Best Insider Tips for Berlin – 2023 Edition
Our exclusive insider tips for Berlin will help you experience Berlin off the track.
We put together after extensive research the best insider tips from fellow Berliners in order to ensure that you get the best out of your stay in Berlin.
But don’t tell your friends otherwise we need to find new insider tips 🙂
Just joking, spread the word and let your friends see the city with different eyes as well.
1. Bernauer Straße – Berlin Wall – instead of Checkpoint Charlie
If you want to learn something about the Berlin Wall then forget about Checkpoint Charlie that has become more of a Disneyland.
Also you can skip the East-side gallery, which is nice to look at, but does not really explain anything about how the Wall divided the city for several decades.
The real horror and meaning of being a divided city can best be experienced at Bernauer Straße.
A mile-long stretch leads along the former frontier between West and East Berlin with some of the original artefacts still visible.
Lot’s of signs explain e.g. where people digged tunnels from East to the West so they could escape to freedom or where people jumped out of the back of their house, as the main entrance was in the East and the backdoor facing the West.
Just get the M10 to Nordbahnhof and walk all the way up to Eberswalder Straße.
2. Müggelsee – Instead of Wannsee
Berlin is surrounded by many lakes. But somehow in summer all the lakes seem so packed that you wonder if nobody in Berlin ever has to work.
The most popular and famous lakes probably are Schlachtensee and Wannsee.
While both of them are really pretty, they get incredibly packed in summer, as they are conviniently located just next to the S-Bahn.
So unless you want to feel like in a Japanese subway all squeezed up you better go to Müggelsee in the East of Berlin, you will not regret it.
Strandbad Müggelsee is really easy accessable, just hop on the S3 from Ostkreuz and you are there in no time.
If you do not only want to sunbath you can also rent a boat or kayak and explore the area by water.
That being said, the Wannsee is also a very nice lake, but way more crowded in summer.
On a sunny day at Strandbad Wannsee you can expect to stand in line for an hour or two (if they even still let people in).
Unless you live in the far west of Berlin we would always recommend Müggelsee instead of Wannsee.
While you are already at Müggelsee you should definitely check out Neu-Venedig.
Just stay one more stop on the S3 until Rahnsdorf and then take a short walk direction South and you will be surprised to find nice little channels and tiny houses right outside of Berlin.
Things to do at Neu-Venedig include relaxing, renting a boat/kajak and paddling through the channels just to stop at one of the restaurants to get a snack and a drink.
Unfortunately when the new Berlin airport one day opens this little gem will get a lot of the noise as planes are supposed to start and land over Müggelsee.
4. An der alten Försterei – FC Union stadium – Instead of Olympiastadion and Hertha BSC Berlin
If you are a soccer fan and you would like to watch one of the Bundesliga games live then forget about the Olympiastadium.
While the stadium itself is really impressive and worth a visit even outside matchdays, to experience a real unique atmosphere make sure to watch a game of Berlin’s second football team FC Union.
The fans are said to be very loyal, which is true if you think about it that they helped renovate the stadium as the club is only in second division and a bit short on money as it seems.
And conveniently the stadium is also located close to Müggelsee and Neu-Venedig.
So make sure to plan to spend a whole busy day around Köpenick, with a visit to the stadium, a dip in the Müggelsee and a visit to Neu-Venedig.
Alternatively you can also check out the architecturally impressive Olympiastadion in the West of Berlin.
Home to the “bigger” Berlin club Hertha BSC this is definitely impressive to look at, but the mood and energy in the smaller Alte Försterei is just more fun.
Location: An der alten Försterei
5. Park Inn for a nice view of the city – Instead of the TV Tower
This is a rather simple choice.
Would you rather pay 13€ minimum per person and wait 1h in line or would you rather pay 4€ and wait 1min in line to have the perfect view of Berlin?
If you prefer option 1, which is completely overpriced and costs a lot of time then we recommend the Berlin TV tower..
But if you like to save some time and money then just visit the rooftop terrace of the Park Inn Hotel, which is just next to the TV tower at Alexanderplatz.
Just be aware that on the TV Tower you have a 360 degree view of Berlin, while at the Park Inn you cannot see anything in the north of the building… Which is not too bad, as you “only” miss out on Pankow.
6. Aquadom Berlin – currently closed
For all of you who have not heard it on the news – the Aquadom burst in thousand pieces and destroyed the hotel it was located in.
So right now this attraction is closed and the decision to rebuild has not been made until today.
The Aquadom was the biggest cylindrical glass aquarium in the world.
It was even possible to visit the Aquadom from inside – there was a lift inside the aquarium.
But as the Aquadom has been destroyed (probably by the cold temperature) there is nothing to see here right now.
7. BVG Bus line 100 or 200 instead of a Tourist Bus
Save yourself 20€ for one of the many tourist busses and instead buy a BVG ticket for 2,80€ and hop on the bus line 100 (or 200) starting at Berlin Alexanderplatz.
This bus will take you past some of the most interesting Berlin sights such as:
- Alexanderplatz + TV tower
- Berliner Dom
- Berliner Schloss
- Unter den Linden
- Brandenburger Tor
- Schloss Bellevue
- Berlin Zoo
After this 40min bus ride there is not much left for you to explore in Berlin 🙂
8. Visit the Tierpark instead of Berlin Zoo
Berlin Zoo (which is right next to the train station Berlin Zoologischer Bahnhof) is probably one of the most visited tourist destinations in Berlin.
But save the money for the entrance – we have 2 ideas for you that Berliners do instead.
First of all instead of entering the Zoo go to the Bikini Shopping center instead.
On the ground floor they have a massive glass front overlooking the monkey area.
And all the while you can enjoy a nice and hot coffee while watching the monkeys jump around.
And secondly we highly recommend to go to the Eastern part of Berlin to visit the Tierpark Berlin instead.
This is the biggest Zoo inside a mayor city in Europe.
You will need at least a whole day to cover all areas of this massive Zoo.
Plus the prices are lower than the more central but also smaller Berlin Zoo.
9. Train station Gesundbrunnen or Südkreuz instead of Hauptbahnhof
Depending on where you stay in Berlin it is worth checking out if your train might stop at Südkreuz or Gesundbrunnen instead of Hauptbahnhof.
If you are in the Southern part of Berlin chances are high that you save a lot of time when exiting your train at Südkreuz.
In case you are staying in the northern part of town check out if you will be able to leave the train at Gesundbrunnen instead of Hauptbahnhof.
You need to know that the Berliner Hauptbahnhof has been built around 2006 in the middle of nowhere (at least at that time there was really nothing around that area).
So chances are high that you are staying somewhere far away from Hauptbahnhof and could save a lot of time getting off the train at another station.
10. Get a train instead of S-Bahn from BER to city centre
After countless years of construction the new Berlin airport BER has finally opened its doors.
And belive us, compared to the old Tegel or Schönefeld Termina (which is now Terminal 5 of the new BER airport) the new BER airport is a dream come true.
With the opening of the new airport Deutsche Bahn started to offer more and more options for a faster ride to town compared to the S-Bahn.
Best of all, you can use the same ABC ticket (make sure to get this instead of AB ticket, which is not valid at the airport) to get on a train and later on switch to an S-Bahn or Tram.
Read here about more options to get from the new BER airport to town.
What else to do in Berlin
If you don’t mind hanging around other tourists we also have put together a list of the Top 10 things to do in Berlin. But don’t worry our tips are worth the hassle.
Are you hungry after all these great things to see then it might be time to check out the best things to eat in Berlin. But do not count calories!
Did you put on a little bit of weight after all these delicious things to eat? We thought about that as well and put together a list of the best sport activities in Berlin.
Table of Contents of this Article
- Best Insider Tips for Berlin – 2023 Edition
- 1. Bernauer Straße – Berlin Wall – instead of Checkpoint Charlie
- 2. Müggelsee – Instead of Wannsee
- 3. Neu-Venedig
- 4. An der alten Försterei – FC Union stadium – Instead of Olympiastadion and Hertha BSC Berlin
- 5. Park Inn for a nice view of the city – Instead of the TV Tower
- 6. Aquadom Berlin – currently closed
- 7. BVG Bus line 100 or 200 instead of a Tourist Bus
- 8. Visit the Tierpark instead of Berlin Zoo
- 9. Train station Gesundbrunnen or Südkreuz instead of Hauptbahnhof
- 10. Get a train instead of S-Bahn from BER to city centre
- What else to do in Berlin