3 Days In Berlin: An Ultimate Travel Guide
Straddling on the banks of the river Spree, the capital of Germany is unostentatiously cool, open-minded, welcoming, vibrant and by far the most free-spirited city in Europe. Once linked with tumultuous years of war, unrest, and destruction, today it is a city that is flourishing with progression, culture, art, and prosperity. I can easily say, it is one of my favorite cities in Europe and after reading this ‘3 days in Berlin’ travel guide you will know why.
So, if you are planning to visit in the near future, Congrats! Berlin is bound to mesmerize you with its unique mix of people, eclectic culture, crazy nightlife, turbulent history, amazing music, and awesome neighborhoods.
So how do you start planning? There is so much to see and do in Berlin. Are 3 days enough to see the best of Berlin? Well, Yes and No. No, because Berlin is huge. To know the city from its surface, you at least need one week. But three days are still good enough to cover the main sights, enjoy some cool neighborhoods and get a good feel of Berlin.
Now, the key to making the best of your 3 days in Berlin comes down to your planning, knowing exactly what to do, or maybe having a rough itinerary beforehand. And it is here when this travel guide will come handy. I have covered almost everything you probably will need to know to have an unforgettable time in Berlin.
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Fun Facts And Some Practical Info
- Currency: Euro (€)
- Language: German, but English is widely spoken.
- Safety: Very Safe Specially For Solo Female Travelers.
- Moneywise: Fairly Inexpensive.
- Famous For: Nightlife, Museums, Cold War History, Quirky art, and modern architecture.
- Fascinating Facts: Berlin has the largest train station in Europe. Berlin is also 9 times bigger than Paris.
How To Reach Berlin?
- Fly✈️: Thre are 2 airports serving Berlin. The biggest one is the Tegel International Airport, located around 10 Km from the main city. This airport is a hub for most of the domestic flights and many international carriers. The best and the cheapest way to reach the main city from here is either via TXL Express Bus or Express Bus X9. Other is called Schönefeld Airport. This is the secondary one. Many low-cost airlines mainly from eastern Europe fly from here.
- Train 🚆: Berlin is a huge city, so obviously there are many train stations. The most central one is the Hauptbahnhof. Almost all the trains coming to Berlin will stop here.
- Bus 🚌: There are two main Bus stations, ZOB and Ostbahnhof. Out of which the former one is bigger and located in district Charlottenburg (west). Ostbahnhof is in the district of Friedrichshain (east). Both could be reached via S-Bahn, U Bahn, train or buses.
PS- For the cheapest Bus and Train tickets In Europe, Use Omio. I use this website all the time. It is really Awesome!
Getting Around In Berlin
Since Berlin is massive, getting around could seem a little too overwhelming, especially for first-time visitors. But thanks to the excellent and extensive network of U-Bahn (underground trains) or S-Bahn (regional, elevated trains), buses and trams, getting from point A to B is like a breeze.
Therefore, it is very important to familiarize yourself with different public transport. Once they become your friend, there ain’t a spot in Berlin that couldn’t be reached by them.
The same ticket can be used for all modes of transportation. This is very useful as often you will need to switch from one to another to reach your destination. Tickets can be purchased from machines at U & S-Bahn platforms, small shops with “BVG” signs, buses, or with the BVG app. Don’t forget to validate them once boarded.
All fares are subject to the length of your trip and zone you are traveling to. The cheapest ticket is a Kurzstrecke short distance ticket, which costs around €1.70 and lets you travel for 3 stops. The most common ticket comes for €2.80 and allows unlimited travel (one direction) for 2 hours.
Insider Advice: Consider Getting a ” Berlin Welcome Card“. Not only it gives free access to Berlin’s public transport (including to and from the airport) but also gives you up to 50% discount at more than 200 sights and attractions. It is worth every penny! I highly recommend it.
Best Time To Visit Berlin
Berlin is one of Europe’s most sexy and exciting city. Being the capital of Germany, it is a popular destination among tourists all year around. Personally, I am a big fan of shoulder season, when the weather is pleasant, the crowd is limited and prices don’t break the bank.
In Berlin, these are from mid-May to mid-June or September to October. Weather during these months is pleasant, which is ideal for cafe sitting, enjoying Berlin’s many parks and having leisure strolls throughout the city.
German winters are not for faint hearts. Really! With the average temperature plummeting to -1 to 10 C in the capital, winter gets extremely chilly. The skies are dreary and days are shorter (usually gets dark after 4 PM). Thus, I will avoid traveling from November- March.
How Many Days Do You Need In Berlin?
This is one city where you can easily spend weeks and realize that you only got to scratch the surface of its widely spread-out neighborhoods. There is so much to do and see here. So now it really comes down to your travel style and interests.
Sure you can see most of the must-visit sights in 1-2 days but you will only be rushing without actually getting the feel of this awesome city. I think you need at least 3-full days to explore the very best of Berlin. In fact, once you start researching more on things to do in Berlin, you might be wondering if 3 days are enough to fit in all it has to offer.
But, don’t worry! The good news is, if you know exactly what to do, things to see and have a solid itinerary, 3 days are more than enough to explore this awesome city.
With this 3 days in Berlin travel guide, we will explore Mitte (the central neighborhood where most of the tourist attractions are), Kreuzburg (Berlin’s coolest neighborhood), Tiergarten and more.
Get Insured Before Travelling To Berlin
I never travel abroad without travel insurance. Really! In case something goes wrong, you must have travel insurance. Frankly speaking, it will be stupid to head off to a new destination without one.
I will recommend World Nomads. Simply because they are backed by reputable insurers, 24-hour assistance providers and offer travel insurance to travelers from over 140 countries.
Even if you don’t get one from World Nomads, make sure to get your travel insurance sorted before you actually start traveling.
Where To Stay In Berlin?
As I mentioned earlier, Berlin is HUGE. In-fact to give you a perspective, it is almost 9 times the size of Paris. Yes, it is that big. In total there are 12 districts (‘Bezirk’ in German), each of these districts has smaller neighborhoods (‘Kiez’). All these Kiez are distinct in culture, people, have their own vibe and hidden gems.
So the choice really depends on your personal preference and budget. To make it simpler here are my recommendations with neighborhoods (things to see, and suggestions for great hotels and hostels), for the different price ranges. I have sorted the list for your convenience. Check my complete guide to Berlin’s coolest neighborhoods, with suggestions about best hostels and hotels.
If you are really short on time, and for some reason, couldn’t read more about each neighborhood specifically, depending on a different budget, here are my recommendations:
To treat yourself during your 3 days in Berlin, you will want to check out Grand Hyatt. This luxurious 5-star hotel is located in the lively Potsdamer Platz district, very close to the sony center. It has a large rooftop pool and a spa, providing spectacular views of the city. Rooms are huge, elegant and provide plenty of space. Check the availability here.
If you are looking for something comfortable yet on budget, you should look no further than Sofitel Berlin Kurfürstendamm. Situated at Berlin’s most luxurious neighborhood, Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf, this 5-star design hotel offers a fabulous french fusion restaurant, an outdoor terrace, and a Lounge Bar, which is perfect if you wanna relax and enjoy a drink in the evening after getting exhausted from all the exploring and travel. Check The Availability Here.
Berlin is a popular destination among solo travelers and backpackers. Thus it is of no surprise that it offers many cool budget hostels at a decent price. One such hostel is the Circus hostel. It is conveniently located in the most central neighborhood, Mitte. With contemporary decorated rooms, chill vibe, and great all-you-can-eat breakfast, it is one of the nicest hostels in the city. You can view the current availability here.
For more accommodation options in Berlin, check out Booking.com. I always use it for all my hotels/hostels booking. They offer the best price, with great customer service.
What To Eat During Your 3 Days In Berlin ( Vegan/ Vegetarian )
The vegan scene in Berlin is very strong. I was amazed by the variety of amazing vegan and vegetarian-friendly places here. I won’t be wrong if I call it the vegan mecca of Europe. Really! Despite Germany having the reputation of being meat crazy, Berlin is a somewhat unlikely vegetarian and vegan hotspot. From fine dining to vegetarian twist on local street food, Berlin has it all.
To learn more about the must-try vegan restaurants and cafes in Berlin checkout VeganBerlin.com. They have a complete list with a map of best plant-based food in Berlin, neighborhood-specific guides, and recommendations based on different cuisines.
With so much variety and options, a list of best vegan/vegetarian places in Berlin is sort of endless. But in my humble opinion, I feel there are few things you absolutely can’t miss if you are a vegetarian traveling to Germany:
Pretzels: Just like Paris has its croissants, Rome has pasta, Berlin has its Pretzels or ‘brezel’ in German. You will find them at almost all supermarkets, bakeries, and street food vendors. Traditionally served as a knotted doughy salty delight but you can enjoy delicious creative version as well at Brezel Company Berlin. From sesame seed to cheese, poppy seeds to pumpkin, Brezel company is any Pretzel lover’s dream come true. For the usual classic, I will recommend Alpenstueck, located in Mitte, it is undoubtedly one of the best in the city.
kartoffelpuffer: This is a German take on pancakes. You must have heard about Germany’s love for potatoes. So much that they made pancakes out of them. And yes they are as delicious as they sound. With a fluffy interior and crunchy exterior, these are really something. Usually made with sliced potatoes, flour, egg, and onion, but of course you can also get the vegan version at Kanaan.
Ask for some apple sauce on the top, the contrasting flavor really adds up. Literally drooling typing this lol!
How To Spend 3 Days In Berlin?
From vibrant nightlife to unrivaled architecture, luscious beer gardens to mesmerizing culture, Berlin is a living and breathing city. With so much to see, you will not find any problem in finding things to do. In fact, sometimes it will be challenging to cover everything in just 3 days in Berlin.
Well, don’t worry! I got your back. With my 3 days in Berlin Itinerary, we will cover very best of Berlin while traversing through Mitte, Tiergarten, Kreuzburg and beyond.
So without wasting any time, let’s delve in……
We will start our first-day venturing through the most central district Mitte. At the center of the district is the city’s grandest square, Gendarmenmarkt. Created in the 17th century, this square is surrounded by architectural ensembles like the Berlin concert hall, and the French Cathedral and the New Church. Both the churches or ‘cathedrals’ as dubbed by the locals, sit facing each other. This square will truly give you a perspective on how grand this city was in the 17th-18th century.
Pro Tip: Take a Free walking tour. I know I have said a million times, but I love free walking tours. Not only they are an excellent way to discover a new city but also they can give a good idea about places you would like to visit again. I usually prefer to take them in the early days of my trip. I took one with the original berlin tours. And I will totally recommend it. Mainly for our informative, fun and friendly tour guide.
If you will walk south from the gandermanmrkt, you will reach one of Berlin’s most historic landmarks, Checkpoint Charlie. First set up in 1961, when the city was still divided between East communist Germany and West capitalist Germany. The purpose was to prevent citizens from the east side of the wall to flee to the west side. This checkpoint is one of the most important symbols of divided Berlin. Today, you will find a replica of the guardhouse and a checkpoint.
Fun Fact: While there were several crossings across the city, checkpoint charlie was the only gateway allowed for allied diplomats, foreign tourists, and military personnel to enter into Soviet Berlin.
Topography Of Terror
Just a short walk from checkpoint charlie is another of Berlin’s must-visit landmarks, Topography Of Terror. As the name suggests, this museum is the artifacts of horrific crimes committed by the Nazi regime between 1933 and 1945. The original building was destroyed after the end of the II World War but was rebuilt as a museum to document the frightening history of the Nazi party in Germany.
The entry to the museum is free and it is so worth the visit.
At first, Potsdamer Platz might seem like any other metropolitan square, but to understand its significance, one needs to go back in time a little. It is a symbol of how much Berlin has changed in a short time. Once a no man’s land, a complete wasteland with remains of a devasted building from the city’s divided era, today is a thriving urban oasis with headquarters of many MNCs, shopping arena, and modern buildings.
Memoria To The Murder Of Jews
Also known as the Holocaust Memorial, this is reminiscent of mass murder of Jews in Hitler’s Germany. It’s two thousand, seven hundred and eleven gray concrete slabs, with different dimensions, all arranged in a juxtaposed manner, commemorates the lost lives. It was one of the most heart-wrenching experiences I had. I guess that was the purpose of the artist.
Remember to be respectful when you visit. I remember many tourists taking pictures standing over the slabs, which of course is extremely insensitive and insolent. It is a memorial after all.
As you go north from the holocaust memorial, crossing the famous Brandenburg Gate (I am keeping this as the last stop, for reasons I will tell you later), you will reach the German parliament building, Reichstag. The neo-renaissance architecture is stunning, but the main highlight is the iconic dome, designed to provide massive solar array enough to power the whole arena with 100 percent renewable resource.
Although it is open for the public to visit for free, you will need to book well in advance. You can do the bookings here.
Pro Advice: As this is a popular tourist attraction, there is a high chance you might not get a free slot for your travel dates. Well, don’t worry! there is another way. Käfer is a rooftop restaurant located at Reichstag. With an online reservation, you can not only enter the building but enjoy a beautiful view of Berlin from the famed glass dome, while having coffee and cake. Book here.
From Reichstag, take the same route back, to reach Berlin’s most withstanding landmark, the Brandenburg Gate, a touristic symbol of this city. Constructed between 1788 and 1791, by the Prussian king Frederick William II, this gate has survived both the world wars. the rise and fall of the Berlin wall ( cold war era), and was used extensively in Nazi propaganda and parade. Today, it stands tall as a symbol of reunited Europe, a representation of peace and harmony.
I know you must be exhausted from all the walking we did today, but that’s absolutely perfect as right in front of Brandenburg Gate (also our final stop for the day) is an enormous green park, Tiergarten. Originally it was a hunting ground. Today, it is the city’s biggest public park, stretching its borders to around 2.5 square kilometers. Perfect to stretch your legs, and get that much-needed break.
How To Spend 3 Days In Berlin?
If you are thinking we explored all that Mitte had to offer, I am glad to inform, that you are wrong. In fact, we barely scratched the surface of it. There are so many more fascinating things to do and see here, and we will do just that on our second day of 3 days in Berlin travel. Plus I will be taking you to one of Berlin’s coolest beer garden, something you absolutely can’t miss here.
With so much history, it is safe to assume this city has tons of amazing museums. As a matter of fact, they have dedicated an entire island for it. The museum island located in the center of Mitte, on the spree river is a dense collection of 5 prestigious, fascinating and world-renowned museums namely the Pergamon Museum, Altes Museum, Neues Museum, Bode Museum, and the Alte Nationalgalerie.
Even if you are not a fan, and don’t wish to step into any, the surrounding area is a treat in itself. The Lustgarten is a gorgeous park on the island with tons of fountains, grass, and trees, which makes it so worth visiting the island.
If you are planning on visiting all the museums, I will recommend buying a Museum Pass. This will give you entry to 30 museums, for 3-consecutive days. It is a true money saver. You can purchase one here.
Not a big fan of museums but still wish to visit one, I will recommend going to the Pergamon Museum. This museum is dedicated to the history of the ancient east, with artifacts gathered from Iran, Asia Minor, Egypt, and the Caucasus. It is one of the most visited museums in the city. There are many highlights but for me, stunning Ishtar Gate of Babylon was everything. One thing you absolutely cannot miss here. You get buy skip the line tickets here.
Berlin Cathedral is another important landmark on the museum island. It is the largest church building in Berlin. With its green cupola and crowned gilded cross, this beaux-arts style architectural landmark is absolutely breathtaking. You can take the guided tour to visit the interiors, the Hohenzollern Crypt, the panoramic terrace, and the church’s exterior. More details here.
Take A Boat Tour On Spree River
Spree flowing through the city is probably the most beautiful part of Berlin. There are many stunning monuments located on its banks. There are two ways you could discover them. Either on foot or on a cruise. I will recommend the latter. While the former was wonderful, I felt it was indeed alluring seeing all those gorgeous sights while cruising through the river. Tickets for a one-hour boat tour can be bought here.
Just a short walk from the museum island, is Berlin’s busiest square, Alexanderplatz. It is the cities biggest transportation hub, huge shopping centre and showcases an interesting mix of the city’s past and present.
In the center of the square, lies Berlin’s other symbolic landmark, the TV Tower. Though Berlin doesn’t have a classic skyline, this tower is the tallest in all Germany (368 meters). If you wish to enjoy the panoramic views, you can go to the top, there is a deck and a revolving restaurant. While it’s definitely not cheap, but views of the city definitely make it worth a visit. You may purchase skip the line tickets here.
Beer, sunshine, and pretzels are all you need to have amazing outdoor times in Berlin. Beer gardens are an innate part of this city’s culture. I feel any trip is incomplete without hanging out at one or more of these cool spots. They are traditional, rustic, green and usually next to rather unusual venues, offering a perfect place to unwind from the busy day.
Some of the best ones are Prater, Zollpackhof Biergarten, Café am Neuen See, Golgatha, and Loretta am Wannsee. Each is unique, located at different scenic venues, offering traditional german beers with local delicacies like a pretzel, sausages, and pizzas. I will recommend reading more about each, depending on your personal preference. I went to Café am Neuen See and Prater. Had a ball of a time.
How To Spend 3 Days In Berlin?
It is our last day of 3 days in Berlin. You are probably much more familiar with public transport at this time. This is awesome as we will be venturing to quite a few further aways districts, get a feel of Berlin’s wild nightlife and see what this city has to offer beyond museums and so-called popular tourist attractions.
East Side Gallery
Located on the Spree at the former borders of the Soviet and American sector, next to the Oberbaumbrücke (a popular bridge), East side gallery is the longest remaining part of the Berlin wall which is still intact. Though, small cement parts of the wall could still be found through the city where the wall once existed. But this gallery is the only long solid monument depicting the former division of this city.
The wall is covered in vivid and creative murals, providing the snapshots of the period surrounding the fall of the wall. The most popular of course is the mural of Leonid Brezhnev and Erich Honecker kissing, but there is a hell lot of other street art to be admired here.
Pro Tip: If you are really interested in learning more about Berlin’s street art, consider taking the Alternative Berlin Experience Tour. With this, you can experience not only Berlin’s amazing street art, but enjoy city markets, café districts, artist quarters, multi-cultural neighborhoods, and much more.
I know I have mentioned this before, but Kreuzberg is one district you absolutely can’t miss in Berlin. There is no specific attraction per se here but the atmosphere of the whole district is something you should experience. Here you won’t have to search for graffiti, art or cafes. They are literally at every spot you could find. Mostly famous for being LGBT friendly, hidden nightclubs, contemporary art, and exceptional Turkish cuisines, it showcases a cool hip side of Berlin.
Berlin Tempelhof Airport
Now you must be wondering why am I taking you to see an airport? Tempelhof is not a usual airport from where you can take a flight lol. Back in a day, this was one of Europe’s largest structures, used for testing some of the world’s first aircraft, housed World War II prisoners and an only lifeline for West Berliner during the cold war. Today it is used as a massive refugee camp.
Fun Fact: This airport served as a filming location for popular Hollywood movies like The Hunger Games, The Bourne Supremacy, and Bridge of Spies.
Pro Tip: To learn Tempelhof history, visit lesser-known parts, and understand the importance of Tempelhof throughout history, take a 2 hour guided tour.
Charlottenburg Palace will truly give you a glimpse of Berlin’s splendorous side. Built-in the 17th century, this baroque and rococo style architectural landmark was once the residence of the Prussian king and German emperor William I. Today, it hails high as the city grandest palace with plenty of magnificent sights for the visitors to enjoy.
Although a visit inside the palace, for its grand rooms, Gallery ballroom and Silver Vault is super interesting. The real highlight for me were expansive palace parks, manicured garden, and gorgeous lawn lakes. I feel wandering through the grounds and gardens of the palace, alone is a good reason to visit Charlottenburg.
Enjoy Berlin’s Nightlife
So you had a phenomenal 3 days in Berlin. But wait we are not done yet. You are not only in Germany’s capital but also Europe’s ‘clubbing capital’. From electro and pop to indie, hip-hop, and rock, Berlin’s nightlife has got it all. Its underground club scene is world-famous. Berlin truly is a city that never sleeps.
With so many options and limited time, deciding which club to go might be difficult. That’s why I always prefer taking a pub crawl. Especially when I am in a new city. With these, you can not only enjoy a variety of cool bars, get a VIP entrance to some of the city’s best nightclubs but also have free shots and drinks, throughout the night. Check out these high-rated pub crawls in Berlin.
I hope you an awesome time in Berlin! It truly is magical...
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