How to plan a visit to Berlin

You are coming to Berlin, and you want to know what to see and do. Here are my recommendations.

Berlin is affected by the Coronavirus pandemic. For more information, see this page.

How to travel to Berlin

You can reach Berlin by car, bus, train or plane. Use GoEuro or Kayak to find the best way to get to Berlin.

By plane

The best way to find cheap airline tickets is to use a flight comparison website. Google Flights and Kayak are my favourites, but there are other options.

There are two airports in Berlin:

From BER or SXF to Berlin by public transport (recommended): Take a train or bus to get from the airport to the city centre. The ticket only costs 3.60€. The buses also run at night. The RE7 train is the fastest way to get to Berlin, but there are other options. The airport is in zone C, so you need an ABC ticket. It costs 3.60€. If you have the wrong ticket, you can get a fine.

From BER or SXF to Berlin by taxi: There are taxis waiting for you at the airport. Taking a taxi will be very expensive. It's cheaper to take the train.

From TXL to Berlin by bus (recommended): The best way to get from Tegel to the Berlin city centre is to take the TXL bus. Tegel is in Zone B, so you need a regular AB ticket. It costs 3.30€.

From TXL to Berlin by taxi: There are taxis waiting for you at the airport. Tegel is not very far from the city centre, but a taxi is still much more expensive than a bus.

By bus

Intercity buses are usually the cheapest mode of travel, and several bus lines have stops in Berlin. FlixBus is the most popular bus company.

Use GoEuro to find buses from your city to Berlin.

Most intercity buses stop at Schönefeld airport, Zentraler Omnibusbahnhof (ZOB) or next to Alexanderplatz. All of these stops are well connected to public transit. Schönefeld is far from the city. ZOB is 25 minutes from the city centre. Alexanderplatz is in the city centre.

Most buses come with free Wi-Fi and power outlets under the seats.

By train

You can also reach Berlin by train. Trains give you much more leg room, bigger bathrooms, a generous luggage allowance, fewer delays and a smoother ride. Additionally, trains usually stop at Hauptbahnhof, very close to the city centre. Trains sometimes have free Wi-Fi and power outlets, but neither is guaranteed.

Use GoEuro to find the best train connection to Berlin.

By car or motorcycle

Central Berlin is an environmental zone. The area inside the Ringbahn is part of the green zone. You can only drive in this area if you have a green environmental sticker. You can get this sticker at most gas stations around Berlin.

Parking in the centre can be difficult. It's easier to park far away and travel to the centre by train. Motorcycles can park on the sidewalk for free.

By car sharing

BlaBlaCar lets you hitch a ride with other people who are traveling to Berlin. It's a cheaper way to travel between European cities, especially when the bus schedules don't suit your needs.

How to get around in Berlin

Once you are in Berlin, getting around is fairly easy thanks to the city's excellent public transit network.

Finding your way around Berlin

The BVG app has the most accurate public transit schedules, but does not work offline. However, there is free Wi-Fi at most U-Bahn station.

These apps can help you find your way around Berlin:

Traveling by train, tram and bus

Berlin's public transit network reaches every corner of the city, and the tickets are affordable. It's the easiest way to get around Berlin. TripAdvisor has an excellent guide on how public transport works in Berlin.

Berlin is split into 3 public transit zones: A, B and C. Zone A includes everything inside the Ringbahn, the railway that circles the inner city. Zone B is everything that's outside the Ringbahn, but inside Berlin. Zone C is for everything outside the city limits.

BVG tarif zones

Many travelers get fined for traveling to zone C without the right ticket. If you travel to Schönefeld airport or Potsdam, make sure you get an ABC ticket, and not the cheaper AB ticket.

There are several ways to buy BVG tickets:

Should I get the WelcomeCard?

Not really. The WelcomeCard is a special public transit ticket that gives you rebates on certain attractions. It's too expensive for what you get. Just get a regular 48 hour, 72 hour or 7 day ticket.

Renting a bicycle

This is the best way to see Berlin. This city is flat as a pancake and has lots bike paths. It's much more enjoyable than sitting in a crowded metro.

There are hundreds of stores that rent out bicycles all over the city, and nearly a dozen different bike rental companies with bikes all over the cities. These companies let you book a bike using an app on your phone.

Renting a car

If you have an International Driving Permit, you are allowed to drive in Berlin during your visit. You can rent a car from companies such as Sixt, Avis, Budget or Europcar. Websites like can help you find the cheapest rental car.

What to see and do in Berlin

There is a map of things to see at the bottom of this guide. If you need more, this page has a detailed list of things to see in Berlin. WikiVoyage has a great guide about Berlin. If you prefer paper guides, Lonely Planet's Berlin guide is excellent. This itinerary covers all the important tourist attractions.

If you want to see the city from above, you can climb the Victory Column (Siegessäule) for 3 to 6 euros or make the short trip to Teufelsberg and Drachenberg. These options are cheaper than the TV tower in Alexanderplatz.

If you want to relax, Vabali Spa is very popular among Berliners.

Outside of Berlin

If you have a bit more time, Potsdam and Wannsee are absolutely worth a visit. Both are reachable by train (Potsdam requires an ABC ticket, since it's zone C).

Related article: 15 exciting day trips from Berlin

The best clubs in Berlin

Berghain is still the biggest, most famous club in Berlin, if you're willing to queue for a few hours. Matrix is the "shitty club tourists go to". Everything else is somewhere in the middle. You will find many clubs on Revaler Straße. WikiTravel has a short guide to Berlin clubs, but ResidentAdvisor is the reference for Berlin clubs.

What to eat in Berlin

WikiVoyage has an excellent guide on what to eat in Berlin, and so does WikiTravel. For general restaurant recommendations, use TripAdvisor or Yelp.

My only personal recommendation is to get out of tourist areas if you want to eat decent street food. TripAdvisor and Yelp can help you find the best kebab and currywurst.

Typical Berlin dishes

Here are the dishes you must absolutely try while you are in Berlin:

If you are feeling adventurous, Redditors have compiled a longer list of typical Berliner dishes.

The best bars in Berlin

Again, TripAdvisor, Yelp and Google Maps are all excellent tools to find the best bars in your area. Nothing beats the combined power of a few million reviewers. Since you are in Germany, treat yourself to a nice Hefeweizen.

If you are looking for gay bars, use this list.

Where to stay in Berlin

There are various sites you can use to find the best accommodation in Berlin. Anything in the zone below is very central. Anything inside the Ringbahn is within 30 minutes of the main attractions.

Where to go shopping in Berlin

The Mall of Berlin is the largest shopping mall in the city. You will also find dozens of stores around Alexanderplatz, as well as the Alexa shopping mall. The Galeria Kaufhof and KaDeWe are also worth a visit. KaDeWe is the second largest department store in Europe.

Don't forget that in Germany, shops and grocery stores are closed on Sundays.

What to know before visiting Berlin



"10243 Berlin"
An iconic bridge above the Spree river that offers a fantastic view of Berlin. Free to visit.

Soviet Memorial in Treptower Park

One of Berlin's 3 large memorials to the Soviet soldiers killed during the Second World War. Free to visit. Treptower Park borders the Spree river, and it's a beautiful place to take a break.

Soviet Memorial in Tiergarten

One of Berlin's 3 large memorials to the Soviet soldiers killed during the Second World War. Free to visit.

Gedenkstätte Berliner Mauer

"Bernauer Str. 111"
The Berlin Wall memorial museum depicts the history of the Berlin wall. This is the best place to see a preserved section of the Berlin wall. Free to visit.


"Gleimstraße 55"
Every Sunday, this park hosts Berlin's largest flea market, as well as dozens of artists. Don't miss the famous open air karaoke. Free to visit.


"10178 Berlin"
Berlin's famous square. Frankly not the most interesting place in Berlin. Free to visit.

DDR Museum

"Karl-Liebknecht-Str. 1"
The DDR Museum tells the history of East Germany and gives you a nice overview of life behind the Berlin Wall.


The Museum Island is home to many of Berlin's largest museums.

Berliner Dom

"Am Lustgarten"
The Berlin cathedral is a giant cathedral situated on the Museum Island.

Deutscher Bundestag

"Platz der Republik 1"
The German parliament building. Free to visit with a reservation. Places are limited. Make sure you book your tickets in advance!

Brandenburger Tor

"Pariser Platz"
Berlin's iconic gate at the end of the Straße des 17. Juni. Free to visit.

Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe

"Cora-Berliner-Straße 1"
A sobering monument to Germany's violent history. Only a short distance from the Brandenburg gate. Free to visit.


A beautiful market square that's home to a Christmas market, classical music concerts and more. Free to visit, except for the Christmas market.

Checkpoint Charlie

"Friedrichstraße 43-45"
An iconic military checkpoint on the former border between East and West Berlin. Free to visit.

East Side Gallery

"10243 Berlin"
A section of the Berlin wall that was converted into an open air gallery. Free to visit.

Berliner Fernsehturm

"Panoramastraße 1A"
The giant television tower that is visible almost anywhere in Berlin. It towers over Alexanderplatz, and offers a great view of Berlin (at a price).


An art project set in a former American listening station. Offers a fantastic view of Berlin and its surroundings, especially at sunset.


Grassy hill with a great view on the city. Also a great spot for a walk in the forest. Free to visit.

Revaler Straße

"Revaler Str."
Revaler Straße is home to many of Berlin's clubs.


Large column in the middle of Tiergarten. Can be climbed for a nice view of Berlin. It's much cheaper to visit than the Fernsehturm in Alexanderplatz.

Berliner Unterwelten

"Brunnenstraße 105"
Very interesting guided tours of Berlin's air raid shelters and tunnels. Tours are available in multiple language.


The largest department store in Germany

Mall of Berlin

"Leipziger Pl. 12"
The largest shopping mall in Berlin.