Berlin is a city that has seen a few things in its time. From being the seat of the Hohenzollern monarchs of Prussia to its near-destruction and division in the 20th century, Berlin has had a front-row seat to world events.
Visitors to the city will see a place that acknowledges its past while living solidly in the present, with a multicultural populace and a second-to-none entertainment scene. As one of the most affordable and active capitals of Europe, this is a city that is sure to keep you coming back for more.
It won’t take long for visitors to notice that they are in Germany’s largest, most cosmopolitan metropolis. Its cinemas, art galleries and museums are matched only by the nocturnal offerings of live music, cabarets and theatre. People from all around the world call Berlin home, and it shows in the variety of food on offer, from a park that fills up with Thai food vendors on summer weekends to some of the finest Turkish food outside of Turkey.
Berlin’s presence at the crossroads of history throughout the past century and beyond give sightseeing a certain pull that is felt in few other sites throughout the world. From the Brandenburg Gate and the remnants of the Berlin Wall to the Reichstag and the Holocaust Memorial, the sights of the city are familiar to most visitors before they even set eyes on them.
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When is the best time to visit Berlin?
Berlin’s continental climate means that the summers are blazingly hot and the winters are bitingly cold. This fact means that spring and fall are the ideal times to visit, with April and May being particular favourites. That said, if you don’t mind packing some winter gear, Berlin puts on a gorgeous display around Christmastime, with Christmas markets dotting the city.
How do I get around Berlin?
The nice thing about being in a city that never stops is that you’ll never be stranded. Berlin’s extensive transit network runs round-the-clock on Fridays and Saturdays, and starts up by 4:00 a.m. on other days. If you’re going to travel more than once in the day, look into a Tageskarte (day pass) or other multi-day options. Berlin has many bike hire options – perhaps too many, with a number of overlapping options that can be a challenge. If you don’t feel like downloading one of the several bike-share apps in the city, many neighbourhood stores and hostels will be happy to provide you with options.
How expensive is it to stay in Berlin?
Berlin is actually one of the cheaper capitals to visit in Europe, well within most budget travellers’ budgets. If you don’t mind staying at a hostel, much of the city’s attractions can be experienced on a daily budget of €50 - or €120-150 if you prefer your own room and a few extras. Most museums and attractions are free or reasonably priced, and there are deals such as the Museumsinsel pass, which offers admission to five museums for a single, low price.
This is Berlin
You’ll find plenty to do no matter when you visit Berlin, but you may wish to plan your visit around one of the city’s many festivals. In February, the Berlin International Film Festival, or Berlinale, is one of the world’s largest – you may recognize it from the Golden Bear awards. In August, the International Beer Festival is Berlin’s answer to Oktoberfest. Berlin’s museums hold the Long Night of Museums, a series of all-night events throughout the city, and the Museumsinsel Festival, where cultural installations meet concerts, performances and more.
Germany’s capital has something for everyone: book your flight to Berlin today!
Most popular attractions in Berlin
Most visitors to Berlin are familiar with the city’s landmarks before touching down in the city, thanks to the pivotal role the city has played in world affairs. Nevertheless, a visit to the city never fails to impress and surprise.
- Holocaust Memorial
- Brandenburg Gate
- Museum Island
Take a stroll through recent history
Alexanderplatz: The former centre of East Berlin life is now a starting point for tours of the city and the site of the main Christmas Market. Check out the neighbouring TV Tower, or Fernsehturm.
Holocaust Memorial: A sombre sight in the centre of the city, the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe is a must-see for its historical significance and its haunting, monolithic beauty.
Brandenburg Gate: This 18th century monument has become a symbol of freedom and European unity following the fall of the Berlin Wall, which stood just a few steps from its arches.
Cultural paradise on an island in the city
Museum Island: The Museumsinsel features five of Berlin’s most famous museums, with exhibitions including Ishtar Gate and the bust of Nefertiti. The island also comes alive in an annual celebration that includes live performances and concerts.
Tiergarten: Berlin’s answer to Central Park, it features solemn memorials, verdant landscapes and a year-round beer garden by the lake in its centre, the Café am neuen See.
And that’s just scratching the surface. To learn more about what Berlin has to offer, see our Berlin guide.
Restaurants and nightlife in Berlin
Berlin’s food scene is second only to its nightlife as a reason to visit the city – and stay longer than you planned. Already no strangers to the finer things in life, Berliners’ food and entertainment scenes have been enriched with the city opening up to the world over the past three decades.
More than Döner and Currywurst
The famous döner kebabs, slathered with savoury sauces, were actually invented in Berlin by Turkish immigrants. The other very Berlin food is currywurst, a bratwurst cut into pieces, drowned ion ketchup and sprinkled with curry powder, served with fries. Since its invention in the 1950s it is a main street food experience in all of Germany, it even has its own museum near Checkpoint Charlie. You will also find Michelin-star studded high class restaurants in Berlin, but also a lot of food trucks, vegan hipster restaurants and many different ethnic food from all over the world.
A serious night out
As for nightlife, travellers to Berlin will be spoiled for choice – with a variety of venues and all-night public transportation on Fridays and Saturdays, there is no reason not to let loose. In the city centre, check out the watering holes in the courtyards of the Hackesche Höfe amidst cinemas and art galleries. Or head to Wrangelkiez, where a series of riverside bars – and even a few boats – turn into party spots on the banks of the River Spree. You can find famous night clubs as well as living room sized back-alley live clubs. Fans of classical music must see a concert by the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra or see an opera in the Oper unter den Linden.
From flea markets to Christmas markets
Berlin offers infinite choice for visitors searching for a souvenir, deal or priceless relic. Shopping landmarks include the 200,000 square metres of the designer destination Kurfürstendamm – a mouthful even in German, which is why it is more commonly known as Ku’damm. If you want to go smaller, the city has a thriving flea market scene, with some of the most iconic weekend markets taking place in Marheinekeplatz and Arkonaplatz. Or, on a winter visit, peruse the stalls of the city’s Alexanderplatz Christmas Market.
There is so much see, do, eat, drink and shop for in Berlin so visit our guide about eat and drink in Berlin.