1. Be Amazed by Artifacts of the Past on Museum Island
In the middle of the Spree River is the Unesco World Heritage Site MuseumInsel, in English Museum Island. This is a must explore for everyone regardless of whether with or without children, young or old as there is so much to be explored on this one Island alone.
There is a city pass that offers three days of free entry to the Museum Island, provides free access to public transport in Berlin and gives discount on other tours etc.
Great Tip: Take something to drink with, like a bottle of water because it is very expensive there and be prepared to spend the entire day, there is loads to see.
Here are the museums in the complex for which the city pass gives free access:
- Altes museum – The building itself is a great example of Neo-classical architecture and is full of Greek, Etruscan and Roman art
- Neues museum – A classic museum filled with Prehistorical artifacts and Ancient Egyptian art
- Bode museum – This impressive architectural marvel houses magnificent sculptures, Byzantine and Antique art
- Pergamon museum – This is the most popular museum in Berlin and for good reason. There is so much diversity and absolutely stunning things to see here, I recommend taking your time for this one.
- Alte Nationalgalerie – This is the Berlin National Art Gallery with Romantic, Impressionist, Neoclassical and Modernist artwork. I absolutely loved the variety of work on display here.
Great Tip: Grab the free audio guide for each of the museums included in your ticket.
2. The Monumental Brandenburg Gate
The Brandenburg Gate is a neoclassical monument dating back to the 18th centuy but is also known by many as the symbol of separation between East and West in Berlin. This is one of the must-see sites in Berlin. Just be warned there are often lots of people during the day. There are lots of amazing photo opportunities at this location.
Great Tip: Check the Brandenburg Gate out at night when the lights are on for an amazing look. It is also great to take photos here late at night when it is practically deserted and during sunrise and sunset.
3. Get the Birdseye view from the TV Tower Berlin
Berlin television tower, known as Fernsehturm Berlin in German, gives the best 360-degree birdseye view of Berlin. The structure stands prominently above the average skyline of Berlin with its 365m high point making it the tallest structure in Germany
The view from the top of the television tower is breathtaking, allowing up to 80-kilometer-wide views in any direction from the observation deck located at a whopping height of 203 meters. One level above the observation deck is the restaurant where you must try book a window seat so you can enjoy the great views of Berlin while enjoying your gourmet meal.
4. Explore the Impressive Reichstag Building
Another archaeological site of interest to visit in Berlin is the Reichstag, an area where the German Parliament meets. It has a glass dome, which represents the political openness of the city. It is a magnificent view and experience from the dome, just be prepared because you will get your daily steps in for sure as the scale of the building is large.
The entryway to Reichstag Berlin is free, but make sure to schedule your visit well beforehand. We have heard of people struggling to get an entry spot up to two weeks before their visit. Please note that you need a passport or photo identity to gain entry into the Reichstag.
Great Tip: Check early mornings for cancellations and or no shows if you have not been able to book an entry spot early enough
If you would like an actual tour with a guide where you can ask questions about the Reichstag, there is a combo tour including the Reichstag, the Brandenburg Gate as well as nearby buildings.
5. Appreciate the Berliner Dom, One of Europe’s Great Cathedrals
Berliner Dom, otherwise known as the Berlin Cathedral, is a Neo-Renaissance designed building with Baroque tones. This is a very beautiful building with great mosaic art that must be absorbed by the observer making it one of the European Cathedrals that are a must see.
Under the Berlin Cathedral is the Hohenzollern family crypt which is considered the most important dynastic burial site in Germany and is seen as one of the great dynastic burial places in Europe.
Great Tip: Try visiting the one of the approximate 100 concerts held at the Berlin Cathedral every year
6. Blast Back to the Past with the East Side Gallery's Artwork
The East Side Gallery Berlin is the longest open-air gallery in the world spanning 1316 meters in length with a whopping 105 artworks created by various artists from all over the globe. The unique thing about this amazing gallery is that all the art is done on what was a section of the famous Berlin Wall.
It is a walk to remember with lots of photography potential. There are other parts of the wall where you could see the original Berlin Wall as it remains untouched to this day. But if you feel inspired by the artwork, why not do some graffiti artwork of your own on a part of the Berlin Wall. I really recommend it because it is a very inspiring and empowering experience, whether you think you are an artist or not.
7. Tour Berlin in an e-Trabi
If you were wondering what an e-Trabi is, it is a car known as a Trabant that has been converted to an electric car. The Trabant is a symbol of East Germany from back in the time when Berlin was a city divided. A picture showing a Trabant can be seen in the previous must see attraction of Berlin.
An e-Trabi tour is a different way to see Berlin in which you drive behind your tour guide who through an audio guide explains the main attractions on your route as he takes you to the best sights in Berlin.
Great Tip: Children 17 and under get to drive as passengers for free
8. Sign Up for a Free Walking Tour
For those on a budget, a free walking tour can be a great option and just because it’s a free tour does not mean it is of poor quality and content. In fact, we think this tour is an absolute must for anyone visiting Berlin. Usually at the end of such a tour, you can give a tip to the guide, if you have it.
9. Holocaust Memorial
The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe which is known in Berlin as the Holocaust Memorial was opened in 2005, is another one of Berlin’s impressive sites located near the Brandenburg Gate.
Under the Holocaust Memorial is the information center with its exhibition documenting the persecution and extermination of the Jewish people. You can get a free tour of the Holocaust Memorial and a very cheap tour of the information center, both of which are great.
Great Tip: not far away from the Memorial, you can find one of the last hiding places of Hitler at the end of the World War II, unfortunately the area is a parking lot today, but if you are interested.
10. Explore Check Point Charlie
Check Point Charlie was the most famous border crossing to get from East to West Germany. You must go there and snap a photo but also check out the nearby Berlin Wall Museum which has stood as protest to the Berlin Wall since October 19th, 1962. Here you will find original artifacts from successful escapes such as a hot-air balloon, a mini-submarine, cars and airplanes.
11. Adrenaline Rush off a Building
The Park Inn Hotel in Berlin, not far from the TV Tower, has a 125m high bungee platform for the brave among us to launch ourselves into a free fall to remember. This is a type of flying experience and is set up, so you do not get the violent bounce at the bottom of your fall, but rather a more smooth transition at that point.
Alternatively, if a little more control is your thing but you still want an adrenaline rush, why not try running down the side of the Andel's Hotel in Berlin. To be honest, this was more for us as it is only 60 meters high.
Another way to get some adrenaline but be more comfortable is to take a helicopter trip and see the sights of Berlin from the skies.
12. Bike Tours of Berlin
And for those who do not want to get out of bed to go sightseeing in Berlin, do not worry, we got you covered. How about a tour in a bed-bike. And don’t worry if it is too cold, because the bed has seat warmers and if it is a hot day, the tour guide will set up a shade to protect you.
Great Tip: If it is overcast, take a poncho with that can protect you from rain while on your tour. We have ones bought many years ago that fold up and slip into a small bag. Highly recommend it.
13. Enjoy the Night Culture of Berlin
The night life in Berlin is considered to be one of the best in the world.
No club in Berlin is as cool as the Ice Bar with a bar made of 69 tons of solid ice. Even the glasses are made of ice in this icy wonderland.
If you would rather play it safe and get to know the clubs before venturing out alone, why not catch a pub crawl tour?
Bergaihn is one of the most famous clubs in the world with a massive local techno culture and is a must see for anyone wanting to understand the Berlin nightlife culture. This club is situated in an old power station and is absolutely amazing. Even if you are not a party animal, we recommend a visit just to witness something spectacular.
There are however many, many more clubs in Berlin too. If you are into cocktails, try the X-bar cocktail club which has it’s own creations which you will never find anywhere else. Another great option is an English comedy show and some pizza at a great comedy bar called the Kookaburra Comedy Club.
Great Tip: To get into Bergaihn is not easy. Wear casual dark clothes and try connecting with locals whilst waiting in the line. Locals have priority and can get you in easier. We got in with some awesome artist friends.
14. Berlin’s Botanical Gardens
Berlin has a surprisingly wonderful Botanical Garden that has more than 22,000 plant varieties which are spectacular to explore. There is a lot more to explore than just plants here and from mid-November to mid-January the landscape is further magically transformed as the Botanical Gardens become the Berlin Christmas Garden (https://www.getyourguide.com/berlin-l17/christmas-garden-berlin-in-the-botanical-garden-t131352/?partner_id=VLXRCAG&utm_medium=online_publisher&placement=content-middle ). This is a must see at night if you are in Berlin during this time.
15. Wander Around Charlottenburg Palace
Magnificent and imposing come to mind when I think of Charlottenburg Palace which is located a little outside the city center. The Gardens and the old palace with its Baroque tones are exactly what one would expect to see from a royal palace. Although you could take a guided tour through Charlottenburg, we think its best to get a day ticket with access to the entire Charlottenburg Palace and its grounds and buildings and spend the day there just soaking in the grandeur of royal life. You could also always stay for a three course dinner followed by a wonderful Berliner Residence Orchestra performance by getting a dinner and concert ticket.
Great Tip: Don’t forget to grab your audio guide, since it is paid for by your ticket and be prepared for lots of walking, I really mean lots and lots of walking.
16. Explore Kreuzberg
Kreuzberg, Berlin is a wonderful area full of life and excitement. The people tend to be social and very open and there are many quaint coffee shops and hippy bars and great buildings as well as art all over this part of Berlin. I recommend taking a morning stroll through Kreuzberg and tasting the very good coffees available whilst taking in the great art and meeting the sometimes very expressive locals. If you do not trust yourself to take the walk alone, you could always take a guided tour to get to know the area a bit better first.
17. Flea Market Shopping
For some reason, there are many flea markets in Berlin, each with its own feel. The best one takes place every Sunday at the Mauerpark where you can practice your graffiti art skills. You will be amazed at what you can find at this flea market. However, if shopping is a compulsion, do not go there because you could literally shop till you drop at this flea market.
18. Berlin Zoo
I am not a great fan of Zoos even though I know they do good too, because I just always feel bad for the animals. This is one of the biggest zoos in Europe and an absolute must see for those of you that enjoy zoos. There are more than 20 000 animals, so be prepared for a long day with lots of walking and exploring.
Great Tip: Check the weather report beforehand and be prepared with sunscreen on hot days, it can get surprisingly warm.
19. Urban Exploration at an Abandoned Airport
Tempelhofer Feld is an airport that is no longer in use. The area has been zoned as a recreational park since 2008 and is used for summer barbeques, kitesurfing and other recreational activities that require a bit of space. The scale of the area in the southern part of Berlin is very surprising especially when you see the built-up areas around Tempelhofer Feld.
Great Tip: The inside of the airport building is also open for exploration daily from about 07:00 till dusk if you want to check it out
20. Take a Ballon Flight Tour
Yeah that’s right, you can see the sights of Berlin as you float over them in a balloon tour. This balloon floats above Checkpoint Charlie and the Brandenburg Gate among other sights and the best part is that it feels secure even if you have the fear of heights. It’s a just a pity that your ticket only gets you a fifteen minute ride, because it would be wonderful to stay up there in the air a little longer.
No matter what you choose to do while in Berlin, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.