Out of all capital cities in the world, Berlin stands alone, unlike any other.
The former party haven of the Golden Twenties endured a torrid history over the past century, resulting in the city being crushed in two. After one side rose from the ashes to become one of the world’s greatest economic forces, the other struggled under oppression, until they finally reunited.
Today, Berlin has a new identity. This melting pot of business, art and hip culture blends perfectly with the party scene and a great love of beer.
Needless to say, there are a ton of things to do in Berlin.
Let’s look at the best.
Bucket List Of Things To Do In Berlin
Going to Germany for a few days? There are plenty of places to choose from. Here are some great reasons for you to pick Berlin.
The Brandenburg Gate
As far as history in Germany goes, it doesn’t get much more symbolic that the Brandenburg Gate. This neoclassical monument has stood the test of time, from the 18th century right up through the horrors of the World Wars and the separation of the country. It is one of the most iconic landmarks in Berlin, and an essential photo stop on your trip.
Appreciate the Artistic Expression on Museum Island
History buffs will be in their element on Museum Island. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is smack in the middle of the River Spree, and visitors can snap up a three-day pass. You’ll need a lot of time to truly explore it all.
Among the best places here is the uber-popular Pergamon Museum, which is one of the most popular museums in Europe. You can find ancient Egyptian art in Neues Museum, Greek and Roman in Altes Museum, and some more modern and impressionist pieces in the Alte Nationalgalerie.
Go to the Reichstag building
If you haven’t satisfied your history craving yet, check out the Reichstag building. This is the house of Parliament in Berlin, and its imposing glass dome is representative of the city’s political transparency.
While entry is free, you need to book at least a couple of weeks before visiting as it gets very busy. You can try your luck by turning up early in the morning, but it’s better to make a booking.
Stand in Awe of Berliner Dom
The Berlin Cathedral is a spectacular architectural masterpiece from the neo-renaissance period, only outdone by the incredible views of the city that you can enjoy at its top.
You’ll find it nestled in among the museums in Museum Island, and for the reasonable fee of seven Euros, you can climb its stairs.
See the Sunset from TV Tower
Fond of climbing tall towers? After Berliner Dom you can try Fernsehturm – better known as the TV tower. It may lack the beauty of the Cathedral inside, but as the tallest building in Berlin, the 360-degree views from the top are unrivaled.
Chill in Tiergarten park
There are a plethora of parks to choose from in Berlin. While museums and art are all wonderful to see, one of the most relaxing things to do in Berlin is to simply sit in a park and people-watch.
Tiergarten is the largest in the city, with 500 acres of public ground stretching through the city center. Whether you fancy a walk-through nature, a peaceful boat ride or a family picnic, this is the place to do it.
You can even enjoy one of the many fine German beers right here if you’re with some friends, or perhaps the kids like to go to the Zoo, which is just a short walk away from the park.
Delve into the Past with the Paintings on the East Side Gallery
The Berlin Wall is now a canvas that stretches over 1300 meters on the eastern side of the city. Upon it, you can view 105 fabulous paintings by global artists, many of which detail the deep and dark past of this country.
A stroll along memory lane here is a great way to grasp Germany’s history, and easily one of the best things to do in Berlin.
See the Holocaust Memorial
The many millions of Jewish people who were murdered in Europe will not be forgotten. The Holocaust Memorial is a striking and solemn artistic site, displaying thousands of stone pillars in the style of a graveyard, right in the heart of the city.
In any regard, it is a stark reminder of the atrocities committed in the past century.
Drive around the city in a Trabi
The Trabi is a surviving symbol of the Eastern Block. For around $50, you can climb into this rusty, noisy little car and trundle along, going nowhere fast.
While you won’t win any races, a ride in a Trabi is a popular activity, being one of the most touristy things to do in Berlin.
You will have a guide driving ahead of you, radioing interesting tidbits of information as you pass important landmarks in the city.
Get a Pic at Checkpoint Charlie
One place you should definitely snap a selfie at is Checkpoint Charlie. This was the most famous border crossing between the two sides of Germany when they were separated. It has been restored to look how it did back then, and the nearby museum is an interesting side trip.
Munch on Currywurst
This is one of the tastiest things to eat in Berlin. While the sausage is unmistakably German, the fusion with curry was the result of some improvisational cooking by a woman in the 1940s. Her experiment with curry powder and a pork sausage soon became a signature dish, and today it is a favorite for cheap, on-the-go grub.
Explore a WWII Bunker
Out of the many museums in the city, Story of Berlin Museum is probably one of the best. You can venture into rows of old houses, comparing the lives of the people on either side of the wall, learning about their lives and how they survived.
There is also the opportunity to enter a real bunker from wartimes. This gives visitors a fascinating insight into the history of the war in a fun, interactive way.
Bike About Berlin
Bikes are a popular method of getting around in Berlin. There are some great guided tours where visitors can explore the city by bike and learn from their local guide, seeing many things you might not otherwise see on your visit to the city.
Let Loose at Night
In the 1920s, Berlin was the place to be for hedonists seeking outrageous parties. A lot has changed in the past century, but Berlin is still a phenomenal place to be if you want a wild night out.
The most famous club is Berghain, which has a reputation that spreads throughout Europe. This former power station is notoriously difficult to get into, unless you happen to have some good contacts to get on the guest list.
Visit the Botanical Garden
As far as botanical gardens go, Berlin has a pretty big one. This huge expanse is home to some 22,000-plant species, including cacti, orchids, and giant bamboos.
It’s a beautiful stroll for anyone to take, and you can get lost in there for an afternoon. If you have a good book with you then that might not be a bad thing. It’s certainly a nice spot to find some peace and tranquility.
Check out Charlottenburg Palace
A walk around this 17th-century mansion and its impressive gardens is an enjoyable side-trip if you have time, particularly if you still have a thirst for more art and baroque architecture.
Go on a Spree at a Flea Market
Shoppers will agree that this is one of the best things to do in Berlin. Even if you’re not keen on shopping, there is something for everyone at the many flea markets in the city.
Among the very best is Mauerpark, where you can find almost anything imaginable, from clothes, bags, and shoes, to jewelry, toys and music records.
It’s open every Sunday and will be jam-packed with locals and tourists alike.
Discover the Best of Berlin
As you can see, this great German city has plenty of incredible experiences to offer. From history and culture to food and entertainment, you’ll never be bored in Berlin.
Plan your trip in advance to make the most of your time there, and make sure you hit some of the highlights such as Brandenburg Gate and Checkpoint Charlie.
Try your luck at Berghain, and if you don’t get it, you can always console yourself with a currywurst and the knowledge that there is always something else to do in Berlin!