A Complete Guide to Visiting Berlin

visiting Berlin
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Berlin was a city that surprised me.  I wasn’t too keen on visiting, rather it was never at the top of my “bucket list”.  But after hearing time and time again that people “looooved” it, I decided to go and see what the rage was about after finding a cheap flight from Berlin back to the United States.  And let me tell you – Berlin is something special.  After all, it’s one of the most historic cities in the entire world – and not for good reasons.

If you’re a history fanatic, I seriously suggest that you add Berlin to the top of your bucket list.  Below you’ll find the best things to see and do when visiting Berlin.


A Complete Guide to Visiting Berlin


If you’re planning on continuing your travels through Germany, don’t miss heading north to Hamburg – Germany’s second largest city!  Read about Hamburg here.


How to Get to Berlin

Berlin is located in the northeast portion of Germany, and is easily reachable by car, train, or air!  The airport – BER – is located about 30-minutes south of the city center; the main train station – Berlin Central Station or Hauptbahnhof – is in the heart of Berlin.

  • If you’re arriving by train to Berlin, my favorite way to book train travel is Omio
  • If you’re arriving by air to Berlin, my favorite way to book air travel is SkyScanner
  • If you’re arriving by car to Berlin, my favorite way to book car rentals is Discover Cars

If you’re arriving by plane to Berlin and you want to book a private driver to be waiting for you on arrival, you can book that here.


The Best Time to Visit Berlin

Berlin experiences all four seasons, so depending on your travel goals I personally don’t think there’s a “bad” time to visit.  Of course, for the best weather you’ll want to visit in the summer months June-August.  If you want less crowds and decent weather, then you’ll want to visit during should season or April-May/September-October.  And of course, a magical time to visit Berlin would be during the holiday season when the city is decked out in light and Christmas markets.  This usually happens at the end of November through December.


Getting Around Berlin

Berlin is a big city (the biggest in Germany) so while you can surely get your steps in, it also might be more practical to take public and/or private transportation to get from place to place.

For private transport, you can find taxis around the city or download the Uber app for affordable rides.

For public transport, there’s a wide variety of ways to get around including by train, bus, or ferry.  The two main subways in Berlin are the “S-Bahn” and the “U-Bahn”.  For an extensive guide to transportation in Berlin, check out this website.  (By the way, if you purchase a Berlin WelcomeCard, public transportation is free.  Below you’ll find more information about the card and where you can purchase it).

While you don’t need a car in Berlin, if you’re planning a road trip through Germany, or simply want a car to explore the outskirts of Berlin, I suggest renting from Discover Cars so that you can compare prices across multiple rental companies.



How Many Days Should You Spend in Berlin?

Berlin is massive and there are so many things to see and do in the city.  You truly need a week to see everything and take it all in.  However, if you don’t have the luxury taking a week to explore Berlin, I suggest starting with four days.  In four days you’ll be able to see a large part of the city and get a really good feel for Berlin.  Then you can decide whether or not you want to visit again!


Where to Stay in Berlin

I stayed at two different hotels in Berlin – and wouldn’t recommend either.  However, I did consult my friend Lara whose brother lives in Berlin and she said that her two favorite neighborhoods in the city are Prenzlauer Berg and Friedrichshain.


The Best Bars & Restaurants in Berlin

My biggest gripe with Berlin is that I couldn’t find any truly amazing food.  And I’m a huge foodie so this was a big disappointment… but not a surprise.  After all, it was my third trip to Germany and the food in Germany, collectively, underwhelms me.  None the less, there were a few options that I would definitely return to and recommend.  Below you’ll find my favorite bars and restaurants in Berlin!



Allans Breakfast Club and Wine Bar is the perfect breakfast/lunch spot on a nice day.  They have a nice, bright, yellow themed terrace and great food and drink options.  I would highly recommend stopping by and strolling through the neighborhood while you’re in the area.



If you’re looking for a lighter, healthier lunch… Avocado Club is it!  They make tons of dishes and drinks using avocado; and I can attest that they do it well.

Avocado Club is near the DDR Museum so if you plan to visit the museum, I suggest stopping here for lunch before or after.



You can’t visit Germany without visiting a beer garden!  Brauhaus Georgbraeu brews their own brand of beer and they have a great garden to sit and enjoy the beer.  You can also eat German food here, but personally I don’t think it looked great.  Instead, come for the beers before heading somewhere else to eat.



Another great, fast food option is Frittenwerk.  There are many locations throughout Berlin so your chances of stumbling upon one are pretty high.  They serve loaded fries and have tons of options to choose from.  If you’re wanting to try curry wurst, this is a great place to do so.


HOLZMARKT 25 – Outdoor Market

Holzmarkt 25 is one of the more unique places I’ve been during my travels.  It’s an outdoor food and drink market with seating along the river.  It’s a great place to come with friends and hang out for the day.  But I suggest going early so that you can snag a spot by the water.



For a variety of options to choose from, head to Markthalle Neun, Berlin’s indoor food market.  On Thursday’s the market does “Street Food Thursday” from 5pm-10pm.  Otherwise the market normally closes at at 6pm and is closed on Sunday.


MOGG – Sandwiches

Mogg was my favorite restaurant I visited in Berlin.  They specialize in pastrami sandwiches and being from Nebraska – I can tell you that they know what they’re doing.  This is a cash only restaurant so make sure to bring cash with you.





The Best Things to See and Do in Berlin

My favorite thing about Berlin was that there was so much to do in terms of history.  There are loads of museums in Berlin – some of them even free – that you could spend days wandering and learning about Germany’s history.  Below you’ll find my favorite museums in Berlin and other ways to spend your time.

Also, depending on what you’re planning to do in Berlin, you might want to consider purchasing a Berlin WelcomeCard.  This card will give you discounts at 180+ attractions, and allow for free public transportation.  You can learn more about the card here.

The one museum that I visited that I wouldn’t suggest is The Wall.  There were tons of other great museums (some for free) that shared the history of the Berlin Wall; this wasn’t one of them.


For more about Berlin’s history and the best sites and museums to visit if you’re interested in history, check out this post where I also give a sample itinerary for spending three days in Berlin.



The Berlin Bunker Story museum was one of my top two favorite museums in Berlin.  This museum tells the story of Hitler from birth until death, with the goal of dispelling any rumors circulating about him.  You also learn so much about WWII and all of the atrocities that Hitler committed and carried out through his life.

This museum costs €‎12 and you should expect to spend 2-3 hours.



Being a nurse, I found the Berlin Museum of Medical History to be fascinating.  This museum covers four centuries of medicine and has great learning tools to learn about different organs and disease processes in the body.  If you aren’t in medicine/interested in medicine, I would skip this museum.  But if you have a basic understanding of medicine, you might find it interesting!

This museum costs €9 and you should expect to spend 1-2 hours.



The DDR Museum is a hands on museum of the life of East Berliners, or those living in the communist part of Berlin.  This is the 11th most visited museum in Berlin and it was the only museum I visited that had a line.  You can purchase tickets ahead of time (which I suggest), and entry is €‎13.50.  You should expect to spend around two hours here.



The East Side Gallery is a free, outdoor museum, showcasing remnants of the Berlin Wall.  Artists were commissioned to graffiti the wall, so it’s a colorful reminder of Berlin’s dark past.  This is the longest remaining section of the Berlin Wall.



One of my favorite things that I did in Berlin was the free walking tour with Original Berlin Tours.  The tour lasted around four hours and our guide explained Germany’s history in depth as she took us around to historical sites throughout Berlin.  There was a lot of walking in this tour, so make sure to wear comfortable shoes!



The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe is a powerful, outdoor monument dedicated to all of the Jews who lost their lives because of the Holocaust.  Nobody knows the exact meaning of the monument, and there are tons of different interpretations of what it represents.



The Topography of Terror museum was one of my top two favorite museums in Berlin.  This museum is dedicated to the story of WWII and the museum is in an old building that the Nazis occupied from 1933-1945 carrying out persecution and terror.  The museum serves as a reminder of the terror of the war and remembers those responsible and those that fell victim.

Entrance to the Topography of Terror is free, and you can expect to spend about 2-3 hours here.



The Tränenpalast is a former border crossing between East and West Berlin and it’s now been turned into a museum.  This museum walks you through life between East and West Berlin, the Cold War, and the reunification of Berlin once the wall fell.

Entrance to the museum is free, and you can expect to spend about one hour here.



Practical Tips/FYI About Visiting Berlin/Germany

Below you’ll find practical tips about visiting Berlin and Germany in general.  These are always my “go-to” tips when traveling to a new country, and I figure that everything else can be learned along the way!

  • Language:  German; but you will be able to get by with English
  • Currency:  Euro (€‎); you will need cash in Berlin!  I went to several bars and restaurants that only accepted cash.  When taking out cash, try to avoid any ATMs that have fees (one of the popular ones to avoid is Euronet – it’s blue and yellow).   I also recommend getting cash out when you arrive to Germany versus beforehand.  The exchange rates will be better.  Lastly, when paying with a card, always pay in the country’s currency (in this case €‎), to avoid added fees.
  • Visa:  Americans traveling to Germany do not need a visa (unless you’re planning to stay for over 90 days); Germany is part of the EU and a part of the Schengen Area.
  • When traveling abroad, I highly recommend purchasing travel insurance to cover your trip in case anything were to happen.  I use and and recommend SafetyWing.
  • You will need a converter in Germany; I use this one
  • In case of emergency, the number for police in Germany is 110 for the police, and 112 for other emergency services


Visiting Berlin was such an eye-opening experience.  I hope that you’re able to learn and enjoy as much as I did in Germany’s capital city.  If you have questions, let me know in the comments below!


For a more visual look at Berlin, and more ideas on what to see and do, make sure to check out my Instagram page/highlight reel and search “ppingermany” or look for my “Germany” highlight


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Disclosure:  This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I get a commission if you decide to purchase through my link, at no cost to you.  Passports and Preemies is also a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees.


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Kylee is a Neonatal Intensive Care (NICU) nurse passionate about making travel affordable and accessible to nurses. Inspiring nurses to travel both near and far, Kylee began Passports and Preemies in 2017 while volunteering in Skopje, North Macedonia as a way to reach nurses and advocate for the prevention of nurse burnout by traveling. Kylee is the original creator of the “8 Day Vacay” – a vacation geared towards nurses who aim to take advantage of the potentially 8 days off between work weeks with no need to use PTO.

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