Berlin is a wonderful city that’s packed with history, quirks, and beauty. Visiting the funky capital of Germany is a dream trip for many people. If you’re planning a trip here, there are many sights and attractions that should be on your Berlin bucket list.
This list will help you see the things Berlin is famous for, as well as the things that really show the city’s character. Some aren’t exactly attractions, but experiences you should have while in Berlin.
Keep reading for the best places to see in Berlin, Germany.
Where to stay in Berlin
Berlin has lots of great neighborhoods for you to stay in and explore. If you’re visiting Berlin for the first time, it might be best for you stay somewhere central.
Many of the attractions are in Mitte or easily connected to Mitte by Berlin’s public transport, so you should stay somewhere in that region. Here are a few hotels we recommend.
For a more detailed look at the different neighborhoods and our hotel recommendations, check out our guide to where to stay in Berlin.
Must see Berlin bucket list attractions
Including these must-see sights on your bucket list for Berlin will give you a good view of Berlin’s history and culture and help you have an enjoyable trip to Germany’s capital city.
Learn how to get from Berlin Airport to city center before you start your trip.
See Brandenburg Gate
Once one of Berlin’s city gates, Brandenburger Tor is one of the most famous sights in the city, and even in Germany. During the Cold War, it was along the boundary between East and West Berlin, but today it represents unity.
A trip to Berlin isn’t complete without seeing this iconic sight, even if you only have one day in Berlin.
Check out my guide to visiting Brandenburg Gate in Berlin.
Ascend the TV Tower
Berlin has so many great places to see views of the city from above, but the TV Tower is the most popular. It’s the highest point in the city, so the views from here are fantastic.
If you only have time for one viewpoint, make it the TV Tower. The lines can be rather long, so it’s worth booking a ticket ahead of time.
Admire the art at the East Side Gallery
Visiting the East Side Gallery should definitely be on your Berlin bucket list. This stretch of the Berlin Wall is filled with artwork from artists around the world.
When the Wall fell in 1989, these artists came to make a statement, though a few of the works have changed over the years.
It’s roughly a mile long, so take your time. Check out our full guide to visiting the East Side Gallery for tips, directions, things to do nearby, places to eat nearby, and more.
Also, check out more places to see the Berlin Wall in Berlin.
Check out the Berliner Dom
The Berliner Dom is an impressive protestant cathedral that is easily recognized on Berlin’s skyline.
You can take a tour of the inside when there aren’t services going on, plus you can climb to the top for views. Or simply admire the outside – it’s a gorgeous building!
>>Still planning your trip? Read this post about how many days you need to see Berlin.
Wander through Nikolaiviertel
Berlin doesn’t have much of an old town in the way that cities like Munich or Leipzig do.
Nikolaiviertel (Nicholas Quarter) is Berlin’s old town, dating back to around 1200. Sadly it was damaged during WWII and left in ruins for decades.
In the 1980s in the lead-up to the city’s 750th birthday in 1987, this medieval quarter was restored. So while the buildings aren’t original, you can now wander the streets and get the feel for what Berlin might have been like in the Middle Ages.
There are lots of cute shops, cafes and restaurants here. The neighborhood lies along the Spree River, and it’s not far from the Berliner Dom and Museum Island.
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Sign up for tips to help you plan the best trip to Berlin, and get a free printable Berlin packing checklist.
Take the free tour at the Reichstag Building
As the seat of the German government, this building is worth adding to your Berlin bucket list. It’s a great place to learn about Berlin’s and Germany’s history.
The tour is one of the best free things to do in Berlin, but you must book your ticket well in advance.
Drink a beer or two at a Berlin beer garden
What’s more German than drinking a beer? Head over to one of Berlin’s best beer gardens on a sunny day and enjoy a brew.
And if you’re not a beer drinker, that’s ok. Most beer gardens also have wine and non-alcoholic beverages to drink while enjoying the atmosphere.
Take a street art tour
Street art is a big deal in Berlin. It’s a creative expression made more accessible to the public, and you’ll find street art and graffiti in many parts of the city.
A great way to learn about the street art and see lots of pieces in a short amount of time is to take a street art tour. They’re inexpensive and very enjoyable.
I’ve personally taken this street art tour, and I highly recommend it.
Remember the tragic loss of life at the Holocaust Memorial
Germany’s dark past is something we must remember so those mistakes don’t get repeated. The Holocaust Memorial, also known as the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, is a somber place that honors the Jewish victims of the Nazi regime.
This is one of the most important World War II sites in Berlin.
Pay your respects, don’t sit on the blocks, and please don’t take selfies here.
Look for Stolpersteine
Stolpersteine are small brass squares you’ll see on the sidewalks all over Berlin, and they honor victims of the Nazis. Even though most of them are in Berlin and the rest of Germany, they do exist in other countries in Europe as well.
These “stumbling stones” sit in front of the victims’ last known address before they were taken away. Their name, date of birth, date of death if known, and where they were taken are among the details listed on these humble but meaningful memorials.
Take a bike tour
Bikes are a popular way to get around the city, and taking a bike tour can give you a different perspective.
This is a great option for those of you who want to do some sightseeing with a physical component, plus you’ll be able to get from one sight to the next faster than on foot.
Here are a few bike tours in Berlin we recommend:
Arguably one of the prettiest squares in Berlin, Gendarmenmarkt should not be missed. The big square is framed by the French Church, the German Church (now a museum), and the Konzerthaus.
Events are held here throughout the year, including one of the best Christmas markets in Berlin, but it’s gorgeous even without events.
Explore the Jewish Museum
The Berlin Jewish Museum tells the stories of Jewish people in Germany from the Middle Ages to present day. The whole museum, inside and out, is designed to be part of the experience of learning about the diverse Jewish culture and the gaps made by the Holocaust.
Three different sections of the museum teach about three different aspects of Jewish life, culture, and history in Germany. Symbolism runs throughout, which makes this creative space more impactful. For example, in one area, uneven ground conveys a feeling of uncertainty.
This is a fantastic place to visit in Berlin if you’re interested in the history of the Jewish people in Germany.
Stroll down Unter den Linden
Unter den Linden is the beautiful tree-lined street that runs from Museum Island and the Berliner Dom down to Brandenburger Tor. Lots of important sights are located along this street, and wandering down the street will provide you with picture worthy scenery.
>>Check out our list of the best World War II and Cold War sites in Berlin.
Stop at Bebelplatz
While sightseeing along Unter den Linden, take a moment to check out a square called Bebelplatz. It’s right next to the Berlin State Opera House.
Not only is it a pretty square, but there is a Nazi book burning memorial here. Look down and you’ll see empty shelves under the glass.
This is an understated yet powerful memorial and in interesting place to see in Berlin.
Soak up some culture at Museum Island
Some of the most important museums in Berlin are located on Museum Island, and a visit here is definitely something that should be on your bucket list for Berlin.
This is one of three UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Berlin. It’s great for a cultural day in the German capital, with a total of five museums to browse around in total: The Pergamon Museum, the Old Museum, National Gallery, Bode Museum and the New Museum.
Check out our guide to visiting Museum Island to learn what types of exhibits are at each museum.
The Museum Island Welcome Card gives you a 72 hour transport pass, free entry to all museums and collections on Berlin’s Museum Island (Pergamon Museum, Bode Museum, Altes Museum, Alte Nationalgalerie, and Neues Museum), and discounts at many other museums and attractions.
Another option is the normal Welcome Card which gives you discounted entrance to the museums on Museum Island plus discounts at many other museums and attractions. It also includes a transport pass with an option for either 48 hours, 72 hours, 4 day, 5 day, or 6 day.
Browse the flea market at Mauerpark
Berlin loves its flea markets, and the one at Mauerpark is one of the most popular ones. The park is located along the former death strip of the Berlin Wall, and the flea market, which runs on Sundays, is huge.
You’ll find traditional Berlin souvenirs here, but also loads of quirky secondhand items and handcrafted pieces. Be sure to check out the karaoke, too.
Learn about the Berlin Wall at the Bernauer Strasse Memorial
Perhaps a little less known than the East Side Gallery, the Berlin Wall Memorial at Bernauer Strasse tells the history of a road and community that was split by the wall.
There’s great info and photos along the outdoor exhibit, a tower with a viewing platform that looks over the Wall and the death strip, and two excellent short films in the visitors center.
If this wasn’t already on your Berlin bucket list, add it now. You can read more in our full guide to visiting the Berlin Wall Memorial at Bernauer Strasse.
Learn about history at Topography of Terror
The Topography of Terror Museum sits on the location that was the headquarters of the Gestapo and the SS between 1933 and 1945. This is where persecution and killings of Nazi opponents were organized, and where the genocide of Jews, Roma, and Sinti was coordinated.
It now serves as a place to remember history and warn us from repeating the terrors of the past.
The exhibits here use photographs and documentation to tell visitors about the crimes that were organized here. There are also excavation sites you can view through glass windows.
Check out another stretch of Berlin Wall
Pieces of the Berlin Wall are scattered around the city, and they’re interesting reminders of the city’s past. Right near the Topography of Terror is one of the longest remaining sections of the Berlin Wall, located on Niederkirchnerstraße.
See a former East Berlin watchtower
All along the Berlin Wall, the Soviets built watchtowers so they could monitor the border zone. Most are now gone, but one of the few still standing, and the only one of its kind that still stands, is just a block away from Potsdamer Platz.
It’s currently owned by Die Mauer Wall Museum, who once ran tours that included going into the tower. But the German government wants to demolish it and put a bureaucratic building in its place.
The museum is fighting to protect it, but its fate remain uncertain. It is currently in a construction zone, and you can’t get too close to it, though you can still see it.
See the remains of Anhalter Bahnhof
A little south of Potsdamer Platz is Anhalter Bahnhof, the remains of a train station. It was once one of the most important train stations in Berlin.
Unfortunately during the Nazi era, it was one of three stations in Berlin used to deport Jews to concentration camps. The station was damaged during WWII, but was still operational for several more years.
Anhalter Bahnhof is in the former East, and when the Soviets started using Ostbahnhof as the main train station in the East, Anhalter Bahnhof was no longer needed. Operations ceased in 1952.
Have a cocktail at Monkey Bar
For a fancy cocktail with a great view, go to Monkey Bar. It’s located on the 10th floor of the 25Hours Hotel in Charlottenburg, and it’s one of my favorite rooftop bars in Berlin because it overlooks the zoo.
You can look out over the trees and into some sections of the zoo, hence the name of the bar. Even the bathrooms have giant windows facing the zoo. It’s pretty impressive, and their cocktails are quite tasty.
See a piece of the Wall at Invalidenfriedhof
As the Wall was built, a lot of buildings and other places were displaced to make room for sections of the Wall, watch towers, and more. This cemetery, the Invalidenfriedhof, was an unfortunate victim.
More than 90% of the graves were moved to make room for watch towers, the death strip, and other things deemed necessary for patrolling the border. Today you can see a section of the Berlin Wall and a section of the patrol road that remain as a reminder of its past.
There are some signs in German and a few in both German and English, but it’s a pleasant place to visit in Berlin even without being able to understand all the signs. It’s right near one of the canals, and overall it feels very peaceful.
Visit the Palace of Tears
Constructed in 1962, the Palace of Tears (Tränenpalast) is located at Friedrichstraße train station on the former border between East and West Berlin. The GDR (DDR in German) dictatorship used is as a departure terminal for those leaving the GDR for West Berlin.
At this location, border guards forced people to leave their families and friends in tears as they were denied any access to the border. Today, the pavilion is used as a reminder of the great partition of Germany and all the tears that were shed in connection with it.
Experience the DDR Museum
Located in the center of Berlin, the DDR museum is an interactive museum that provides guests with a unique, immersive experience that is sure to leave a lasting mark on their minds.
Visitors get to experience what life was like in former East Germany including an in-depth look at the Stasi, the Berlin Wall, and other historical facts. The DDR Museum holds regular exhibitions where guests are encouraged to touch and interact with historical artifacts.
The family-friendly museum offers several interactive exhibits for kids, like the Kindergarten installation. This immersive exhibit takes kids into the world of East Germany and shows them what life would have been like for them there.
Book a skip the line ticket for the DDR Museum to save time.
Ride the elevator at Panoramapunkt
If you love to see cities from above, Panoramapunkt is another great viewing platform to check out. The fastest elevator in Europe takes you to the 24th floor in 20 seconds, and then you can enjoy the views.
From here you can see the Victory Column, Brandenburg Gate, and many more landmarks around the city. And the best part is that you can get the famous TV Tower in your pictures.
Panoramapunkt is located at Potsdamer Platz, and in addition to the viewing deck, you can also enjoy an exhibit showing the transformation of the area throughout history.
Visit 9th of November Platz
The 9th of November Platz is located at a former border crossing in the northern section of Berlin. There you can find photos and info placards with history about the Wall and the day it came down, the 9th of November 1989.
You might not have heard of this sight, it’s quite a significant location and an interesting place to see in Berlin. This border crossing at Bösebrücke was the first one that opened on November 9, 1989, allowing residents to leave for the first time in decades.
You’ll find remnants of the Berlin Wall at the Platz des 9th November Memorial, as well as along Norwegerstr, which is down the nearby stairs and runs parallel to the train tracks.
If you’re visiting Berlin in spring, this is also a great place to see cherry blossoms in Berlin. A handful are along the road at 9th of November Platz, and a bunch more are down the stairway in the park that runs parallel to the train tracks.
Go shopping at KaDeWe / Kaufhaus des Westens
Shopaholics take note: KaDeWe is where you should head to get your retail therapy underway. Officially known as Kaufhaus des Westens, this is the most famous department store in Berlin and the largest in Europe.
Opening its doors in 1907, with its heritage and array of luxury goods and upmarket pieces, it’s the place to come to browse and enjoy a high-end shopping experience.
Hungry? The 6th floor features a noteworthy delicatessen department.
Visit Charlottenburg Palace
This Baroque palace, built in 1695, was named for Sophie Charlotte and served as her summer palace. It’s a gorgeous palace with ornate interiors and excellent gardens.
Today you can visit the museums inside to learn more about the palace’s history. You can also enjoy the gardens and surrounding park for free.
Take a moment at Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church
This famous German landmark is one of the most important churches in Berlin. The original church was built here in the 1890s, but was damaged in WWII air raids in 1943.
Interestingly, the church was not rebuilt and instead has been left much as it was after the war. Its been nicknamed by Berliners as Der Hohle Zahn — literally “The Hollow Tooth”. It’s a stark reminder of the destruction of war.
Taste a Döner Kebab
Döner is meal you’ll find all over Berlin, and really all over Germany. Berlin has a big Turkish population, and supposedly the Döner was invented here.
This tasty meal is meat on a spit that’s shaved off into bread along with veggies and sauce. Sometimes they put a few fries in there too.
For those who don’t eat meat, you can easily find vegetarian and vegan options as well.
To learn more about food in Berlin and its connection to the culture, consider taking the Eating Europe Berlin food tour.
Try some currywurst
One of the foods you should eat in Germany, but especially in Berlin, is currywurst. This is a sausage that’s been cut up into chunks and doused in ketchup and curry powder.
It’s a quick and cheap meal if you’re visiting Berlin on a budget, but it’s also a well known local food you should try at least once.
Visit the Platform 17 Memorial
In the southwest corner of Berlin at the Grunewald S-Bahn station, you’ll find the Platform 17 Memorial.
This station was used by the Nazis in the early 1940s to transport Jews to concentration camps. It’s not centrally located, which made it easier for the Nazis to make sure their prisoners weren’t seen while lining up to board the train.
Today this memorial honors those who left from this station to horrible places and likely were killed. The memorial was sponsored by Deutsche Bahn, Germany’s railway company, and track 17 is no longer used by any trains.
The Platform 17 Memorial is a good place to add to your Berlin bucket list, and it’s only a 25 minute Sbahn ride from the Alexanderplatz station.
See the Molecule Men
The Molecule Men is a metal statue that stands at 30 meters (about 98 feet) high in the Spree River. It was created by an American artist named Jonathan Borofsky in the late 1990s.
The statue is of three humans facing each other, forming silhouettes on the river. They each have hundreds of holes in them, which are supposed to represent the molecules of all humans coming together.
To catch a quick glimpse of the Molecule Men, ride the Sbahn between Treptower Park and Ostkreuz, and look out the west-facing windows. Or go for a stroll along the Spree below the Oberbaumbrücke.
Cross the Oberbaumbrücke
The Oberbaumbrücke is a bridge that crosses the Spree River and connects Friedrichshain and Kreuzberg. It was badly damaged in WWII, and then served as a pedestrian crossing once the Berlin Wall went up since the bridge sits at the border.
A few years after East and West Germany reunited, the bridge was once again used by cars, pedestrians, and the Ubahn to cross the river. Today both the U1 and the U3 lines run here.
The bridge offers great views of the river and surrounding parts of the city. You can also get nice views of the bridge itself from the nearby river banks or by taking a Spree River cruise tour.
View Berlin from the water on a Spree River boat tour
Taking a boat tour on the Spree River is a great way to learn about the city. The Spree River winds its way through Berlin and passes by some important buildings and attractions, so seeing them from the water is a fun perspective.
Climb the Victory Column for views of Berlin
Berlin’s Victory Column, or Siegessäule in German, is one of the more recognizable monuments in the city. The column sits at a roundabout in the middle of Tiergarten Park, though it was originally located in front of the Reichstag until 1938.
The column stands at 67 meters (about 220 feet) high and has an observation deck you can reach by paying a small entrance fee and climbing the 285 stairs. The tower provides excellent views of the surrounding park and the city of Berlin.
This is one of my favorites. Check out my full guide to visiting the Victory Column.
Explore the Spandau Citadel
Spandau is a neighborhood in the western part of Berlin that was once its own village. The Citadel dates back to the 12th century, and it was strategically built where the Havel and Spree Rivers meet.
Today the Citadel is a museum, and it’s quite an impressive complex. If you like castles, add this one to your list of places to see in Berlin.
Learn at the German Museum of Technology
The German Museum of Technology is a great attraction for all ages, but it can be an especially interesting place to see in Berlin if you’re traveling with kids.
This is a modern museum where you can learn about the history of science. Kids will enjoy the immersive and entertaining way the tours and lectures are held.
At this museum, you are allowed, and even encouraged, to build stuff and watch/learn how other unique things are being made. Have a great time learning all about old and new technology and the history of civilization. You should also check out the new sailing and aeronautics building.
Have a beer at a Späti
Spätis are unique Berlin convenience stores. They are generally open 24 hours a day, though sometimes a few hours less, and their biggest seller is beer.
Often you can also buy other alcoholic beverages, potato chips, chocolate bars, sodas, and other snacks. Some will also sell bakery items or quick sandwiches or even a few grocery items.
Certain Spätis have picnic tables outside where you can sit with your newly purchased beer, making it almost, but not quite, like a bar. It might sound silly, but experiencing a Späti should be on your Berlin bucket list.
Have a picnic on a runway
One of Berlin’s largest green spaces is Tempelhofer Feld, a former airport that was turned into a park. In 1948-1949, this airport was the hub of the Berlin Airlift, which kept West Berlin supplied with goods during the Berlin Blockade.
The airport ceased operations in 2008, and in 2010, it reopened as a public park. Today it’s one of Berlin’s favorite parks.
Here you can enjoy walking, running, roller blading, cycling, kite surfing, and more all on a former airport runway. There are grassy areas where you can have a picnic, gardening areas, fenced dog areas, bird protection areas, and more.
>>Read about more fun outdoor activities in Berlin.
Sip Glühwein at a bunch of Christmas markets
Many cities in Germany have a main Christmas market plus a few smaller ones. Berlin has dozens of Christmas markets, some that are more popular than others, but it doesn’t really have one main market.
This is a great city to experience how Christmas markets work while exploring the different sides of the city’s personality. If you’re here between late November and Christmastime, visiting a Christmas market – or several! – is a must.
Climb to Berlin’s highest point in Victoriapark
This large urban park was opened in 1894, and was dedicated to the English wife of the Kaiser Friedrich III. It’s also home to the highest natural point in the city. It’s also where you can see the city’s only waterfall, although it is an artificial one.
The attractive park and gardens has long been popular with Berliners, who come to kick back on a warm day. Most attractive of all, however, is the beer garden. This large space dedicated to beer-drinking and snack-eating is a fun and lively place to be.
Stop by Checkpoint Charlie
Even though Checkpoint Charlie has become a cheesy, and honestly boring, tourist attraction, it has a lot of historical significance as one of the border crossings between East and West Berlin.
After a quick photo, I highly recommend the nearby Checkpoint Charlie Museum where you’ll learn more about this sight.
Take a drive in a Trabi
A Trabant, or Trabi for short, was a car produced in East Germany during the Cold War. Though they were modern when they first came out in the late 1950s, they didn’t change much over the decades and became symbolic of the stagnant economy.
Today these old cars are collectors’ items for car enthusiasts. They’re also used in popular tours of the city where you can actually drive a Trabi and see the sights.
Feast at Thai Park
The official name of this park is actually Preußenpark, but it is commonly referred to as Thai Park. This is because it is a unique place to get delicious Thai food.
Thai families in Berlin have been gathering at this park for decades. Legend has it that someone wandering through was curious about the food and asked if he could buy some.
They soon started selling their food from this park, and it is now a popular place for locals to get cheap and tasty Thai food.
If you’re here in the summer, Thai park is bucket list place for lunch on the weekend.
Go on a day trip to Potsdam
Potsdam is one of the most popular day trips from Berlin, and it makes a great addition to your Berlin itinerary.
This town is located about 25km/15 miles from the center of Berlin and is often called Germany’s Versailles. Stroll through the old town and then make your way to the gorgeous palaces and gardens.
Read more about taking a day trip to Potsdam from Berlin with details about how to get to Potsdam and what to see there.
Wander around in Tiergarten Park
Tiergarten is a huge inner-city park—the largest and most popular of its kind in Germany. With its beginnings dating back to 1527 as a hunting ground, this vast green space has become a much loved public park for Berliners over the years.
Throughout the park there are statues, tree-lined thoroughfares and lawns. When the weather’s warm in Berlin, it’s here that people flock for strolling, picnicking, and generally hanging out, making it a great spot to people-watch.
See a remaining piece of Berlin’s old medieval walls
It’s not very well known, but Berlin does have a small section of its old city walls remaining in Mitte, not too far from Alexanderplatz and the Franziskaner-Klosterkirche ruins.
The Berlin Wall is the more famous one, but these old city walls are much older.
Check out Berlin’s craft beer scene
Germany has a centuries long tradition of beer brewing that adheres to a strict set of guidelines. This makes for high quality beer, but without a lot of variation or creativity.
Luckily the craft beer scene in Berlin has grown tremendously over the past few years, and today you can try some really interesting locally brewed beers. Check out some of the best places for craft beer in Berlin while you’re visiting the city.
Book a beer tour for your trip to Berlin
Berlin has a great craft beer scene. Taking a beer tour is the perfect way to try different beers and learn about craft beer here. A knowledgeable guide will bring you to several different places to try different beers.
Here are a few beer tours we recommend:
Berlin Travel Resources
I want you to have the best trip to Berlin, and hopefully this Berlin bucket list is helpful. But there are lots more tips on the site!
- 101 Best Things to do in Berlin
- 23 Impressive Castles in Berlin (And Nearby)
- 27 Best World War II & Cold War Sights in Berlin
- 29 Fun Day Trips From Berlin
- 75 Things to Know Before Visiting Berlin: Essential Berlin Travel Tips
- What to Wear & What to Pack for Berlin, Germany: Your Ultimate Berlin Packing List
- How to Get Around in Berlin: An Easy Guide to Berlin Public Transportation