Seeing Berlin in 3 days is tough. The city has so much to offer that you could spend many weeks and still not see it all. I’ve lived here for over 6 years, and I’m still discovering new-to-me things.
But when people ask me how many days you need to see Berlin, 3 days is the minimum, though you can still enjoy the city if you have less time. With 3 days in Berlin, you can experience some of the best things to do in Berlin, eat some delicious food, and enjoy the offbeat vibe of the city.
Here’s our recommended Berlin itinerary for 3 days.
Day by day itinerary for Berlin in 3 days
For this itinerary, I’m assuming you have 3 full days in Berlin. This means you should arrive the night before and leave the morning after, spending 4 nights and 3 days in Berlin. The city has a lot to see and do, so you need to get up early to explore.
I did my best to group attractions and activities based on where they’re located, that way you aren’t running around to different ends of the city in one day. This will save you time on transport and help you see as much as possible.
However, some things in Berlin simply are spread out, so I recommend getting a day pass for public transport each day that you’re here.
This itinerary includes some of the iconic sights in Berlin as well as some lesser known attractions. You’ll see the highlights plus a few things not so many tourists experience.
Whenever possible, I highly recommend booking tickets ahead of time. This will save you time, especially if the ticket comes with a skip-the-line option. Losing an hour of your vacation standing and waiting in line is no fun.
It’s also important to decide when is the best time to visit Berlin based on your preferences for weather, crowds, and more.
And make sure you know how to get from the Berlin airport to the city center before you arrive.
Let’s get started on how to discover Berlin in 3 days.
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.
Day One: Berlin Mitte from Alexanderplatz to Brandenburg Gate
Start your day with the most iconic sights in Berlin. These are the attractions Berlin is most famous for and include those postcard photos you’ve been looking forward to.
Alexanderplatz is one of the central transportation hubs in Berlin. Three ubahn lines, multiple sbahn lines, several regional trains, and several trams and buses run through Alexanderplatz.
Right outside the station is a big open square that often hosts events like Christmas markets and other festivals. You’ll also find lots of shopping here.
Take a couple minutes to see the Weltzeituhr, an interesting world clock that shows what time it is in cities around the world. Cities are grouped by time zone and northern vs southern hemisphere.
Next walk to the other side of the Alexanderplatz station to the famous Fernsehturm, or TV Tower. This is a fantastic place to get views of Berlin from above.
This is the highest viewpoint in the city, so lines can be long, even early in the day. Therefore you should book a skip-the-line ticket ahead of time.
The viewing platform of the TV Tower has photos and info all the way around so you can see what you’re looking at. Different buildings and other landmarks are pointed out for your reference.
Here are our recommendations for TV Tower tickets:
Unter den Linden
Unter den Linden is a street in Mitte that’s packed with history and attractions. On a sunny day, it’s nice to walk its length while stopping occasionally to enjoy a monument or museum.
After you’ve had your fill of views from the TV Tower, walk through the square to get a quick glance at the Neptune Fountain and the Marx-Engels-Forum. Then make your way to Karl-Liebknecht-Str. As you cross the Spree River, the road changes names and becomes Unter den Linden.
This pretty, tree-lined boulevard makes for a good stroll through many of the city’s centrally located attractions, and many others are just a short detour from this street.
There’s more here than you could do in a day, so if you want to spend time in a few museums, consider skipping a few other things. Otherwise you can admire the buildings and monuments from the outsides.
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Museums and monuments
The DDR Museum is on the east side of the river, right before the road changes names. This museum will give you a feel for how people lived in East Berlin when the city was divided.
Shortly after, you’ll see the Berliner Dom, or Berlin Cathedral, and the big Lustgarten park in front of it. The cathedral is a protestant one, not a catholic one, and services are still held here.
The dome is a great place to climb for views if you have time. Otherwise, it’s still a great Berlin bucket list attraction to stop at for photos.
Behind the Berlin Cathedral is Museum Island, which is a one of Berlin’s 3 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. This is where you’ll find some of the top museums in Berlin.
The museums here include the Altes Museum (Old Museum), the Neues Museum (New Museum), the Alta Nationalgalerie (Old National Gallery), the Bode Museum, and the Pergamon Museum. If you love museums, you must visit Museum Island.
Across the street from the cathedral is the Humboldt Forum, an art and cultural museum located in the Berlin Palace.
Across the river from the cathedral is the German History Museum where you can learn about different time periods in Germany’s past.
Continuing down the street, stop at Bebelplatz. Here you’ll see a memorial to Nazi book burning.
>>Check out these fun facts about Berlin.
Take a detour off of Unter den Linden to see Gendarmenmarkt. This lovely 18th century square is home to the Deutscher Dom and the Französischer Dom (German Cathedral and French Cathedral) and Schinkel’s Konzerthaus (concert hall), though the two cathedrals are now museums.
Berlin has many squares, and Gendarmenmarket is undoubtedly one of its prettiest. This square often hosts events, such as a popular Berlin Christmas market in December.
Memorial to the Murdered Jews
Next make your way to the Memorial to the Murdered Jews. This somber memorial honors the Jewish victims of the Holocaust.
Its design was meant to give visitors the feeling of uncertainty, and some feel the memorial is very moving while others feel the design missed the mark. Entrance is free.
Finally come see Brandenburg Gate, one of the most recognizable sights in Berlin and all of Germany. This grand monument is Berlin’s only remaining city gate.
Though inspired by the Acropolis in Athens, it was built in the late 1700s. It sits at what was once the dividing line between East and West Berlin. Today it represents unification of Berlin and Germany.
Day Two: Reichstag Building, Berlin Wall, Tempelhof
Today’s Berlin itinerary involves fewer stops but a little more transportation. It’s best to have a day pass for more flexibility as you explore the Berlin Wall and more.
The Reichstag Building is the seat of the German Parliament. It’s sort of the equivalent of the White House in Washington, DC.
The building is topped by a glass dome that you can visit, and it’s one of the most popular free things to do in Berlin.
As you walk around the spiral path, the audio guide tells you interesting information about the German Parliament, the building itself, some of the nearby areas, and more. It’s available in English and several other languages and lasts about 20 minutes.
To visit the Reichstag Building, you must register ahead for a time slot. Even if you can’t get a spot on the free tour, don’t miss seeing this important German landmark.
Bernauer Strasse Wall Memorial
In 1961, the imaginary line between East and West Berlin started becoming a more real, physical thing.
Bernauer Strasse is one place where the Berlin Wall split a street right down the middle, placing homes on one side of the road in the East and the other side of the road on the West. It disrupted the lives of those who lived there and split their community for decades.
The Berlin Wall Memorial on Bernauer Strasse is fantastic. It’s a 1.4km (almost a mile) stretch of road with information about the Wall, its history and development, the people who lived there and those who tried to escape.
Start at the visitors center, which is near the Nordbahnhof Sbahn station. Upstairs you can see two short films that tell the story of the Wall, one about Berlin itself and one about the Wall farther out that separated East and West Germany.
I highly recommend watching these films (alternating in English and German, so you can plan your timing ahead) for a great look at an important piece of Berlin’s history.
Then make your way down the street towards the Bernauer Str Ubahn station. About halfway down the road is a building with a viewing platform a few floors up that looks over a remaining section of the Wall so you can see the death strip and how the Wall looked towards the end.
All along the street, you’ll see different sections with information. You’ll learn about buildings that were torn down, how people lived, how some tried to escape, some succeeding, some not.
This is one of the most interesting places to see the Berlin Wall.
Once you’ve reached the end of the memorial, keep walking a few blocks, or hop on the M10 tram for two stops, and check out Mauerpark.
Mauer means Wall in German, and the Berlin Wall used to run through this park. It’s a local favorite but certainly attracts a fair amount of tourists due to the location.
There’s an ever-changing graffiti wall in one section. Big open grassy sections make for a nice picnic or lounging space.
On Sundays, there’s karaoke in one area, and one of the most well known flea markets in Berlin dominates the park. If you’re in Berlin on a Sunday, I highly recommend coming here.
East Side Gallery
This is probably high on your list of things to do in Berlin. The East Side Gallery is considered the longest outdoor art gallery in the world, and it’s a series of street art pieces painted onto a remaining stretch of the Berlin Wall.
Some of the pieces will look quite familiar to you, while others aren’t so famous. Plus some of them change from time to time.
You can either start at the south end near Warschauer Str and walk northwest up Mühlenstr, or start near the Ostbahnhof train station and walk southeast until you reach Warschauer Str. For this itinerary, it’s easier to minimize backtracking if you end at Warschauer Str.
Because it’s so popular, it can get quite crowded. Get here early to beat the crowds and enjoy the art. Try to be patient if a lot of people are trying to take pictures of the same sections.
>>Check out our list of the best World War II and Cold War attractions in Berlin.
Once you’ve had your fill of the East Side Gallery, talk a walk down Warschauer Str a few blocks away from the river. Once you get past the train tracks, venture into the Boxhagener area to see one of the neighborhoods within Friedrichshain.
The Boxhagener Platz area and all the way over to the Ostkreuz station is lively and nice to wander through. Plus you’ll find lots of options for food.
After World War II, Berlin ended up with three main airports, one of them being Tempelhof. This is where the Berlin Airlift took place.
But eventually after the Wall came down, the city didn’t need this airport and it was closed. Today what remains has become one of Berlin’s most loved parks.
The runway, taxiways, and even the airport building still remain. People come here to run, ride bicycles, have BBQs with friends, enjoy gardening, let their dogs play in designated fenced areas, and much more. You can even take a tour of the airport building.
Grab some food to go from a nearby restaurant and a few beers from a Späti, and enjoy a leisurely dinner at the end of your day of sightseeing.
Day Three: Tiergarten, Charlottenburg
Despite 30+ years of reunification, Berlin still feels very different on the east vs on the west. Many, but not all, of the places you saw on days one and two were in East Berlin. Today let’s see some of the West.
The huge park in the center of Berlin is another local favorite. Tiergarten was once a hunting ground but is now a sprawling, tree-filled park that brings unexpected quiet in the middle of the busy city.
In the eastern part of the park, you’ll see ponds and fountains, statues and memorials. There’s a Soviet War Memorial, various memorials honoring victims of the Holocaust aside from Jews (homosexuals, Sinti, Roma), a memorial honoring Beethoven, Haydn and Mozart, and more.
Towards the center of the park at the large intersection of the four roads that cut through the park you’ll see the Victory Column, or Siegessäule in German. This well known attraction is another great place to climb for city views, but it’s stairs only, no elevator here.
A bit north of the Victory Column is the English Garden section and the Bellevue Palace. This is a gorgeous castle in Berlin to see, though it does not allow visitors inside since it’s technically the residence of the German president.
The western end of the park has a small lake, a few more statues, and a cafe. Just beyond this section you’ll see the Landwehr Canal and into the Berlin Zoologicher Garten, the city’s zoo in the West. (Tierpark is the zoo in East Berlin.)
If you enjoy zoos or if you’re visiting Berlin with kids, the Berlin zoo is a must.
Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church
A short distance from the Zoo stands a church in ruins. It was built in the 1890s and later damaged heavily during World War II.
After the war, it was decided not to fix or rebuild the church. Instead it now stands as a stark reminder of the damage war causes.
Check out more Berlin World War II attractions.
Shopping and KaDeWe
For those of you who love shopping, this is the place for it. Just south of the Zoo is Kurfürstendamm, a big shopping street that has been compared to Champs-Elysees in Paris.
Here you’ll find high end shops, such as Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, Prada, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, and the Apple Store.
At the eastern end of the street the name changes but the shopping continues. Just before you reach Wittenbergplatz is the famous Kaufhaus des Westens, or KaDeWe for short.
This department store shopping complex includes Tiffany, Gucci, Hermes, Chanel, Burberry, and more. The upper level is where you’ll find gourmet food.
This gorgeous palace was built for Sophia Charlotte in the late 1600s with lavish gardens inspired by the Palace of Versailles.
Over the centuries, the gardens and the palace went through remodels due to the changing times and to repair destruction caused by World War II. You can see styles from the Baroque period to the early 20th century at Charlottenburg Palace.
Today this former summer residence is now a popular attraction in Berlin. You can visit the Old Palace and the New Wing, as well as wander through the gardens.
If you’re visiting Berlin in December, be sure to check out the Christmas market that is held in front of the palace.
Alternate Berlin itinerary ideas
Everyone has different tastes and different interests. You might also want to change a few things if your 3 days in Berlin happen to be rainy ones.
Here are a few ideas for other things to do in Berlin that could be good to swap out with anything above you’re not interested in doing.
Visit more museums
Some people love museums, and Berlin is a great city for museum hopping. Aside from Museum Island, described on day one, here are a few others to try.
Märkisches Museum: This museum focuses on the history and culture of Berlin.
St. Nicholas Church Museum: Learn the history of the oldest surviving building in the city.
German Museum of Technology: Deutsches Technikmuseum in German, this museum is all about transportation technology.
Spy Museum: This is a hands-on museum focusing on espionage.
Topography of Terror: Located at the former Gestapo headquarters, this museum documents the horrors of the Nazis.
Jewish Museum: Here you’ll learn about the history of Jews in Germany.
Photography Museum: Here you can see photography exhibits from the 19th century to present.
Shop in a different way
Maybe all the fancy shopping listed on day three isn’t your thing. Luckily Berlin is mostly full of places to shop that are NOT fancy. After all, the city’s unofficial slogan is “sexy but poor”.
But this is where it helps to dig deeper into the non-touristy areas.
Flea markets: It’s best to look for flea markets on Sundays, though they do take place on other days of the week sometimes. Mauerpark is a popular one on Sundays, but also try Boxhagener Platz, Prinzessinenngärten, Maybachufer, Arkonaplatz, Ostbahnhof, and Fehrbelliner Platz, just to name a few.
Second hand stores: Berlin is a great place for second hand and vintage shops. Wander through the Boxi area or Prenzlauer Berg or Bergmannkiez…the options are endless really. The city is also home to the large second hand department store, Humana. There are several locations, but the one at Frankfurter Tor is the largest in Europe.
Boutique stores: If second hand isn’t your thing, you can still buy some unique items at boutique stores throughout the city. Get off the main roads and away from the international chain stores and big shopping malls, and you’ll find locally owned stores with clothing, jewelry, bags, and more.
Take a tour
Seeing Berlin with a tour is a great way to make the most of your time and learn about the city and its history from the experts.
The Spree River runs through the center of Berlin and once formed part of the border between East and West Berlin. A variety of boat tours show you the sights near the water, or you can even take a boat tour on one of the city’s canals.
If cycling is your thing, a bike tour is a great way to explore the city. You’ll get from one sight to the next faster than on foot, and you’ll learn about the Berlin’s history and culture while getting a little work out.
Street art tour
Berlin is famous for is street art, and a guide will be able to show you the best pieces. Some are famous while others are under the radar, and a tour is a great way to understand the importance of street art in Berlin.
I’ve taken this tour, and it was really interesting and fun.
Berlin Travel Resources
I want you to have the best trip to Berlin, and hopefully this itinerary for 3 days in Berlin 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