Berlin is a city full of history and culture. With its abundance of museums, historical buildings, street art, cafes and bars, there are plenty of things to see in Berlin. It’s no wonder that the German capital is one of the most popular places to visit in Europe.
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If you’re planning on visiting the fascinating city, you might be wondering how many days to spend in Berlin, Germany.
In reality, you could easily spend countless days discovering the various sights and alternative cultures of the urban area. In fact, many people, us included, find themselves returning more than once to the city.
Berlin is incredibly easy to navigate in and it’s possible to see most of the main sights of Berlin. For example, the Brandenburg Gate, East Side Gallery, Checkpoint Charlie and Holocaust Memorial easily within 3 days.
If you plan to visit Berlin in 3 days, you’ll find it to be the perfect amount of time to balance enough tourist attractions as well as taking the time to explore the back streets, nightlife and cultural trends. This means that you could easily plan a perfect weekend in Berlin. Or, a short escape to the city without too much hassle.
If you’re wondering what to do in Berlin for 3 days, then this Berlin itinerary will have you covered. By spending a day crossing off the main attractions in Mitte, then heading to the trendy neighbourhood of Kreuzberg and finishing your visit in West Berlin, you’ll get to see the best in the city.
Your 3 days in Berlin itinerary could look like this.
What to See in Berlin in 3 Days
Day 1: Explore the Main Sights in Mitte
On your first of three days in Berlin, Germany you can explore most of the main sights and attractions which can be found in Mitte, the city centre and historic district.
If you’re happy to be out exploring from morning until night, you can cover most of the well-known tourist attractions. Get a real feel for the history of the city within a day. From Checkpoint Charlie to the Brandenburg Gate, this day is busy.
You could easily walk between most of the sights, making them perfect for your Berlin itinerary. It is by far the greenest way to explore the city. If you prefer to save time, you can use public transport by purchasing a handy transit Berlin 3-day ticket.
You can find a free walking tour of the city or buy a ticket for the hop-on hop-off bus. These buses have audio commentary and set routes. But, they still allow you a bit of freedom to explore at your own pace.
Day 1: Morning
Start your 3 days in Berlin by heading to the Reichstag. It’s one of Berlin’s most iconic buildings, housing the country’s parliament during its most tumultuous years until today. If you book ahead online, you can even climb to the top of the dome and roof terrace for incredible views over the city.
From there it’s not far from the famous Brandenburg Gate, perhaps the most recognizable attraction in Berlin. The former city gate was built in the late 18th century in the style of a triumphal arch. The impressive structure symbolizes the unification and peace of East and West Berlin. It’s definitely a must-see on your Berlin 3-day itinerary.
Just a little further up the road from the Brandenburg Gate is the Holocaust Memorial. It’s a moving memorial to the murdered Jews of Europe with 2711 concrete columns forming a sort of maze. You can take your time to walk amongst the columns in remembrance of the Jews of Europe or visit the underground visitor centre to learn more about the Holocaust Memorial and World War II.
If you keep walking south of the Brandenburg Gate and Holocaust Memorial you’ll come to Potsdamer Platz, a thriving commercial area with modern shops. It’s a reminder of how far the city has come, as it’s built on what was once a sort of No Man’s Land divided by the Berlin Wall.
Topography of Terror
Nearby is the Topography of Terror, a centre on the site of the former Gestapo Headquarters which documents the horrors of Nazism. It’s a must-visit for anyone who wants to know more about World War II.
Checkpoint Charlie and the Wall Museum
You can then move on to Checkpoint Charlie, where the landmark Cold War boundary between west and east Berlin is remembered by an old sentry guardhouse. The original guardhouse was removed after the fall of the Berlin Wall, and is now on display in the Allied Museum in West Berlin.
At Checkpoint Charlie you can ponder the madness of the Cold War and visit the Wall Museum just behind the checkpoint which was founded by a human rights activist. It gives a fascinating insight into the crazy world of that time.
Focused on the history surrounding the Berlin Wall, the Wall Museum displays 30 years’ worth of artifacts related to the political climate of the time and attempted escapes from East Germany. There are pieces of the original Berlin Wall, travel documents escapees tried to use, and even suitcases left behind during failed attempts.
Berlin Wall Memorial
If you are interested in seeing and learning more about the Berlin Wall, the memorial is definitely worth a visit. From Checkpoint Charlie, you can take the U-Bahn (U6 line) north to Naturkundemuseum, otherwise, it’s about a 40-minute walk, including a crossing at Spree River.
Extending 1.5 kilometres along the original border between West and East Germany, the memorial contains the last piece of the Berlin Wall with the grounds preserved for a realistic representation of how the border looked. There is also an excellent museum onsite that presents an overview of German history related to the Cold War.
Day 1: Afternoon
Stop for lunch at Café Haferkater in Friedrichstraße. They have healthy vegan and vegetarian options in a cozy cafe setting. You can also take a meal or coffee on the go if you want to make the most of your time exploring the German capital.
You can easily spend most of your afternoon on day 1 on Museum Island, the cluster of important museums on the Spree River. Between the five museums here, you have one of the most impressive collections of historical artifacts and art in the world spanning 6000 years.
Established as a sanctuary of art and learning by King Friedrich Wilhelm IV in 1841, this stretch of land is now a protected UNESCO World Heritage site. If you visit during the high season, it might be a good idea to reserve a time slot online before you visit the museums. Also, remember to travel light since the museums now have mandatory coat and bag checks.
The Pergamon Museum is perhaps the highlight, with some of the most impressive artifacts from the ancient world. These include the Pergamon Altar from Ancient Greece and the Babylonian Ishtar Gate. You’ll find pieces from as far as Persia to Egypt on display at the Pergamon Museum.
Don’t forget to visit the stunning Renaissance-style Berlin Cathedral on Museum Island. It’s just behind the Altes Museum and is one of the most incredible building landmarks in the city.
From Museum Island, cross over Friedrichs Bridge, which was built in 1703. It is one of the main bridges that connect the Mitte district with Museum Island.
Berlin TV Tower
Continue east to the TV Tower at Alexanderplatz to end day 1 of your Berlin itinerary. The observation deck of the TV Tower offers unrivalled views over the cityscape of Berlin and is definitely one of the top things to see in Berlin in 3 days.
Day 1: Evening
In the evening, you might want to take a boat cruise on the River Spree. This Berlin: 2-Hour Evening City Cruise explores the main attractions with an audio guide as well. It’s a perfectly relaxing way to explore the German capital.
For dinner, you should head for FREA, a modern plant-based, organic, and zero-waste restaurant, or Kopps Restaurant, an elegant vegan restaurant with a cocktail bar.
If you’ve still got plenty of energy and enough time then you might be ready to explore Berlin’s nightlife. Head to the Hackescher Markt, a square with surrounding streets that are known for boutiques, street art, and bars. It’s an area that is buzzing all day and well into the night.
Day 2: Explore the Alternative Side of the City
For your second day of this 3-day itinerary in Berlin, Germany, you can explore the alternative side of the city around Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain. This is where the city’s trendy subcultures can be discovered. Also, it’s a nice place to stay in Berlin with good accommodation options.
This part of the city is a magnet for students, artists, and a large Turkish population. It’s certainly one of the coolest and most interesting districts to spend some time getting to know and is worth almost a full day of your 3 days in Berlin.
Day 2: Morning
East Side Gallery and Museum
Start your morning of day 2 at the East Side Gallery and Museum. This kilometre-long stretch of the former Berlin Wall is covered in creative murals and is one of the best places to visit in Berlin in 3 days. The street art here provides an insight into much of the city’s Cold War history. There are, of course, particularly famous pieces of artwork such as the piece of Leonid Brezhnev and Erich Honecker kissing. However, there are equally plenty of other interesting murals in the East Side Gallery that deserve your time. It can get quite busy, which is why we recommend heading there in the morning.
If you particularly enjoy street art, then you can explore beyond the East Side Gallery by joining this Street Art Tour. It is one of the best things to do in Berlin in 3 days for art lovers. This 3-hour guided tour provides a real insight into the history, culture, techniques, and stories from the graffiti and street art world of Berlin.
Near the East Side Gallery, you can’t miss the Oberbaum Bridge. This double-decker bridge opened in 1896 and is one of the city’s most picturesque bridges. From there, you have a beautiful view of the TV Tower and Alexander Platz in one direction and the unique sculpture known as Molecule Man on the River Spree in the other direction. The sculpture is an interesting modern art structure on the river and worth a photo stop.
Further out east is the Stasi Museum, which provides an incredible insight into what it was like in East Germany. It’s housed in the former headquarters of the Ministry of State Security and you’ll find all the surveillance equipment and prisoner transport vans on display. It’s a bit of a chilling place, but worth your while to understand the fear of those who lived at the time of the Berlin Wall.
Day 2: Afternoon
Next, you can easily spend the afternoon and into the evening, exploring the Kreuzberg district of Berlin. This is one of the coolest and most progressive areas of the city. It is full of trendy cafes, vibrant street art and sustainable clothing boutique stores. Don’t forget to stop for lunch somewhere in the district as well, with some of the city’s best cafes that you need to add to your Berlin itinerary. It also has a happening nightlife with plenty of bars and some of the top clubs in the city.
The youth and artistic scene that Kreuzberg is so well known for has also led to it becoming a hub for the city’s sustainable movement. Also, you’ll find many eco-friendly cafes and shops selling recycled or upcycled clothing. If sustainable living is your thing, then you’ll love exploring this district.
Here are a few of the best sustainable cafes and shops that you have to add to your three days in Berlin itinerary:
Markthalle Neun is an indoor market hall with international food vendors selling everything from craft beer to homemade pasta. They also hold community events such as Street Food Thursday and the annual Cheese Festival. It’s also a great place to go if you’re self-catering with fresh produce and gourmet goods on offer too.
Isla Coffee Berlin is a cafe that is committed to reducing waste and tries to implement a circular economy. They reuse everything that they can. For example, leftover steamed milk from lattes is used to make their own ricotta cheese. They also offer compostable coffee cups for their takeaway options.
Kollateralschaden is a Berlin clothing label that is designed to make consumers think about the damage done by fast fashion. Every item is made ethically and locally from 100% cotton and is only made on request. This is to reduce the wastage and unfair labour policies so commonly linked to the fast fashion industry.
Moeon is a multi-brand store in Kreuzberg that has extremely high standards on fair trade, sustainability and hand made garments. It sells exclusively women’s clothing, with most pieces made from recycled, upcycled, or organic materials.
Supermarche is a popular fairtrade streetwear store with various brands that adhere to sustainable and ethical practices in production and distribution. They sell everything from jeans to shoes to accessories for all genders and are one of the most popular places on Berlin’s sustainable shopping scene.
Day 2: Evening
After all that shopping and walking on day 2, you can look forward to relaxing for a drink in the evening. Head for Klunkerkranich, a cool rooftop bar and beer garden which is the perfect place to sit back and watch the sunset.
Once you start to feel peckish, you can continue on to Con Tho for dinner. This delicious Vietnamese restaurant offers incredible vegan dishes in a cozy setting.
Day 3: Head to West Berlin
To kick off the last of your 72 hours in Berlin, Germany, you should head to West Berlin and the Charlottenburg Palace. Most visitors to Berlin direct all their attention to exploring the central Mitte district as well as what was the former East Berlin area as this is where most of the popular attractions are located.
However, West Berlin has seen a recent transformation with new developments and it also has a few noteworthy attractions. So, to finish off your perfect Berlin itinerary, we recommend heading out west. It’s well-connected with the efficient U-Bahn subway. So, it’s not too difficult to reach.
Day 3: Morning
Start day 3 at Charlottenburg Palace which was built in the late 17th century. The grand and well-preserved Prussian palace and gardens are the largest remaining in the city. You could easily spend a few hours here if you enjoy old regal architecture. Also, you can explore inside the palace rooms as well as the beautifully manicured gardens outside.
After your visit to the Charlottenburg Palace, continue on to Kurfürstendamm, West Berlin’s legendary shopping boulevard. It is one of the best places for retail therapy on a Berlin weekend visit. The 3.5 kilometre long strip has all the famous labels and flagship stores from big department stores to designer brands. You can spend your time either snatching up bargains or window shopping.
Day 3: Afternoon
Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church
As you come to the end of the boulevard, you can’t miss the bustling intersection with the ruins of the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church and the nearby shopping mall of the Europa Centre and recently refurbished Bikini Berlin.
The Kaiser Wilhelm Church is partly the ruins of the original foundations destroyed in the war along with a newly constructed building. It’s meant to symbolize the reconstruction efforts of Berlin after the world war and is worth a stop.
Museum of Photography
If you’re into photography, you might want to walk past the church and opposite the U- and S-Bahn station to the Museum of Photography. It’s not a common inclusion on many lists of what to do in Berlin in 3 days. However, for those who are enthusiastic about the history and art of photography, it’s a must-see. It showcases the history of photography from the 19th century to the present day. Also, it includes a permanent exhibition on Helmut Newton, an influential fashion photographer.
If you still have enough time on your 3 days in Berlin, then you could head for Tiergarten. It’s a huge inner-city park of 210 hectares with wide lawns, a lake, various memorials and walking and cycling paths. It’s the perfect place to escape the hustle of the urban area for a short while. Its western end begins just across from the Museum of Photography and it stretches all the way to the Brandenburg Gate to the east.
Day 3: Evening
After all that shopping for your 3 days in Berlin, you can head for the well-known Monkey Bar inside the Bikini Berlin Mall. This cool rooftop bar has stunning views over the nearby parkland. Also, you can sit back for one of their signature cocktails.
For dinner, you can head not too far from Bikini Berlin to Vaust – Braugaststatte, one of the best vegan restaurants in the city. They are famous for their creative vegan menu with reasonable prices.
Where to Stay in Berlin
Steigenberger Hotel Am Kanzleramt is in a wonderfully convenient location and within a short walking distance of several attractions, including the Brandenburg Gate and the Holocaust Memorial. There is a wellness spa in the hotel as well as a restaurant that specializes in dishes prepared with seasonal, locally sourced produce. Steigenberger Hotel Am Kanzleramt is only a 3-minute walk from Berlin Central Train Station, making it a perfect home base.
Provocateur Berlin is a fabulous boutique hotel in west Berlin. It’s within walking distance of the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, Charlottenburg Palace, and plenty of other attractions. Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf is a gorgeous, laid-back district of Berlin, full of beautiful architecture and green spaces.
Michelberger Hotel is a stylish hotel conveniently located in the lively Friedrichshain district. The East Side Gallery is a 5-minute walk from the hotel, and you can reach the Kreuzberg district in about 10 minutes. The hotel restaurant specializes in healthy meals prepared with organic, locally sourced ingredients and offers plenty of vegan options.
Berlin, Germany is an exciting city full of history and culture. There are plenty of things to see and do there no matter how many days in Berlin you have planned. With these 3 days in Berlin, you can cover most of the main sights as well as neighbourhoods. But, it’s certainly a city that people find themselves returning to more than once.
If you’re planning a stay in Berlin, then you can read more about this city, including where to stay, in our complete sustainable city guide.
Have you visited Berlin before? What other spots would you suggest for one visit in 3 days in Berlin?
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