We love Berlin! From stepping back into history to the avant-garde, Berlin is a vibrant and exciting city with a lot to see and do. No matter whether you are a first time visitor Germany’s capital or whether you’ve been before, we bet you’ll find some unique things to do in Berlin on our roundup.
1. Travel back in time in a GDR vehicle on a Trabi Safari
Rated one of the 50 worst cars ever made, the Trabant was the most common type of car in East Berlin during communist times. It was so popular that there was a notoriously long wait to get a brand new Trabi; the average wait list was 8 – 10 years. These days you don’t have to wait to get behind the wheel of the little cars with lawnmower engines. Trabi Safari offers a number of various guided tours for a really fun way to explore the sights of Berlin.
We recommend the Trabi World Wild East Trabi Safari. €40 per person for 2 passengers, €35 per person for 3 passengers, and €30 per person for 4 passengers. Drivers license required.
2. Hunt down unique finds in Hackescher Markt
Hackescher Markt is truly a hot spot in Berlin. Not only have numerous international brands set up their Berlin locations here, but concept stores and young labels can be found through the side streets and hidden courtyards away from the trodden tourist path. On Thursdays and Saturdays an open-air market sets up in the square and you can find tons of unique jewelry, clothing, and artworks at pretty fantastic prices. The area is also full of culinary delights.
3. Eat your way through the city with Berlin Food Tour
Speaking of culinary delights, the enthusiastic and knowledgeable Bastian of Berlin Food Tour leads an excellent Berlin Mitte tour. You’ll try everything from cask made liqueurs to handmade chocolates and cured meats to coffee. Aside from eating just about everything in sight, you’ll also learn about the history of the neighborhood and be lead to some of the most sought out picture picture spots of the city.
Berlin Food Tour has a number of tours including a beer and currywurst, coffee and cake, Absinthe tasting, and of course the Berlin Mitte tour we experienced. Check out the website to find the perfect Berlin Food Tour for you.
4. Walk the Wall
The Berlin Wall was mostly demolished between June and November 1990, although a one-mile stretch remains and preserves the political paintings on the eastern side when the Wall came down. It’s called the East Side Gallery and now serves as a memorial to freedom.
5. Beer Bike around Berlin
Yes, this is probably the most cheesy and touristy thing you can possibly do in Berlin. But sometimes totally touristy and cheesy is the best kind of fun. Gather up a group of your best buds and enjoy beer on tap as you pedal your way around Berlin’s sights – and serve as a bit of a sight yourself!
Two hours on the beer bike costs about €29 per person (based on 10 people). Beer is also a bargain at €4.50/liter. Rates are slight cheaper during the week and also get cheaper the longer the rental period.
6. Shop ’til you drop at Europe’s largest department store
The Kaufhaus des Westens, shortened to KaDeWe, is a 60,000 square meter department store selling over 380,000 articles and is the largest department store in continental Europe. Only Harrods in London is larger and some 50,000 people visit every single day. With eight floors, you could seriously spend an entire week just exploring the store. And even if shopping isn’t your thing, it’s still worth a visit for the two-level food hall. Proud employees will tell you that the store touts two entire football fields worth of food! You can have an excellent cafeteria-style lunch in the all-glass top level restaurant with beautiful views over the Wittenbergplatz at a very reasonable price.
KaDeWe is open Monday – Thursday from 10am – 8pm, Friday from 10am – 9pm, and Saturday from 9:30am – 8pm.
7. Sip an elegant afternoon tea
Berlin probably isn’t top of mind when thinking of fabulous locations to take in an afternoon tea, but the Ritz-Carlton Berlin offers one of the best in the city. It’s also the only hotel in Germany to serve the exclusive French-made Mariage Frères teas. Choose the French tea service with savories like fried camembert and buttery croque monsieur, a plate of French pastries sure to please even the sweetest tooth, and delicious French scones for a unique afternoon tea experience.
Afternoon tea at the Ritz-Carlton Berlin is available daily from 2pm – 6pm and reservations should be made in advance. You can make them online. The French Afternoon Tea is €36 per person or €42 per person including a glass of champagne.
8. Have drinks atop the TV Tower
Ascend 679 feet to the sphere of Berlin’s tallest building for a spectacular view of the city. The restaurant and bar is one floor above the observation deck and rotates to make one full revolution once per hour. Give your feet a break and kick back with a cocktail as the ever-changing view of the city goes by.
The bar is open to patrons for drinks daily from 2pm – 6pm. Cocktails are around €6.
9. Be humbled at the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe
Taking up one housing block, 2,711 concrete slabs of varying height serve as a memorial to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust. It’s very humbling to look out upon the sea of blocks and have the numbers quoted in your school history books come to life before your eyes. Wander through the sloping blocks, but please be respectful and don’t climb a top them.
10. Be a chocoholic at Fassbender & Rausch
Every chocolate lover should know about and pay a visit to Fassbender & Rausch. The ground level store boasts the longest truffle and praline counter in all of Europe and the second level has a chocolate cafe where you can enjoy a cup of Berlin’s best hot chocolate and a selection of delicious chocolatey desserts. I’m also particularly a fan of their Roobios hot chocolate tea and never miss a visit to this divine store when I’m in Berlin.
The Fassbender & Rausch Chocolate Cafe is open Monday – Sunday from 11am – 8pm; the Chocolate Shop is open Monday – Saturday from 10am – 8pm and Sundays 11am – 8pm.
11. Take in Berlin’s street art
Berlin is an incredible open-air gallery of street art. It can even be overwhelming trying to take it all in on your own and it’s always more interesting when you learn a bit about the works. Take a street art walking tour with a knowledgeable guide who can point out all of the details you might otherwise miss on your own. You can even end your tour with a lesson in how to be a street artist yourself with a piece you can take home as a souvenir.
The Berlin Street Art Tour and Graffiti Workshop is available daily. This is a private tour led by a local artist.
12. Visit the dome of Reichstag
The Reichstag is the seat of the German parliament and the most famous landmark in Berlin and registered visitors can visit the dome and roof terrace for stunning views over parliament and Berlin’s landmarks. There is also a rooftop restaurant where you can enjoy lunch or dinner.
Admission to the dome and roof terrace are free, but advanced registration is required. Register in advance online. For spontaneous visits, visit the Visitor’s Center at least 2 hours in advance of your visit to inquire about any free places. Tables can be booked at the restaurant by by calling +49 (0)30 226-29933 or sending an email to: [email protected].
13. Dine in the dark
Take a walk on the adventurous side and leave everything in the capable hands of your blind waiter, who will guide you through your dinner in the dark experience at Nocti Vagus. For the truly adventurous, you can even select the surprise menu and attempt to guess at what you’re eating in a Hell’s Kitchen style blind taste test. Not to worry – you alert the restaurant to any allergies or dislikes in advance.
Dinner in the dark can be booked online from around €50 per person. Drinks are separate and we spent around an additional $25 for 2 glasses of Prosecco, a liter of water, and a liter of wine.
14. Eat a classic currywurst
The average Berliner eats currywurst once every two weeks. They eat the pork sausage smothered in ketchup and curry powder for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Don’t believe me? Just sit and people watch at just about any S bahn stop. There always seems to be a currywurst stand lurking nearby. It’s one of those things that you just must try!
Where To Stay in Berlin
Berlin has so many different neighborhoods to dig into and renting a holiday apartment not only lets you feel like a local, but usually puts you smack in the middle of where the locals live. We’ve stayed in GowithOh apartments on all of our trips to Berlin and each time we could really get off the tourist path and spend time discovering the neighborhoods we were staying in. We loved this GowithOh two-bedroom apartment in the chic Schöneberg disctrict, which is spacious and perfect for friends traveling together or for a family. We especially loved the area of our Berlin Mitte apartment and it is cozy if it’s just two of your traveling.