Berlin: One Day Itinerary
Now, I’m not suggesting that you only need one day in the great city of Berlin, but sometimes that’s all you’ve got! Whether you’re in town for a business trip or for quick city break like I was last month, you’ll want to make the most of what little time you have and see some of Berlin’s most famous attractions.
Here’s my one day itinerary which makes it easy to see most of Berlin’s highlights on foot.
Start at Potsdamer Platz
Potsdamer Platz is a major intersection of roads but also a public square. It used to have the Berlin Wall running through it, and you’ll see a few pieces of it on display next to the metro station exit.
Make your way to the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe
This 19,000 square meter Holocaust Memorial built between 2003 and 2004 is an impressive sight to see. It is made up of 2,711 concrete blocks of different sizes, ranging from 0.2m to 4.7 m, all arranged on uneven ground. I recommend you wander around the blocks, see how you feel when you are so deep inside the memorial that you can’t see anything else around you. Please, just don’t play hide and seek or sit on the blocks! Have a think about whether this is a good memorial for up to 6 million Jews (there is a lot of debate about this) but please be respectful.
Walk over to the Brandenburg Gate
Built in the 18th century to mark the end of the boulevard Unter den Linden, the Brandenburg Gate is now a symbol of German unity. This gate has gone though a lot! The chariot and horse statue at the top of it was once stolen by Napoleon’s army and taken to France. The gate itself was heavily damaged during WWII, and its access was cut off when the Berlin Wall went up in 1961.
Grab a pretzel at the Reichstag
The Reichstag is the meeting place for the German parliament, the Bundestag. The building was badly damaged by a fire in the 30s and wasn’t properly restored until 1999.
If you wish to visit the building, be sure to book online in advance or reserve a table at the restaurant. It can get busy so you might want to visit early in the morning or late at night to beat the crowds!
Walk along the river and stop to enjoy the view
If you can get a table with a view, I’d definitely recommend making a pit stop at The Avocado, a cute little cafe by the river.
I really enjoyed my lunch there, in the sun, with a view of Museum Island. I had been expecting Berlin to be cold in October so I was pleasantly surprised to be able to eat outside.
The avocado and cream cheese combo was a revelation!
Explore Museum Island
Cross the bridge over to Museum Island, which is home to five museums: Pergamon Museum, Bode-Museum, New Museum, Old National Gallery, and Old Museum. If you only have one day in Berlin, I’m afraid you won’t have time to visit them all. Take a peek inside Bode-Museum’s main hall (pictured above) which you can enter without a ticket.
Stop to admire Berliner Dom
The largest church in the city, Berlin’s Cathedral can be admired from the gardens in front of it, or you can pay the 7€ entry fee if you want to see the inside of this baroque style building. If you climb up the steps to the top you’ll be rewarded with some nice city views.
Walk over to Gendarmenmarkt
This is said to be one of Berlin’s most beautiful squares, with the grand Konzerthaus (concert hall) and 18th century French and German Church buildings. Visit around Christmas time to enjoy a wonderful festive market. On your way here, check out some of the architecture on Unter den Linden boulevard, including the Berlin State Opera and the Humboldt University.
So to be honest, I’m not sure if I should be recommending this one. I’ve included it because it is so famous but it really feels like a bit of a tourist trap! This was once the border crossing between East and West Berlin and many people tried, some more successfully than others, to get across to the West side here.
I didn’t have time to visit the museum, but it has very mixed reviews.
Dinner with a view
For a memorable dinner (or drinks) head to the Berliner Fernsehturm, a TV tower that’s 200 meters tall and offers great views over the city. The restaurant is revolving so your view will be constantly changing over the space of one hour! I’ve heard it’s very nice for breakfast too.
Enjoy a show
I’d highly recommend catching a show while you’re in Berlin. Chamaleon theatre specialises in contemporary circus in a beautiful, intimate venue – read my review of their latest show here!
Off to bed!
If, like me, you woke up very early to catch your flight to Berlin, you’re going to want to go back to a nice bed. I can highly recommend Hotel Palace Berlin. I enjoyed my room there so much that I found it extremely difficult to make myself go out and explore the city! My room even had a great view over the zoo and the Tiergarten park. The hotel’s location was perfect, near the metro but also in the heart of Berlin’s best shopping district. Make sure you visit the city’s biggest and most famous department store nearby, KaDeWe!
If you still have energy, go out an enjoy Berlin’s world-renowned nightlife instead!
So that’s the end of a very cultural day in Berlin! Next time I’m there I want to venture to some of the hipper areas like Kreuzberg or Neukölln and experience more of arty, cool Berlin.
Have you been to Berlin? What do you love about it?