Berlin is one of the most amazing cities to visit in Europe. It’s a bustling metropolis with a vibrant nightlife scene, incredible local food, rich culture and history, remarkable historical sights and museums, and some of the best beer in the world.
If you’re visiting Berlin soon, you will be in for a treat. The German capital has everything a digital nomad is looking for in a city adventure, and it is for this reason that it attracts millions of tourists each year.
Whether Berlin holds a special place on your bucket list destinations or you’re simply looking for ideas on what to do in this incredible German city, here’s the Berlin Travel Guide for the top things to see and do in Berlin.
1. See the Impressive Brandenburg Gate
When it comes to the top attractions in Berlin, the Brandenburg Gate is high on the list, and for obvious reasons. It’s an impressive neoclassical monument that’s been around since the 17th Century. Serving as a symbol of separation between East and West Berlin, it is one of the city’s most significant historical landmarks.
The Brandenburg Gate is built over a former city gate under the orders of Prussian King Frederick William II. Napoleon Bonaparte, the First Emperor of France, passed through the gate after the Battles of Jena and Auerstedt.
As one of Berlin’s most famous sights, expect a crowd of tourists at the Brandenburg Gate. If you want to avoid the crowds and get your photo taken without distractions, you should come here early in the morning.
2. Visit the Topography of Terror
Berlin is home to fantastic museums. One of those museums you should see is the Topography of Terror, especially if you want to learn more about one of the darkest periods in Europe’s history. It lies in the center of Berlin on a site that was the headquarters of a secret state police called the Gestapo, the group responsible for the prosecution and murder of millions of people during the time of the Nazis.
The museum holds an exhibit of photographs, documents, audio, films, and other materials that paint a picture of what life was like for the Europeans during the Nazi occupation. It also details the various aspects of the crimes committed by the Nazis, including their prosecution of different people, their use of extermination camps, and unsuccessful attempts at escaping justice.
The Topography of Terror is open from 10 AM to 8 PM every day and is located in the Mitte district, a walking distance of Potsdamer Platz, a public square in the center of Berlin.
3. Explore the Museum Island
You will find the other fantastic museums of Berlin in Museum Island, a world-renowned complex of five museums lying by the river Spree. The complex lies in a canal about 400 meters long. As one of the city’s most significant UNESCO World Heritage Sites, it is one of those attractions you shouldn’t miss while in Berlin.
The Museum Island houses many of the city’s oldest and most significant museums, including the Old Museum, built in 1830. You will also find the New Museum, which was destroyed during WWII and rebuilt in 2009. It houses collections from the Papyrus Collection, the Egyptian Museum, and the Collection of Classical Antiquities. The other museums on Museum Island are the Old National Gallery, Bode Museum, and the Pergamon, which houses the Museum of Islamic Art.
4. Learn History from the Humboldt Forum
The Humboldt Forum is one of those museums you should see when visiting Museum Island. It’s the latest museum established in the complex and home to the Museum of Asian Art (Museum für Asiatische Kunst) and the Ethnological Museum of Berlin (Ethnologisches Museum). Opened in 2019, the remarkable museum is considered the equivalent of all the leading museums in the world.
The Humboldt Forum holds the largest collections of non-European treasures in Germany, including more than 400,000 artifacts obtained from across the globe. Some highlights are art displays of ancient art from Asia and a sizable collection focused on China. Aside from its galleries, the museum has its own restaurants and shop.
5. Check out the Berlin Wall Memorial
Another historical sight worth checking out is the Berlin Wall Memorial. Stretching to 155 km, the Berlin Wall was built in 1961, symbolizing the East Berlin and West Berlin tensions during the Cold War. In 1989, the wall was torn down, but a 1.5-mile stretch of the wall was kept as a memorial to those who died attempting to flee from East Germany. The memorial wall honors the people lost during the division and is a powerful reminder of the tragedy that once divided Europe.
You will also find a trampoline covered with graffiti in the area, used by the East German border guards to prevent individuals from climbing over the wall. The Günter Litfin Memorial, which pays tribute to the first civilian killed when trying to cross from east to west, is also on the site.
6. Relax at Tiergarten
If you want to escape the bustling streets of Berlin and head somewhere quiet to relax, visit Tiergarten, the city’s most significant park, located in the inner part of Berlin. At 210 hectares, it is one of Germany’s largest parks. The site was originally a hunting reserve for royals and later turned into a public park in 1700. You will find an abundance of trees and shrubs at the park, along with vast expanses of flower borders and grass. It’s a perfect spot to enjoy scenic walks, picnics, and boating.
The Tiergarten also contains several monuments and statues, including the Statue of Queen Louise from 1880, depicting her with relief as she attends to wounded soldiers during the war. You will also find the Monument to Frederick Wilhelm III, the Memorial to the Roma Victims of National Socialism, and the Memorial to Homosexuals Persecuted Under Nazism at the park.
7. Admire the Charlottenburg Palace
The Charlottenburg Palace is a marvelous palace depicting Baroque-style architecture, built around the end of the 17th Century by Elector Frederick III of Brandenburg. It was once the royal residence during the Prussian monarchy. In 1701, it was destroyed by a fire. It has since been renovated and now comes with many outstanding features, including a vast central dome about 50 feet tall.
One of the highlights of the Charlottenburg Palace is the New Room, which has State Apartments and stunning banquet halls. You will surely enjoy exploring the palace, including its lavish park. The Charlottenburg Palace lies in the Western District of Berlin, and many rooms require an admission fee. But given its gorgeous architecture and rich history, the palace is definitely a must-see.
8. Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe
The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe is a remarkable testament to the German people’s commitment to not turning a blind eye to past atrocities. Also called the Holocaust Memorial, it’s another Berlin attraction that every visitor to the city should visit.
Sitting on the eastern side of Tiergarten, the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe is a collection of almost 3,000 concrete slabs occupying an area of about 19,000 square meters. Underneath the site is an information center with diaries, letters, and photographs of the victims of the Holocaust. The site is a must-see for anyone interested in the history of World War II and the Holocaust.
9. Climb the TV Tower (Fernsehturm)
Climb the TV Tower to admire the city’s impressive panorama. At more than 650 feet tall, the TV Tower is Germany’s tallest structure and is guaranteed to treat you with outstanding views. Take one of the two elevators to get to the top.
If you have built up some appetite after admiring the city’s panoramic views, visit the rotating Sphere Restaurant or Bar 203 to indulge in drinks and snacks. The tower is open from 10 AM to midnight. Consider booking the queue jump tickets, allowing you to go straight to the top and not have to queue.
10. Admire the Impressive Architecture of the Berlin Cathedral Church
Located within the Museum Island, right next to Lustgarten, the Berlin Cathedral is one of the most magnificent structures in Berlin, featuring an impressive 75-meter-tall dome. Featuring Baroque-style architecture, it is the largest church in Berlin and consists of three main sections – the Parish Church, Memorial Church, and the Baptismal and Nuptial Church.
The cathedral was not spared during the war and incurred several damages. After decades of repair work, it has returned to its former glory. Some of the most popular features of the cathedral include the Imperial Staircase with stunning bronze cornices and paintings by Albert Hertel in 1905. Check out the Imperial Gallery, where you can admire the splendid views of Berlin. Another highlight is the Hohenzollern Crypt, which houses sarcophagi and monuments from the 16th to the 20th centuries.
11. Wander around the Nikolai Quarter (Nikoliaviertel)
Berlin’s Nikolai Quarter is a fun place to stroll around. It lies at the heart of the old city and offers plenty of fun things to do. The pedestrian-friendly quarter is lined with many colorful buildings along its narrow streets full of nooks and crannies. Aside from admiring the buildings, you can stop by the restaurants and cafes lining its streets for refreshments. You will also find shops and craft workshops selling souvenirs and other interesting stuff.
When going around the Nikolai Quarter, don’t miss the older houses and historic buildings, including the Ephraim Palace, built around the 1760s. The palace has exhibits dedicated to Berlin’s rich artistic and cultural history, including a grandiose staircase. Another highlight in the area is the Knoblauch House, built around 1760 and represents the former homes of wealthy merchants and tradesmen.
12. Shop at the Mauerpark Flea Market
If you happen to be in Berlin on a Sunday, you should check out the Mauerpark Flea Market, Berlin’s biggest and most popular second-hand, open-air shopping spot. The market has a variety of booths selling everything you can think of, from clothes to musical instruments, vinyl records, furniture, toys, bicycles, and more. Even if you don’t plan on buying anything, the market is a fun place to stroll around, where you’ll see thick crowds of shoppers negotiating with shop owners.
Surrounding the flea market is a bustling green space full of locals chilling out and having picnics. There are also street performers, spray painters, and jugglers lining the street that stretches to the Berlin Wall. It’s also worth checking out the karaoke sessions in the amphitheater every Sunday afternoon.
13. Join the Berlin Craft Beer Experience
Berlin is famous for its beer. In fact, the city’s craft beer scene is massive. If you drink beer, joining the Berlin Craft Beer Experience is highly recommended. It’s a fun way to learn more about the city’s beer culture, which includes visiting the top breweries of Berlin and learning how they produce craft beer.
During your tour, you will witness the beer being brewed and get a taste of the different varieties of beer that the breweries produce. Some of these tours include spending the afternoon in one of the many beer gardens across the city, a perfect place to relax and unwind after a day spent strolling Berlin’s top attractions. Enjoy the relaxed atmosphere as you savor ice-cold beer with a delicious snack.
14. Learn About Germany’s Industrial History at the German Museum of Technology
The German Museum of Technology is where you will learn more about Germany’s industrial and technological history. Established in 1983, the museum showcases Germany’s achievements in the field of technology. It’s a must-see for visitors, with plenty of fun experiences and exciting activities for adults and kids.
One of the highlights of your visit to the German Museum of Technology is the overview of vehicle development resulting from the improvement of vehicle mechanization. Originally, the museum’s main emphasis was rail transport. However, you will now find features and exhibits of all kinds of industrial technologies.
As you stroll around the museum, you will find a fascinating display of vehicles and aircraft from the age of steam, including steam engines developed from 1843 until today. If you are curious about Germany’s technological history, you definitely should visit this museum. It’s open from 9 AM to 5:30 PM from Mondays to Thursdays and from 10 AM to 6 PM during weekends.
15. Chill out in Müggelsee Lido
Müggelsee is Berlin’s largest lake and a popular spot for locals to chill out. It lies in the southeast area of Berlin and is part of the urban district of Köpenick. The lake is bustling with people, especially during the summer season. Aside from enjoying a picnic, you’ll find people taking a bath at the lake and enjoying water sports like paddling.
Around the lake, you will find several boat rental stations where you can rent watercraft, from canoes to motorboats. At the northern bank of the lake, you will find the Museum im Wasserwerk. On the other side of the lake is the picturesque fishermen’s town of Rahnsdorf, a fun place to stroll around with its cobblestone streets lined with old chestnut trees.
Berlin Welcome Card
The best way to see the attractions in Berlin is through the Berlin Welcome Card which starts at €24,00 for a 48 hour pass. This pass gives you:
- Free Public transport in Berlin
- Savings of up to 50% on many attractions
- Free city guidebook including city map.
Germany Digital Nomad Visa
Germany has a program that makes it easy for Digital nomads from non-Eu and Non-EEA counties to stay and work within Germany.