Berlin is a city packed with excitement. Whether you want to visit for the history, the art scene, the food, or some adventure activities, there’s something for everyone in Berlin. These 10 bucket list items are sure to keep you busy on a trip to Berlin and will leave you with lasting memories of one of Europe’s most exciting cities.
Berlin Travel Bucket List
1. Reichstag Building
The Reichstag Building is Germany’s parliament building. You need to book a tour at least two weeks in advance, more if it’s during the busy summer period, but it’s completely free to visit. Just be sure to bring a photo ID with you.
The tour is roughly 20 minutes long and will take you through the dome where your guide will tell you all about the Reichstag Building and the parliament of Germany. Once the tour is over, head up to the rooftop where you can take in a great view of the city. There’s a cafe up there where you can have a nice cold German beer or a cup of coffee while you enjoy the view of surrounding area.
2. Berliner Dom
The Berlin Cathedral, known as Berliner Dom, is one of the most famous buildings in the city. It costs €7 to enter and includes a guided tour in German or English. If you would prefer to have the tour in another language, you can rent an audio guide in French, Spanish, Italian, and Russian.
One of the best parts about visiting the Berliner Dom is climbing to the top for an incredible view back over the city. Be sure to head beneath the church to the Hohenzollern Crypt. It’s a fascinating look at modern crypts and the architecture underneath might just be more impressive than what’s above ground. It’s also one of the most important Protestant crypts in Europe.
3. Brandenburg Gate
Brandenburg Gate is probably the most recognizable monument in Berlin. It was originally built in the 1730’s and was one of 18 gates built around the city as part of the Berlin Customs Wall. It was then rebuilt between 1788 and 1791 as a monument of peace.
During the Cold War, the gate separated the West from the East and was unpassable. When the wall finally fell in 1989, the gate was reopened and once again became a symbol of a peaceful and unified Berlin. You can now admire the neo-classical architecture of the gate and freely walk between its pillars.
4. The Berlin Wall & East Side Gallery
The Berlin Wall is definitely a Berlin bucket list destination. It’s completely free to explore and learn about this part of Germany’s history.
While most of the wall was demolished, parts of it have been restored. You can walk along the wall starting at Mauerpark and carry on through the areas known as Mitte and Wedding. Be sure to stop and read the different information plaques along the way to learn what happened in these different locations.
Be sure to check out the East Side Gallery, too. This side of the wall has become a place for Berliners to express themselves with pretty impressive street art along the entire 1.3 kilometres of the wall.
5. Holocaust Memorial
The Holocaust Memorial in Berlin, also known as the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, is a powerful space that is definitely worth visiting while you’re in the city. The memorial has 2,711 concrete slabs that are organized in rows and vary in height to give the memorial more depth.
If you walk beneath the memorial, you’ll find the Place of Information, which lists the names of over 3 million Jewish Holocaust victims. It also has a lot of stories and personal accounts of the atrocities that took place during World War II.
6. Checkpoint Charlie
Checkpoint Charlie was one of the most famous checkpoints between East and West Germany. The city has completely restored the checkpoint so that it looks just as it did during the Cold War. You can now visit the site, take photos, and then head to the Checkpoint Charlie Museum, which fascinatingly, was opened just after the construction of the Berlin Wall.
7. Base Flying at Park Inn Hotel
If you’re looking to get your blood pumping during your trip to Berlin, then head to the top of the Park Inn Hotel on Alexander Platz. The top of the hotel is 125 meters high and for €80 you can strap yourself into a harness and base fly off of the edge.
Base flying is slightly different than bungee jumping because you’re hooked onto a network of ropes. You’ll feel less like you’re free-falling and more like you’re flying.
8. Story of Berlin Museum
The Story of Berlin Museum (not to be confused with the Berlin Story Museum) takes you on a fascinating tour of what it was like to live during the Cold War. You can compare what the inside of West Berliner’s homes looked like next to an East Berliner’s.
It’s not just about the Cold War though, the museum takes you through over 800 years of history of the city. You can even take a tour of a World War II bunker. The whole museum is incredibly interactive. It’s probably one of the most interesting history museums in the city and Berlin has plenty of museums to choose from!
9. Street Food Thursdays
Berlin has a reputation as one of the foodie capitals of Europe. You’ll find everything from Currywurst to Korean barbecue. Throughout your trip to Berlin, you’ll spot plenty of street food vendors, but the best place to sample a little bit of everything is at Street Food Thursdays.
This street food market takes place inside Markthalle Neun and has absolutely every type of food you can imagine. I loved the German fusion options at stalls like Glut & Späne Fish and Big Stuff BBQ.
Photo: Stephen Downes
If you’re visiting Berlin during the summer, a picnic in Tiergarten is a must. Join the locals as they lay out blankets and enjoy a sunny Sunday afternoon in the park with food and beers.
Tiergarten is one of Berlin’s largest and most popular park. There are gardens to walk around, picnic tables and barbecues that are free to use, and paths where you can go for a jog. The park is also home to the Berlin Zoo. If you do want to visit the park during the colder months, be sure to check out the different ice rinks on top of the park’s different ponds where you can rent a pair of skates and head out on the ice.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. For more ideas for your visit to Berlin, check out these 50 things to do in Berlin!
What other experiences are on your Berlin travel bucket list?