Berlin sights: the most beautiful things to do and places you must see
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Top things to do in Berlin: 20 beautiful sights to see [+ map]

Berlin is waiting for you with countless sights and top nightlife.

Due to its many different cultures, the Spree metropolis is not only known as the capital of Germany but also as the number one hipster capital. However, one should not forget that Berlin is also extremely rich in history and political significance. Not only is Berlin the seat of the German government, but between 1961 and 1989 it was divided into East and West by a wall.

The fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989, is a unique event in history. In this article, we present to you the most beautiful places and sights in Berlin. In addition to various tourist attractions, you can look forward to cultural, accommodation, and restaurant recommendations as well as some insider tips for your Berlin trip!

Created on17.08.2022

The 20 top sights in Berlin at a glance

Here is a list of the top sights in Berlin, one of the most beautiful cities in Germany. Of course, there is much more to discover in Berlin, but the must-see attractions of the German capital should be manageable in about two to three days, say on a long weekend. We show you what to see in Berlin. Have fun!

View from the side of the Brandenburg Gate in the morning
The Brandenburg Gate is the landmark of Berlin and one of the most important highlights of your Berlin city trip
  1. Brandenburg Gate
  2. Reichstag building
  3. Alexanderplatz with television tower
  4. Humboldt Forum
  5. Berlin Cathedral
  6. Gendarmenmarkt
  7. East Side Gallery
  8. Checkpoint Charly and Friedrichstraße
  9. Kurfürstendamm
  10. Memorial Church
  11. Charlottenburg Palace
  12. Victory Column and Unter den Linden
  13. Potsdam Platz
  14. Holocaust Memorial
  15. Oberbaum Bridge
  16. Museum Island
  17. Tiergarten with Bellevue Palace
  18. Zoological Garden
  19. Nikolaiviertel
  20. Bebelplatz

Map: All sights in Berlin

In our interactive map, you can find all the beautiful sights in Berlin at a glance. Have fun discovering the most beautiful places and squares of the German capital on the city map. By the way, many attractions are located close to each other, so you can easily explore them on foot.

1. Brandenburg Gate

The illuminated Brandenburg Gate in Berlin
It is the top sight in Berlin: the Brandenburg Gate – an obligatory thing to do!

It is the top sight in Berlin par excellence: the Brandenburg Gate. Here stand rows and rows of tourists to capture it photographically for those at home, because everyone, really everyone, wants to see the Brandenburg Gate. That’s what Berlin is known for.

The gate, built in the classicist style, is the only surviving one of 18 Berlin city gates. Important events such as the end of Napoleonic rule, the celebration of Constitution Day in the Weimar Republic, and the fall of the Berlin Wall are associated with the structure. On top of the Brandenburg Gate is a quatrefoil depicting Victoria, the Roman goddess of victory. The sculpture symbolizes the coming of peace to Berlin, which is why the gate was originally called the Peace Gate.

View from below up to the Brandenburg Gate
The gate is powerful and imposing – everyone wants to take a picture of it

By the way, during the division of the city, the Brandenburg Gate was located just behind the borderline in the Soviet sector in the famous no man’s land – access was impossible.

2. Reichstag building

The view over the river Spree with a boat to the Reichstag building in Berlin
The Reichstag building is of course also one of the top things to do in Berlin

For the next important attraction in Berlin, we are right near the Brandenburg Gate. At 400 meters away is the Reichstag building, colloquially known simply as the Bundestag, which has been the seat of the same since 1999. While it was originally built in the Neo-Renaissance style, the complete redesign by Norman Foster was completed in the same year.

Probably the most famous feature and the highlight of the Reichstag building is the walk-in glass dome above the plenary hall of the German Bundestag. Anyone who wants to visit it and the associated roof terrace should book in advance here.

Those who decide to visit the dome at short notice also have the opportunity to do so spontaneously. You can register on-site at the visitors’ service office near the Reichstag building next to the Berlin Pavilion on the south side of Scheidemannstrasse. If spaces are available, you can get an appointment there for two hours to two days later. Admission permits are personal – so remember to have a valid ID document when making an appointment and entering the building!

You can also book a guided tour through the government district* with all kinds of interesting facts.

3. Alexanderplatz with TV Tower

View of the world clock at Alexanderplatz with television tower
It is the top photo motif in Berlin: Alexanderplatz, Alex in short. The world clock is a popular meeting place and a cool sight to see

Alexanderplatz, Alex for short, is one of the most famous squares and landmarks in Berlin. The famous world clock, which is located there, also represents one of the most popular meeting places in the city. The entire square with its shopping opportunities is an absolute hotspot. Also, on Alexanderplatz, you will find the Berolina, the statue of a woman with an oak wreath, which is supposed to symbolize the city of Berlin.

Directly at the Alex stands another landmark of Berlin: the TV tower. It cannot be overseen and shapes the cityscape of Berlin (secure ticket with priority entrance now*). By the way, the TV tower is the highest building in Germany at 368 meters.

The TV Tower at sunrise with colourful clouds
When the sky is burning in Berlin, the TV tower stands out great from the background- one of the most amazing things to do in Berlin

Also, near Alexanderplatz, you can find the Red City Hall. It is the seat of the mayor and the meeting place of the Berlin Senate.

Tip: On a guided tour of Berlin* you can discover the top highlights of the city.

Berlin red city hall from the side
The red city hall in Berlin with the television tower in the background

⭐ Recommended travel guides for your trip to Berlin

In these travel guides, you will surely find a lot of inspiration for your city trip to the German capital, in addition to the most important sights. Have a look at Lonely Planet Berlin (Travel Guide) (get it here*) and Pocket Rough Guide Berlin (Travel Guide eBook) (get it here*).

4. Humboldt Forum

View across the water to the Humboldt Forum
Work on the Berlin Palace was completed in 2020. The Humboldt Forum shines in new glory – a cool thing to do in Berlin!

The Humboldt Forum is a magnificent museum located on the Spree Island in the historic center of Berlin. It is so sensational because it is located in the Berlin Palace. Before the Berlin Palace burned down in 1945 and then was even blown up in 1950, it served as the main residence of the Brandenburg Electors, as well as Prussian kings and German emperors.

After a long construction phase from 2013 to 2020, the Berlin Palace now stands again in its former glory as an addition to the Museum Island in Berlin. Today, it is home to the Humboldt Forum.

View from the roof of the Humboldt Forum to the TV tower
From the terrace of the Humboldt Forum, you have a magnificent view over the roofs of Berlin and also on the television tower- a secret place you must visit!

It is quite impressive to walk through the famous landmark and the huge courtyards. Inside you will find several museum collections from all over the world. It also houses the Ethnological Museum Berlin and the Museum of Asian Art. Altogether with the surrounding buildings, one of the largest connected cultural ensembles in the world now stands in Berlin. 

5. Berlin Cathedral

Another dome worth visiting is located in the Berlin Cathedral. It is located on the Museum Island, which is a sight by itself and about which you will learn more further on.

The view from the Berlin Cathedral at sunset
The view from the Berlin Cathedral at sunset- a top thing to do in Berlin!

The cathedral is the largest Protestant church in Germany by area and consists of the large preaching church in the center and the smaller baptistery and wedding church on the south side. It was built from 1894 to 1905 in the Neo-Renaissance and Neo-Baroque styles, destroyed in World War II, and rebuilt. The exterior was simplified, while the interior was faithfully restored.

You can reach the observation terrace of the dome at a height of 50 meters after 270 steps, for which the 360-degree panoramic view definitely compensates. The walk around the dome is included in the cathedral tour.

The Berlin Cathedral from the inside with golden ornaments
The Berlin Cathedral from the inside – a place you simply must see

The Berlin Cathedral is also one of the most important dynastic burial places in Europe. The Hohenzollern Crypt extends over almost the entire basement, where a total of 94 members of the House of Hohenzollern were buried from the end of the 16th to the beginning of the 20th century.

Please note: Unfortunately, the Hohenzollern Crypt is expected to be closed for three years starting March 1, 2020, for extensive construction and renovation work.

View inside the dome of the Berlin Cathedral
What’s to see in the Berlin Cathedral? The view inside the dome of the Berlin Cathedral is incredible!

⭐ If you’d like to dive into Berlin’s underground despite the renovation work in the Hohenzollern Crypt, be sure to check out Berliner Unterwelten e.V.. The non-profit association offers numerous tours and guided tours, for example into an old operating theater bunker of the former Humboldt Hospital. The association also runs a Berlin Underworlds museum at Gesundbrunnen.

6. Gendarmenmarkt

View of the large square at the Gendarmenmarkt with concert hall
It is also one of the important sights of Berlin – the Gendarmenmarkt. An impressive thing to do

The Gendarmenmarkt is considered the most beautiful square in Berlin. It was built as early as 1688, but then, like so many places in Berlin and throughout Germany, it was destroyed in World War II and later rebuilt.

Gendarmenmarkt is home to several landmarks. These include Karl Friedrich Schinkel’s Schauspielhaus, now used as a concert hall, as well as the German Cathedral and, just across the street, the French Cathedral. You can visit the concert hall. You have to sign up for a guided tour on the website, though. The tours last 45 minutes and cost 3 euros.

The history of the last two buildings is almost identical. They were built in the Baroque style from 1780 to 1785 and are adjacent to the German and French churches, respectively. They burned out during World War II and have been restored to their original exteriors and modern interiors. While the German Cathedral is now home to the parliamentary history exhibition of the German Bundestag, the French Cathedral houses the Huguenot Museum.

The French Cathedral at the Gendarmenmarkt
The buildings flanking the concert hall, like the French Cathedral, look almost identical
The Konzerthaus is illuminated by the sun in the morning
You can also visit the concert hall

7. East Side Gallery

View of the Grafitti: My God, help me to survive this deadly love
The most famous picture at the East Side Gallery is one of the kissing chancellors, Leonid Breshnew and Erich Honecker – an unusual thing to see!
View of a motif of the East Side Gallery with original parts of the wall
A piece of the original wall. This artist did not paint his picture again. This was the case with all the paintings

Another important piece of the city’s history is the Berlin Wall, which separated the GDR and West Berlin from 1961 to 1989. The longest preserved piece is located in Mühlenstraße along the Spree River and is called the East Side Gallery (Website).

Over a length of 1316 meters, 118 artists from 21 countries created around 100 paintings after the fall of the Wall, with which they took a stand on the political changes. These include well-known works such as “My God Help Me Survive This Deadly Love” by Dimitrij Vrubel. You can also view all the paintings on Google Arts & Culture, by the way.

View of a piece of the wall at the East Side Gallery
Also, a popular photo motif at the East Side Gallery- a cool thing to do in Berlin!

Today, most of the paintings are no longer the originals, as they were all refurbished in 2000 – but by their original artists themselves. The background was that it was planned to tear down the wall. So the artworks were not applied with high-quality paint and were flaking off. One section of the wall is still preserved in its original form.

Today, all artworks were provided with graffiti protection, so that vandalism can be excluded. Also, due to the construction of new buildings in the immediate vicinity, several pieces of the wall have already been removed. Either way, it is a must-do to visit the wall and take a picture there.

Starting in September 2022, there will be an exhibition where you can learn all about wall art. There’s also an app where you can listen to interviews with each artist from 21 countries.

A Trabi in the wall on a section of the wall
What’s in the East Side Gallery to do? You can see a lot of graffiti and each motif shows a special message

There are other remnants of the Wall in Berlin, as well as a 160-kilometer-long foot and bike path that runs along the strip of the Wall and is divided into 14 sections ranging from 7 to 21 kilometers in length. In the city center, you can see the former course of the Wall by a double row of cobblestones.

You can get even more information on the bike tour “Alternative Berlin: Kreuzberg & Friedrichshain*“.

Also, very important and worth seeing is the Berlin Wall Memorial and Documentation Center. The memorial presents a monument to the victims of the division, a documentation center, and the famous Chapel of Reconciliation. 

8. Checkpoint Charlie and Friedrichstraße

Friedrichstraße, named after Elector Frederick III of Brandenburg, is one of the most famous streets in the historic center of Berlin. Although it is not particularly wide, the 3.3-kilometer boulevard is home to numerous hotels and important buildings such as the Friedrichstadt-Palast and the Admiralspalast, two well-known venues.

Blick auf ein Bild, das einen Soldaten zeigtThe famous picture of a soldier at Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin
Blick auf ein Wachhäuschen in Berlin am Checkpoint CharlieThis guard house is still left from the wall time- a historic thing to do in Berlin!
Der Checkpoint Charlie in der FriedrichstraßeThe Checkpoint Charlie is located in the famous Friedrichstraße

Friedrichstrasse is also home to the famous Checkpoint Charlie. This former border crossing point connected Berlin’s Soviet and US sectors until 1989. The name, by the way, has its origin from the international spelling alphabet: After Checkpoints Alpha and Bravo, Charlie was the third and last of the Allied checkpoints used by the Americans.

Today, you can find replicas of the checkpoint barracks and signs, among other things, at this popular tourist attraction. Sometimes you can even see actors in uniforms there. The two larger-than-life portraits of a Russian and an American soldier are also famous – depending on the direction from which you approach the checkpoint, you will see one of them.

If you are interested in this sight and would like to have more information about it, you should consider visiting the museum Haus am Checkpoint Charlie (Website).

9. Kurfürstendamm

View of the Kadewe department store in Berlin
The Kaufhaus des Westens, short Kadewe Berlin

Kurfürstendamm, or Ku’damm for short, is the most famous shopping street in Berlin. Like Unter den Linden, this street was originally designed as a riding path. Today, however, it is a popular promenade with many shopping opportunities.

It is also home to the famous KaDeWe department store, the Kaufhaus des Westens. Opened in 1907, it has established itself as one of the largest department stores in Europe. Especially the gourmet department is famous. Since 1978, it has been the second largest food department of any department store in the world.

Tip: From the rooftop restaurant of the KaDeWe you have a great view over the Ku’damm- it’s a cool thing to do!

10. Memorial Church

The memorial church in the Tauenzienstrasse with a modern piece of art in the front
Where to visit the Gedächtniskirche? It’s located in Tauenzienstrasse at the end of Kurfürstendamm
View of the floodlit Gedächtniskirche
It still stands at the Kudamm as a memorial against the war- an impressive thing to do in Berlin.

The eastern endpoint of the Kurfürstendamm is the Memorial Church. The Protestant church was built in memory of Emperor Wilhelm I in the Neo-Romanesque style. At 113 meters, the church tower was the tallest in the city at the time, until the church was destroyed during World War II. The nave was then demolished, while the ruined tower, still 71 meters high today, remained standing as a memorial against the war.

A modern new building consisting of a nave, steeple, chapel, and foyer was erected next to it.

Tip: Bus line 100 is the tourist line par excellence. Line 100 runs between Zoologischer Garten and Alexanderplatz and serves the same route as many Hop On Hop Off buses. On the route of line 100 are numerous sights.

11. Charlottenburg Palace

The Charlottenburg Palace is a top sight in Berlin
You can tour the Charlottenburg Palace. This is a very popular tourist activity and a top thing to do

Charlottenburg Palace is a popular sight in Berlin. If you have some time left, a visit to the former summer residence of the Hohenzollern family in the Charlottenburg district is definitely a good idea. There is also an Advent market there, which, by the way, is one of the most beautiful Christmas markets in Germany.

If it was the seat of the Prussian kings from 1701 to 1888, the palace is now a very popular museum that you can visit. The palace park, which opens its doors at 8 a.m., is also impressive with the Belvedere, the Mausoleum, and the New Pavilion.

As is so often the case in wartime, Charlottenburg Palace was used as a military hospital after World War II. Inside, you can visit the Porcelain Cabinet, the Red Damask Chamber, the Golden Gallery, and the Palace Chapel.

12. Victory Column and Unter den Linden

View of the Victory Column in Berlin at sunrise
It is also called the Goldelse: The Victory Column in Berlin – a beautiful place to go

The extension of the street Unter den Linden, the Street of June 17, leads directly to another sight: the Victory Column in the middle of the Great Star (a huge traffic circle). Originally, the Victory Column stood directly in front of the Reichstag building but was moved to its current location in 1939. It, too, is adorned by Victoria, the goddess of victory, known in Berlin as “Goldelse” (golden old girl).

A narrow spiral staircase leads up to the Victory Column (admission: 3,50 euros). From here you have one of the best views of the city- a top thing to do in Berlin!

The boulevard Unter den Linden, about 1.5 kilometers long and 60 meters wide, laid out in 1573 as a bridle path and later paved and planted with linden trees, is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Berlin. It ends at Pariser Platz, where the famous Brandenburg Gate is located.

Tip: Why not explore Berlin on a Trabi tour*? You’ll explore Berlin’s most important sights and historic districts behind the wheel of the cult GDR car. The German capital can also be discovered perfectly by bike*.

13. Potsdamer Platz

The Sony Center at Potsdamer Platz - the roof is amazing
It looks super modern: the Sony Center at Potsdamer Platz

The futuristic Sony Center stretches into the sky. Especially at night, it shimmers in spacey blue. Potsdamer Platz is the hub of activity, especially during the Berlin Film Festival, the Berlinale. That’s why the Sony Center is also home to the Museum of Film and Television, Cinemaxx, a large multiplex cinema, and out on the street, you’ll find the Boulevard of the Stars, similar to Los Angeles, California.

If you’re traveling with kids in Berlin, Legoland at the Sony Center is worth a visit.

There is another highlight in the Sony Center itself: the Kaisersaal. Great Hollywood stars have already danced here. During the construction of the Sony Center in 1996, it was moved by an air cushion. The building is listed as a historic monument. The Kaisersaal is the only relic left over from the bombing of the Grand Hotel Esplanade. It was one of the most famous hotels in Berlin at that time. The remains of the hotel were listed after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.

Today you can see inside the Kaisersaal from the outside, the facade is protected by glass panes. Inside is the restaurant and bar Frederick’s.

A star on the Boulevard of Stars in Berlin
The Boulevard of Stars looks similar to Los Angeles in the U.S. – a fun thing to see in Berlin!
View inside the Sony Center at Potsdamer Platz
The Sony Center is home to several museums and the Emperor’s Hall- a cool thing to do in Berlin!

Directly at Potsdamer Platz, there is also a famous panorama point. You can reach it via the Kollhof building with the fastest elevator in Europe. Once at the top, you have the Berlin skyscrapers below you.

In the Potsdamer Platz Arkaden, you can spend half a day shopping. As you can see, a lot is going on here.

But that Potsdamer Platz was not always so busy and established as a shopping mile, as you can see well in the film Wings of desire from 1987. Here was a huge empty space, which was crisscrossed by the Berlin Wall. Today it looks all the more beautiful for it at Potsdamer Platz.

14. Holocaust Memorial

The Memorial to the Murdered Jews, also called the Holocaust Memorial
It is a nice photo motif, even though the story behind it is very sad. The Memorial to the Murdered Jews, also called Holocaust Memorial, looks very futuristic

Also, not far from the Brandenburg Gate is one of Berlin’s most famous and important memorials, the Holocaust Memorial. In memory of the approximately 6 million people of Jewish faith who were killed under Nazism, it is officially called the “Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe”.

At sunrise, this monument has a very special charm- a wonderful place to see.

The Holocaust Memorial consists of 2711 concrete blocks of varying heights. Despite many different interpretations, the famous stelae have no deeper meaning and were only meant to be an attempt to reflect the enormity of the Holocaust in a memorial.

The memorial met with very different reactions. Above all, there was criticism that the place of remembrance was quickly misappropriated and used by locals and tourists as a playground and picnic area, for sunbathing, or as a photo backdrop.

The Memorial to the Murdered Jews at sunrise
At sunrise, this monument has a very special charm – a wonderful place to see

However, for the architect Peter Eisenman, this was clear from the beginning. He said that the tourist attraction is “not a sacred place”, but this is viewed critically, especially by victims’ representatives.

View from below up from the Holocaust Memorial
At the lowest point of the monument, you look up several meters into the sky – an impressive thing to do in Berlin

You’re definitely allowed to take photos, but when visiting the Holocaust Memorial, please behave respectfully and be sure to keep the history behind it in mind. On the site, there is also a “Place of Information”, an underground memorial exhibition of 930 m², where you can get a lot of knowledge about it again.

Here we can recommend you the guided tour “Cold War & Third Reich*”.

15. Oberbaum Bridge

The yellow subway runs on the Oberbaum Bridge
The Oberbaumbrücke in Berlin is absolutely worth seeing – an awesome thing to do in Berlin!

Already from the East Side Gallery, you can see the next sight. The Oberbaumbrücke is a landmark of the Berlin district Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg and connects its namesake districts.

The structure has several structural peculiarities. First, it is one of the few bridges with a subway viaduct above street level, which means that the U1 line crosses the Spree River virtually in the open air. The crosswalk under the viaduct is again designed in the style of a medieval cloister.

On the other hand, there are the two characteristic towers of the Oberbaumbrücke, which are modeled on the city wall in Prenzlau and also recall its former function as a water gate. The tops of the towers are decorated by the Berlin Bear and the Brandenburg Eagle. The ensemble is definitely a great photo spot.

All this also makes the seven-arched stone bridge with a length of 150 meters an extremely photogenic sight. Especially when the typical yellow Berlin subway crosses the bridge and the TV tower in the background provides the ideal backdrop. You can also take great pictures from the bridge.

Otherwise, I can also thoroughly recommend simply sitting on the banks of the Spree and enjoying a mild summer evening in front of the Oberbaumbrücke!

By the way, a sightseeing tour by boat* is also worthwhile.

16. Museum Island

View of the Bode Museum on Museum Island in Berlin
Here you can see exactly why the Museum Island is called island – it’s completely surrounded by water

In the middle of Berlin lies the Museum Island. Island because it is completely surrounded by water. Here you can do a cool sightseeing tour! Next to the Berlin Cathedral are the Old Museum, the New Museum, the Old National Gallery, the Bode Museum, and the Pergamon Museum. They mainly house the archaeological collections and the art of the 19th century.

The James Simon Gallery on Museum Island
The James Simon Gallery on the Museum Island looks very modern and is a cool thing to do
The Pergamon Museum in Berlin is a top sight to see
The Pergamon Museum is extremely impressive and is my favorite- Clearly a must-do in Berlin!

Museum Island is one of Berlin’s most popular sights, one of the most important museum complexes in Europe, and was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1999.

The old museum on Museum Island
The old museum on the Museum Island also looks mighty and pompous
View into the National Gallery in Berlin
The National Gallery in Berlin

Tip: The Berlin WelcomeCard* gives you free admission to all museums and collections on Berlin’s Museum Island. You can also use the ticket for buses and trains in Berlin.

17. Großer Tiergarten with Bellevue Castle

the Chancellor's Office in Berlin illuminated by the sun
Directly in the Tiergarten, you will find the Chancellor’s Office

The Großer Tiergarten has nothing to do with animals (tier in German). Sorry, German is not always easy to understand. Animals you will find in the Zoological Garden, about which you will learn more in a moment. The Großer Tiergarten is a large park around the Großer Stern. The square where the Victory Column stands. In it, in addition to extensive green spaces, there is, among other things, an English Garden and numerous memorials, for example, the Memorial to the Sinti and Roma of Europe murdered under National Socialism.

The Soviet Memorial is also worth seeing. The memorial was built in 1945 to honor the soldiers of the Red Army who died in World War II.

On the edge of the Großer Tiergarten, right next to the Chancellery, you’ll also find the House of World Cultures, dubbed the “Pregnant Oyster” by locals. It was America’s gift to friendly West Berlin in 1957. It is a small architectural masterpiece and has been copied worldwide.

View of the House of World Cultures at sunrise
In Berlin Tiergarten, you can find the famous pregnant oyster – a beautiful thing to do if you like photography

Also, on the northern edge of the Tiergarten is Bellevue Palace. This sight, built in the classicist style, has three wings. Originally built as a summer residence for Prussian Prince August Ferdinand, it has served as the first official residence of the German President since 1994. Among others, Pope Benedict XVI and Barack Obama have been guests there. Unfortunately, you can only admire this palace from the outside.

18. Zoological Garden

Three lions in the Zoo Berlin
What to do in Zoo Berlin? Discover lions and other great animals – Photo: Zoo Berlin

Immediately behind the Memorial Church begins the Zoological Garden. It is considered the oldest zoo still in existence in Germany and the most species-rich zoo in the world. Together with the adjacent aquarium, the Zoological Garden is one of the most visited sights in Berlin.

Incidentally, the Zoologischer Garten station was the unofficial main station of West Berlin during the division of the city. The new main station between Zoologischer Garten and Alex was opened only in 2006. Since then, Bahnhof Zoo has lost its role as an important long-distance train station.

The Berlin Zoological Garden at night with a lot of skyscraper
The Berlin Zoological Garden at night directly at the subway stop- a stunning thing to do in Berlin and one of the best things to see there!
The Zoo Palast in the Tiergarten Berlin
The Zoo Palast exists since 1919. Until its destruction in the Second World War was the cinema one of the most popular attractions in the west of Berlin.

The station became famous through the book “Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo” (We Children from Zoo Station), published in 1978, which describes the situation of drug-addicted children and young people using the example of Christiane Felscherinow from the Berlin district of Neukölln. Even today, the area around the “Zoo” (like many other places in the city) is a well-known drug hub.

Tip: A very special experience is the Bulli tour through Berlin*.

19. Nikolai Quarter

View of the double spire of the Nikolaikirche in Berlin
The Nikolaikirche dominates the cityscape of Berlin with its double spire- a fantastic thing to do in Berlin!
Alley in the Nikolai quarter
The Nikolai Quarter is the unofficial old town of Berlin- one of the best places to visit!

The Nikolai Quarter is located in the vicinity of Alexanderplatz. The listed district is the oldest settlement area in Berlin. At its center is the Nikolai Church, destroyed in World War II and later reconstructed, around which an ensemble of historic townhouses and appropriately adapted prefabricated buildings were built on an approximately medieval ground plan.

Since 1938, the church has no longer been used as a sacred building. Instead, it now houses a museum. Admission is free on the first Wednesday of every month.

In addition, there are many nice cafes in the Nikolai Quarter, such as the KugelEi (Website). There you can find delicious cakes, hot chocolate with chili, and very special decorative elements on the wall – setting boxes with eggs.

Unfortunately, you won’t find a truly historic city center or old town in Berlin after the devastating destruction of World War II. Especially in the east of the city, a lot of historic buildings were destroyed forever during the GDR regime.

20. Bebelplatz with State Opera

View from the Humboldt Forum
From the Humboldt Forum, you can see the prominent dome of St. Hedwig’s church- a beautiful thing to do in Berlin!

Our last sight could not be more significant: Bebelplatz. It was the scene of important events. For example, there is a memorial on the ground there. It shows empty shelves and stands for the book burning that the Nazis had carried out during World War I on May 10, 1933. Twenty thousand books were burned here. The square used to be called Kaiser-Franz-Josef-Platz.

However, there are other important attractions of Berlin around Bebelplatz under the linden trees. For example, the equestrian statue of Frederick the Great stands centrally on the street. Also, on the square is the striking St. Hedwig’s Cathedral with its turquoise round dome.

Also, directly on Bebelplatz, you will find the State Opera House Unter den Linden. The construction of the mighty building was ordered by Frederick the Great. It was built from 1741 to 1743. The opera was destroyed during World War II and had to be rebuilt.

Insider tip: Savignyplatz

View of the station arches of Savignyplatz
Idyll and really nice stores – that’s what you’ll find at Savignyplatz. A cool thing to do in Berlin!

In Charlottenburg, you will find a beautiful square that is perfect for relaxing. A great time out in the middle of Berlin. Savignyplatz is still something of an insider tip or a secret corner in Berlin. It captivates with lots of green space, beautiful benches overgrown with roses, and has a wonderful flair.

In the arches of the bridge, you can find small stores, and around the square are cute cafes. In addition, you will find the most popular bakery in Berlin: Zeit für Brot. In addition to thick sandwiches, there are incredibly delicious cinnamon buns in all varieties. You can also watch them being baked live.

Berlin Backyards

View of the Hackeschen Höfe with special facade of the houses
I like to visit the Hackesche Höfe every time again

Another thing to do in Berlin is to explore the legendary backyards. Believe me, you’ll find a surprise or two here. Probably the most famous of Berlin’s backyards are the Hackesche Höfe, Germany’s largest enclosed courtyard area. They are located in the Mitte district, were opened in 1906, and have been listed as historic monuments since 1977. The exciting facades in the individual courtyards were designed by different architects and are truly impressive.

In the Hackesche Höfe and the adjacent Rosenhöfe you will find mainly stores and crafts, but also a cinema and the variety show Chamäleon.

one of the little stores in Hackesche Höfe
Famous personalities in the Hackesche Höfe
Famous people on the walls of Hackesche Höfe Berlin
In the Hackesche Höfe, you will find many small stores – a cool place to visit!

A little less known are the famous Heckmann Höfe at Oranienburger Straße 32, which are also located in Berlin Mitte and consist of three courtyards surrounded by largely listed buildings. Currently, the Heckmann-Höfe are home to a theater and a restaurant, among other things, but they are to be transformed into a creative quarter. To that end, the commercial spaces will be increasingly rented out to original retailers who value creative products.

Find out even more hidden sights, backyards, and detailed information on a guided tour*.

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The 10 most beautiful lakes in Berlin

We also show you an overview of Berlins most beautiful lakes you really have to see and need to enjoy.

If you are in the city for a longer time, you should plan a trip to the Großer Müggelsee in the district of Treptow-Köpenick, at least in summer. On the eastern shore of Berlin’s largest lake, the Müggelsee lido awaits bathers. There is also a nudist area further north.

You can also find a nice swimming area at the neighboring Kleiner Müggelsee.

Or how about exploring this great Berlin sight by boat? There are several boat rentals at Müggelsee and in the surrounding waters. Motorboats up to 15 hp can be rented by anyone, for stronger boats the sport boat license “Binnen” is required.

Art and culture in Berlin

Part of the GDR Museum are living rooms from back then
A view into an apartment in the former GDR
A Trabi in the GDR Museum
A Trabi simulator in the GDR Museum – here the kids stood in line. A fun thing to do in Berlin!

If you still haven’t had enough after all these sights and you’re wondering what else there is to do in Berlin, then we’ll show you some more great things to do in the area of art and culture.

For example, a trip to the GDR Museum on Museum Island is definitely worthwhile. Inside you can experience a driving simulation in a Trabi, see reconstructed GDR apartments, learn a lot about life back then and discover a lot. The naked figures in front of the museum are not only eye-catcher but also symbolize the free body culture of that time. You can learn more about this in the museum.

Another crowd puller is the Bud Spencer Museum Unter den Linden (Google Maps). There you can learn everything about the life and work of the actor.

Tip: If you are not so interested in art and history or if you are looking for an excursion tip for the whole family in case of rain or bad weather, the German Museum of Technology (Website) in Kreuzberg directly at the Gleisdreieck is highly recommended.

The German Museum of Technology in Berlin
The German Museum of Technology in Berlin is visible from far away with the airplane on the roof
Biggi at the Gleisdreieck in Berlin
At the Gleisdreieck in Berlin, you can take very nice pictures – a secret place and a great photo motif!

There is for example the German Opera, where I could see “Romeo and Juliet” from the State Ballet a few years ago and was totally thrilled. Also, with numerous musicals like Mamma Mia! or Bodyguard, there is certainly something for everyone.

Then, of course, there is the classic wax museum Madame Tussauds in Berlin. But also, great museums like the C/O Berlin, an exhibition house for photography, or the Futurium, an excellently made and extremely exciting interactive museum about sustainability, technology, and the future, are absolute highlights.

If you like concerts and festivals in the summer, you should take a look at the calendar of events at the Waldbühne and the line-up of Lollapalooza at the Olympiastadion.

Legendary nightlife

Berlin’s nightlife has always been legendary. Even in the 1920s, people knew how to party in Berlin, which attracted worldwide attention. Berlin is not only the German capital but also the capital of the world club scene.

In Berlin, you can find legendary electro clubs like Berghain (hard door, best come really “fucked up”), Sisyphos (a bit more easygoing than Berghain), or Tresor. If you like, the party not all night, but all weekend long. Legendary in this context is the RAW area at Warschauer Brücke in Friedrichshain with clubs like Cassiopeia or Suicide Club. This kind of partying attracts many young people.

Those who like it a bit quieter move from bar to bar in the evening in Kreuzberg on Bergmannstraße or Simon-Dach-Straße in Friedrichshain, or spend the night around the Hackesche Höfe in Mitte. Night owls also have a great time at Oranienburger Straße.

But that’s just a small glimpse of Berlin’s nightlife. There are hundreds of clubs and (beach) bars in the city where you can party until the morning hours. A currently very popular bar is Bellboy (Google Maps) in Mitte. Here you get fancy cocktails served.

Also, Berlin is very cheap (and quite liberal) compared to other cities. This is also a reason why especially British vacationers like to go on a booze cruise in Berlin.

Tip: The nightlife in Berlin usually does not start in the evening, but really at night. So it’s a good idea to check out the cool bars first and then head for the clubs much later.

Where to stay in Berlin – our hotel recommendations

Lobby at the Pullman Berlin Schweizerhof Hotel
The lobby of the Pullman Berlin Schweizerhof pulsates with its art installation

Very exclusive is the Soho House, a private members’ club and hotel in a listed building in Berlin Mitte. Only those who belong to the club can enter here. I have met stars like Bill Murray here. The food is also very tasty with the most beautiful view of the city.

Famous is also the 5-star Hotel Adlon Kempinski (check prices here*) Unter den Linden. Here you stay very stylish.

Much cheaper, but no less excellent is the Circus Hostel (check prices here*) on Rosenthaler Platz, which has been around since 1997 and even has its own microbrewery. It’s a nice place to stay. The Grand Hostel Berlin Classic (check prices here*) in Kreuzberg is also a great option, combining modern design elements and a historic 19th-century building.

Our very special hotel tip is the Hotel Pullman Berlin Schweizerhof (check prices here*) on Budapester Straße. We have made an extra report about the hotel Pullman.

You also can’t go wrong with the 3-star Motel One Berlin-Alexanderplatz (check prices here*) and you’ll be super central.

The best food in the capital

Beer in the Berlin Hofbräuhaus
A piece of Bavaria in Berlin. There’s always something going on at the Hofbräuhaus
The famous stand of Curry 36 in Berlin
The famous stand of Curry 36 in Berlin

Typical for Berlin is of course the Currywurst. A delicious version is available, for example, at Curry 36 on Mehringdamm in Kreuzberg (Google Maps), one of the most famous snack bars in the city, which can even count Tom Hanks among his fans.

Also, probably originating in Berlin is the kebab as most people in Germany know it. The most famous kebab is at Mustafa’s Gemüse Kebap (directly at Curry 36 on Mehringdamm; Google Maps), where you, therefore, have to be prepared for long queues. Mustafa’s Gemüse Kebap now also has a branch in Munich.

The vegetarian alternative to the kebab is the falafel. There are countless good falafel snack bars in Berlin. However, you won’t find really good falafel in a kebab store, but at an Arab who always prepares the falafel fresh. Among others, Falafel in berlin.de in Kreuzberg (Google Maps), Orient Falafel also in Kreuzberg (Google Maps), or Boussi Falafel in Schöneberg (Google Maps) should be mentioned. But that’s just a small selection of really good falafel snack bars in Berlin.

Mustafas Gemüsedöner in Berlin
Mustafa’s Vegetable Kebab is known even beyond Berlin. The advertising of the kebap stand is legendary. Here you stand in line for a long time

We love breakfast. And especially in Berlin, there is nothing more brilliant. At the Schwarze Café on Kantstraße in Charlottenburg, you can have breakfast 24/7. At Mokkabar on Gneisenaustraße in Charlottenburg, the table bends under the portions. At Cafe Dritter Raum on Hertzbergstraße in Neukölln, you can get a vegan breakfast brunch. In Moabit, Café Tirrée on Birkenstraße is a wonderful place to dine. In Bergmannstraße you can find Turkish delicatessen at Knofi.

All foodies should stop by the weekly market on Kollwitzplatz (Google Maps), which takes place every Saturday from 9 am to 4 pm. Every Thursday from 12 to 7 p.m., the Grüne Liga eco-market also takes place there, with a focus on sustainability. So, does the Good Bank restaurant, which grows lettuce on vertical farms in the middle of the city and has three locations.

For a delicious breakfast, I recommend Café Schrippenschuster (Google Maps) in Prenzlauer Berg, which is also ideal for families with small children thanks to a children’s play corner. In general, you’re sure to find an Instagram-worthy breakfast in hip districts like Prenzlauer Berg or Kreuzberg and Neukölln.

breakfast in Berlin is always a lot
A huge breakfast in the Gneisenaustraße in Berlin

Very exclusive is The Grand, which combines an upscale German-French restaurant, bar, and club on a total of three floors. If you’re more looking for a little piece of Bavaria in Berlin, the Hofbräu is a good place to go.

Another tip: Of course, you can also book a guided gourmet tour of Berlin*.

⭐ Berlin excursion destinations: Potsdam, Spreewald, Tropical Island and Co.

A barge dock in the Spreewald
The Spreewald is one of the top excursion destinations in Berlin

Berlin is not only a top travel destination itself but also an excellent starting point for other excursions. Only about half an hour away, for example, is the excursion destination Potsdam, a city definitely worth visiting.

During a city trip to Potsdam, it is also a good idea to directly explore the entire state that surrounds Berlin which is characterized by a unique natural landscape. Therefore, take a look at all the tips and recommendations for the perfect vacation in Brandenburg! Among others, you can visit Tropical Island, the Spreewald, and the Uckermark Lakes.

Just outside Berlin, you will also find the Fehrbellin airfield (Website). Here you can book sightseeing flights, balloon rides, and tandem jumps, or just eat ice cream.

Facts and figures

Blick auf das Humboldt Forum in Berlin
Berlin ist einfach immer eine Reise wert

I hope you enjoyed my list of beautiful places and important sights in Berlin. I think you are now well prepared for your city trip. Flo from phototravellers.de grew up in Berlin. Therefore, we have explored a lot in Berlin. These top 10 or top 20 sights represent only a fraction of what there is to see in Berlin.

A sightseeing trip is, therefore, the best opportunity to discover a lot of the city. Berlin has so many popular places and cool spots that more than one visit to the capital is well worth it. We wouldn’t recommend one day or as a short trip to Berlin. If you do, you’ll only manage to see a fraction of the highlights. A long weekend, on the other hand, is perfect for exploring.

Für unsere Leserinnen und Leser aus Deutschland: Hier findest du die Top-Sehenswürdigkeiten in Berlin auf Deutsch.

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