This short trip plan or guide, shared by one of the recurring travellers on PiggyBee, gives you all the tips and tricks to enjoy Berlin in 7 days.
Berlin, Germany’s capital, is a 3.5 million inhabitants city whose history was marked by its famous Wall (which cut the city in two between 1961 and 1989). Since then, the city has gradually become the political, economic and cultural heart of the country, even if it has managed to keep its own identity as a special city (you will see what I mean a little later). Berlin is Berlin. Indeed, the city is divided into twelve Bezirke (districts) for an area eight times larger than Paris, so you never really feel the crowd. So you will never feel that oppression you can feel in other capitals.
This trip planning for Berlin was logically divided by district/region (you can quickly waste some time in Berlin in and out transports) in order to give you a comprehensive overview of what Berlin has to offer.
For this first day, you can visit what can be considered as Berlin city centre, followed by a very special visit!
-The Berliner Museumsinsel (Museum Island):
Berlin Museum Island hosts five museums where you can see works from ancient Egypt, Byzantium and Berlin, it is a must for any visit to Berlin.
Located in Mitte, in the former eastern part of the city, Alex, as the Berliners call it, was known as an entertainment place. Nevertheless, Alex is still fascinating because of its architectural styles differences.
- The TV tower:
Located right next to AlexanderPlatz (you can't miss it), Fernsehturm is originally a TV tower as its name suggests. Almost 250m high, it was built in the 1960s. Indeed, in the middle of the Cold War, when the USA and the USSR were engaged in a fierce space race, the DDR (East Germany) also wanted to participate in its own way. So they built this tower which has the shape of a rocket ready to be launched (we can even see it take off as in this video).
- Free guided tour by Alternative Berlin (Awesome!):
Take part in the free city tour organized by Alternative Berlin to discover Berlin in a different way. Indeed, the guides will take you to typical Berlin places and show you what Berlin really is through various stories and anecdotes that you will not find in a "classic" guide. It is one of the must-see visits in my opinion because it is sooo special, you will see. The meeting point is in front of Alexanderplatz Starbucks every day at 11am and 3pm (the visit is in English and lasts about 3 hours).
-YAAM Coffee :
To end this day, go to YAAM (Young African Art Market) café, one of this special place you can only find in Berlin. In a way typical because you can listen to something other than techno, namely Reggae (oups!). Indeed the atmosphere is Jamaican if you know what I mean… but it is a very friendly and open place. You can even go with your family. Children will have a great time. In short, if you are looking for an(other) unusual place in Berlin, YAAM is for you.
For this second day, go to the south and visit young districts where this famous alternative culture reigns, Berlin what?
- Tempelhof :
Tempelhof is the perfect place for a picnic in Berlin. Known for its former airport, Tempelhof has now become a large park with community gardens, dog parks, and preserved tracks, much appreciated by runners, cyclists, rollerbladers, etc. In particular, you will appreciate the open gardens maintained by Berliners with everything they can find (you can find tomatoes growing in shoes). Be careful, the park is closed at night.
- Kreuzberg and Neukölln:
Favorites neighbourhoods for Berlin artists, here you will find most of the street arts, nice bars, many restaurants and some second-hand shops.
So you can take the opportunity to walk around quietly, while spying on these small graffitis on the walls, often meaningful.
It's THE top rooftop in Berlin. Opened in 2013, Klunkerkranich is special first because of its unexpected location. Indeed, it is located at the top of a shopping centre in Neukölln. Accessing the roof can be difficult because you have to go through the car park (yes, the place is well hidden but the Berlin view you’ll enjoy is worth it). The atmosphere is also very Berlinish and that's what we like!
- Safran Restaurant :
Why not try a Persian restaurant to end this beautiful day? You deserve it. Located at Oranienstrasse 172, you will find all Persian cuisine modern and traditional specialities (butter rice, gheymeh, skewers). Our advice: the Safran range, wide choice of specialities to be enjoyed by several people. (Extra tip > go to the bar in the front of Safran, the Luzia and enjoy these late night Berlin vibes).
Just (a little) history and a lot of museums for this 3rd day of our trip plan in Berlin (plan this during a rainy or cold day).
- The Berlin Wall and its Memorial:
Located along die Bernauer Straße, this part of the wall, preserved almost as it stands, will make you aware of the separation the city experienced. Take a tour in the Wall Museum (admission is free) and listen to the poignant former Berliner testimonies. You can also take the stairs to reach a viewpoint where you will see that there was not only one wall actually... but two. One on the eastern part and another on the west part, between the two was the death zone.
- Mustafa Gemüse Kebab :
Aka the best Kebab in Berlin and (maybe) the best Kebab in the world, you can find it all over the city as it was franchised now. If you want to taste one at the original location, rendez-vous to 32 Mehringdamm, you can't miss this little food truck. Indeed, it is very common to see a hundred meter line of people waiting for this famous and REAL Mustafa's Kebab. If you don't want to wait 2 hours (yes, some wait 2 hours, others, luckier 20 minutes) to taste this Kebab, you can always go to the city centre on the Neue Promenade. Besides, you’ll spare some time because the next step of our plan is just right in the city centre.
- DDR Museum:
This museum is one of the most popular museum in Berlin, especially because it is very interactive and takes you back to East Germans daily life… a surprising daily life! Extra tip: to avoid queuing at the entrance, book your electronic ticket directly on the DDR Museum website.
- Visit Berlin Cathedral, the "Berliner Dom":
Located just in front of the DDR Museum, cross the Spree and take a walk to the majestic Berliner Dom. Located on the Museum Island, it is Berlin's historic Protestant church. It is 116 metres high and 114 metres long. Feel free to take an audio guide, you will discover some interesting anecdotes.
During this 4th day, you will have the chance to discover the most touristic places in Berlin, (go there during the week in order to avoid massive tourism).
- Berlin Story Bunker:
If you are interested in discovering a bunker and learning more about Berlin's history, especially after the Second World War, we recommend you this place.
- Checkpoint Charlie:
Then you can go to Checkpoint Charlie, this famous crossing point between the East and West American zone. It has become a very touristy place (you will be disappointed if you like history) where you can take a pictures with costumes and a few soldier actors; for a few euros (do not hesitate to negotiate).
- Little green Rabbit:
Do you want some salads for a change? Go there, your summer body will like it. Enjoy your meal!
- Gendarmenmarkt and the Berlin Opera:
Take some time to chill around this place where you will find the French cathedral and the German cathedral facing each other, and the Berlin Konzerthaus in the middle. Across the street is also an Ampelmann shop (you know those little guys you see when you're on a pedestrian crossing).
- Unter den Linden and the Brandenburg Gate:
Unter den Linden is in a way the Berlin Champs-Elysées and the way to “Ich bin ein Berliner”. Indeed, this gigantic street is dotted with shops that lead to the famous Brandenburger Tor. It is perhaps the most emblematic building in Berlin, a pure symbol between East and West Berlin split… once upon a time. When the sun goes down, the view is also worth a visit!
Then continue to the Reichstag, Germany's political seat. You can visit the dome for free but remember to book in advance! Audio guides are also available. Then feel free to meditate in the big Tiergarten park.
-The Jewish Memorial:
Certainly one of my favourite place in Berlin, this impressive monument of sobriety, makes you feel a bit uncomfortable because it is a cemetery actually. Walk between the stones and you can feel the weight of history. If you want to know more about the murdered Jews, you can find an information centre in the basement. It is accessible by two stairs or by elevator.
- Thai Restaurant (COA):
If you are still near Potsdamer Platz and the Sony Center (check out this magnifique architecture), you can plan your dinner at the COA. Asian cuisine made live with high quality and freshness! This freshness and some original dishes will be a pause from German cuisine and Curry wurst.
For this 5th day the focus will be on the eastern part of the city.
- Stasi Museum:
This is the political police museum where the GDR's Ministry of State Security was based (for real!). In particular, you will discover the spies network, built to make Berliners having doubts about their own family. I have to say that they were very good at scaring you...
- East Side Gallery :
Spread over nearly 1.3km along the Spree, this art gallery in the heart of the city simply highlights many street arts drawn on some remains of the wall. You will find many well-known frescoes such as this one (see photo).
Die Oberbaumbrücke is a bridge across the Spree River, built between 1894 and 1896 by architect Otto Stahn. It connects Friedrichshain and Kreuzberg, two old districts separated by the Berlin Wall… once upon a time. It has become an important symbol of Berlin's unity.
- Burger Meister:
Aka the best burgers in Berlin, it's up to you...
Day 6 :
Let's go west for today! You will see the atmosphere is very different from Kreuzberg.
With the adjacent Kurfürstendamm Boulevard, Breitscheidplatz marks and symbolises the heart of the former West Berlin. Take a walk and discover a more modern Berlin, a little less authentic, a little less Berlin. On this square, you can also discover the very special Guillaume Kaiser church. It was semi-destroyed and somehow semi-rebuilt, just check it out. This building stands out completely out of nowhere, it is intriguing and confusing.
- Brunch A Never Ever Ending Love Story :
For a brunch in Berlin, go to A Never Ever Ending Love Story. Often full, we advise you to book in advance. The menu is quite simple but the dishes are delicious, not to mention the service, always with a big smile that cheers you up for the day!
- Charlottenburg Castle:
Located on the west side along the Spree, Charlottenburg Castle is the former residence of the "Hohenzollern" and the largest palace in Berlin. You can visit his garden and his memorial free of charge.
- Street Food in Markthalle IX :
A little Street Food in Berlin? Not really. Every Thursday from 5pm to 10pm, travel around the world with awesome street food in Markthalle. You will find your happiness there for sure!
- Flakturm and Humboldthain:
Located near Gesundbrunnen, you can relax in this park or opt for a short jog. At the top is the Flakturm, former bastions and bunkers designed to protect part of the population but also to shoot down enemy aircrafts. This high point will certainly offer you one of the most beautiful view of Berlin.
- Berliner Unter-Welten:
I am sure you never planned to dig tunnels to join your dear love on the other side of the wall? Berliner Unter-Welten offers you various high-quality tours in Berlin undergrounds. According to your wishes, you can discover the Berlin bunkers, the tunnels dug by the Berliners, and many breathtaking anecdotes about what was happening underground... let yourself be carried away in these underground tunnels! There are visits scheduled in different languages, just check the calendar directly on the website and come in advance to book your tickets because there are highly appreciated tours (but you can only buy them the same day).
- MauerPark :
Yet another park in Berlin and yes! During the weekend, Berliners enjoy coming here for a small BBQ and strolling around den Flohmarkt (flea market) on Sundays. As a bonus, on Sunday afternoon, a huge karaoke starts around 3pm, don't miss this moment, a typically Berlin one! If you like street art and graffiti, take a look at the graffiti wall where you can see graffiti artists performing live.
- Borik-Grill Restaurant:
It is a small Croatian treasure in Gesundbrunnen. The staff is very friendly not to mention the prices, especially if you are very hungry! Mahlzeit!
- Bonus Day :
If you stay one more day in Berlin or if the city bores you (really?), take the train for an hour and go to Potsdam!
If the weather is great and you just want to relax, go to one of the lakes around Berlin and enjoy! The lakes are very popular for Berliners, it is one of their meeting points in summer.
These little extras:
June to August: 13/25° C
May and September: 10/21°°.
April and October: 6/14° C
March and November: 2/9° C
December to February: -2/4
If you plan to stay for a week, you can take a 7-Tage card for public transport in Berlin zone AB which will cost you 30 euros (worth it!). If you are already in a summer body mode, do not hesitate to rent bicycles. This is possible everywhere in Berlin. The city is very well served by a bicycle path. Moreover, car drivers are used to bikes and are therefore quite vigilant in general.
You can also choose the Berlin Welcome Card. It is a full pass that will give you access to public transport and discounts of 25 to 50% on 200 tourist attractions and other monuments in Berlin (also available in shops, restaurants, etc.).