Berlin Bucket List – 20 Unique Experiences To Have In Berlin
There are many reasons to visit Berlin, one of the most inspiring capitals in Europe. Some visit it for its cultural and historical attractions such as the Brandenburg Gate, Pergamon Museum and Charlottenburg Palace. Others come to try the amazing cuisine, experience the nightlife or admire the creative street art. What else should be on your Berlin bucket list? I hope that in this article I will be able to answer this question. Check out my 20 ideas for things to do in this vibrant city. Now all you have to do is pack your bags and head to Berlin!
Map of Berlin’s best attractions
Table of Contents
1. Go through the Brandenburg Gate
Without a doubt, the most famous symbol of Berlin is the Brandenburg Gate, which is located on the Pariser Platz square in the Mitte district.
Probably nobody can imagine their first visit to Berlin without seeing this iconic monument.
26 meters high and 65.5 meters wide, the Brandenburg Gate has been the backdrop to many important historical events, and the first person to use it in a triumphal procession was Napoleon Bonaparte.
The building was built at the end of the 18th century and is a perfect example of the Early Classicist style.
Interestingly, there used to be as many as 18 gates of this type in the city. Currently, we can only admire the Brandenburg Gate.
Practical information: The Brandenburg Gate is a free and popular attraction in Berlin. For this reason, it is best to see it early in the morning when there are not many tourists.
2. See the city from the Berlin TV Tower
The Fernsehturm Berlin (famous Berlin TV Tower), originally built by the German Post Office in 1969, is probably one of the city’s most iconic landmarks.
With its 368 meters, this building has no equal in Germany.
As you can easily guess, from the top of the tower there is a breathtaking view of the whole of Berlin, which looks exceptionally beautiful at sunset.
It’s no wonder that over a million people visit the Berlin TV Tower every year, making it one of Germany’s most popular attractions.
In addition to the viewing platform, there is also a revolving restaurant at the top of the tower, where it is difficult to find a free table during the season.
Practical information: The ticket price for the viewing platform is 25.5 € (adults) or from 15.5 € (children over 3 years). From March to October, the tower is open daily from 9.00 am to midnight, and from November to February – from 10.00 am to midnight. It is best to book tickets well in advance. More information can be found here.
3. Visit the Reichstag dome
No trip to Berlin is complete without a visit to the Reichstag, the stately building in the Tiergarten that houses the German Parliament.
This impressive building was built in the second half of the 19th century in the Neo-Renaissance style.
However, what makes it truly special is the glass dome at the top, designed by British architect Norman Foster.
The 24-meter dome with a diameter of 40 meters offers a great view of the Berlin skyline. A spiral ramp leads to the viewing platform of the dome, which in itself is quite an attraction.
In addition, from inside the dome you can see the deputies sitting below, which is also an interesting experience.
Practical information: The Reichstag Dome and the observation deck can be visited free of charge, but only upon prior reservation. Reservations for a specific day and time can be made online, by post or at the Service Office located near the Reichstag. The dome is open daily from 8.00 am to 10.00 pm (last entry is at 9.45 pm).
4. Climb the Berlin Victory Column
The Victory Column with the golden Victoria statue is another must-visit place in Berlin.
This statue stands proudly above Berlin’s most popular park, the Tiergarten, and offers unique views that you won’t find anywhere else.
After climbing 285 steps, you will not only see the Tiergarten, but also the nearby Bellevue Palace, the official residence of the German President.
The column was erected to commemorate Germany’s victories in the second half of the 19th century and was originally located opposite the Reichstag.
Interestingly, today hardly anyone associates this place with the history of Germany, and much more often with techno music and the Love Parade festival.
Practical information: From April to October, the Victory Column is open daily from 9.30 am to 6.30 pm (weekdays) or 7.00 pm (weekends), and from November to March daily from 9.30 am to 5.30 pm. Admission to the viewing platform is paid and costs 4 € (adults) or 3 € (reduced ticket).
5. Admire the murals at the East Side Gallery
If there is one thing Berlin is famous for, it is the East-Side Gallery, arguably the largest open-air gallery in the world.
Murals in different styles and colors adorn the longest surviving section of the Berlin Wall on Mühlenstraße.
The gallery consists of as many as 105 paintings painted on the eastern side of the wall along the Spree.
The first graffiti was created just after the fall of the wall, i.e. in December 1989. Artists from around the world contributed to the creation of the gallery, including Jim Avignon, Thierry Noir and Ingeborg Blumenthal.
“Fraternal Kiss”, a graffiti of Brezhnev and Honecker by Dmitry Vrubel, is one of the most photographed murals.
In addition, the wall jumper by Gabriel Heimler and the iconic Berlyn inscription by Gerhard Lahr are also worth seeing.
Practical information: The East Side Gallery is a free Berlin attraction best seen early in the morning when there are not many visitors. More information can be found here.
Hotel Indigo Berlin – East Side Gallery: Stylish Accommodation in Berlin’s Artistic District
If you’re planning a stay in Berlin and seeking the perfect accommodation, consider the Indigo Berlin – East Side Gallery hotel. Situated in the vibrant Friedrichshain–Kreuzberg district, this modern and stylish hotel offers a comfortable retreat near popular attractions like the East Side Gallery and trendy cafes. Experience pleasant interiors, savor local cuisine at the on-site restaurant, and unwind with a rooftop drink overlooking the River Spree. Indigo Berlin – East Side Gallery hotel serves as an excellent base for exploring Berlin, ensuring a memorable stay in the city.
6. Enjoy a world-class exhibition at Pergamon Museum
Berlin boasts many museums, so if you have time and are interested in art and culture, you must visit at least one of them.
One of the most popular museums in the city is undoubtedly the Pergamon Museum. This place is part of the so-called Museum Island, which is on the UNESCO World Heritage List for a reason.
The Pergamon Museum was founded at the beginning of the 20th century and actually consists of three museums. The ancient art collections, the Middle East Museum and the Museum of Islamic Art await visitors.
The most famous exhibits of the Pergamon Museum include: the Great Altar of Zeus, the Ishtar Gate and the facade of the Mshatta Palace.
Practical information: The Pergamon Museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10.00 am to 6.00 pm. The price of a regular ticket is 12 €, and a discount ticket is 6 €. It takes about 2 hours to visit. More information can be found here.
7. Savor delicious food from around the world
One of the best things about Berlin is that it is home to many different cultures, including Turkish and Arabic, which is especially evident in the food scene here.
From street food in the form of the iconic döner kebab to gourmet Michelin-starred restaurants, Berlin is a true culinary paradise just waiting to be discovered.
Regardless of whether you are fans of German, Greek or Vietnamese cuisine, each of you should find something for yourself here.
Even vegetarians and vegans will not leave Berlin hungry. The city is famous for its rich offer of vegetarian and vegan dishes, which was a very positive surprise for me.
Practical information: Places where you can eat well in Berlin include: The Hummusapiens, Umami, Gude Falafel, Long March Canteen, Bro Burger, 1990 Vegan Living, Brammibal’s Donuts and MALOA Poke Bowl.
8. Go for a coffee at Hackesche Höfe
Hackesche Höfe is an extremely photogenic complex of courtyards located right on the Hackescher Markt.
I have to admit that this is one of my favorite places in Berlin. This place stands out from the others with impressive Art Nouveau facades and a unique atmosphere.
You will find here both beautiful boutiques, atmospheric cafes and interesting art galleries.
All this makes a walk here a pure pleasure and a great escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. No wonder that on warm days this place attracts both tourists and Berliners.
Be sure to also visit the nearby Dead Chicken Alley, an iconic spot in Berlin that is decorated with colorful graffiti.
Practical information: Both Hackesche Höfe and Dead Chicken Alley are free of charge. The entrance to Hackesche Höfe is at Rosenthaler Straße 40 and to Dead Chicken Alley at Rosenthaler Straße 39.
9. Listen to a concert at the Olympiastadion
The Olympiastadion is another interesting place to visit in Berlin.
The facility was opened in 1936 and can accommodate as many as 75,000 spectators.
The stadium is open to visitors who can learn about its history on a guided tour.
However, the best way to experience the stadium is undoubtedly to attend one of the local events, such as a football match or a music show.
Believe me, watching a concert of your favorite rock star in the Berlin stadium is an experience that you will remember for a long time!
One of the biggest musical events at the stadium was Madonna’s concert in 2008. Other megastars who have performed at the Olympiastadion include: The Rolling Stones, Tina Turner, U2, Pink and Coldplay.
10. Hunt for a bargain at the flea market
If you are a person who likes to go to city markets in search of bargains, Berlin is the place for you.
The capital of Germany is famous for its many flea markets, where you can hunt real gems. After all, what could be better than a weekend walk in search of market treasures?
Berlin’s stalls sell just about anything, from vintage clothing and china to old books, vinyl records and original art.
The city’s oldest flea market is now 45 years old and takes place on Straße des 17. Juni.
Other flea markets worth visiting in Berlin are the market at Marheinekeplatz, the market at Rathaus Schöneberg, the market at Boxhagener Platz and the one near the Bode Museum.
Practical information: Most flea markets in Berlin take place on weekends from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. More information on flea markets can be found here.
11. Pay tribute to the victims of the Holocaust
There are places that make you speechless and you can’t pass by indifferently. One of them is the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe in Berlin.
This place is dedicated to the victims of the Holocaust and commemorates the approximately 6 million Jews who died during World War II.
The monument is located in the city center and covers about 19,000 square meters.
2,711 concrete columns placed side by side create a labyrinth where it is easy to get lost. The sense of disorientation that visitors experience is intended to be a pretext for discussion.
In addition to the monument, it is also worth seeing the exhibition devoted to Nazi crimes, which is located in the local Information Center.
Practical information: The Information Center is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10.00 am to 6.00 pm. Admission is free. More information about the Holocaust Memorial can be found here.
12. See Charlottenburg Palace
Charlottenburg Palace is one of Berlin’s top tourist attractions, and for good reason.
The place impresses with its beautiful Baroque architecture and is definitely worth a visit if you are interested in history and architecture.
Interestingly, the palace was built at the end of the 17th century and served as the summer residence of the Hohenzollern dynasty for almost one hundred and fifty years.
The building was named in honor of Zofia Charlotta Hanoverska by her husband Frederick I of Prussia.
Next to the palace is one of the most beautiful gardens in Germany. The beautiful French-style palace garden houses the New Pavilion, the Belvedere and the Mausoleum of Queen Louise.
Both the gardens and the interior of the palace are available to visitors who can experience the magic of this place firsthand.
Practical information: Entrance to Charlottenburg Palace, New Pavilion, Belvedere and Mausoleum costs 19 € (adults) or 14 € (reduced). In the summer (April-October) the palace is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 am to 5:30 pm, and in the winter (November-March) – from Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 am to 4:30 pm. It is best to spend 2-3 hours on sightseeing. Tickets can be booked here.
13. Enjoy Berlin’s nightlife
Berlin is famous not only for its good food and beautiful sights, but also for its rich nightlife, which everyone should experience.
From theater and music to nights out in the best clubs and bars, there is plenty to do at night in Berlin. No wonder, after all, the local nightlife is considered one of the best in the world.
It all started in the 90s, when foreigners made the local club scene so special.
The most famous nightclubs in Berlin, where techno music reigns for years, are Berghain, Watergate, Tresor and Sisyphos.
There are legends about the famous regulars of the former. The club is located in an abandoned heating plant from the 80’s and is famous for its multi-day parties.
Unfortunately, the Berghain club is difficult to get to, but who knows, maybe you’ll get lucky?
Practical information: Information about upcoming events at the Berghain club can be found here.
14. Marvel at the Berlin Cathedral
Built in 1905, the Berlin Cathedral is the largest Protestant church in Germany and one of the most beautiful buildings in the city.
As such, visiting this historic temple is one of the best things to do in Berlin, especially for history buffs.
This amazing building is located on the Museum Island and its style refers to the Renaissance and Baroque.
Interestingly, about 90 members of the Hohenzollern dynasty are buried in the cathedral’s basement, which makes it one of the most important tombs in Europe.
In addition to services, the cathedral hosts many other events, including state ceremonies, concerts, and light shows.
Practical information: The cathedral is open from Monday to Saturday from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, and on Sundays from 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm. The normal entrance fee is 9 €, and with the Berlin WelcomeCard 6.5 €. Tickets can be booked here.
15. Take a picnic in the Tiergarten
There is nothing better than a picnic in Berlin on warm summer days. The city is full of breathtaking places that are perfect for spending time outdoors.
One of the city’s most popular picnic spots is the Tiergarten park.
New Yorkers have Central Park, Londoners Hyde Park, and Berliners Großer Tiergarten, not without reason called the green lungs of the city.
The forested areas of the Berlin park occupy as much as 210 hectares! No wonder the Tiergarten is one of Berliners’ favorite parks.
Interestingly, this was not always the case, as this place used to be a royal hunting ground.
Fortunately, this has changed over the years and now every resident of Berlin, including you, can enjoy this place.
Practical information: Park Tiergarten is open 24/7 and admission is free. The park includes the House of World Cultures, Bellevue Castle, Victory Column, and many other attractions. More information can be found here.
16. See a panda at the Berlin Zoo
Berlin Zoological Garden is one of the most visited zoos in Europe.
What makes this place so special? Well, the zoo in Berlin boasts the largest number of animals in a zoo in the world (about 20,200 animals).
The zoo was opened in 1844 and covers an area of about 35 hectares.
Berlin Zoo is home to around 1,380 different animal species you’ve probably heard of, such as giant pandas and polar bears, as well as some lesser-known species such as okapi and northern kiwi.
Importantly, the Berlin Zoo financially supports and actively participates in many animal protection programs, thus contributing to the protection of endangered species.
Practical information: From February 27 to October 28, the zoo is open from 9.00 am to 6.00 pm, and from October 29 to February 26 – from 9.00 am to 4.30 pm. The price of a one-day ticket for an adult is 17.50 €, and for a child – 9 €. More information can be found here.
17. Take a photo at Checkpoint Charlie
Located at the intersection of Friedrichstraße and Zimmerstraße, Checkpoint Charlie is another interesting place on the map of Berlin.
Once the most famous crossing point between East and West Berlin, witnessing more than one escape.
Currently a symbol of the Cold War and one of the most popular attractions of the city where tourists line up to take a picture.
Few of them realize that they are not posing next to the original guardhouse but its replica. The original building was demolished shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall and moved to the Allied Museum.
Checkpoint Charlie has been the setting for many spy novels and movies. Among the most famous of them are the Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Octopussy and Bridge of Spies.
Next to Checkpoint Charlie is the Wall Museum, which shows how Berliners tried to overcome the wall. Admittedly, some of the ideas are downright astounding.
Practical information: Checkpoint Charlie is a free attraction in Berlin. Admission to the Wall Museum costs 14.5 € (adults), 9.5 € (students), 7.5 € (children over 7 years old). The museum is open daily from 10.00 am to 6.00 pm. Tickets can be booked here.
18. See Asisi’s panorama
Whether we like it or not, the Berlin Wall will always be associated with this city.
Those who want to feel the atmosphere of Berlin during the Cold War should definitely see Yadegar Asisi’s panorama.
Berlin Wall Panorama is an impressive visualization depicting the everyday life of West Berliners in the 1980s.
In an extremely realistic way, the artist managed to show what the reality of Berliners looked like, separated from East Berlin by a high wall.
Interestingly, the visualization is accompanied by music with original quotes from politicians from both blocks, which, combined with the lighting, causes anxiety that persists long after the exhibition has left.
Practical information: Asisi’s Panorama is open daily from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm. The ticket price ranges from 5 € to 11 €. More information about the panorama can be found here.
19. Learn the history in the Topography of Terror
At first glance, a visit to the Topography of Terror in Berlin may not seem like a good idea. Nothing could be more wrong, because this place is much more than just another museum dedicated to World War II.
It was here that the headquarters of the Gestapo and the SS were once located, from where the extermination of Jews and Roma in Europe was directed.
Although there is almost no trace of the buildings of the former headquarters, the atmosphere of horror and terror can still be felt in this place.
Still, a visit to the Topography of Terror is something you must experience in Berlin to understand the city’s history at least a little.
The museum consists of two exhibitions – outdoor and indoor.
The first focuses on the politics of socialism in Berlin and its consequences for the city. The second brings closer the activities of the SS and the police in the Third Reich and the crimes they committed.
Both exhibitions leave you stunned and make you think deeper.
Practical information: Admission to the Topography of Terror is free. The museum is open from Monday to Sunday from 10.00 am to 8.00 pm. More information can be found here.
20. Take a cruise on the Spree
A scenic cruise on the Spree is a great way to see the German capital from a completely different perspective.
Take a boat trip and see all that Berlin has to offer, including Museum Island, Berlin Cathedral, the Reichstag and the Oberbaum Bridge.
In addition, during the cruise you will be able to admire the stunning water landscape of the Landwehrkanal and the Spree.
All tours follow a similar route, differing mainly in duration, which is usually between one and four hours.
Another interesting form of exploring the city are canoeing trips, organized mainly in the season.
Regardless of which option you choose, you can be sure of one thing – you will have a great time!
Practical information: Prices for a boat trip on the Spree start from 18 €, and prices for canoe trips from 29 € per person. Kayak tour tickets can be booked here. Spree tours run from spring to autumn.
BONUS – best places to visit this summer – hidden gems!
I hope that the above list of the best things to do in Berlin has encouraged you to visit this captivating city. Berlin is a great place for a successful city break, where you can spend a great time.
Let me know in the comments which of the things to do in Berlin turned out to be the most interesting for you.
Do you have your own city break ideas in Berlin that you would like to share?
Be sure to post them below for others to benefit from!