City Break Berlin
Berlin is a city of creativity, inspiration and cultural wonders. Whatever your passion, Berlin will not disappoint.
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3 TO 5 DAYS

 

There is so much to see and do in the city, so the more time you have to enjoy it the better! A few days or more means not only do you get to see the sights at a relaxed pace, but you can also spend a whole day doing nothing in particular, but enjoying the general ambience of Berlin. The city has plenty to offer as you will have seen from our other itineraries and with a little more time you can also head out of town, with some great things to explore all within an hour from Hauptbahnhof. 

1. Berlin Welcome Card Museum Island Pass 48 to 72 hours

Undoubtedly the city's most precious asset is Museumsinsel or Museum Island. A UNESCO World Heritage Listed site since 1999, the island and its museums are home to a priceless collection of some of the world's greatest treasures including the Egyptian bust of Queen Nefertiti, the Pergamon Altar and the Ishtar Gate of Babylon. There are 5 museums on the island and the best way to see them is with the Berlin Welcome Card Museum Island Pass. This 72 hour pass gives you free access to all 5 museums across 3 days as well as free public transport and discounts at hundreds of other museums, galleries, attractions, restaurants and stores across the city. You can buy it online or at various sales points around Berlin. 

2. Walk & Ride the Berlin Wall Trail Half to full day

The Berlin wall is endlessly fascinating and with extra time you can truly discover it - delve a little deeper and really experience its history and presence. The sites in the inner city are easily accessible but the best memorial to this incredible piece of Germany's history is at the Bernauer Strasse Berlin Wall Memorial. Exiting the U8 at Bernauer Strassse you will be immediately confronted by the memorial as it runs for 1.4 kilometres along the former border strip right in front of the Ubahn exit. Remnants of the wall are still in place as well as information boards, an aerial viewing platform and a documentation centre with background information and material. Make sure you go into the nearby Nordbahnhof train station to see the informative exhibition on the platform of Berlin's ghost stations - those boarded up while the wall was in place (of which Nordbahnhof was one).

 Berlin Wall Memorial at Bernauer Strasse © Natale esposito

Berlin Wall Memorial at Bernauer Strasse © Natale esposito

Once you have been thoroughly educated on all things Berliner Mauer, it's time to hit the bikes and ride the Berliner Mauerweg - or some of it anyway. The Berliner Mauerweg or Berlin Wall Trail is a 160 kilometre route that traces the path of the Berlin Wall, the wall that encircled West Berlin and divided the city for 28 years. There is a section in the inner city starting from the Brandenburg Gate that can be walked, but there are also some nice sections to bike - particularly in the north between the regional village of Lübars and Mauerpark in Prenzlauer Berg or south around the lakes in Wannsee.  

 Berliner Mauerweg, at Märkisches Viertel © melinda barlow

Berliner Mauerweg, at Märkisches Viertel © melinda barlow

3. Gallery hopping in Mitte & Kreuzberg half day

Berlin is widely known for its historical art collection but the contemporary art scene continues to astound with new galleries popping up regularly and artists from all over the world flying in to exhibit. In Mitte the hottest galleries are in Auguststrasse including the meCollectors Room, KW Gallery and Galerie Deschler. In Kreuzberg explore Potsdamer Strasse for contemporary art galleries and studios featuring works by foreign artists but also many local artists from Berlin and wider Germany. The Sammlung Boros Collection in Mitte is a must see - a private contemporary art collection with works from such artists as Ai Weiwei,  Olafur Eliasson, Alicia Kwade, Wolfgang Tillmans and more. The added bonus is that you get to see the inside of a bunker, as this is where the exhibition permanently lives. Visits are by appointment only with tours in English and German.  

 Junior Toscanelli at  Anna Jill Lüpertz Gallery , April 2015 ©  Junior Toscanelli, Courtesy Anna Jill Lüpertz Gallery

Junior Toscanelli at Anna Jill Lüpertz Gallery, April 2015 © Junior Toscanelli, Courtesy Anna Jill Lüpertz Gallery

Treptower Park half day

There are so many beautiful parks in the city but a local favourite is Treptower Park in the south east. Treptower is no ordinary park and definitely one of Berlin's most under rated! One side of the park is flanked by the Spree river and the south east of the park joins with the lush forest of Planterwald. There is a lake in the park, plenty of lovely picnic spots and a busy promenade on the Spree side filled with snack vendors, cafes and people waiting to board scenic boat tours of Berlin and beyond. You can even rent your own boat and paddle away at your leisure! 

 On the spree between insel der jugend and treptower park © melinda barlow

On the spree between insel der jugend and treptower park © melinda barlow

A highlight of Treptower Park is the Soviet Memorial - a staggering structure made with 40,000 cubic metres of granite, that serves as memorial to the 80,000 soldiers killed during WWII. It is also a cemetery to the bodies of 5000 Soviet soldiers and is the largest anti fascist war memorial in Western Europe. The frescoes running down one side are particularly moving. 

 Soviet Memorial treptower Park © melinda barlow

Soviet Memorial treptower Park © melinda barlow

Treptower Park is a great access point for enjoying the rivers, lakes and canals with boat tours departing regularly and paddle boat rental available right along the riverfront. Or take a stroll over the bridge to Insel der Jugend and watch the passing parade of boats or just relax in the sunshine at the cafe. One of the areas hidden gems is the Spreepark, an abandoned amusement park in the Planterwald forest. Rides, rollercoasters, dinosaurs and paddle boats have taken on a ghostly appearance as the forest slowly consumes this untouched piece of Berlin's history.   

 abandoned carriages at spreepark © open media foundation

abandoned carriages at spreepark © open media foundation

An Evening in the West 3 to 5 hours

The west part of Berlin transports you to another time and place and shows you an entirely different side of Berlin. Traditional Berliner pubs, currywurst stands and boulevard cafes sit beside modern new luxury apartment complexes, gleaming department stores, expensive car showrooms and designer boutiques. City west is glamorous elegant Berlin, with a few surprises thrown in. 

 History and modernism in city west © melinda barlow

History and modernism in city west © melinda barlow

Start the evening off right and enjoy a drink with one of the city's best views! The Monkey Bar on top of the 25 Hour Hotel, has a wonderful rooftop bar with panoramic windows and a terrace overlooking the Berlin Zoo and much of the Berlin skyline. Enjoy one of their signature cocktails while watching the monkeys at play at your feet in the zoo below. 

 The Monkey bar © 25 hours hotel

The Monkey bar © 25 hours hotel

You'll be hungry after that so make your way to Kantstrasse for some of the most authentic asian food Berlin has to offer. Good Friends is considered Berlin's best Chinese restaurant and locals will bus across town for a bowl of chilli wontons at Lon-Men’s Taiwanese Noodle House. There are also quite a few new modern Vietnamese cafes to try such as Phó which opened in 2016. 

You're on holiday so why not treat yourself to a nightcap before you head home? There are loads of wonderful atmospheric bars in city west including Sally Bowles in near Nollendorfplatz and A-Trane, one of Berlin’s finest jazz venues, that is close to Savignyplatz. For whatever meal you like at whatever time a day you can't go past Schwarzes Cafe - a Berlin institution in Kantstrasse that is open 24 hours, serving whatever you need from breakfast to whisky cocktails, ice creams to pasta, with plenty of cozy nooks, wide tables to gather with friends and even a sunny courtyard in the back. 

 sally bowles cabaret themed COCKTAIL bar near nollendorfplatz  © Mimoza Veliu Photography

sally bowles cabaret themed COCKTAIL bar near nollendorfplatz  © Mimoza Veliu Photography