Are you visiting the capital of Germany? Without a doubt, Berlin ranks among the world’s most popular and beloved travel destinations. And little wonder: in addition to its famously vibrant atmosphere, the Berliner Luft, with its blend of local charm and cosmopolitan open-mindedness, the city is also bursting with world-famous sights and hidden treasures. This metropolis simply offers something for everyone, be it passionate shoppers, flaneurs, lovers of the high arts, or anyone else looking to enjoy their stay.
Here we have listed some of the highlights with examples of things to do and places to see. On this page you will also find a customized map that shows you the city's highlights and top attractions.
A multicultural European hub
The German capital is perfectly positioned in the middle of Europe, which makes Berlin a fascinating hub that attracts many nationalities. In this multicultural city, you find people from 190 countries. Famous visitors such as Queen Elizabeth, Barack Obama, Michael Jackson are a few of many who have fallen for the charming city. Even David Bowie, who actually was an expat here in Berlin, has his personal connection to the city. With that said, it is clear that Berlin is a city for everyone; For couples on a romantic holiday, for singles looking for an adventurous trip and for families with children. There are playgrounds everywhere!
When is the best time to visit Berlin?
Berlin is great to visit at any time of the year, the city is alive all year around. But there are of course some seasonal highlights to mention. In the spring, or more precisely April, the city is in bloom and you can see the Japanese blossoms throughout the city. During the summer it is a great opportunity to visit the beer-gardens, have a picnic in the Tiergarten, enjoy the city lakes and sit down along the Spree River and get an amazing feeling only the Berliner Luft can offer. Berliner Luft is literally Berlin´s air, yet it has been associated with a feeling of freedom since the city is so multicultural. During the last months of the year, it is great to visit Berlin's cosy Christmas markets or why not make a pit stop at the huge New Year's party and welcome the new year at the Brandenburg gate.
Things to do along the Spree River
The river is around 400 km long and about 45 km of its length flows through the city center until it confluences with the Havel river in Spandau. The Spree is 2,5 Meters deep on average, so you are actually able to see the basin in some areas; however, it is neither recommended nor allowed to swim in it within the city. Berlin welcomes the Spree in Köpenick about 15 km from Alexanderplatz, it flows by the Museum Island, Friedrichstraße, Hauptbahnhof and Bellevue Palace.
You can sit anywhere on the riverbanks along the river, but we have two places, which we like extra much, to recommend for you. If you are around the Museum Island, you can walk along the newly built Berlin Palace, Berlin Cathedral, and cross the Friedrichsbrücke (bridge) at the Alte Börse. Then you reach a place where you can grab a seat and enjoy the wonderful view of the Spree River decorated by the Colonnade surrounding the Museum Island. You will find the other sweet spot at the Hauptbahnhof. From the station you just need to walk down the stairs or take the ramp to reach the river bank. The view is amazing! It is a cozy walk, the Chancellery is on the pathway as well, and there is a bar on the bank where you can wave to other visitors who go on a boat trip along the river.
Boat tour on the Spree River
With a combination tour, you can use the double-decker buses, enjoy their panoramic view and relax on a one-hour boat tour on the Spree River. The boat route glides you by the Museum Island, St. Nicholas quarter, and the Government District. Go to Hop On – Hop Off bus & 1 hour River Cruise to read more and book your ticket.
Top attractions and sights to visit in Berlin
Fastest elevator in Europe
Can you believe that Berlin has the fastest elevator in Europe? You will find it at the Panoramapunkt, close to Potsdamer Platz. In 20 seconds, you reach the view platform located 100 M above the street. There is also a Panoramacafé for you to relax and see how our buses drive through the Kulturform.
Address: Kollhoff-Tower, Potsdamer Platz 1
The Television Tower is not only the tallest building in Berlin, but it also has a revolving restaurant that rotates 360° in one hour.
Address: Opposite the train station Alexanderplatz
It is an astonishing 62 Meters wide and 26 M tall structure that welcomes tourists, worldwide known stars and politicians. Read more about Brandenburg gate
The building is located in the city center and has been the house of the Parliament after the construction being witness to two wars. In June 1991, the Parliament decided to move from Bonn back to Berlin, becoming effective in 1996. From June 24 until July 7 1995, the artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude were allowed to cover the entire building with a white fabric catching the eye of tourists and citizens. Read more about Reichstag in Berlin
Deutsche Demokratische Republik or German Democratic Republic (GDR) in English was the government between 1949-1990 and Berlin was the capital. There is so much more you can learn about the GDR, and the DDR Museum has a comprehensive list of artefacts and activities that will help you immerse yourself in the daily activities of the citizens.
Popular places to visit
Nikolai Quarter is a marvelous corner close to Rotes Rathaus. It is actually the oldest settlement in the city dating to the 1200s. The area close to the Saint Nicholas church has small shops, cafés and restaurants, some of which are located near the Spree and will offer you an amazing afternoon.
The New Synagogue
There are several museums dedicated to remembering the Holocaust victims including the New Synagoge. It serves as a museum as well as a historical archive for the Jewish Community. You can attend guided tours, workshops and visit the permanent exhibition.
Address: Oranienburger Str. 28-30
At Mauerreste you can see a piece of the Berlin Wall that is still standing. This 200 meter long wall is a part of the outdoor section of the documentation center named Topography of Terror, one of the most visited in Berlin. Open to the public, the documentation center lectures the visitors about the headquarters of the Secret State Police during the `Third Reich`.
The memorial church in the West of Berlin and is one of the most interesting sights in the city because it has not been largely restored after the damages caused during WWII. You can actually visit the Church, it is located in front of Kurfürstendamm.
The building was designed by Daniel Liebeskind and is an outstanding institution in Europe. The exhibitions and programs aim to raise awareness of the Jewish past and present; therefore, there are interactive activities dedicated to children, so they learn about Noah’s ark for example. The museum offers a wide range of programs, events, research opportunities and even an annual cultural summer camp and is located close to Checkpoint Charlie.
It was a haunting ground for the electors of Brandenburg which reduced in size as the city itself grew larger. One amazing landmark are the boulevard Unter den Linden, and Straße des 17. Juni. The Unter den Linden or in English Under the Linden Trees was built to bind the Berlin Palace and the Brandenburg Gate while the Straße des 17. Juni, in English Street of June 17th traverses the Tiergarten.
Visit the Museum Island
The Museum Island is one of the most visited areas in Berlin since you find five quite famous museums on one island. Even though it is a small portion of land, there are so many things you can and should see.
- Humboldt forum. It is a newly built museum whose façade clashes in contrast since one section resembles the Berlin palace built in the 1400s but later demolished in 1950.
- Neues Museum. The New Museum presents astounding artifacts including the over three thousand years old bust of Nefertiti over three stories.
- Altes Museum. The façade includes 18 columns and resembles the Pantheon in Rome and a wide staircase decorated with two bronze sculptures on each side, one is the Löwenkämpfer (The Lion Fighter) and the Amazone zu Pferde (The Amazon on Horseback). The second one was built by August Kiß who as well built the memorial St. Georg der Drachentöter (St. George, the Dragon Slayer) located in St. Nicholas quarter.
- Alte Nationalgalerie. Surrounded by a colonnade courtyard, the Old National Gallery exhibits a comprehensive collection of the 19th Century along three stories. You will see masterpieces by Claude Monet, Hans Thoma, Max Liebermann amongst other great artists.
- Bode Museum. As many of the historic structures in Berlin, this museum was severely damaged during the Second World War and was extensively restored afterwards. In this museum, you will see Byzantine art and human history presented in medals and a numismatic collection.
- Pergamon Museum. The U-shaped Pergamon Museum is hidden between the Neues Museum and the Bodemuseum. Being quite impressive in Size, you will not oversee it just as the world wide known Pergamon Altar. Not only is the humongous Pergamon Altar exhibited in the Museum but also the Museum of Islamic Art and of Ancient Near East.
- James Simon Gallery. As mentioned, the Museum Island is a clash between historic and modern architecture, and the James Simon Gallery is an example of this contrast. It serves as an entrance for the Pergamon Museum and has an underground entrance to the Neues Museum.
- Colonnade courtyard. The courtyard is one of the most distinctive constructions of the Museum Island since it surrounds the heavenly garden around the Alte Nationalgalerie where beautiful sculptures decorate the garden.
Go to Visit Berlin for more information, opening hours and tickets to the museums.
Discover the city with a Hop On-Hop Off bus tour
With so many things to see and places to discover in the city, you can comfortably take the hop on and hop off Stromma buses if you want and be able to appreciate Berlin and all of its contrasting aspects. Listen to the audio guide translated into 16 languages to deepen your knowledge about this wonderful city. The bus stops nearby the museum island and the top sights and attractions of the city. Go to Hop On – Hop Off Bus Berlin and book your ticket, get more information and see all departure points.
Have a guided walking tour
At Brandenburg Gate, you can take Stromma's one-hour guided Walking Tour with one of our great and experienced guides who will show you the Government District, the buildings, their story, and more!