Berlin is a unique city that is nowhere quite like anywhere else in Europe. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the city has seen a surge of international visitors who are seeking to learn about WWII history, experience the buzzing nightlife, and enjoy the vibrant culinary culture that the city has become so known for in the past few decades. Here’s your travel guide and itinerary for spending a long weekend in Berlin (2 days in Berlin travel guide).
- Getting around Berlin
- Where to stay in Berlin
- Arrival in Berlin
- Day 1 suggested itinerary for Berlin
- Day 2 in Berlin suggested itinerary
- What to wear when exploring Europe
Getting around Berlin
If there’s one thing you should know before visiting Berlin, it’s that the city is incredibly spread out. Indeed, one of the most interesting facts about Berlin is that it’s over 8 times larger than Paris, France.
As well as buses and trams, the fastest way to get around the city is by U-Bahn (underground) and S)-Bahn (regional overground train). While in the city, we personally purchased 24 hour transport tickets as we were utilising the transportation system a lot. Add up the cost of individual tickets to work out if this is worth it for you to do.
Where to stay in Berlin
Where you should stay in Berlin is entirely dependent on your budget, as well as what you personally want to see while staying in the city. My friends and I opted to stay in the Neukölln district as it had easy transport links to everything we wanted to visit during our weekend in Berlin.
This, and the area is particularly well-known for its fun bars and international food, making it the perfect introduction to the German capital. Check here for some of the best places to stay in Neukölln.
Arrival in Berlin
If you’re looking to fully enjoy a weekend in Berlin, then I recommend heading to the city the night before so that you can have an extra evening exploring the city’s buzzing nightlife. This will also allow you the chance to settle into the city and enjoy an extra evening meal.
If there’s one Berlin travel tip I would give you before arrival, it’s that almost every meal (brunch/ dinner) should be booked ahead of time. This is especially true of the summer months when you’ll need to book several weeks in advance to secure a spot at the city’s most popular restaurants.
Dinner at Knödelwirtschaft
If there was one thing that my friends and I agreed on prior to our arrival in the city, it was that we should try some traditional German food during our stay in Berlin. A friend who lives in Berlin booked us in for a dinner at Knödelwirtschaft (Fuldastraße 33, 12045 Berlin) and it’s fair to say that the dinner didn’t disappoint.
Knödelwirtschaft is located in the Neukölln district of the city and serves up traditional German cuisine. While most cuisine from Germany is pretty meat-heavy, this particular restaurant (and, to my pleasant surprise, plenty of others in Berlin) offer at least one vegan option on the menu, as well as several vegetarian options.
The restaurant’s main dish is dumplings, which are garnished with cheese (if you don’t take the vegan option) and served together with a green salad and a cold cabbage salad. A portion of dumplings starts at €9,50 per person. The beer and wine list is pretty extensive (there are soft drinks too).
Day 1 suggested itinerary for Berlin
Breakfast at Gorilla Bakery
As I’ve already mentioned, the food scene is pretty good in Berlin and it’s for this reason that many travellers opt to visit the city. When it comes to finding pastries and sandwiches, you surely won’t be disappointed either.
One bakery which serves up particularly delicious pastries (both of the sweet and savoury varieties), as well as a medley of other tasty drinks and piping hot drinks is the Gorilla Bakery- Hermannstraße 211, 12049 Berlin, (known as Gorilla Bäckerei in German). For even more information about breadstuffs in Germany, be sure to check out this German bakery guide.
Head to Tempelhof Airport
Situated in south-central Berlin, Tempelhof Airport is one of the most interesting places to visit in Berlin and has since become a symbol of freedom in the city. Tempelhof Airport is actually an abandoned airport which is today used as a sprawling park where people can exercise their dogs, hold events, and even go kitesurfing (in designated spots).
The name Tempelhof comes from the fact that the land belonged to the Knights Templar during the Middle Ages. Templehof airport itself was opened in 1923 and was widely considered to be one of the most important airports in Europe prior to WWII.
During the Second World War, the space was used as a weapons production factory by the Nazis. Following the war, the airport became a symbol of freedom when it was used during the Berlin airlift. After the construction of the Berlin Wall, the only way to get food and supplies in and out of Western Berlin was by air and so Tempelhof quite literally became the lifeblood of the city.
Even today, some planes have been left behind and can be seen next to the airport terminal building and its surrounds. Now, Tempelhof Airport buildings are the largest monument in Europe.
Kebab for Lunch
One thing that visitors to the city will notice should they opt to visit Berlin is the sheer number of kebab shops across the city. Even if you don’t eat meat, then you’ll be delighted to discover that there are a wide array of vegetarian options, including cheese and vegetable only sandwiches.
Visit the East Side Gallery
If there’s one thing that visitors must see in Berlin, even during a short excursion, it’s the East Side Gallery. This is an open-air activity and comprises of 105 paintings which were painted in 1990 on the East Side of the Berlin Wall.
Seasonal activity (Medieval Christmas Market at the RAW Centre)
If you happen to be in Berlin during the Christmas period, then you’ll be delighted to discover that there is a wonderful historical Christmas Market that takes place in the RAW Cultural centre each December. Medieval themed, there’s traditional Christmas Market foods, as well as axe throwing and unique gifts for sale.
Dinner at Botanico
Following a long day of walking, exploration, and learning about Berlin’s rich and complicated history, it’s time to once more indulge in one of the many delicious culinary experiences that the city has become so known for in recent years.
Day 2 in Berlin suggested itinerary
Breakfast at LoisLane
If you happen to stay in the Neukölln district, then one of the cosiest places to enjoy breakfast and brunch in the Berlin district is at LoisLane. The brunch spot serves up speciality coffees and juices, as well as various toast dishes and breakfast bowls.
Please just note that the menus are only available in German and so be sure to bring along your phone or a German phrasebook like this one to help you get by.
Visit the Jewish Museum
The Jewish Museum in Berlin was opened in 2001 and is now the largest Jewish Museum in Europe. Set over 3,500 square metres and numerous floors, the cultural space presents various exhibitions detailing the history of Jewish people in Germany right up from the Middle Ages until the present day.
One of the most historical attractions in Berlin that visitors can see was constructed between 1788 and 1791 in the Greek Revival style. The gate is the only remaining historical city was and was built at the behest of Prussian king Frederick William II. To learn more about the history of Berlin and get around the city, you might consider booking a ticket on this Hop-On Hop-Off Sightseeing Tour with Optional Cruise.
The Holocaust Memorial is also known as the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe and comprises of 2,711 concrete slabs erected on a grid pattern on a sloping hill. Be sure to conduct yourself with respect when visiting the Memorial and do not take inappropriate photos.
The Berlin Cathedral is known as the Berliner Dom in German and is one of the most impressive buildings in the German capital city. The ecclesiastical building was consecrated in 1454, as the Roman Catholic St. Erasmus Chapel and can today be visited for a fee.
Berlin TV Tower
The symbol of Berlin and perhaps the most unique point in the German capital’s skyline is the Berlin TV Tower, which can be spied from all sorts of viewpoints, all across the city. If you want to enjoy a bird’s eye view of the city, then you can even go up to the observation deck to enjoy a 360 degree view of the city. Find more details here.
Dinner at Transit Restaurant
One of the most unusual and delicious meals we were lucky enough to enjoy during our time in Berlin was at Transit Restaurant, which is a Southeast-Asian restaurant that serves up small dishes. The idea is that you can order a selection of small plates to share among friends. There are a number of vegan and vegetarian options on the menu for non-meat eaters.
What to wear when exploring Europe
In the summer, you can’t go wrong by pairing a cute midi dress with classic white tennis shoes for a laid-back smart casual look that’s just as chic for walking around a city’s cobbled lanes as it is for wandering coastal paths. I love this dress and have it in several colour ways. In terms of tennis shoes, this is my go-to shoe.
When it comes to winter in Europe, most places (with the exception of a few islands) can get pretty cold and so warm layers is a must. I find that cute ankle boots like these ones are the perfect mix of practical meets cute.
Shoulder seasons (spring and summer) in Europe tend to come with a mix of rainy and sunny days and so, again, layers are a must. Trench coats and sneakers are the best uniform to explore the continent in.
Finally, a cross-body bag like these ones is a must. I personally use a crossbody bag by this brand and love its shape, size, and versatility. As well as being convenient and compact, it’s one of the safest ways to transport your valuables, all the while looking chic. I also recommend bringing along a travel adapter like this one so you can charge all of your electronics during your stay!
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Sophie Nadeau loves dogs, books, travel, pizza, and history. A fan of all things France related, she runs solosophie.com when she’s not chasing after the next sunset shot or consuming something sweet. She now splits her time between London and Paris! Follow Sophie on Instagram.