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An Ultimate Weekend in Berlin | Three Day Itinerary for Berlin

Itching to travel? Why not plan your next trip to Germany's most vibrant city - Berlin. With so much to see and do, this 3-day day itinerary for Berlin will help you make the most of your time in the city.

Berlin TV Tower
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This is a guest post by Gemma from Highlands2Hammocks.



Visiting Berlin


Each year, more than 5 million tourists flock to the cultural center of Berlin, Germany's largest city. Spanning a whopping 900km2, and home to 4 million residents, the thriving metropolis of this capital city is awash with beautiful sights, fascinating history and amazing memories to be had. Famous for its party scene, unique food, and drink, and very dark history, Berlin has something for every adventurer to fall in love with. Don't know where to begin? You will find all the inspiration you will need right here, with our Three Day Itinerary to Berlin.

During the summer of 2018, Berlin was one of our many drop off points around Europe. Being budget backpackers, our goal was to explore this vibrant city, drink in as much culture and enjoy as much food as we could, all whilst on a budget. The good news is, we were successful! A weekend in Berlin doesn't have to cost you a fortune. It can be cheap, so long as you as smart and follow our advice below.

Preparing for your Berlin trip


Before you set off on your big weekend break, you will need to ensure you are fully prepared. Arrive into Berlin informed and ready so that you can maximise your stay in Berlin.

Travel Insurance


The most important necessity for any trip abroad; travel insurance. A lot of people ask the question, do I really need to be insured? And the truthful answer is no, until you do! It is simply not worth the risk not taking out insurance, so we highly recommend you do. The most popular travel insurance for backpackers and nomads are TrueTraveller and World Nomad's. These both provide excellent cover, great overseas customer service, and easy setup, all for a very affordable price.

Berlin Welcome Card


The next thing to have a look at is the Berlin Welcome Card. This card not only gives you free transport around the city (which you will be using a lot of, as Berlin is HUGE), but it also gives you great discounts on a whole bunch of activities. Our advice is to have a look at what discounts are included. This way you can perform a quick calculation on what savings you will make if you buy it. You can then decide if it is worth the money, or if you would be cheaper to just buy the transport tickets. We will say that due to the amount of transport you will be using, it will almost definitely be cheaper to buy the Berlin Welcome Card.


Similar to the Berlin Welcome Card, is the Salzburg Card which gives free access to Salzburg's top attractions. Highly recommended if you plan to visit Salzburg.


Where to stay


The next big choice is accommodation. Being budget backpackers ourselves, we like to keep our accommodation as cheap as possible so we can spend more on the more important things in life (i.e. beer). For this reason, we chose camping as our method of accommodation. However, if sleeping on the floor ain't your cup of tea, fear not as there are plenty of other affordable options.

Camping


All over Europe, camping is by far the cheapest form of accommodation. For our visit to Berlin, we chose to stay at the CityCamp Nord campsite, located on the western outskirts of Berlin, an hour from Alexanderplatz. Although this seems like quite a trek in and out of the city, Berlin's excellent public transport combined with the beautiful scenery of the campsite makes it highly recommendable. The price of the campsite was a very reasonable €18.50/night for two people, less than half the price of staying in a hotel or hostel. If you do choose to stay here, make sure you bring plenty of cash as they do not accept a card.

Hostels and Hotels


The most popular form of accommodation for Berlin visitors is either Hostel or Hotel. Both of which can still be found at a reasonable price, however during the peak season you can expect these prices to shoot up. Our usual tools for finding the best deals for hotels and hostels are either Hostelworld, Hotels.com or Airbnb. You might also get lucky on another of our favourite sites, Groupon, where you can find discount hotel deals.



Arriving into Berlin


So it is your first city break in a while and you are hungry for adventure. Whether you have touched down by plane, or just pulled in by rail, the first question on your mind is always: how do I get to the city?! Here is our best advice for you. For a more in-depth guide to getting around Berlin, you can read our Basic Guide to Berlin right here.

Plane


The most popular airport for charter flights and budget airlines is Schoenefeld airport, located south-east of Berlin city center. Flights from Easyjet and Ryanair will almost always touch down here. The most popular ways of getting from the airport to the city center are by the airport express train, the Berlin metro or the night bus.

Airport Express Train: This is by far the quickest way to reach Berlin from the airport. Just a ten-minute walk from the terminal sits the Flughaten Berlin-Schoenefeld station, which is where you can catch the train. This train runs daily between 4am and 11pm, and there is also a night train at 1:44am at the weekends. The train will cost you €3.30 for a single, however if you purchase a Berlin Welcome Card for zones AB and C then it is included.

Berlin Metro: The Berlin metro is locally referred to as the Bahn. It includes the S-Bahn and the U-Bahn, with the U-Bahn mainly going around the city centre and the S-Bahn transporting you to the suburbs. Again, all travel on these lines is included if you purchase the Berlin Welcome Card. The metro runs non-stop at weekends, so is the best option if you have missed the express train.

Night Bus: Buses are really the last resort for getting from the airport to the city. Lines X7, 171 and the night bus N7 will take you from Schoenefeld airport to Rudow U-Bahn station, where you can then catch the metro to the city centre.

Other than these options, a taxi will cost you up to €60 from the airport into the city centre. If you simply must do this, then we recommend using Uber to hail your cab.

Train


If you are like us and arrived into Berlin by rail, then life is much simpler for you. Berlin's main station is the Hauptbahnhof, or the HBF, which is located just 10-minutes from Alexanderplatz. You can jump straight from your train onto the S-Bahn, which will take you pretty much anywhere you want to go.




What to see in Berlin


So you have settled in, unpacked your bags and strapped on your most comfy shoes, eager to get out and explore. For a full list of all of Berlin's best activities, you can read our article here, otherwise here is a full three-day weekend itinerary showing you the best of Berlin.

Day One


Arrive at your accommodation and get ready for a night on the town. Catch the S-Bahn to Alexanderplatz and explore the markets that bring this central square to life. Here you will be able to watch shows, drink local brews and try out some of the local cuisines from the food stalls. If you are wanting to dive right into the German culture, then just a short walk from Alexanderplatz is the world famous Hofbrauhaus. This huge bierhalle will serve you some of Germany's finest food and beer, by waiters in traditional attire and with traditional German music playing in the background. Don't drink your night away, however, as we have a big day ahead tomorrow.

Alexanderplatz in Berlin

Day Two


Whenever we arrive into somewhere new, we always start our day off with a Free Walking Tour. These are the best way to get to know a city, such as the history, culture and even the insider tips from the locals. There are a huge number of walking tour available, which you can browse and book here. Our choice was the Original Alternative Walking Tour, taking you around the fascinating Friedrichshain, Kreuzberg and Neukölln districts. Next up is the Fernsehtrum Television Tower, situated just off Alexanderplatz. Towering high above Berlin, the viewing platform sits at an impressive 207m. Pack your camera and head up the tower for an incredible, panoramic view over the city. If you bagged yourself a Berlin Welcome Card, you will also get 50% off admission costs.

Finish your day off relaxing at the Liquidrom Thermal Baths, located 20 minutes SE of Alexanderplatz. These beautiful thermal baths are the perfect way to relax after a hard day of walking around Berlin. With freezing plunge pools, rock salt saunas and an acoustic sensory pool, you will feel transported and rejuvenated for another day of sightseeing tomorrow. Entry to the pool is a very reasonable €19.95 for 2 hours of blissful relaxation.

Listed below are some interesting tours in Berlin!


Day Three


It is now time to embrace the dark and fascinating history of Berlin, as we get an early start to the day. Head straight to your first sight of the day, the Berlin Wall, and learn about the separation of post-war Germany. Spread along the wall, you will find information posts and audio guides, telling you the stories of the wall and first-hand accounts from the locals at that time.

The Berlin Wall

From here, ride the S-Bahn south for 15 minutes to the famous Brandenburg Gate for the perfect Berlin photo opportunity. This landmark dates back to the 18th century and is built on the site of the original Berlin city gate, which lead to the nearby town of Brandenberg an der Havel.

Walk 10 minutes south to your next stop, the Holocaust Memorial. This is a memorial for the remembrance of the 6 million murdered Jews in Europe. Designed by the architect Peter Eisenman, this 19,000 square meter memorial site consists of 2711 concrete slabs, arranged in lines forming a maze-like plane. We couldn't quite believe the sheer size of the memorial, and it is one of the most unique sights we saw around Europe.

The Holocaust Memorial in Berlin

Finally, there is just enough time to check out Checkpoint Charlie, another famous landmark from the Cold War. This is the spot where the world stood on the brink of destruction, as Soviet and American tanks faced each other in a standoff across the border. There are plenty of cute cafes and bars around here to enjoy your last taste of German food before it is time to head home.

Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin

Due to the sheer size of Berlin, it is very difficult to squeeze everything it has to offer into one weekend. Luckily for you, the city offers such a brilliant weekend trip that you will be sure to return in no time!

You might also find Lonely Planet's Pocket Berlin guide useful. It has a convenient pull-out Berlin map (in print version) plus essential tourist info like important phone numbers, websites, transit tips, prices, hidden gems etc.


Three Day Itinerary for Berlin

8 comments:

  1. Oh I love Berlin! I have visited the city now two times and after reading your article I still have the feeling like I have to see some places. The city has a good atmosphere and is so diverse. You've made an extensive guide. :-)

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    1. It's a wonderful city isn't it, there is so much to do! We would also love to go back :) Thank you for your comment!

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  2. Wow, I had no idea how big and complex Berlin was. Is the city still split in half for the most part....meaning is it noticeably different, or mostly blended in these days? Germany is still on our bucket list as a couple...and I think your blog just moved it up a few notches!!!

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    1. Thank you for your comment Mike! It's very much one city now, the only evidence is the historical monuments which is a really interesting visit. Berlin is a great city and Germany as a whole country is amazing, we would love to go back and spend more time there. Hope you get to visit soon :)

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  3. Berlin is such an awesome city and I loved just walking the streets. Finding cute cafes and bars and eating and drinking lots. I did most of the main sights you mentioned but if I get the chance to visit Berlin again I will definitely find those thermal baths and the alternative walking tour sounds cool. Thanks for the tips!

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    1. We really enjoyed that as well, there is so much to do! The thermal baths were definitely a highlight :) Thank you for your comment!

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  4. Always love the option of a free walking tour - great way to see the city! Would definitely be into seeing Checkpoint Charlie, such an iconic place, and tucking into some local grub too - nice options :)

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  5. Berlin’s been on our bucket list for sometime. Thanks for the great tips, especially the Berlin Welcome Card - who doesn’t love free transportation! I always forget about the free walking tours, great reminder! What an imposing and unforgettable. Holocaust Memorial.

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