Where to Stay in Berlin: A Local’s Guide

Berlin isn’t like other European capitals with a distinct central square and neighborhood. Mitte is the closest you’ll get to a city center, but even it is large and spread out. Location is super important when planning your trip to Berlin, since you don’t want to be too far from the attractions you came to see. I’ve been living here for 6+ years, and my neighborhood guide will help you pick the best place to stay in Berlin.

Tips for choosing hotels in Berlin

Different neighborhoods will suit different people and different types of trips. Are you traveling as a family with kids? Are you a party person interested in the nightlife? Charlottenburg and Mitte are more suited for families, while Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain are better for clubbing and nightlife.

And no matter what the purpose of your trip is, you’ll want to stay close to Berlin’s public transport. It’s a big city, and the Ubahns and Sbahns are easy to use and will save you time. Try to pick a hotel that’s no more than 5-10 minutes from a tram, Ubahn, or Sbahn station, and it’s best to stay inside the Ring.

Are you traveling to Berlin in the summer? Make sure you look to see if the hotel you’re interested in has air conditioning. Lots of places in the city don’t have air conditioning, and it can get quite hot during the summer. In some parts of the world, you might assume all hotels have air conditioning, but that’s not the case in Berlin (or anywhere else in Germany) so be sure to check before you book.

If you’re not into big breakfasts, consider skipping the hotel breakfast if it costs extra. Germany has so many bakeries, and you’re bound to find one in Berlin not far from your hotel (check the map before you book your hotel to verify) and you can grab a pastry in the morning.

hotel room - where to stay in Berlin neighborhood guide
Choosing a hotel in Berlin is an important part of your travel planning

Guide to Berlin districts

Berlin is so big that each district is like its own mini city, each with its own personality. It’s important to know a little about each neighborhood so you can choose the best accommodations for your trip.

Berlin Mitte neighborhood guide

Reichstag Building Berlin places to stay
Mitte is a great area in Berlin for sightseeing and is a good choice for first time visitors

Mitte means middle or center in Germany, and the Mitte district is just that, the center of Berlin. This is where you’ll find the majority of the famous attractions, like the TV Tower, Brandenburg Gate, the Berlin Cathedral, and Museum Island.

If you plan on doing lots of sightseeing, if you’re visiting Berlin with kids, and especially if this is your first trip to Berlin, this is a great choice for which neighborhood to stay in Berlin.

Food can be a bit more expensive here compared to other parts of the city, but it’s still very affordable compared to lots of other cities in western Europe. The hotels might also run a little more expensive than other areas in Berlin, but a few extra euros might be worth the time saved by being so close to the sights you came to see.

The Circus Hostel is a great budget option with its own bar and a quirky David Hasselhoff Museum. Its sister property, the Circus Hotel, is right around the corner. Both are in a cute area with lots of restaurant options, and despite being just a few stops from Alexanderplatz, it doesn’t feel too touristy here.

For a splurge, the Radisson Blu is an excellent choice, and it’s right in the middle of the major attractions like the Berlin Cathedral and Museum Island. This hotel even has an impressive 25 meter (82 ft) tall aquarium in the lobby.

Where to stay in Berlin: Mitte

Berlin Charlottenburg neighborhood guide

Berlin Zoo - staying in Berlin Charlottenburg neighborhood
Stay in Berlin’s Charlottenburg neighborhood to be close to the zoo, Charlottenburg Palace, and high end shopping

Another family friendly neighborhood is Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf in west Berlin. This was the center of West Berlin when the city was divided. Today it’s the more posh area of the city, and it’s where you can do lots of high end shopping.

The Kurfürstendamm, a street loaded with shops, is located here along with the famous KaDeWe (Kaufhaus des Westens) shopping mall. This neighborhood is also where you’ll find the Charlottenburg Palace, the Berlin Zoo, the aquarium, and Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church.

Charlottenburg is a little farther from the big attractions in Mitte, so you will have to spend a little more time on transport to do some of your sightseeing. This is also not the best neighborhood if nightlife is your aim.

There aren’t a lot of decent budget options like hostels in Charlottenburg, so if you’re on a tight budget, I’d recommend staying in a different part of town. For a mid range option close to the swanky shopping area, the Ibis Kurfürstendamm is an excellent location.

But my favorite hotel in this area is the 25Hours Hotel. It’s located on the edge of the Berlin Zoo, and many of its rooms over look the zoo. The hotel bar, called Monkey Bar, is excellent for its view of the zoo and has wonderful cocktails. I have it listed as upscale, but sometimes the prices are a little more mid range, so be sure to check.

Where to stay in Berlin: Charlottenburg

Berlin Prenzlauer Berg neighborhood guide

Mauerpark in Berlin Prenzlauer Berg neighborhood
Mauerpark is in Prenzlauer Berg, and it’s a lovely neighborhood

Prenzlauer Berg is considered family friendly, but it’s also very trendy and popular with people who don’t have kids. It’s northeast of Mitte, and you’ll find lots of delicious international restaurants here.

As far as attractions go, this is also the neighborhood where you’ll find the Bernauer Strasse Wall Memorial, Mauer Park, Kultur Brauerei, lots of cute parks and shops, and some of the best cherry blossoms if you’re here at the right time of year. Prenzlauer Berg is a great option for those of you who don’t want to stay right in the middle of Berlin but also not really interested in clubbing.

You won’t be too far from most of the attractions here. The U2 takes you just a few stops into Alexanderplatz where you can start your serious sightseeing or connect to another line. So if you want easy access to the famous attractions but you also enjoy simply soaking up the atmosphere of a city, this could be a good choice.

For budget travelers, the annabanana Hostel is a cute place right near the popular parts of Prenzlauer Berg. You’ll be close to transport and lots of restaurants and bars. The Vienna House Easy is located near the ring at the edge of Prenzlauer Berg.

For a bit of a splurge, Vienna House Andel’s is an excellent choice near the Landsberger Allee Sbahn station and has a bar with fantastic views of Berlin from above. Hotel Oderberger is a little more centrally located within Prenzlauer Berg, oozes historic charm, and has a pool with an impressive high ceiling.

Where to stay in Berlin: Prenzlauer Berg

Berlin Kreuzberg neighborhood guide

Viktoriapark in Kreuzberg - where to stay in Berlin
Viktoriapark is in the western part of Berlin’s Kreuzberg district

Kreuzberg is a big district with many differences even within its boundaries. The eastern end of the neighborhood is more gritty and more punk, while the western end is a bit more polished and quieter. Both are interesting areas to stay in Berlin, but perhaps suited to different types of people.

If you’re visiting Berlin for clubs or a more alternative scene, the eastern side of Kreuzberg towards the Spree River is a good choice. For those of you looking for a laid back vibe and want to stay a little ways from the center but still well connected, the western side could be a good option.

The Jewish Museum, the Deutsches Technikmuseum, and several other museums are located in Kreuzberg. Markthalle Neun is a great indoor market, and Viktoriapark is a pretty park with the highest natural point in the city a a decent beer garden. Several Ubahn lines run through different sections of Kreuzberg which means you can easily reach other parts of the city.

Some hotels listed in Kreuzberg are in the northwestern corner of the district, almost in Mitte. This might be good for you if you’re interested in exploring Mitte but don’t want to stay right among the museums, but if you’re interested in Kreuzberg for nightlife, look a little farther away from Potsdamer Platz.

Grand Hostel Berlin is a good budget choice located in the hip area of Kreuzburg with easy access to transport. Hotel Johann is just minutes away from the trendy Bergmann Kiez area. And if you’re looking for a more upscale choice, Orania.Berlin is a historic hotel with a piano bar, and it’s in a great part of Kreuzberg.

Where to stay in Berlin: Kreuzberg

Berlin Friedrichshain neighborhood guide

East Side Gallery - Friedrichshain district best neighborhoods in Berlin
The East Side Gallery is in Friedrichshain, a great area for clubbing and artsy vibes

Friedrichshain is the district where I live and spend the most time, and I love it here. This neighborhood has a distinct punk, artistic, alternative flare to it, though no one ever seems bothered by people like me who don’t fit that description. You’ll find a good mix here, and anything goes, though honestly you could say that about most of the city.

This is a great Berlin neighborhood for people who want to enjoy clubbing and nightlife. It’s also where the East Side Gallery is, and the area nearby has been heavily developed in recent years to include a big shopping mall, fancy hotels and apartment buildings, and lots of other things that are very much NOT punk.

Wander through Boxhagener Platz and the streets in that area for cocktails and international food. Boxhagener Platz holds a fantastic fresh market on Saturdays and a flea market on Sundays. You’ll also come across lots of street art in this area.

Even though there aren’t a ton of attractions in this area besides the East Side Gallery, it’s well connected to other parts of the city. The U5 and a few Sbahn lines get you to Alexanderplatz, the Hauptbahnhof (main train station) and all the sights in between.

If you’re looking for someplace a little unusual, try the Eastern & Western Comfort Hostelboat. It’s a hostel in a boat that’s moored in the Spree River just steps from the East Side Gallery. The niu Hide is one of Friedrichshain’s newer hotels, located above the Ring Center shopping mall with easy access to the Ubahn, Sbahn, and several trams.

And for those of you looking for a more upscale hotel in this funky neighborhood, try the Almodovar Hotel. It’s a classy hotel designed to be environmentally friendly and sustainable, and it’s right near two tram lines and a short walk from two different Sbahn stations. There are tons of restaurants in this area, and it’s not far from Boxhagener Platz.

Where to stay in Berlin: Friedrichshain

Berlin Friedrichshain Boxi Simon Dach Strasse
The section of Friedrichshain near Boxhagener Platz has lots of bars and restaurants

Berlin Airport Hotels

The new Berlin-Brandenburg Airport (BER) is located southeast of the city just over the border into Brandenburg. It’s in zone C, so if you’re using public transport, you’ll need an ABC ticket to get from the center of the city to the airport and many – but not all – of the airport hotels.

Since it’s not so close to the center, you might want to consider booking a hotel near the airport for your last night in Berlin if you have an early morning flight. Being close to the airport could mean a little less stress and a little more sleep.

Where to stay near the Berlin Airport

Book a tour for your trip to Berlin

Berlin Travel Resources

I want you to have the best trip to Berlin, and hopefully these suggestions for hotels in Berlin help. But there are lots more tips on the site!

Check out this long list of the best things to do in Berlin. It’s full of activities, attractions, and more. Also, if you love castles, here are some castles in and near Berlin. And for a longer trip, consider some of these day trips from Berlin.

Here’s what you should know before coming to Berlin. From practical tips to quirky facts about the city, it’s all in there.

Read this helpful packing list for Berlin so you know what to bring and what to wear.

You’re probably going to be using public transport to get around Berlin. Read this handy guide to Berlin’s public transport system and how to get around Berlin.

Visiting Berlin? Don’t forget travel insurance!

It’s always a good idea to travel to Berlin with a valid travel insurance policy. Travel here is reasonably safe, but you never know when something could happen. You need to be covered in case you have an accident or become a victim to theft.

We recommend World Nomads insurance for travel. Travel insurance helps you recover your expenses and continue to enjoy your trip.