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One weekend in Berlin

A compact Berlin itinerary for first time visitors

published on 2010-06-12 by Sara
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This Berlin weekend itinerary is meant to give you an overview of what you can and should do to experience the typical Berlin atmosphere. It’s not an itinerary per se, although I will give you a rough outline of how my recommendations could be systemized into a 72h stay.

The good thing about this itinerary is that it focuses on the typical tourist sights as well as the local’s favorites (and sometimes, they are the same thing), so you’ll hopefully have a good mix.

We will assume that you arrive on Friday and depart on Sunday evening or Monday morning. Keep in mind that most of the suggestions off this itinerary will be valid on weekdays, too – but check first to be sure. Please keep in mind that I have deliberately not included any shops or plenty of cafés because I think that would be a very generic approach to urban tourism. Instead, this Berlin weekend itinerary focuses on the specific things that make Berlin special.

General information about Berlin

Getting around in Berlin

In which district of Berlin should I stay?

Recommended hotels and accommodations in Berlin

I don’t hang around in hotels much in Berlin, but there are definitely some houses that I know and always bring up when friends ask me. I think they’re all great for their value. The Airbnb market in Berlin isn’t as great as in other metropoles, because the laws here officially forbid private people to rent out their homes. I have yet to see a great hotel or hostel in Kreuzberg and Neukölln, so I’m open to any recommendations from my fellow Berliners if you have any – sorry about that, guys!

The most important sightseeing route of Berlin

One weekend doesn’t give you a lot of time to see all the sights, but there are definitely some things that you should do and some things you can safely leave out. There’s a very standard sightseeing route that you should consider, just so you can get the typical tourist stuff out of the way. Depending on how fast you are, you can do it in 1-3 hours, either on bike or on the public 100 bus line that starts on Alexanderplatz and ends on Bahnhof Zoo (you can obviously do the reverse route, too). On an official day pass, you can just hop on and off at the sights.

You can safely leave out these sightseeing spots:

This route takes you across the city center, but leaves out a few landmarks that are in different areas of the city.

Which landmarks should I definitely visit on my weekend trip to Berlin?

Should I do a boat trip in Berlin?

If the weather is nice and you can’t be bothered to jump into a crowded bus or ride a bike, then a boat tour on the Spree and the Canals is a great alternative. You get to see most of the city from a chill perspective and can listen to the history of the city. That said, the boat tour can eat up 3 hours and is very inflexible and comparably expensive to the other options, so it’s more of an add-on than a “must-do”.

Which museums should I visit in Berlin?

Depending on your taste, there are plenty of options to choose from. I’m not a big fan of museums, but Berlin can definitely hit you with some bad weather, so it’s nice to have some options on hand.

Where to party in Berlin

Berlin is known to be a hotbed for party-goers, but often tourist are disappointed because they don’t really know where to go to find what they like. They end up in Techno clubs when they don’t like Techno, or resort to the tourist traps when there are, in fact, many great options to choose from. Here are a few select choices that will definitely teach you the Berlin ways.

As a word of general advice: weekends tend to get really, really crowded at doors. Dress casually, but not shabby and don’t go out dancing before 1 AM or you’ll likely end up on an empty dancefloor.

What to eat in Berlin

You’ve probably heard about Döner Kebap and Currywurst, but Berlin is a lot more than just that. Obviously, there’s a big list of things to recommend, but I’ll try to pick my favorites for each kind of category.

The best bars in Berlin

There are no “best bars”. There are great bars everywhere in the city, and depending on the Kiez – the neighborhood – you’ll find different “bar scene personalities”. From shabby in Neukölln to chic in Charlottenburg, I would always recommend to just follow your instincts and try to pick places that aren’t close to the landmarks.

That said, I think if you want a “bar hopping experience” in Berlin, I think you should stick around Weserstraße in Neukölln or Reichenbergerstraße in Kreuzberg. Here, the crowds are very diverse and there are many different bars and places to choose from. If it gets wild, you’re always close to clubs and usually public transport is great from here.

The perfect Berlin weekend itinerary

So, all of this information has overloaded you – when in fact the only thing you were looking for was an itinerary, straight to the point. You can pick and choose from the lists above what you want to do, but if you really want a perfect Berlin weekend itinerary – provided the weather is good, meaning it’s not raining or really really cold – then here’s your best outline in my opinion:

Friday

Saturday

Sunday

This Berlin weekend itinerary obviously works best in summer, but if you cut out one or two things on the list, you can also transform it to work perfectly with public transport and indoor activities. I might add a winter Berlin itinerary in the feature, but for now, this here should work. I hope you enjoy your stay in Berlin, and if any of you have ideas or criticism, I’m always open to ignore your feedback.

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