Are you visiting Berlin for the first time and need a little help planning your stay? Do you have only 3 days?
We at Berlin Tourist Information are happy to help and provide you with advice and support. To make your Berlin trip unforgettable, we have put together a 3-day itinerary with the most important highlights for you.
First, we reveal valuable tips on how to get there and how to choose the right hotel. Next, we'll make sure you get around the city swiftly and at low cost. We'll also check whether you can actually benefit from a city pass, which allows you to travel for free and enjoy discounts.
Finally, we take a look at the three days' itineraries with the best sights and attractions. You will then get tips on how to spend your evenings at the very end.
Let's start with the overview and helpful tips...
3 Days in Berlin: Getting there - All Roads Lead to
Which way you take should depend entirely on where you live. The plane is often a convenient choice. However, the train could be a even better option. Another great alternative is a long distance bus.
Consider everything carefully and make your decision. Accordingly, you can then read one of the following articles:
- Berlin-Brandenburg Airport (BER)
- Berlin Schönefeld Airport
Berlin Central Station
- Berlin Central Bus Station
Traveling by Car?
Arriving with your own car has, as in any big city, the big disadvantage of parking problems. We recommend that you leave your car at home. If you decide to go by car anyway, please read our parking tips.
Arrive Early and Leave Late!
Whatever you decide, plan your arrival for Berlin to be as early as possible so that you can actually see the sights we have planned for your first day in the city.
Your return trip should start as late as possible on your last day. This will allow you to spend your last hours in the city stress-free, without having to constantly look at the clock to see when the plane, train or bus is departing.
3 Days in Berlin: Hotel - My Home is My
As big as Berlin is, as big is the choice of hotels in the city. Book a hotel in a central location so you can get to the city's sights and attractions as quickly as possible. Needless to say, hotels in good locations are more expensive than those that are a bit further away from the city center.
The following articles will help you to choose your conveniently located hotel:
We also recommend that you choose your 3 days in Berlin with no major events taking place in the city at that time. These events can lead to full hotels, even more crowded public transportation, traffic jams, and road closures around major attractions.
- Do some research and check out our article on this topic.
3 Days in Berlin: Getting Around the City - Nothing is for Free!
Right after your arrival in Berlin, you will need a ticket for the public transport in order to get to your hotel - unless you take the taxi or arrive by car. The same applies for your stay in Berlin as well as for your return trip.
Apart from that, you will have to pay for some of the attractions that we have gathered here for you. As there would be the Spree River Cruise, the Hop-On Hop-Off bus, the Museum Island and the Berlin TV Tower. We'll leave our optional suggestions out of the equation for now.
Berlin Welcome Card: Is it worth it?
With the Berlin Welcome Card you get a 25% discount on the Spree river cruise, the Hop-On Hop-Off bus tour and the Berlin TV Tower. So for these three undertakings you pay 49.90 €. The bottom line is €101.90. You already save 10.00 €.
If you take advantage of our optional suggestions such as the DDR Museum, the Wall Museum or the Kohlhoff Tower and perhaps would like to go to the theater or the Konzerthaus Berlin in the evening, you will save more and more. The Berlin Welcome Card has over 100 discount partners, so you can even save on dining out or shopping. The BWC also includes a guide book, a folding map of the Museum Island and a city map. These are available free of charge upon presentation of the card at Berlin Tourist Information offices.
Now let's look at the costs for the same items without the Berlin Welcome Card.
We take your arrival at Berlin Central Station as a basis, which means that you arrive in fare zone A, add up:
The Spree river cruise normally costs €18.00. 24.00 € are due for the Hop-On Hop-Off bus ride. For the combined ticket for the Museum Island you have to pay another 19.00 € and for the Berlin TV Tower another 24.50 €. That adds up to 111.90 €.
Bottom Line: Save Money and Time!
As you can see, with the Berlin Welcome Card you can save quite a bit of money, which you can well invest in something else!
To save not only money, but also a lot of valuable time, we recommend that you purchase all the tickets you need online in advance of your trip.
Now let's get to the details of our 3-day itinerary for Berlin.
Day 1: Spree River Cruise & Former East Berlin
After your (hopefully) early arrival in Berlin, transfer to the hotel and check-in, head to Hackescher Markt, the starting point for Berlin's nightlife. Here, in Berlin's creative trendy district, you will start your sightseeing tour today with a one-hour boat trip on the Spree River.
Afterwards, we'll follow in the footsteps of former East Berlin and explore Alexanderplatz, climb the Berlin TV Tower, discover the Nikolai Quarter and visit the East Side Gallery. The route we have put together for you is just under seven kilometers long. It will take you about 90 minutes to complete it on foot.
Spree River Cruise: Discover Berlin from the Water
The best way to get an overview of the German capital is during a comfortable and informative boat trip on the Spree River.
After exploring Hackescher Markt and Hackesche Höfe, follow Grosse Präsidentenstraße, Monbijouplatz and Burgstraße to the BWSG's Alte Börse landing stage.
Here you can take part in a one-hour Spree cruise with our partner BWSG (25% discount with the Berlin Welcome Card) and discover Berlin's sights from a completely different perspective from the water.
Tip: Download the audio guide app "Berlin River Cruise" from YourMobileGuide to your smartphone beforehand and get interesting information about the attractions you pass during your river cruise.
On the Tracks of the Former East Berlin
Afterwards, we go on a search for traces through the former East Berlin.
On the banks of the Spree River you will soon see the DDR Museum. If you are interested in the history of the GDR and East Berlin, why not visit it (25% discount with the Berlin Welcome Card) and learn all about life in the German Democratic Republic. Highlights of the exhibition include a Trabi driving simulation in an original Trabanten P 601, a faithfully furnished Plattenbau apartment with five rooms, and numerous interactive games for young and old.
After a picture at the nearby Marx-Engels monument, with the forefathers of communism, the tour continues past the masterful Neptune Fountain to St. Mary's Church, the oldest parish church still in religious use in the city. The 22.6 meter long and two meter high fresco "Dance of Death" inside the church is one of the most important preserved medieval works of art in Berlin. According to some sources, the mural was created in 1484, the ominous year when the plague took countless people.
Then it's time to admire an iconic Berlin landmark in all its glory: the Berlin TV Tower (25% discount with the Berlin Welcome Card). Climb Germany's tallest building and enjoy a spectacular 360-degree view of the Spree metropolis from the observation deck at 203 meters or the Sphere revolving restaurant. On a clear day, you can look up to 70 kilometers away.
After the tower visit, continue in the direction of the Alexanderplatz train station. Behind it, the "Alex" is waiting for you. Explore the lively Alexanderplatz, which is not only one of the most visited spots in Berlin, but also the largest square in Germany. Here you will find, among other things, the Park Inn Hotel (viewing terrace open to the public), the World Clock (very popular meeting place and selfie spot) and the Fountain of Friendship.
Then take a look at the striking 1860s Red City Hall and head to the Nikolai Quarter, Berlin's oldest residential area. This underrated gem of the city, made up of narrow streets, historic buildings, quaint houses and traditional German pubs and restaurants, is the city's historic founding site and is also known as "old Berlin." The winding streets with their small houses, the Nikolai Church, the Knoblauchhaus, the Ephraim Palais and the bronze statue depicting St. George as the dragon slayer are worth seeing.
Now we're off to another Berlin must-see: the East Side Gallery. At 1,316 meters, the East Side Gallery in Friedrichshain is the longest continuous section of the Berlin Wall that has not been demolished. 118 artists from 21 countries painted and sprayed this section with 106 works in the months following the fall of the Wall. Don't miss the socialist brotherly kiss of Honecker and Brezhnev as well as the Trabant seemingly breaking through the concrete.
At the end of the open-air gallery, the former watchtower Mühlenspeicher houses The Wall Museum, which you can visit optionally (25% discount with the Berlin Welcome Card) if you're interested in the history of the Berlin Wall. The museum in the former death strip spans an audiovisual arc from the division of Germany after World War II and the construction of the Berlin Wall to the memorable events that brought about its fall.
From the museum you can already see the last sight of today, the Oberbaum Bridge. It is probably the most beautiful bridge in the city, but it also has a turbulent history. Built in 1724 as a wooden structure, the bridge was severely damaged during the Battle of Berlin when it was blown up by German troops. After the construction of the Berlin Wall, the Oberbaum Bridge became a silent witness to the first fatal border incident of the division of the city into East and West Berlin.
In the evening, you can continue to take advantage of the Berlin Welcome Card discounts. Why not take a closer look at the various discount partners? There is bound to be something for you.
- See an overview of the
Berlin Welcome Card discount partners here.
Day 2: Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour & Best of West Berlin
Today we explore the sights of former West Berlin.
First, we will take the Hop-On Hop-Off buses of our partner Stromma (25% discount with the Berlin Welcome Card). Feel free to take a look at the
After that, a walk from the Topography of Terror, Berlin's most visited museum, to the boulevard Unter den Linden is on the agenda.
Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour through Berlin
Let's start the day with a relaxing Hop-On Hop-Off bus tour through Berlin. To do so, go to stop number 1 Alexanderplatz and take the green bus of line 1. The buses run every 30 minutes.
Below you can see the stops where you should definitely get off to see important sights up close:
Walking Tour: "Best of West-Berlin"
From stop 17 of the Hop-On Hop-Off bus tour, your leisurely walk to Unter den Linden boulevard starts. On the way you will pass some important sights.
The route is less than two kilometers long. Check out the map view for
Not far from the stop, on Niederkirchner Straße, is the city's most visited museum, Topography of Terror. You can explore Germany's darkest chapter on the grounds of the former Nazi terror headquarters. The documentation center processes the terror of the Nazis under the leadership of Adolf Hitler, especially during the period of rule from 1933 to 1945. The museum's open-air exhibition, to which you have free admission, runs along about 200 meters of the preserved Berlin Wall.
At the end of Niederkirchnerstraße at the corner of Wilhelmstraße/Zimmerstraße you will see the Weltballon, one of the largest tethered balloons in the world. If you feel like it, you can float here over Berlin for 15 minutes and enjoy the 360-degree view of the German capital (25% discount with the Berlin Welcome Card).
On the way to your next attraction, you can optionally admire the Asisi Panorama, a monumental 360-degree circular image by artist Yadegar Asisi, which shows the Berlin Wall on a scale of 1:1 on 900 square meters with a view from West to East Berlin on a fictitious autumn day in the 1980s. Looking at the 60-meter-long and 15-meter-high circular image, you get a good insight into the everyday life of Berliners - almost like a little trip back in time to the divided Berlin of the 1980s.
Alternatively, you can visit the Cold War Museum - Black Box and see the first exhibition in Germany on the subject of the Cold War. It provides information about the history of the Checkpoint Charlie border crossing with large-format photos, 16 media stations, documents and other exhibits. At both optional attractions, you will receive a 25% discount with the Berlin Welcome Card.
Now, head to the former military checkpoint: Checkpoint Charlie. It is probably the most famous border crossing at the Berlin Wall and not because it was the scene of various spy thrillers like "James Bond - Octopussy". Today, the former checkpoint of the American occupation forces is a tourist attraction with great appeal and a very popular photo motif, although the control barrack, turnpike, flag, sandbags and warning sign are merely faithful replicas that were placed instead of the originals on August 13, 2000. The main reason for its popularity is probably that the former division of the city can be experienced and felt here.
Diagonally opposite the checkpoint, you will see the Mauermuseum, another interesting museum that you can now visit optionally (25% discount with the Berlin Welcome Card). The museum houses over 1,733 square meters of exhibition space spread over three different houses, many props from 30 years of Wall and escape history, as well as extremely inventive escape objects such as an old Volkswagen with a trunk hiding place, a mini-submarine, a hot air balloon and a suitcase that can be pushed together.
Take a stroll north along Friedrichstrasse. On your way, at the corner of Jägerstrasse, is the luxury shopping mall Galeries Lafayette. Maybe you'll feel like shopping. Otherwise, follow Jägerstraße to Gendarmenmarkt, probably the most beautiful square in Berlin. The "Soldier King" Frederick William I had stables of the cuirassier regiment of the Gens d'armes built here in 1736, which Emperor Frederick II had demolished less than 40 years later. In memory of the stables and because the square was originally laid out as a market, it was given the name Gendarmenmarkt in 1799. Today you will find several impressive buildings here, including the Berlin Konzerthaus, the Deutscher Dom, and the Französischer Dom with the Huguenot Museum and an observation balustrade overlooking Gendarmenmarkt.
If you follow Markgrafenstraße to the right behind the Französischer Dom and then turn right into Behrenstraße, you will reach Bebelplatz. From the Enlightenment to the burning of books, the square experienced highs and lows of German history. In the center of the square, set into the ground, the Monument to the Book Burning on May 10, 1933, commemorates one of the city's darkest chapters. The square consists of a smaller green area to the east and a larger open area with cobblestones to the west of the Berlin State Opera, which forms the center. The square is surrounded by important buildings of the city such as those of the Prinzessinnenpalais, St. Hedwig's Cathedral, the Alte Palais and the Alte Bibliothek.
Today's last sight is also located at Bebelplatz: Unter den Linden. The boulevard was initially only a bridle path. The first linden trees were planted in 1647, and from 1701 the linden trees were developed into a boulevard for the splendor of Frederick the Great. Today, the boulevard connects the Brandenburg Gate with the Schlossbrücke Bridge, which leads to Museum Island. Important sights such as the State Library, Humboldt University, the Neue Wache, the German Historical Museum in the Zeughaus, the Kronprinzenpalais, the Alte Palais and the equestrian statue of "Alter Fritz" line the eastern end of the avenue. Stores, restaurants and cafés are lined up along the approximately 1.5-kilometer-long promenade in the direction of the Brandenburg Gate.
On your second night, you can once again take advantage of the Berlin Welcome Card discounts. Take a look at the partner companies. There is sure to be something for you.
Day 3: UNESCO World Heritage Museum Island
Your last day is spent with art and history. You will visit the museums of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Museum Island, whose entrance fees are included in your Berlin Welcome Card.
After visiting the museums, you will take a walk to the Lustgarten, where the magnificent Berlin Cathedral is located. Across from it is the Humboldt Forum, once Berlin's City Palace. These destinations are also located on the island, which is actually called Spreeinsel. The route is two kilometers long.
First deposit your luggage at the hotel reception, since you have to vacate your room already in the morning. Then head to our first destination on Museum Island.
The 5 Museums of Berlin's Museum Island
Since 2019, guests to
The Pergamon Museum was built from 1910 to 1930. The three-winged museum houses the Collection of Classical Antiquities, the Museum of the Ancient Near East and the Museum of Islamic Art. Due to the impressive reconstructions of the Pergamon Altar, the Market Gate of Miletus, the Ishtar Gate with the Processional Way of Babylon, and the Mshatta Façade, the Pergamon Museum has gained worldwide fame. At present, the museum is hosting the temporary exhibition "Pergamon Museum - The Panorama", which focuses on the city of Pergamon in Roman times around 129 AD and serves as a counterpart, so to speak, to the closed hall with the Pergamon Altar. The exhibition is located on the way along the Spree River to the Bode Museum.
Please note: In the course of a renovation, the hall with the Pergamon Altar will remain closed until at least 2024. In addition, the North Wing and the Hellenistic Hall are closed. The finds from Uruk and Habuba Kabira as well as the rooms with Babylonian, Old Iranian and Sumerian monuments are also not accessible.
However, the south wing of the Pergamon Museum with the Ishtar Gate, the Processional Way and the Museum of Islamic Art, as well as the hall with the Market Gate of Miletus are open.
Continue to the Bode Museum, which presents its sculpture collection, one of the most extensive collections in Germany. Also located here is the Museum of Byzantine Art, which displays works and everyday objects from Western Rome and the Byzantine Empire, as well as the Coin Cabinet, with one of the world's largest collections of coins.
Your path now leads back and then across Bodestraße and the Kolonnadenhof to the Alte Nationalgalerie. The Alte Nationalgalerie was built from 1862 to 1876 in the Classicist and Neo-Renaissance styles. On the second floor of the Alte Nationalgalerie, Classicist sculptures and "Ways of Realism" are on display. Works of Romanticism, Realism and Impressionism are exhibited on the second floor. Works from the Goethe period and Romanticism can be admired on the third floor.
The entrance to the Neues Museum is on the right, opposite the stairs of the Alte Nationalgalerie. The Neues Museum was built between 1843 and 1855. It is dedicated to the history of art, museums and technology of the 19th century. The museum combines the Egyptian Museum and Papyrus Collection, the Museum of Prehistory and Early History and the Collection of Antiquities under one roof. The showpiece of the museum is undoubtedly the world-famous bust of Nefertiti. Other highlights are the skull of the Neanderthal by Le Moustier, Heinrich Schliemann's collection of Trojan antiquities and the "Berlin Gold Hat".
The last museum awaiting you is the Altes Museum, opposite the Neues Museum on the other side of Bodestraße. Built between 1823 and 1830, it not only houses an important collection of antiquities, but the building itself is also a masterpiece of classicism. The collection of antiquities shows the art and culture of the Greeks, Etruscans and Romans. The coin cabinet completes the presentation of classical antiquity.
Visiting the other Attractions on Museum Island
After taking a look at the top-class treasures and masterpieces of the five museums, it's time to take a walk to the other highlights of Museum Island.
We'll start with the magnificent Lustgarten (pleasure garden), originally created by Elector Johann Georg as a fruit, vegetable and herb garden for the Berlin City Palace. The two-hectare green space was transformed into a pleasure garden in the 17th century under the Great Elector. Today it serves mainly as a resting area for visitors to Museum Island. The main attraction of the garden is still the 70-ton granite bowl, which was inaugurated in 1834 and was considered a world wonder of the Biedermeier era at the time. Berliners were quick to find an affectionate nickname - the "Berlin Soup Bowl".
From here, you can already enjoy a view of the Berlin Cathedral in its full glory. If you have time, we recommend that you enter the magnificent house of worship and admire it from close up (25% discount with the Berlin Welcome Card). After all, the Berlin Cathedral is one of the most beautiful sights of the German capital, and with a total height of 116 meters on a floor area of almost 6800 square meters, it is the largest Protestant church in the country. The mighty dome can certainly be understood as a Protestant answer to the Catholic St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. The monument is barrier-free and is home to one of the most important dynastic burial sites in Europe, the Hohenzollern Crypt.
Opposite the cathedral, on the other side of Schlossplatz, you can see the Humboldt Forum, which you can optionally visit at this point. With the Berlin Welcome Card you enjoy a 25% discount. The Humboldt Forum expands the Museum Island's offerings since July 20, 2021 with collections from the Ethnological Museum Berlin, the Museum of Asian Art, the Non-European Art Collection, the Berlin Exhibition and the Humboldt Lab. From the outside, the building is a faithful replica of the Berlin City Palace, which stood on the same site until 1950 and was considered a major work of North German Baroque architecture.
This is where your 3 days in Berlin end! Head back to the hotel to pick up your deposited luggage.
If you have more time on your hands, be sure to check out our list of
Berlin Tours & Tickets
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