Top things to do on a Berlin city break

Berlin has been one of the fastest growing cities in terms of visitors anywhere in the world. In the 1980s it was a theme park city for those interested in the cold war. In the 1990s it was the techno club Heaven located within a city recovering from 28 years of divide. It was only with the dawn of the new Millenium that Berlin became one of the key tourist destinations in Europe. 

Often, when booking a holiday in Berlin, people misunderstand the scale of the city. Berlin is big and very spread out. 

Over 3.7 million people call this city home. It’s a transient place, with people from all countries finding a home in this incredibly vibrant city. It has a history stretching back 800 years and over 200 museums that accompany this history. 

So how do you pick? How do you decide which museums to visit? How do you organise your time and make the most of Berlin on a short city break? In this “Top things to do on a Berlin city beak” guide, we will take you through some suggestions of what you can do in Berlin on a short city break.

Book a Tour

I’m not just writing this as I am a private tour guide but as a sincere recommendation. Berlin is a big place there is a lot to see and do and one of the best ways to maximise your time is to take a tour.

A private tour is a great first thing to do. With a private tour guide from theberlintourguide.com you will get a real grounding for this city. Take a 3 hour long introduction tour to understand the main highlights of Berlin. See the City Palace, Unter den Linden, Checkpoint Charlie and the Berlin Wall in an interesting and time efficient way. Discover the secrets and what it is like to live in Berlin from someone passionate about the city and its history.

What makes a private tour a time efficient choice is customisation. No two people are the same, but every group tour of Berlin is. With a private tour, you can ask your guide to see the things you want to see. Interested in the Third Reich? Then ask to see the hidden bunkers. Maybe it is the cold war that is your passion, then venture with your guide to the Soviet War Memorial in Treptow. A private tour is fully customisable, and you’ll discover many things you wouldn’t otherwise see with a group tour or by walking around the city on your own.

Museum Pass

Picture of a museum building in Berlin
Berlin Altes museum

This is highly recommended. It’ll give you the best bang for your buck, take away the stress of queuing and give you access to over thirty museums. Best of all, for just €29 it lasts for three days.  

With this pass explore the history of the Jewish people of Berlin and Germany at the Jewish Museum. Discover the history of Germany from its beginnings in 9 A.D through until today with the German Historical Museum. Get lost in the beauty of Nefertiti in the Neues Museum or gaze onto the gates that Alexander the Great once rode through into Babylon in the Pergamon Museum. These are some of the must-see sights of Berlin, and with this card, you’ll save not only time but also money.

To find out what exactly is included on the Berlin Museums Pass follow this link, https://www.visitberlin.de/en/museums-museum-pass  

Flohmarkts

Girl in crowd at Flohmarkt

Berlin and its Flohmarkts or Flea Markets have become famous the world over. On Saturdays and Sundays streets, parks and plazas are overtaken by the wooden stands selling treasures and trinkets.

There are many Flohmarkts in Berlin from the famous to the subtitle. The oldest and most famous in Berlin is the Straße des 17. Juni Flohmarkt held just before the gates of Charlottenburg. Beginning in 1973 it moved to its current location in 1978 and has been entertaining the eyes of residents and tourists ever since. If you are looking for antique silverware, watches, ornaments or curiosities this is the one for you.

If you’re looking for more of a more current vibe then try Mauerpark. Mauerpark Flohmarkt has also become famous the world over. Popularised by influencers and Instagrammers this is where you’ll find young musicians of varying degrees of talent, great food, and interesting stalls. Founded on what was once a goods yard before the second world war the land became more famous as part of the death strip of the Berlin wall. This is where the name comes from. Mauer means wall.

Today you’ll find hundreds of stalls selling old army clothes, currency from the hyperinflation of the 1920s, photographs, cameras, audio amplifiers and clothes. If you’re looking for a unique souvenir bargain spend ten minutes rummaging through the boxes laden with potential hidden treasures.

Our favourite part, during the summer months the amphitheatre at Mauerpark becomes the world’s largest outdoor karaoke scene. Witness people from all over blast from their lungs Bohemian Rhapsody, Wonderwall and other timeless hits. It’s a great laugh for the whole family.

overhead shot of a flea market

Eating

This isn’t a restaurant list. However, we do want to give you a recommendation of how you can experience the atmosphere of Berlin whilst getting something to eat. For this, we recommend the market halls in Berlin.

Arminius market hall is located in the Moabit district of Berlin. Opening in 1891 as the tenth market hall in Berlin the large open space welcomes the weary food desiring person through its doors. 

With stands offering a range of food from Fish and Chips, Burgers, Vegetarian dishes, Sushi and traditional German home cooking, you’ll find something to suit your fancy. Once you’ve eaten put your feet up at Das Wohzimmer the market hall’s cafe/bar and enjoy a delicious coffee, prosecco or beer. Find out more on the Arminius Markthalle webpage here, https://arminiusmarkthalle.com/ 

If you want a different experience try the Maybachufer Turkish market. An outdoor market running along the banks of the Landwehrkanal in Berlin’s cool Kreuzberg district.

Here you’ll be amongst the people of Berlin. The streets are busy and noisy and the air is full of a buzz of people going about their lives. Purchase fresh fruit or local handmade delicacies. There are numerous food stalls selling premade treats of both German and Turkish flavour. Alternatively, you can buy little bits and create your own picnic.

The Turkish market on Maybachufer runs on Tuesdays and Fridays.

Explore a different district

I think that this is one of the most important things to do in Berlin. All too often people get caught in the historical sights of Berlin. They wander Unter den Linden, Friedrichstraße, and Potsdamer Platz seeing just one of the 16 districts of Berlin. What is important is to venture out and explore the streets of a different district.

Discover Prenzlauer Berg, Friedrichshain, Kreuzberg, Charlottenburg, Wilmersdorf or Schöneberg. Each district in Berlin has its own character and feel. From the clean streets, cafes and restaurants of Prenzlauer Berg, to the bustling grime of Kreuzberg. In Friedrichshain admire the Soviet architecture of Karl-Marx-Alle or the small streets of Boxhagener Platz. In Kreuzberg see the street art and former squats of the 1980s punk Berlin. In Schöneberg visit the Rathaus where President Kennedy made his famous speech, or in Charlottenburg wander around the antique stalls of Suarezstraße.

Bridge in Berlin

In conclusion

With this guide of the top things to do on a Berlin city break, we hope you’ll gain some inspiration for our top things to see whilst visiting this city.

Want to know more? Book a private tour with theberlintourguide.com and customise your holiday in Berlin. Follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.