Heading to Berlin for three days? Our ultimate 3 days in Berlin itinerary sets out all the top spots. See historic landmarks, check out amazing museums, and drink and eat good German food in just three days.
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of our day-by-day itinerary, let’s set the stage about Berlin, including its history and culture.
What We Cover
- Berlin Overview
- Packing List for Berlin
- Getting to Berlin
- Where to Stay in Berlin
- Berlin Itinerary Day One
- Visit a Coffee Shop
- Visit Checkpoint Charlie
- Visit a Part of the Berlin Wall
- Visit Berlin Bunker + Museum
- Have a traditional Berlin dinner
- Berlin Itinerary Day Two
- Visit the Holocaust memorial
- Visit Brandenburg Gate
- Lunch in Tiergarten Park
- Go to Gendarmenmarkt
- See the Berliner Dom (Berlin Cathedral)
- Visit the Pergamonmuseum
- Berlin Itinerary Day Three
- Breakfast at a Coffee Shop
- Walk to the Berliner Fernsehturm & Alexanderplatz
- Visit the DDR Museum
- Lunch at Neptunbrunnen
- Visit the East Side Gallery
- Have ein bier before leaving Berlin!
Berlin is the capital of Germany. It is a major tourist destination and is ranked among the most livable and vibrant cities in Europe. Berlin is the center for many world-class performing arts, media, technologies, and arms industries as well as scientific research institutions.
Berlin traces its history back more than 800 years. Some of its attractions include the Brandenburg Gate, the first television tower in expositions, and the Berlin Wall. The Berlin Wall separated East and West Germany for many years.
Berlin is also known for its grunge, including street art, clubs, and DJs that play music 24 hours a day. One of the best parts about visiting Berlin is seeing the old mix of East and West German cultures. There is gray, dreary Soviet-style architecture and modern marvels just mere blocks from each other.
And much of the city has rebuilt itself into a new artsy center. Our three days in Berlin itinerary is meant to help you hit all the top spots, while still enjoying the city and being able to relax. Let’s get started!
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Packing List for Berlin
Berlin is located inland, on the East side of Germany, which means that your packing list depends on the time of year that you visit. If you are traveling from May through October, you’ll need these essentials:
- An easy roller bag (we love this one)
- A great pair of walking shoes (men/women)
- Comfortable socks
- A packable water bottle
- Travel purse or backpack
- Long sleeve shirts
- Short sleeve shirts
- A lightweight, waterproof jacket for layering and rain
If you are visiting in winter, pack a warm jacket, gloves, and a hat! You do not need to pack toiletries, Berlin is a big city with plenty of shops to get the basics.
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Getting to Berlin
As the capital of Germany, Berlin is easy to access. You can fly directly into Berlin and take a direct train into the city center very easily.
Once you are in the city center or nearby, it is easy to get around by public transportation. Berlin buses and trains are so efficient that you don’t need a car or taxi, and most residential neighborhoods are walkable.
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Where to Stay in Berlin
Another perk of a large city is the variety of places to stay. There are plenty of hotels, Airbnbs, and hostels to choose from. If you are traveling to Berlin in the summer, we recommend booking a hotel or Airbnb that provides air conditioning – German summers can get pretty darn hot.
As you plan your three days in Berlin itinerary, consider what area of the city you want to stay in. We stayed at Lulu Guldsmeden at Potsdamer Straße 67, 10785 Berlin, Germany, and enjoyed the location. You can read our full review of Lulu Guldsmeden for more information about the accommodation experience.
It is a bit outside the main area of Berlin, but it is right across the river from Tiergarten Park and a short walking distance to a number of attractions. Check out these other best hotels in Berlin to stay at.
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Berlin Itinerary Day One
When you arrive in Berlin, you will probably be ready to go sightseeing immediately. Drop off your bags, and let’s get started on our three-day itinerary in Berlin.
Check out these top things to do to help frame your day and understand how we approached our itinerary for visiting Berlin.
Visit a Coffee Shop
After our nearly 7-hour train, we needed some caffeine! Berlin is known for its impeccable coffee shops, craft coffees, and excellent food.
Coffee shops in Berlin are not like those in the States. For one, they serve amazing breakfasts and pastries. You won’t find a microwaveable egg sandwich here!
Plan to spend an hour sipping your coffee and enjoying a bite. We stopped at Steel Vintage Bikes Coffeeshop because it was nearby the next few stops on our list for the day.
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Visit Checkpoint Charlie
Checkpoint Charlie is a must-see destination. Checkpoint Charlie is the main entry point between East and West Berlin. Between 1961 1990, visitors traveling to East Berlin were required to exchange their Deutsch marks at the checkpoint for East German marks.
As well as serving as currency exchange, the checkpoint was primarily used to check peoples’ permits and travel documents to cross the border between Soviet East and democratic West Berlin.
In 1987, the West Berlin government, with support from the United States, began a policy of turning back any refugees who attempted to cross through this checkpoint and enter West Berlin without permission.
The checkpoints and border fortifications were symbols of communist oppression and became one of the most well-known sites in Berlin’s history when they were dismantled on November 9th, 1989.
Many Americans, diplomats, and journalists crossed over at this entry point. It is worth visiting to see where so many people cross over the border.
You can see the architectural difference between the East and the West, although it has changed significantly in the past thirty years. Today, a small piece of the original wall stands by the Checkpoint Charlie structure. While visiting, look down to see the cobblestones that mark the location of the original wall.
Address: Friedrichstraße 43-45, 10117 Berlin, Germany
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Visit a Part of the Berlin Wall
A few minutes walk from Checkpoint Charlie is a graffiti-covered strip of the Berlin Wall.
While the East Side Gallery (more on that in Day Two) is the most popular and largest part of the Berlin Wall that still stands today, the strip outside the Topography of Terror is an easy way to see the wall by Checkpoint Charlie.
Address: Niederkirchnerstraße 1, 10117 Berlin, Germany
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Visit Berlin Bunker + Museum
A short few steps from the piece of the Berlin Wall is an air raid shelter from WWII. The Berlin Story Bunker has an audio tour that is well worth it if you have the time, it takes about an hour and a half.
The museum is very detailed. They have a Hitler-How Did it Happen? very interesting exhibit. The exhibit details how Hitler came to power and why many people followed his lead. It is a fascinating and necessary visit.
They also have a Berlin Story exhibit that tells the 800-year history of Berlin, from its humble beginnings as a small swampy village to the rise and fall of the Berlin Wall, and details past leaders that made Berlin what it is today.
Spending three hours in this museum is easy, especially if you enjoy history. The museum did a great job detailing the city’s history, and the whole time you’re in a bunker…how cool is that?
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Have a traditional Berlin dinner
Berlin is very different from Munich – you will not find a traditional German beer hall on every corner. Berlin has a number of fantastic international restaurants that the locals love, but you can still find some good German eats!
Traditional Berlin bites include currywurst (curried sausage), spaetzle (German style egg noodles), königsberger klopse (meatballs cooked with broth and topped with capers), and maultaschen (German filled pasta with veal).
If you are a mustard fan, you must try Senfeier, which translates to ” mustard eggs, ” “ hard-boiled and served with mashed spuds, coated with a creamy mustard sauce.
It is hard to pick out just one restaurant in Berlin for a traditional dinner, but Schwarzwaldstuben is one of the best. It is a cozy restaurant with old antique chairs and a long bar. They serve a lot of German beers on tap and great schnitzel.
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Berlin Itinerary Day Two
Now that you are well-rested after a great German meal, you can get started early for a full day of sightseeing in Berlin!
Grab breakfast at a nearby coffee shop and get on your way.
Visit the Holocaust memorial
The Holocaust Memorial is also called the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. The memorial is outdoors and free to visit. The memorial is large, about 5 acres, and houses 2,711 concrete coffins to commemorate the deaths.
This size of the memorial pays tribute to the millions of lives lost, but there is not much to read or learn from in the area. There is no reason I could find why they specifically built 2,711 coffins (or slabs). The original plan was for 4,000, but had to cut the number to make the park handicap accessible, but as to why they settled on 2,711, I was stumped.
Although you should have some understanding of the unimaginable horror and cruelty of the Holocaust, it’s best to do your homework ahead of time to learn about the persecuted Jews in Berlin to truly appreciate this memorial.
Visiting the Holocaust Memorial can take 10 minutes to several hours, depending on how you want to spend your time. This makes for a great thing to do with kids to teach them about the city’s history.
Address: Cora-Berliner-Straße 1, 10117 Berlin, Germany
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Visit Brandenburg Gate
Brandenburg Gate is close to the Holocaust Memorial and at the end of Unter den Linden. The construction of Brandenburg Gate was designed as a gateway from the old town to the new palace, hence its name. It was originally meant to represent peace, but it became much more after its opening in 1791.
The gate served as a symbol of division between East and West Berlin during the Cold War era. Before 1989, a wall had been erected that acted as a barrier separating East and West Berlin.
The wall came down in November 1989, signaling a new era for Berlin, but not before those who could flee east were permitted to cross over to West Berlin.
Today, you can visit here for a wonderful New Year’s Eve celebration. It is also the entrance to one of Germany’s largest city parks, the Tiergarten. Visiting Brandenburg Gate does not take long, maybe 15 minutes tops.
Address: Pariser Platz 1, Berlin Germany
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Lunch in Tiergarten Park
Right by Brandenburg Gate is Tiergarten Park, one of the largest city parks in Germany. Tiergarten Park is 520 acres of greenery, trails, and gardens. After a morning of seeing the sights, stop in a grab-and-go market, snag a sandwich and a beer, and head into the park for a relaxing lunch.
Visiting the park is free, but you can also take guided tours for a fee to learn more about the sculptures and the park’s history as you stroll through.
The further into the park you walk, the better it gets. You can visit government buildings like the Bundestag and the German Chancellery. And you can stop by Schloss Bellevue, the home of the German President.
Next to Schloss Bellevue is the German Victory Column, SiegessÃ¤ule. As you walk along the street and trails you’ll see a number of memorials and sculptures of Prussian aristocrats. If you want to see more of the park, rent a bike. You’ll be able to get around faster and see more of the sights.
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Go to Gendarmenmarkt
Gendarmenmarkt is a square in Mitte, Berlin. Gendarmenmarkt can be translated as ”œcurrier’s square” from the old German word for ”œcourier.” The square was originally laid out by Berlin in 1708 to serve as a parade ground and an important intersection.
One of the first buildings on the site was the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, a Protestant church constructed to honor Kaiser Wilhelm I after he died in 1888.
The architecture of Gendarmenmarkt is very distinctive because it contains many Baroque buildings that are quite old. Indeed, they are some of the oldest buildings in Berlin.
However, following the Nazi’s seizure of power, the square saw much damage. First, the Nazis removed much of the ornamental gardens because of the Protestant symbolism (which was an affront to Nazi-aligned Catholicism). The square was used for Nazi parades, rallies, and book burnings.
After WW2 had been raging for a few years, the square suffered damage from American and British air raids over the city. Finally, the Battle of Berlin, between the Soviets and surviving Nazi fanatics, added to this damage, resulting in 90% of Gendarmenmarkt being flattened with explosives.
After the war, Berlin decided not to rebuild Gendarmenmarkt. Today, the square is used for concerts and festivals.
Address: Gendarmenmarkt, 10117 Berlin-Germany (Google Maps)
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See the Berliner Dom (Berlin Cathedral)
The Berliner Dom (Berlin Cathedral) is the largest house of worship in Berlin, Germany. The church was commissioned by King Frederick William IV in 1845 as a gesture of recognition to the citizens of Berlin following their city’s recovery from a fire.
It has been called “a synthesis of Neo-Gothic and Byzantine architecture.” It is one of the most important examples of Christianity in Germany. The Dom is open daily from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 pm.
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Visit the Pergamonmuseum
The Pergamon Museum was first opened in 1930, and it now houses the most extensive collection of antique art outside of the Vatican. It has parts that date to the 2nd century BC and even a minaret from Cairo’s Mosque Al-Nur with a height of 68 meters.
The museum houses everything from Mesopotamian artifacts to Islamic art, as well as paintings by Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt, Rubens, Van Dyck, Poussin, Raphael, Brueghel, and others.
This museum is worth a visit!
Address: Am Kupfergraben 1, 10785 Berlin-Germany
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Berlin Itinerary Day Three
Breakfast at a Coffee Shop
Pick another coffee shop to stop at. This time we went to 19grams Alex – Café, KaffeerÃ¶sterei was given its location to the remaining sites we wanted to see.
This cafe was very good, their brunch food was phenomenal and their coffee was perfect. And the large windows gave the cafe an alfresco feel.
Address: Karl-Liebknecht-Straße 13, 10178 Berlin
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Walk to the Berliner Fernsehturm & Alexanderplatz
The Berliner Fernsehturm or TV tower is a television tower in central Berlin, Germany. It stands in the city center near Alexanderplatz.
The tower was built between 1965 and 1969 by the Soviet Union as a contribution to the International Garden Exhibition in West Berlin. It remained largely under Soviet control until German reunification in 1990.
The tower is nicknamed “der lange Lulatsch” (the “long lanky one”) by locals because of its distinctive shape. Unlike other TV towers, it features a glass-walled viewing platform above the height of observation decks.
Around the corner is Alexanderplatz. Alexanderplatz is a large, public square that was created in the late 1950s by the East German government after the damage Berlin suffered during World War II.
Alexanderplatz is named for Alexander I of Russia, Napoleon Bonaparte’s Russian opponent in the little Corsican corporal’s disastrous campaign against the Russians in 1812.
The square lies in what was once at the intersection of two important roads – Potsdamer Strasse (now Budapester Strasse) and Cranachstrasse (now Karl-Marx-Allee).
You can see the Berliner Fernsehturm from Alexanderplatz and enjoy a beer at the same time, or a coffee if that’s more up your alley.
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Visit the DDR Museum
The DDR Museum is a museum of the former communist German Democratic Republic located in an old bunker on Bernauer Straße in Berlin’s Mitte neighborhood. The museum has been open since late 2012 and is considered one of the best museums in Berlin.
The museum has both permanent and temporary exhibitions. The permanent exhibition is about the system of consumerism in the DDR and its consequences for people’s social status and lifestyles, as well as the everyday work life of East German citizens.
The DDR Museum is interesting to visit because its exhibits put you into the midst of East-German culture. They have staged living rooms, kitchens, and bedrooms so you can see how people lived during that time.
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Lunch at Neptunbrunnen
Neptunbrunnen is a fountain in Berlin’s Mitte district, close to Alexanderplatz. It was designed by Reinhold Begas and constructed in 1880-81, based on a design by Ludwig Schaffrath.
The Neptunbrunnen is made out of sandstone and measures about 4 meters across. Neptune stands tall at the center of the fountain, attacking “his” steed with his trident as a symbol of his dominion over water and sea creatures. He wears a crown made of shells, and his beard ends in hippocampi.
There are a few restaurants nearby that you can grab take-out from, or you can check out the tower and continue to lunch nearby.
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Visit the East Side Gallery
The East Side Gallery is the longest remaining part of the Berlin Wall. The wall stretches 1.3 km along the River Spree and around Fischerinsel. Over 140 artists from 21 countries painted murals on the wall between 1994 and 1999.
The East Side Gallery is part of a larger “Mauerpark” (“Wall Park”) in Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg, near the border to Mitte.
It was developed after German reunification as an area for graffiti artists and leftist political activists to meet. The East Side Gallery is outside the city center, so take a bus or a taxi.
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Have ein bier before leaving Berlin!
If Germany is a beer nation, then Berlin is the BEER CAPITAL! There are so many breweries and biergartens in the city you’ll never be too far from one.
Restaurants here serve “ein Kolsch” with every meal. It’s a rule. The most commonly served beer is Erdinger Weißbier (Erdinger White Beer). It’s a local beer found in most restaurants and biergartens, that enjoys popularity worldwide.
We hope our three days in Berlin itinerary helps you plan an unforgettable trip to Berlin! Let us know what you think about it on socials.