So you’ve got some spend in Germany’s most exciting city but don’t know where to start? This guide will help you figure out exactly what to do with 3 days in Berlin.
Germany’s capital city has a tumultuous history but, through it all, has risen above to become one of Europe’s most exciting, cosmopolitan, history-filled centres.
Such an interesting city warrants your time – whether you can only spend a day or two or maybe a week or more! In our opinion though, 3 days (give or take) is the sweet spot for Berlin and for that reason, we’ve put together this guide to help you plan your visit to Germany.
3 Days in Berlin – Plan Your Visit Now
Day One of What to do in Berlin
Visit the Brandenburg Gate (Brandenburger Tor)
The Brandenburg Gate has hosted a number of major historical events over the years. What was once a reminder of Germany (and indeed, Europe’s) checkered past, is now a symbol of European unity.
A beautiful neoclassical monument, the Brandenburg Gate crawls with tourists day and night. Even with all of the people though, there’s something magical about paying a visit to this site, making it a must-see whilst in Berlin.
Pay Your Respects at the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe
Located close to the Brandenburg Gate, this striking memorial stretches out towards the horizon. Covering an area of 4.7 acres (19,020.2 square metres) and made up of 2,711 concrete slabs, it’s an imposing sight.
Though there is some debate as to just how appropriate the site’s name and the memorial itself is, I have now visited it on two different occasions and felt moved both times. In my opinion, it’s a worthwhile place to get lost in your thoughts for a little while.
Check Out Checkpoint Charlie
Though Checkpoint Charlie well and truly falls into the ‘tourist trap’ category these days, it’s still worth a passing visit.
The most famous crossing between East Berlin and West Berlin during the Cold War (which took place between 1947 and 1991), Checkpoint Charlie is now swarmed by tourists looking to take photos with the cheeky ‘soldiers’.
Should you wish to snap a photo, you will of course be charged. To be fair though, this includes a number of props to borrow and a whole lot of banter with the guys manning the checkpoint.
Visit the Berlin Wall Near Checkpoint Charlie
Just back from Checkpoint Charlie you’ll find an original part of the infamous Berlin Wall.
Free to visit, it’s worth swinging by to see where the Berlin Wall used to stand and what it looked like.
Though it’s hard to imagine what life in Berlin must have been like during the divide, this gives visitors a tiny look.
Day Two of What to do in Berlin
Tour the Reichstag Building
A stunning example of old-meets-new architecture, the Reichstag Building is open for tourists to tour – as long as you’re organised.
Tours are free of charge and include access to the Reichstag dome. Running from 8am until midnight, the tour offers gorgeous views of the city and a fantastic audioguide (in a range of languages).
Should you wish to visit Berlin’s parliament buildings (we we suggest you do), you’ll need to register a specific time on their website and ensure you arrive in plenty of time to get through the security screening.
Climb the Berlin Victory Column
Centrally located in the Tiergarten, the Berlin Victory Column is one of Berlin’s icons.
Walking under the road, tourists are able to climb right to the top of the Victory Column for beautiful views out over the park and part of the city.
Stroll the East Side Gallery
At 1.3km long, the East Side Gallery is both the longest open-air gallery in existence and home to the longest continuous section of the Berlin Wall.
As soon as the wall came down in 1989, 119 artists, from 21 countries, came together and began turning the wall that once was a sign of separation into an incredible collective piece of art. Officially opening on the 28th of September, 1990, it was given protected memorial status just a year later.
Now, on the banks of the Spree, the East Side Gallery is home to politically-charged, inspirational artwork, and one of the most visited tourist sites in the city – it is an essential stop during your 3 days in Berlin.
Visit Platform 17 Memorial at Berlin-Grunewald Station (Gleis 17)
Between 1941 and 1945, Platform 17 was one of the most used stations deporting Berlin Jews to the concentration camps. By the time the war ended in 1949, more than 50,000 Jews had been deported through the station, many of which were sent to their deaths at Auschwitz.
Track 17 (Gleis 17), where most of the ill-fated trains departed, is now home to a permanent memorial to the Berlin Jews (and others persecuted under the Nazi occupation).
We visited on a quiet, moody day, just before sundown; in retrospect, this was probably the most appropriate backdrop for a location such as this. A relatively unknown spot, Platform 17 is a genuine memorial to the horrors that Europe faced.
Treat Yourself at Markthalle Neun on Street Food Thursday
Every Thursday Markthalle Neun comes to life with a fantastic variety of street food stalls. Buzzing with energy, this market gives tourists a glimpse into what life might be like living in Berlin – it certainly feels a lot more local than you average marketplace.
With a wide range of gourmet treats, it’s a great place to grab dinner, drinks and dessert!
If the Season Allows: Enjoy the Christmas Markets
Christmas markets are big news in Europe! If you’ve ever been to one, you’ll know exactly why they’re must-do. If you’ve not had the pleasure, you really do need to add a European Christmas trip to your travel bucket list!
The following are my personal favourite Christmas markets in Berlin:
- Gendarmenmarkt Christmas market: A traditional luxe Christmas market with high-quality gifts to buy and delicious food, all in a lovely setting. Located amongst the Berlin concert hall and the French and German Churches, it’s a beautiful market.
- Wintertraum am Alexa: Just down from Alexanderplatz, this market is serious fun! There, you’ll find countless games and rides, with a real winter carnival feel.
- Breitscheidplatz Christmas Market: Located at the base of the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, this market offers the perfect mix between great fun and a traditionally beautiful setting. Sadly, it was subject to a terrorist attack in 2016. Whilst a memorial stands on the site to commemorate the victims, the markets have managed to rise above heartache and still create a gorgeous winter atmosphere.
Day Three of What to do in Berlin
Head out to the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp
Visiting a concentration camp or work camp will always be a harrowing experience, but in my opinion, worthwhile nonetheless.
We joined a tour, #1 to make things easy and #2, because we wanted to really understand what we were seeing, on what was our first visit to a Nazi site.
The tour itself provided plenty of detailed information in an incredibly respectful manner.
Our first visit to a concentration camp was a moving experience and though at times it was challenging, we really do believe that all travellers to Europe should make an effort to learn from the mistakes of the past.
Be sure to allow a full day as you may not feel like heading out on other sightseeing adventures after a tour like this.
Extra Time? Additional Things to do in Berlin
- Hit the Shops at Potsdamer Platz. With quality international shopping and heaps of energy, it’s our favourite in Berlin.
- Take in a movie at the Alexanderplatz Sony Center. The occasionally have English movies – perfect for some travel down-time.
- Learn About Nazi Germany at the Topography of Terror. With lots of text-based exhibits, you’ll come away with a more in-depth knowledge of Europe’s darkest days.
Where to Stay for Your 3 Days in Berlin
Mövenpick Hotel Berlin City Centre: Your 4 Star Home Away From Home
Perfectly located near Potsdamer Platz, the Mövenpick Hotel Berlin City Centre provides an excellent base from which to explore Germany’s most exciting city. You’ll find the Anhalter Bahnhof S-Bahn train station just 100m down the road, providing easy access to the whole city, whilst being tucked away in a quiet part of town.
With all of the mod-cons that you’d expect from an urban hotel in Europe (including a gym, sauna and even a glass-roofed restaurant) and super comfortable rooms, the Mövenpick Hotel Berlin City Centre make relaxing in a busy city an absolute pleasure.
Top Notch Sleep System
Though there’s a lot to enjoy within this hotel, there is one feature that’s a real standout… their custom sleep system.
Promoted as “the best sleep experience in Berlin”, the Mövenpick Hotel Berlin have really hit the nail on the head with this offering!
These rooms provide guests with a wide range of additions and specially selected furnishings, all with the collective goal of delivering a great nights sleep. With herbal teas, chocolate, eye masks, ear plugs, lavender sachets and more, it’s almost impossible not to get a good night’s sleep in one of these rooms!
The icing on the cake though, are the amazing, fully-customisable beds. With innerspring mattresses and controls that let you determine just how soft or hard you’d like your bed (independently from the person beside you, no less), an amazing sleep is only the press of a button away.
A Delicious In-House Restaurant
After a great night’s sleep, there’s nothing better than enjoying an amazing cooked breakfast, and you guessed it, the Mövenpick Hotel Berlin City Centre has you covered!
With a fantastic range of both warm and cold dishes, fresh juices and brewed coffee, you’ll be able to fuel up before hitting the city for a full day of exploration.
Berlin is one of our favourite cities in Europe and time and time again it impresses us.
Though we’d suggest a minimum of 3 days in Berlin, we really would recommend a longer stay should you be able to manage it.
With an incredible city, full of history, just waiting for you to discover, what are you waiting for?
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