If you want to brush up on history and have the time of your life on your next trip, Berlin is the city for you. Few places in Europe have seen greater change over the past century. The result? A dynamic capital city with a thriving art and culinary scene. Whether you have all the time in the world (or just 48 hours), make sure these ten things to do in Berlin are part of your itinerary.
No trip to Berlin is complete without a visit to the Berlin Wall. The best way to see the iconic symbol of the city is on foot. Cover decades of history in just two hours with a Third Reich and Cold War Walking Tour. Starting at the Brandenburg Gate, one of Germany’s most recognizable landmarks, the tour takes in a long stretch of the Wall. See Berlin’s complex history brought to life with this guided tour of the city’s major historical sites.
2. Tower above the crowd
The imposing TV Tower is one of the most popular places to visit in Berlin. Book a trip to the top of this GDR icon and enjoy a meal in the rotating Sphere restaurant. Soak up panoramic views over Potsdamer Platz and the Olympic Stadium from 656 feet (200 meters) above busy Alexanderplatz. After you’re done dining, see how many landmarks you can spot!
3. Marvel at the majesty of the Reichstag
Nowhere represents the coming together of old and new Berlin quite like the Reichstag. Learn about the German parliament’s impressive history on a tour of the government district before heading up to the panoramic rooftop terrace. There, you’ll enjoy picture-perfect views — just the backdrop for your vacation snaps.
4. Cruise through the heart of the city
You haven’t seen Berlin until you’ve seen it from the water. Check out some of the city’s most famous landmarks, including the beautiful Berlin Cathedral, on a boat tour along the River Spree. This is a great way to see as many sites as possible if you’re short on time.
5. Immerse yourself in culture on Museum Island
Berlin’s Museum Island is home to a vast collection of art and ancient artifacts housed across its five galleries. You can skip the ticket line and gain access to each of the museums with an all exhibitions day ticket. See the world-famous bust of Nefertiti at the Neues Museum. Or, visit the Alte Nationalgalerie and explore its extensive collection of 19th-century paintings.
6. Discover the real Berlin
If you want to experience art outside of a gallery, explore Berlin’s street art scene with a local expert. You’ll get an insider perspective and see where artists from all over the world have left their mark. After, discover food, markets, and more on an alternative tour of the city’s diverse neighborhoods. By the end of the day, you’ll know all about the artists and activists who give Berlin its reputation as the edgiest and most eclectic city in Europe.
7. Travel back in time at the DDR Museum
The DDR Museum (or GDR, to English speakers) is a place where you can truly feel history come to life. Discover this fascinating chapter in the story of Berlin by exploring a reconstructed German Democratic Republic-era apartment. In this interactive museum you can see, touch, smell — and even hear — what life was like on the east side of the Wall.
8. Take a bite out of Berlin
There’s no better way to get to know a place than through its cuisine. Berlin has a lot to offer on this front! The city’s food scene has an international flavor and you can indulge in it with a culinary food tour of Kreuzberg. Try out some famous hotspots and lesser-known gems while learning about the culture of one of Berlin’s most unique neighborhoods.
9. Uncover the city’s hidden history
If you want to delve into the mysteries of a Berlin icon, visit the deserted Tempelhof Airport. The Hidden Places Guided Tour allows you access to the labyrinth of bunkers and tunnels that sprawl beneath Tempelhof. Follow these once-secret trails and discover the peculiar history of this architectural legend.
10. Berlin on four wheels (or two!)
For something truly unique, take a spin around Berlin in the official car of the GDR. Go on Trabi Safari and see the sights from behind the wheel of a legendary Trabant. Or, if you prefer to take things at a slightly slower pace, you can always explore the city by bike. This “Vibes of Berlin” bike tour promises a wild ride off the beaten track. Pedal around town for three hours and learn how this ever-changing city has been transformed in recent times.