in Berlin during World War II and to this day, it has not been fully reconstructed. While re-designed during the 1950s and early 1960s, the damaged portions of the church were included in the design as a memorial to war and destruction.
Once you’ve seen the church, it’s time for something a little lighter, a walk over to the Kurfürstendamm, a legendary shopping street in West Berlin. Even if you choose to just window-shop, the lovely tree-lined streets, small cafes and restaurants will provide a relaxing few hours. Sit and have a coffee and pastry at one of the renowned cafes that line the street.
After some shopping and eating, it’s time to head over to the Zoologischer Garten, which is home to a concept mall, plus, Germany’s only set of Panda bears at the zoo. This zoo plays an important part in helping to conserve endangered species through the European Breeding Programmes. Next to the zoo is the city’s aquarium which houses most of the fish and amphibians that call the zoo home.
Once you’ve had your fill of the zoo and aquarium, then, you’ll want to head over to the U2 in the direction of Ruhleben and get off at the Sophie-Charlotte-Platz in order to visit the palace. The Charlottenburg Palace was built at the end of the 17th century for the former king of Prussia and his wife. What made this palace so impressive was the Amber Room, whose walls were decorated entirely in Amber. It is definitely a sight to behold. The grounds of the palace are home to several beautiful gardens, carp-ponds and the famous Tea House and viewing tower. A visit in spring or summer will allow you to see these gardens at their most beautiful.
A busy-second day means it’s now time for a great meal at one of West Berlin’s best restaurants, they definitely have something for every taste, including an American-style diner as well as several sandwich shops and pho-noodle houses.
Get back to your hotel early, as day three is going to be just as busy as day two, so you will need your rest.
Day 3 in Berlin:
East Berlin, the German Historical Museum, Brandenburg Gate, Reichstag, The Holocaust Memorial, and Hackescher Markt
Day three is just as busy as day two was, and includes many historical landmarks and important pieces of history. From the German Historical Museum to the Holocaust Memorial, this day will be filled with emotion. Prepare yourself for the busy day with a large breakfast.
The German Historical Museum
The German Historial Museum is easily accessed by taking the S2 towards Berlin Friedrichstraße station where you can then walk to the museum. This museum devotes itself to the history of the city and opened in 1987. It includes wings for German artifacts and images, a library that houses important German literary works and a Cinema that shows various German movies. While most of the content is available only in German, you can get an audio-guide in English that will help you navigate your way through this museum.
After the museum, you’re going to head over to the Brandenburg Gate which was once the border of the famous Berlin Wall. It stands as a reminder of the once tumultuous relationship between Germany and the rest of Europe, but also as a reminder of European unity and peace. This cobblestone pedestrian area is the perfect place to take a few photos as a reminder of your time in Berlin.
Once you’ve seen the gate, it’s time to visit the Reichstag, it’s famous dome is home to thousands of visitors each year, so it’s highly recommended you book your ticket months in advance. This building is historically relevant for its part in disguising the German government during WWII. These day’s, it is once again home to Berlin’s Parliamentary agents. The dome allows you a unique view of the entire city of Berlin, so this is not to be missed.
The Holocaust Memorial
After visiting Reichstag, it’s time to see the Holocaust Memorial opened in 2004 as a ‘Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe.’ It features 2,711 concrete slaps placed in a grid-pattern with an attached underground memorial that holds the names of the 3-million murdered Jewish people in Germany. The site of the memorial stands on the former ‘Death Strip’ of the Berlin Wall. This memorial is a must-see, to contemplate quietly the atrocities of the past, within this beautiful city in which you stand.
Once you’ve seen the memorial, jump on the S-train towards Hackescher Markt, where you will find plenty of boutiques and restaurants to enjoy this evening. Here you can take some time to relax and unwind after an emotional day. You can pop into some of the quaint boutiques in search of some souvenirs to take home. Finish out this day with a stop at one of the many food places within the market, and if you’re up to it, enjoy some of Berlin’s nightlife at one of the many bars or cafes.
Day 4 in Berlin:
Gemälde Galerie, Potsdamer Platz, Tiergarten, Siegessäule, Kreuzberg: Bergmannkiez, Tempelhof Airport
Day four is your last day in Berlin, so it’s time to catch up on everything that was missed the last three days. You’re going to want to ensure you’re wearing comfortable shoes as there will be a lot of walking involved today.
Your first stop is going to be the Gemälde Galerie, for this, you have to take the M29 bus towards Potsdamer Brücke. From there, you can walk over to the Gemälde Galerie, a beautiful museum that holds works from Rembrandt, Rubens, and Botticelli. This museum is a bit off the beaten path, so it may be less crowded than some of the other museums in Berlin.
After stopping at the museum, you’re going to take a quick stroll over to the Potsdamer Platz. This area may not look like much, but considering it was flattened during the bombing of Berlin, it has come a long way. This is a newer area of the city, having been erected only in the 1990s after the wall came down. It’s a trendy neighborhood, comprised of many fun cafes and restaurants, if you’re hungry, this is a great place to stop for a rest and a bite to eat.
Once back on your feet, head on over to the Tiergarten, one of Berlin’s oldest parks. Originally intended to be used as hunting grounds, today, it’s grounds are used as the home of the President of Germany. Off the grounds of the River Spree, The Tiergarten is a great place to take a stroll through nature and relax and unwind on your last day. At the center of the garden is the Siegessäule, which features a statue of Victoria, the goddess of victory. Those who have a finess for fitness can venture to the top of the tower for a panoramic view of the city.
Once you’ve left the park, head on over to the Kreuzberg: Bergmannkiez, a trendy neighborhood with plenty of fun shops and cafes which is very popular with the tourists. Use this time to do some last-minute shopping as well as to have lunch and unwind after a busy day so far.
Today is all about relaxing and unwinding after a busy couple of days, so your last stop for the day is the Tempelhof Airport, this former airfield is now home to a park and beer garden. Rent a bike and cruise along the former landing strip of this airfield for a unique once in a lifetime experience to write home about. Relax with a German beer and some food while you have a picnic on the grounds.
You’ve now seen much of the city in just four days, you’re probably exhausted, so have one last meal and then head back to your hotel to prepare for your journey home.
If you happen to be in Berlin during the famous Oktoberfest, you’ll have to devote a day to visiting this impressive festival. The festival runs from mid-September through the beginning of October and features traditional dress, beer tastings, and amazing food. This is definitely something that you would not want to miss, so if your travel allows for it, try to be in Berlin for Oktoberfest.
Berlin is a beautiful city…
Berlin is a beautiful city, with an impressive history and a bit of a dark past. Through the last four days, you’ve seen much of the history of the city, visiting some beautiful museums and eaten some amazing food. From the Museum Island to the Memorial for the Berlin Wall day one was busy and kept you on your feet, hopefully, you relaxed a bit on your evening boat cruise. Day two was jam-packed with visiting Berlin West, from churches to the impressive palace, there was tons to see and do. Day three was devoted to Berlin East and was steeped in history and emotion. Day four you caught up on everything you missed over the last three days, plus, relaxed quite a bit with a visit to the unique parks and gardens that dot the area.
This might have been your first visit to Berlin, but hopefully, it will not be your last. After all, one visit, may not be enough to see and do everything on your list.