Hey there fellow travelers and welcome to my post where we will cover 10 ways to spend one day in Berlin. Now, we all know the joys that travel can bring, from visiting far off places, experiencing different cultures and of course, all the new foods. But there is also a downside, – that dreaded day to ‘waste’ in a city whilst waiting for a midnight flight.
So if you are like me (as I live in Australia, all outgoing flights seems to leave late at night), there has been many a day where you need to find something to do that is enjoyable, but doesn’t take too much time – or cost too much money. So if you have a long layover or a day to kill in Berlin, here are 10 things you can do to pass the time in an enjoyable way.
How To Spend One Day In Berlin
As a top-tier European destination, Berlin offers tourists an eclectic blend of experiences. From the solemn remnants of the Berlin Wall and the imposing Brandenburg Gate, to the bustling cultural hubs like Museum Island, the city leaves an indelible mark on its visitors.
Additionally, its cosmopolitan streets are sprinkled with gastronomical delights from all corners of the world, alongside a myriad of shopping opportunities, from high-end boutiques to vintage flea markets. No matter what draws you to Berlin – its history, arts, or vibrant life – the city never ceases to amaze and inspire.
So to help you out here are 10 unforgettable ways to spend one day in Berlin.
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1. Start with a Hearty Breakfast
Berlin has a thriving cafe culture, with many local spots serving up delicious breakfast options. Frühstück 3000 is a popular spot with locals and tourists alike, offering a range of breakfast dishes from classic German options to international favorites. Milchmanns is another great option, with a light and airy atmosphere and a menu that includes everything from freshly baked croissants to hearty breakfast sandwiches.
If you’re looking for something a little different, head to Benedict, a breakfast chain that specializes in all-day breakfast and brunch. With locations all over the city, you’re sure to find one close to your starting point. The menu includes everything from classic eggs benedict to more creative options like shakshuka and avocado toast.
2. Explore Historic Sites
If you’re interested in history, Berlin has plenty to offer. Here are two must-see historic sites to add to your itinerary:
Visit the Berlin Wall
No trip to Berlin is complete without a visit to the Berlin Wall. This iconic symbol of the Cold War is now a memorial and open-air gallery. You can see original sections of the wall as well as murals and art installations by local and international artists. Check out the East Side Gallery for some of the best-known murals.
Tour the Reichstag Building
The Reichstag Building is home to the German parliament and has a fascinating history. It was damaged in a fire in 1933, which the Nazis used as a pretext to seize power. After reunification, the building was renovated and a glass dome was added, offering panoramic views of the city. You can take a free guided tour of the Reichstag, but be sure to book in advance as it’s a popular attraction.
Both of these historic sites are easily accessible by public transport. The Berlin Wall is located in the Mitte district, while the Reichstag Building is in the Tiergarten district. If you’re short on time, consider taking a guided tour that covers both sites and provides context and insights into their histories.
3. Visit Museums
If you are interested in art and history, Berlin’s museums are some of the best in Europe. Here are two museums you can visit in one day:
The Pergamon Museum is one of the most visited museums in Berlin and is home to three collections:
- the Antiquity Collection
- the Islamic Art Collection
- the Middle East Museum.
The museum’s most famous exhibit is the Pergamon Altar, which dates back to the 2nd century BC. Other highlights include the Ishtar Gate and the Market Gate of Miletus.
Checkpoint Charlie Museum
The Checkpoint Charlie Museum is dedicated to the history of the Berlin Wall and the Cold War. It is named after the famous checkpoint where American and Soviet tanks faced off in 1961. The museum’s exhibits include photographs, documents and personal stories of people who tried to escape from East Germany.
One of the most interesting exhibits is a collection of homemade escape devices, such as a hot air balloon and a mini-submarine. In one day, you can visit both museums and learn about different aspects of Berlin’s history and culture.
4. Enjoy a Picnic in the Park
Berlin is a city with plenty of green spaces and enjoying a picnic in the park is a great way to spend a day in the city. Here are two of the best parks for picnicking:
Tiergarten is one of the largest parks in Berlin and it’s a great place to relax and enjoy a picnic. The park is home to several lakes, gardens and monuments making it a picturesque spot to spend the day. You can rent a bike, take a boat ride, or simply stroll through the park and find a quiet spot to lay out a blanket and enjoy a meal.
Tempelhofer Feld is a former airport that has been turned into a park and it’s one of the most unique green spaces in Berlin. The park is huge and it’s a great place to fly a kite, ride a bike or enjoy a picnic. There are several barbecue areas throughout the park, so you can grill up some food and enjoy a meal with friends and family.
When planning your picnic, be sure to bring along some of Berlin’s famous street food, such as currywurst or falafel. You can also pick up some fresh bread, cheese and fruit from a local market.
5. Experience Local Cuisine
If you’re looking to experience Berlin like a local, you can’t skip trying the city’s famous street food, Currywurst. This dish consists of a sliced sausage served with a curry ketchup sauce and is a staple in Berlin’s food scene. You can find Currywurst stands all over the city, but some of the best ones are Curry 36 and Konnopke’s Imbiss.
In addition to street food, Berlin has a diverse restaurant scene that offers a variety of cuisines. To truly experience local cuisine, head to some of the city’s best local restaurants. Lebensmittel in Mitte is a great spot to try traditional German dishes like Schnitzel, while Madame Ngo Une Brasserie Hanoi offers a fusion of Vietnamese and French cuisine.
Here are some sub-sections to help you explore the local cuisine scene in Berlin:
- Curry 36: Located in the trendy neighborhood of Kreuzberg, Curry 36 is a popular spot for locals and tourists alike. They serve up delicious Currywurst with a variety of toppings and sides.
- Konnopke’s Imbiss: This iconic Currywurst stand has been around since 1930 and is located in Prenzlauer Berg. They serve up their famous Currywurst with a secret recipe sauce that you won’t find anywhere else.
Dine at Local Restaurants
- Lebensmittel in Mitte: This cozy restaurant in the heart of Mitte serves up traditional German dishes made with locally sourced ingredients. Try their Schnitzel or Königsberger Klopse for a taste of Berlin.
- Madame Ngo Une Brasserie Hanoi: This fusion restaurant combines Vietnamese and French cuisine for a unique dining experience. Try their Pho or Banh Mi for a taste of Vietnam in Berlin.
6. Shop at Local Markets
If you are looking for unique souvenirs or just want to experience the local shopping scene, Berlin’s markets are a must-visit. From vintage finds to handmade jewelry, you can find it all. Here are some of the best markets to check out during your one day in Berlin:
Mauerpark Flea Market
The Mauerpark Flea Market is a popular Sunday destination for locals and tourists alike and you can find all kinds of treasures here, from vintage clothing to antique furniture. The market also has a great selection of street food vendors, so you can grab a bite to eat while you browse.
One of the highlights of the Mauerpark Flea Market is the karaoke session that takes place in the park. Anyone can sign up to sing and it’s a fun way to experience the local culture. The market can get crowded, so arrive early to beat the crowds.
7. Visit the Brandenburg Gate
The Brandenburg Gate stands as an emblem of Berlin’s rich tapestry of history, seamlessly merging the tales of ancient empires, tumultuous divisions, and modern unity. An architectural masterpiece of the neoclassical era, this 18th-century triumphal arch was commissioned by King Frederick William II of Prussia as a sign of peace and was later intricately woven into the broader narrative of European geopolitics.
Tourists flock to this iconic monument, not just for its awe-inspiring stature and the Quadriga (the statue of the goddess of victory driving a chariot of four horses) perched atop, but also for the poignant moments in history it has silently witnessed, including the infamous division by the Berlin Wall and the subsequent jubilant scenes of reunification.
Situated at the end of the Unter den Linden, a grand boulevard that houses many of Berlin’s esteemed institutions and museums, the Brandenburg Gate is not just a stand-alone attraction. Its prime location makes it a starting point for many tourists as they embark on their exploration of the city making it well worth spending a day in the area.
8. Enjoy Berlin’s Nightlife
If you’re looking for a good time in Berlin, the city’s nightlife is not to be missed. From local pubs to world-famous clubs, there is something for everyone. Here are two ways to experience the best of Berlin’s nightlife scene.
Visit Local Pubs
Berlin is known for its cozy pubs where locals and visitors alike can enjoy a cold beer or a cocktail. One of the best places to experience this is in the neighborhood of Kreuzberg. Here you’ll find a variety of pubs, each with its own unique atmosphere.
One popular spot is the Möbel-Olfe, which has been around since the 1990s and known for its eclectic decor and lively atmosphere. Another great option is the Kottbusser Tor area, where you’ll find a mix of traditional pubs and trendy bars.
If you’re looking for a more laid-back experience, head to the Prenzlauer Berg neighborhood. Here you’ll find plenty of cozy pubs that are perfect for a relaxing evening with friends.
Experience Berlin’s Clubs
Berlin is famous for its club scene, and for good reason. The city is home to some of the best clubs in the world with something for every taste. One of the most famous is Berghain, which is known for its techno music and strict door policy.
If techno isn’t your thing, don’t worry – there are plenty of other options. The Watergate club is known for its house and techno music as well as its stunning views of the Spree River. Another great option is the KitKatClub, which is known for its wild parties and anything-goes atmosphere.
8. Take a River Cruise
One of the best ways to experience Berlin is by taking a river cruise. The city is home to two large rivers – Spree and Havel – as well as numerous canals and lakes. A river cruise is not only a relaxing way to see the sights, but it also offers a unique perspective of the city.
There are several companies that offer river cruises in Berlin, ranging from short tours to longer excursions. Some of the most popular options include:
- Spree River Cruise: A relaxing cruise along the picturesque Spree River is one of the most popular experiences in Berlin. You can discover top attractions such as the Berlin Cathedral, Museum Island and the Reichstag building from the water.
- Landwehr Canal Cruise: The Landwehr Canal is a beautiful waterway that runs through the heart of Berlin. A canal cruise is a great way to see the city’s historic buildings and neighborhoods, such as Kreuzberg and Neukölln.
- Evening River Cruise: If you’re looking for a romantic and peaceful way to end your day in Berlin, then an evening river cruise is the perfect option. You can enjoy stunning views of the city at sunset and see the city’s landmarks illuminated at night.
Most river cruises in Berlin offer audio guides in multiple languages, so you can learn about the city’s history and culture while you relax on the boat. Some cruises also offer food and drink options, making it a great way to enjoy a meal while taking in the sights.
10. End the Day with a Sunset View at the TV Tower
The TV Tower, also known as the Fernsehturm, is a must-visit attraction in Berlin and offers a breathtaking view of the city. At 368 meters tall, it’s the tallest building in Germany and provides a 360-degree panoramic view of Berlin.
Head up to the observation deck, which is located 203 meters above the ground and watch as the sun sets over the city. You’ll be able to see famous landmarks such as the Brandenburg Gate, the Reichstag building and the Berlin Wall Memorial.
If you’re feeling hungry, you can also enjoy a meal at the revolving restaurant, which completes a full rotation every hour and offers a delicious menu and a stunning view of the city as you dine.
Overall, watching the sunset from the TV Tower is an unforgettable experience and a perfect way to end your day in Berlin.