The German capital is a vibrant melting pot of cultural diversity, where art, music, and creativity thrive.
When you’re not learning about the city’s fascinating history or getting into the groove of the wild 24-hour nightlife scene, you’ll be happy discovering the cool bars and the abundant greenery of this major cosmopolitan city on the banks of the River Spree.
The city has enough layers to keep all visitors happy. To help you plan your holiday in Berlin, here are our favourite things to do in a city where there are more museums (over 180) than rainy days (around 166 a year) — perfect when the forecast isn’t great.
Learn About the City’s History
The Berlin Wall finally fell on 9th November 1989. The iconic Brandenburg Gate is a symbol of the reunification of East and West Germany. It’s a stone’s throw from the Reichstag, the country’s parliament and one of Germany’s most important buildings. Learn about the Reichstag’s turbulent history during and after World War II, before climbing to the roof terrace on top of the dome for an impressive panorama of the city’s skyline and a bird’s-eye view of the Brandenburg Gate.
The wall used to split Berlin down the middle. Parts of it still remain, such as Checkpoint Charlie, once the only place where foreigners visiting Berlin could pass between the communist and western parts of the city. There are 1,316 metres of the wall still standing at the East Side Gallery, the largest open-air gallery in the world which is home to 100 paintings created after the reunification.
Take your time to wander along the wall. Look out for artwork: My God, Help Me to Survive This Deadly Love. This image of Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev and one-time German Democratic Republic leader Erich Honecker embraced in a symbolic kiss is the most famous artwork at the gallery.
Explore Berlin’s Glorious Open Spaces
Nature is never far away in Berlin. Once you’ve finished exploring the historic district, head under the Brandenburg Gate and into the lush greenery of the Tiergarten. It’s the most central park in in the city and home to Berlin Zoo. Need some exercise? Join the hordes of joggers and cyclists who make the most of the park’s trails all year round.
Here, you’ll also find the Berlin Victory Column, erected in 1873 to commemorate the Prussian victory in the Second Schleswig War. Climb its 270 steps to look back at the city, which towers over Tiergarten’s lush woodland.
Treptower Park has plenty of grass to chill out on. Victoria Park near the trendy multicultural Kreuzberg, is home to the huge Golgatha Biergarten. The trendy beer garden is a great place to hang out, but is only open during the warmer months.
Tempelhof is a decommissioned airport and the scene of the Berlin Airlift. But in true German style, it hasn’t been sold off to developers. Instead, it has been turned into a recreational area for the general public. The planes have departed, leaving the runways, taxiways, and huge expanses of space open for Berliners to do what they please. Expect to see cyclists, kite-surfers, rollerbladers, and runners speeding down the runways, whilst you can also visit the still-intact terminal building but only on pre-arranged tours.
Embrace Berlin’s Famous Nightlife
The city’s nightlife scene is non-stop — it just depends if you can keep up with the locals. The legendary Berghain is the pantheon of techno in the city. But you’ll need to convince the bouncer to let you in the club, whilst there’s Watergate and Tresor to try if you don’t.
Berlin is renowned for having the best clubbing scene in Europe. Expect cavernous and disorentating clubs in the depths of disused brutalist buildings. Dance to cutting-edge sounds, and of course, have fun in a diverse and open-minded scene that’s welcoming to everyone, as long as you’re respectful and into the music.