Berlin, the German capital that is home to over 3.5 million people, not to speak about the thousands of tourists and travellers that visit the city every year on top of it. A city that is home to delicious German food and beer, beautiful architecture and some of Germany’s most amazing museums. With a city this big, it’s easy to get lost in the planning of what there is to do and to see in Berlin, or even more important, how to get around to make sure you see it all! So to help you out we have created the ultimate four day itinerary for Berlin, perfect for those who are visiting Berlin for the first time and want to be sure they are not missing out on the major sights. On top of that, at the bottom, we give some extra info on what the best way to get around Berlin is, and where to find accommodation to locate yourself perfectly for sightseeing. Scroll down to see which sights and activities should be on your Berlin itinerary!
4 Days in Berlin
Almost everyone that has visited Berlin will agree that four days is not enough to see the whole city, but it will definitely be enough to get a taste of all it has to offer. As we all know that travel planning can be quite consuming, and not something everyone enjoys doing, we have created a map below split up with the sights into four days. This way you know exactly where to go to, we have tried to group the major sights together to avoid having to walk too much, as Berlin is rather large, or spent fortunes on public transport. Keep on reading to find out exactly why these sights should be on your Berlin itinerary!
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Day 1 in Berlin
Start your way by heading over to Museum Island. Located in the Mitte District you will find museum island, and as you might have guess by now, it is famous for the museums that are on this island. While non museum lovers might think of skipping museum island, you might want to think twice as just taking a stroll on museum island could keep you busy for an afternoon.
Admire the stunning architecture of the different museums or simply sit back on the grass and relax for the afternoon. Visiting the museums on Museum Island can also be a great activity if you are visiting Berlin in winter and are looking to escape the cold, however, if you are not an art or architecture lover you might be done in simply an hour instead. Perhaps get some food at the supermarket or one of the many bakeries and simply have a small picnic and enjoy the views at Museum Island if you are visiting during summer. Here are some of the sights you might want to add to your Berlin itinerary:
Berliner Dom: While many will visit the Museum Island to admire the art in one of the many museums, one of my favourite spots on this island must be the beautiful Berliner Dom. The stunning building can be easily be spotted from further away as the dorm towers over many of the nearby building. A stunning building, that for those who are interested has a viewpoint from the dome that offers a stunning view over the city.
Price: tickets start at €7 and can be bought at the Berliner Dom.
Pergamonmuseum – The Pergamon museum is Berlin’s most popular museum, perfect for those who love the ancient history. A museum that is home to artefacts from Iran, Egypt and the ancient city of Babylon, among other things. Find more info on the Pergamommuseum here to see if this is something you would be interested in.
Price: Skip the line tickets can be bought for €19 here or a day ticket for multiple museums on museum island here.
Neues Museum – While the Neues Museum would translate to “New Museum” it is actually home to some of the oldest artefacts. Mostly known for the Egyptian collection, with it’s most famous piece being the Nefertiti Bust. Find more info on the Neues Museum here to see if it should be on your Berlin itinerary.
Price: Skip the line tickets can be bought for €12 here.
Alte Nationalgalerie – The Alte Nationalgalerie has an extensive collection of art from the 19th century. Admire the art of famous painters such as Monet and Renoir, or some of the most sculptures from the 19th century. Find more info on the Alte Nationalgalerie here to see if this museum should be on your Berlin things to do list.
Price: Tickets for the Alte Nationalgalerie can be bought for €10 here or a day ticket gaining access to multiple museums here.
While we had planned on admiring the art of the museums above, we were blessed by the most amazing weather and decided to leave the museums for our next, and perhaps rainier and colder, visit to Berlin. If you are an art lover and plan on visit all three, or perhaps even more museums on the Museum Island, you might want to consider getting a combi-ticket that will allow you entry to five museums on Museum Island, including the three museums above (but they have to be visited on the same day). You can find more info on the combi ticket and the ticket itself right here!
Day 2 in Berlin
After a day off exploring museum island it is time to see some more of Berlin’s most famous sights. To avoid walking around too much we have picked sights that are all within walking distance of each other. Simply see them in no specific order, whatever works best for you! As this is one of the major touristic areas you will have no problem finding restaurants and cafes to take a well deserved break from all the sightseeing. Have a look below which sights should be on your day 2 of your four day Berlin itinerary!
While the Reichstag has a history of being burned down and being destroyed in the war, it is now home to the German Parliament and has been reconstructed in the late 1990’s to feature a glass dome on the top of the original building. While the Reichstag from the outside is just another beautiful building in Berlin, the reason it deserves a spot on your itinerary is because you can actually visit the glass dome, having a spectacular view over the nearby Tiergarten and the Reichstag itself. Sadly, the weekend we visited Berlin the dome was closed (not sure why). It is completely free, but you do have to register in advance to access the cafe at the top and the glass dome. Find more info on visiting the glass dome here on the website of the German Bundestag.
The Brandenburg Tor is one of Germany’s most iconic sights, and a visit to Berlin would not be completely without seeing the Brandenburg Gate. The Brandenburg Tor has been part of many major historical events. The Brandenburg Gate played a roll in World War II when it was used as a party symbol for the Nazi Party, a period in which it got severely damaged, but did manage to survive the war. After World War II the Brandenburg Gate was used as a border crossing between East and West Berlin before the Berlin Wall was built in 1961 leaving the Brandenburg Tor in an exclusion zone. In 1989 the wall was partially tore down and completely removed during the year 1990 where the Brandenburg Gate became a symbol of the reunification of Berlin. A turbulent history, a sight that should be on everyone’s Berlin itinerary.
After the Brandenburg Gate head over to the memorial to the murdered jews of Europe, also known as the Holocaust Memorial. The holocaust memorial is a place of contemplation, a place to remember why history should never repeat itself. 2711 Concrete slabs all differing in height create a place where you could easily get wandering between the slabs. While you can wander around the sight 24/7 just remember that you are visiting a memorial here and to be respectful of the sight that you are visiting.
After paying your respects at the holocaust memorial make your way to Tiergarten, Berlin’s most popular city park. A perfect place to take a break from the sightseeing. Relax in the park, have a picnic or go for a walk through the endless paths of green, escape the hustle and bustle of the city of a piece of tranquility. After you will relaxed and revived continue your day sightseeing in Berlin.
Checkpoint Charlie was a former border crossing during the time of the Cold War, and is now one of the most iconic tourist sights in Berlin. The booth with the flag and the sandbags are still in its original location, and while this is not a must on your list in our opinion, it still is one of the most popular tourist spots. You can get your photo taken with actors posing as soldiers for €3 per person. There is also the option of getting your passport stamped here, however, this is something you might want to avoid as this can cause you issues with immigration.
Note: be careful when visiting Checkpoint Charlie as it is home to some of Berlin’s most popular scams. You will find people asking you to sign a petition for a charity, a petition that isn’t real, they will simply ask you for money afterwards. Besides that there is also the ball and cup scam where they try to make you pay larger amounts of money to guess where the ball is located, a rigged game where you are almost guaranteed to lose your money. Lastly, as this is one of the busiest tourist sights, be careful of pick pocketing in this area.
Last, but definitely not least, head over to Potsdamer Platz. The perfect place to admire some modern architecture, to enjoy one of the many cafes or to go shopping. Find a nice restaurant in the area for a dinner, go see a movie at the cinema or have some drinks to end your second day in Berlin, ready to start another day of exploring the beautiful city of Berlin.
Day 3 in Berlin
Now that you have admired the art of Berlin and visited some of the most iconic tourist sights of Berlin it is time to see what else Berlin has to offer. We left this day a bit emptier, in case you want to rest up in the morning from your evening out before, or just simply feel like sleeping in, or perhaps enjoy some traditional German food at the end of your day at one of the many restaurants you will find in Berlin. Scroll down to see what you should be doing on day number 3 of your 4 day itinerary for Berlin.
Make your way to Gendarmenmarkt to awe at beautiful architecture just a bit more. In the middle of the square you will find the beautiful Concert House of Berlin with on either side two buildings that on a first look like churches, but actually aren’t churches. This was one of the most beautiful squares in Berlin in our opinion, the photo below honestly doesn’t do it any justice. Marvel at the stunning architecture, or around Christmas enjoy some gluhwein (mulled wine) at the Christmas Market!
After awing at the architecture of the Gendarmenmarkt head over to the nearby Bebelplatz. While this square seems like just another square filled with architecture, if you look closely you will find the memorial to the book burning, as can be seen in the bottom right quarter of the picture below. Bebelplatz became infamous for the book burning of 1933 where members of the Nazi German Student Union burned books that were claimed to be “un-German”. The book burnings did not only happen here at Bebelplatz, but also at 33 other university towns and cities.
After having learning more about Berlin’s history and admiring the beautiful architecture, cross museum island to explore Hackescher Markt. While on a first look it looks like simply another shopping area, it is the courtyards that deserve a spot on the list. The Hackesche Höfe consists of eight courtyards filled with cafes and bars, perfect to find some lunch and take a well deserved break before continuing sightseeing or shopping. Enter next to Cafe Cinema to find an alley filled with graffiti, a sight that can easily be overlooked!
After a well deserved break at the Hackescher Markt, and perhaps even some shopping, head over to Alexanderplatz. Alexanderplatz is one of the easiest squares to find, as it is located at the base of the Berlin Fernsehturm, the tv tower that can be spotted from almost anywhere in Berlin. Besides the tv tower there isn’t much to see at Alexanderplatz, unless you like shopping of course. If you have the time, and the money, it might be worth going up the tv tower to admire the view over the city! We have never been, but it is still on our Berlin bucket list for the future. You can get tickets for the Berlin TV Tower here.
Day 4 in Berlin
Your last day in Berlin, better make it an unforgettable day. Leave Berlin Mitte behind to explore a different neighbourhood of Berlin: Kreuzberg, and make sure to see some beautiful murals along your way. While this day might require a bit more of walking, the views are definitely worth it. There is so much to see that you don’t want to skip on these sights. Check out below what we could recommend doing on your last day of your four day itinerary for Berlin.
East side gallery
For those wandering where the Berlin Wall can be seen, well here you go. The East Side Gallery is a 1.3km remnant of the Berlin Wall that is now used as an open air gallery, covered by the most stunning and diverse paintings. While almost all of the Berlin Wall was broken down, this piece was left, and what better to use it then to use it for art? The East Side Gallery even has a protective memorial status, and has over a 100 murals that can be admired. One of the most famous mural must be the Fraternal Kiss, with below reading in German and Russian “My God, help me to survive this deadly love”. The mural is a painting of a photo of Brezhnev and Honecker in fraternal embrace in 1979. While the most famous, it is definitely worth walking along the rest of the wall to see the other stunning murals.
After walking and admiring the different murals of the East Side Gallery, head over in the direction of the Oberbaumbrücke. The Oberbaumbrücke connects the neighbourhoods of Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain. The bridge is a stunning piece of architecture on its own, but also offers a great view over the river and the city. Cross this bridge to make your way to the next sight…
Take a break from all the walking and sightseeing at Markthalle Neun. The best days to stop by at this market is on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays when a traditional weekly market is held. Eat some fresh baked bread and pastries, have a delicious pasta or buy fresh fruits and vegetables as a snack, there is something here for everyone. However, should you be in Berlin on a Thursday evening you might want to reschedule your itinerary a bit, as it has a weekly Street Food Thursday, the market turns into a street food market. Sadly we weren’t in Berlin on a Thursday, but it is definitely on our Berlin bucket list for our next visit!
Last, but definitely not least: explore Kreuzberg. Kreuzberg is where most of the students and artists life, it is the neighbourhood where you will find the best cafes and thrift shops. A perfect place to simply wander around and get lost. Relax at a park or enjoy coffee or a beer or two at one of the many cafes, what better way to end your trip. Kreuzberg is also known for being home to some of the best Doner Kebab spots in Berlin, so while you can find them everywhere, it might be worth having another one in Kreuzberg. Some of the most famous Doner Kebab restaurants are Mustafa, Tadim and Doyum.
Where to stay in Berlin
As you can see from the map above most of the sights in Berlin are located around Berlin Mitte, so if you are not too keen on walking to far this might be the best place to look for a place to stay, however, this can also get a bit expensive. We decided to stay a bit further away from the sights, as we are currently traveling on a budget, and to simply opt for public transport and some extra exercise instead. We stayed at Wallyard Concept Hostel and were warmly greeted by the staff working here, a great option for those who are backpacking Europe on a budget! However, if you prefer to stay more central, or in a hotel, check out the map below instead to find the best option for you!
Transport in Berlin
Berlin is quite big, and if you are planning on walking everything you might be left with sore feet. But don’t worry, Berlin has an amazing public transport system that makes it easy to get around the city. Our personal preference is to take the S-Bahn or the U-Bahn, as these lines have stations almost all over the city and leave on a regular basis.
You can easily find which lines to take by using Google Maps, it will give you the quickest options, often even giving you multiple options to choose from so you can pick whichever road or transport mode you feel comfortable with. Getting tickets is easy as every S and U-bahn station has multiple ticket booths, all available in English, where tickets can be bought with card or coins. If you are sticking to the sights above, and staying in the same area, you will be fine buying an ticket for the AB-zone, which has the following prices (July, 2019):
- Single ticket – €2.80
- Day ticket (valid till 3am the next morning) – €7
- 7 Day ticket – €30
However, the most important thing, after you purchased your ticket make sure you validate it in the little red/yellow machines, as pictured below. Without putting a time stamp on your ticket your ticket will not be valid and you can still get a fine. You can find more info on the tickets and the prices of the ticket right here.
The Ultimate Berlin Itinerary
And there you have it, the ultimate itinerary for first timers in Berlin. 4 Days filled with architecture, art, culture, history and of course food. Is there anything we left of this itinerary that deserves a spot on this list? Be sure to tell us in the comments down below! Oh… and don’t forget to pin it.
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