Top 10 Things to do in Berlin
The thing that makes Berlin different from other cities is that at any time of the day (or night), you can find something to do. Whereas in other cities you might have a cinema, a sushi place, an Italian place, and a club, and you’ll most likely do the same thing every weekend, in Berlin you have so many different options that making a decision on what to do is often really hard.
After having a good think about our favorite things to do in Berlin, we’ve come up with a top 10 list to save you some time trying to decide what to do first when you move here, or just come to visit.
1. Turkish market at Maybachufer
While you’re in Neukölln, if it happens to be a Tuesday or a Friday, you should check out the Turkish market at Maybachufer. You will find rows and rows of fresh fruit and veggies at really low prices (so cheap, in fact, that you might find yourself carrying 1kg of lemons at one point, wondering what you’re gonna do with them), as well as freshly prepared snacks such as börek (or baklava if you have a sweet tooth), fabrics, handmade clothes and accessories, etc. The best thing about the market is the atmosphere, though – check it out for a taste of Turkish culture in Neukölln. And always keep your eyes open for the best bargains. Rumor has it that in the evening fruits go for half the price so that the merchants can sell all their goods.
Location: Maybachufer, near the U-Bahn station Schönleinstr.
2. Rent a boat
I bet there aren’t many places where you can rent a boat without having a license, and take it for a ride on the river. Well, you can do that in Berlin. After paying your deposit and putting on a lifejacket, you can get on your boat and go around the river Spree, having a beer and hanging out with your friends. This is a great way to see some landmarks from the water – such as the Molecular Man statue, and of course the Fernsehturm, and to spend an afternoon doing something different and really fun. Just a little tip: don’t just park the boat on the side and get off, for any reason, especially not to buy beer after spotting a ‘we sell beer’ sign. Don’t do it. Keep your eyes on the river and your hands on the wheel at all times.
If you are more into enjoying time in the nature an do some paddling then we definitely recommend a short trip to Neu Venedig or Müggelsee and check out some of the boat rental companies. This is a fun activity for couples as for a group of friends.
Location: Zur Alten Flussbadeanstalt 5, 10317
3. Go to a lake
Berlin is surrounded by so much beautiful nature. The city itself isn’t chaotic and dirty, but it’s still nice to get out of the city and get some fresh air sometimes, and the perfect way to do this is by going to one of the many lakes that can be found within an hour away by train. The most popular one is probably Wannsee, so if you want to go somewhere with a lot of people and a louder atmosphere, Wannsee is your best bet. If you’d rather go somewhere quieter to really enjoy the peace and quiet, you could try Grunewald, Krumme Lanke or, as pictured above, Müggelsee.
Grunewald is actually a forrest, so as well as a few lakes, you’ll find a lot of walking/hiking space there, as well as the famous Teufelsberg. We’re not going to encourage you to go up there and break in, but if you do, you’ll probably be mesmerised by the view from the top of the mountain. It’s worth mentioning at this point that you should probably be quite comfortable with nudity if you go to a lake in Berlin, as you’ll most likely find plenty of naked people chilling, swimming, and playing sports in the FKK areas of the lake.
Location: Grunewald is within walking distance of S-Bahn station Halensee, Krumme Lanke has its own U-Bahn, aptly named Krumme Lanke, and same goes for Wannsee at S-Bahn station Wannsee
4. View the city from the top
If you’re more of a city person than a forrest hippie, we have the perfect tip for you – especially if you’re on a budget. Sure, you can go to the top of the Fernsehturm and see the city from really high up. But for 20€ less, you can also go to the top of the Park Inn Hotel, see the city from the top, and see the Fernsehturm in front of you. It’s really simple, you just have to go into the Park Inn hotel, go up to the 37th floor, buy some tickets there and go onto the terrace, where you’ll have an amazing view of Berlin. You might want to chew some gum on your way up on the lift, as you might feel dizzy after going up that high in about 10 seconds. Same goes for the way down.
Location: Alexanderplatz 7
There is an abundance of green space in Berlin, which is already an advantage to any other European capital. But what makes this park extra special is the fact that you can climb up to the top of the hill located inside the park, and you can see Berlin from the top. The view is breathtaking, especially if you go before spring, so that all the green leaves on the trees don’t block your view. The climb is a little steep but doable, even for couch potato types.
From the bottom of the hill you can see water cascading down big rocks, which is another view that makes a visit to this park totally worth it. If you come in the summer and get thirsty, there’s a very nice biergarten in the park, too! Within walking distance you have Bergmannstrasse, where you’ll find lots of restaurants, bars, cafes and nice shops.
Location: the entrance with the waterfall is on Kreuzbergstraße
6. Brauhaus Lemke
If you come to Germany, you can’t miss out on the beer. Even if you’re more of a wine person, you’ll find that beer is the best choice when you’re visiting Germany. You can find thousands of different beers in Berlin, and at the brewery Brauhaus Lemke, you can find a beer sampling option, with four small different beers for your degustation. They’re all excellent, but visitors often have a favourite, and mine just happens to be Pils – the lightest, easiest drinking beer.
On the menu you’ll find delicacies such as Berliner Eisbein (pork), Schwäbische Käsespätzle (I’m not going to describe spätzle as ‘a sort of pasta’ because that upsets the Swabians, but that’s pretty much what spätzle is), Flammkuchen (a kind of light and crispy pizza, if you will), lots and lots of sausages, and of course the delicious Apfelstrudel. You should really check this place out if you fancy a great Brauhaus experience with locally brewed beer and traditional food. You can warm up your appetite by going for a walk around the great Hackescher Markt neighbourhood beforehand!
Location: Dircksenstr., S-Bahnbogen 143, i.e. under the train track
No list of things to do in Berlin would be complete without Mauerpark. The very popular flea market is for lovers of all things vintage what a sweet shop is for kids. You can find anything at this flea market: clothes, musical instruments, homemade jams, handmade jewelry, and lots of antique furniture. The flea market takes place in the park, and to say that it’s huge would be an understatement.
There’s also a small stage in the park, where a large crowd gathers to witness people mostly making fools of themselves singing karaoke or performing some art or another. Even if you’re not into flea markets, Mauerpark is worth a visit just for the atmosphere – this is where all the cool kids can be found on Sundays, and it’s the perfect place to go after enjoying a fantastic brunch on a Sunday morning in Berlin.
Location: around Bernauer Strasse 63; the m10 tram stops right outside – listen out for the stop ‘Friedrich-Ludwig-Jahn-Sportpark’ (seriously)
8. Fassbender & Rausch
Chocolate. Lots of chocolate, in all its shapes and forms. If you’re a fan of the stuff, you have to go to Fassbender & Rausch. You will have the best hot chocolate (or iced chocolate) of your life at the Rausch cafe, situated on the first floor, just above the shop. As well as offering an endless selection of beautiful, handmade chocolates, Rausch also offers chocolate based meals, cakes, and some sweet viewing pleasure in the form of landmarks made of chocolate – look out for the Fernsehturm, Brandenburger Tor, and the giant Berliner bear.
Eat and drink chocolate to your heart’s content, buy your friends and family an amazing chocolate gift (there’s one aptly named ‘Chocoholics’), and try not to dip your finger in the chocolate volcano (fantasizing about swimming in it is allowed).
Location: Charlottenstraße 60
Price: Shop $ / Cafe $$
9. Go to a bar/cafe
It’s hard to recommend one specific bar because everybody is into different music and what one may find to be a cool atmosphere, another might say it’s pretty arty-farty and full of hipsters. With that in mind, there are some streets/areas you can go where you’ll be sure to find a bar that suits your preferences. Simon-Dach-Straße is full of pretty average people who enjoy going for a beer and catching up with friends in casual attire; maybe playing some Kicker (at Kptn), and listening to some pleasant, probably rock, background music.
On Oranienstraße (not to be mistaken for Oranienburgerstraße, though if you do you’ll just find some other bars, mostly touristy and expensive) you have the same type of bars, but the crowd is a little cooler (hello, Luzia), and probably more pop than rock. Then there’s the bars around Rosenthaler Platz, where you’ll find the aforementioned hipsters (*cough* Neue Odessa *cough* Mein Haus am See *cough*), with their perfectly ironed shirts, glasses, and music so cool that nobody’s even heard of it yet.
Berlin is generally really casual and its habitants are really laidback, but if you fancy something posher and shinier, head out to the west, because the nice bars with proper wallpaper and seats without holes are on Kurfürstendamm.
Location: Simon-Dach-Straße, Oranienstraße, Rosenthaler Straße and surroundings, Kurfürstendamm
Price: $ / $ / $$ / $$$
If you’re one of those tourists who likes to visit museums, you’re going to love Berlin. Even if you’re not, you should still go for a walk around Museumsinsel, one of the nicest areas in Berlin. The architecture is beautiful, it’s the perfect scenario for a romantic walk, and there’s a lot of green space for you to goof around with your friends or even to have a picnic or just chill with a beer – yes, you’re allowed to drink in public places. There are many different museums, and buying a ticket that allows you entrance to all of them is only slightly more expensive than the ticket for a single museum, so you can get great value for money if you fancy spending a few hours walking around and soaking up some culture. You should book tickets online to avoid queueing up for hours.
We find that queueing up for too long can be pretty discouraging, and there are too many distractions around, so if you don’t want to end up in a nearby shopping centre instead of checking out the museums, just book your ticket online in advance to avoid ending up in this scenario. Oh and if anybody asks, ‘speak English?’, just keep your head forward and keep walking.
Location: You can get off at Alexanderplatz and walk there
Top 10 things to eat in Berlin
After all this sightseeing and walking around Berlin you are probably very hungry. Well good news, Berlin is the best place in the world to get great food for a reasonable price. No matter if you are a Vegetarian or a meat lover Berlin has something for every taste (not only in food). Check out our Top 10 things to eat in Berlin.