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One Day In Berlin: 12 Awesome Things To Do [2020]

Written By:
Cazzy Magennis
/
Last Updated:
January 8, 2020
Travel stories
Only have one day in Berlin? Don't worry! That's enough time to see some of the best attractions Berlin has to offer. Check out our guide for inspiration..
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one day in berlin
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Berlin is the capital of Germany and it’s bursting with amazing things to do and see.

When it comes to capital cities, I’m often disappointed, but never by Berlin!

I’ve been to Berlin twice now and I will definitely keep returning.

There is so much to see and do and below I take you through some of my favourite things to do in Berlin in one day! 

Start early, and you’ll be fine.

First up ...

1. Check out the Olympic Stadium 

You can visit the Olympic Stadium via the metro (U2 line), and it will take about 25 minutes from the city centre. It’s pretty abandoned, but still looks grand and I think it’s a cool place to visit. 

They’ve hosted a lot of events here, from football, concerts and much more and you can actually take a guided tour to learn more about the history. One of the more unique things to do in Berlin. 

TIP: If you’re driving to Berlin, you can actually park your car/motorhome here for free and get the underground into Berlin. The station is a 2 minute walk and it’ll save you time and money trying to park in the city centre. 

You can take a self guided tour of the studio via this link. 

olympic stadium in berlin

2. Have fun at Potsdamer Platz 

This is a pretty famous square in Berlin and one of the most popular areas to visit as tourists. In the Christmas months it also hosts some pretty cool Christmas markets, so that also makes it a great place to visit.

3. Visit the Memorial to the murdered jews 

I think a visit to the Jewish memorial is very important. It’s vital that we remember and acknowledge the past in order to prevent something as tragic as that happening again. The memorial is grand and there is a museum underneath where you can learn more about the treatment of the Jews during the Nazi rein, and you can learn more about the specifics of the memorial itself. 

It’s made up of two thousand, seven hundred and eleven gray concrete slabs. 

It’s free to visit and the memorial is open 24 hours, but the exhibition is open the following hours: 

  • Apr - Sep: Tue - Sun 10:00am - 8:00pm
  • Oct - March: Tue - Sun 1 0:00am - 7:00pm

4. Learn history at the Topography Of Terror 

This is basically a free museum that documents the history of Hitler, from where it all began to how it ended. It doesn’t just focus on Germany, but on all the countries that were affected by the Nazis. It’s packed with information, harrowing photos and all the questions you have will be answered. 

It’s free, which is a good thing, because I don’t think a profit should be made over something so tragic, but it’s a great place to learn more and just take it all in. 

You can get a free audio guide by downloading an app on your phone, otherwise there are signs in english the whole way around which explain everything in detail. 

There is an on-site cafe and toilets if you need a break afterwards. 

If you’re only going to visit one museum with one day in Berlin, then this should definitely be it. 

5. Check out Checkpoint Charlie 

This is one of the most iconic spots in all of Berlin and easy to see with only one day in the city. Checkpoint Charlie is located on the corner of Friedrichstraße and Zimmerstraße.  It showcases the former border crossing, the Cold War and the partition of Berlin. The checkpoint booth, barrier and the flag and the sandbags are all based on the original site. This makes it a popular photo spot and a popular place to spot on walking tours in Berlin. 

It’s free to visit the sight and since it’s on a main road, you’ll need to be careful and aware of the traffic that will be whizzing past you. There is a museum you can visit too if you want to learn more about the history and significance of the spot.

Definitely one of the more touristy things to do in Berlin in one day, but worth it! 

You can skip the queue at the museum by purchasing your tickets here. 

checkpoint charlie berlin

6. Visit Gendarmenmarkt 

So, Gendarmenmarkt is a square in Berlin and the site of an architectural area which includes a variety of churches and the Berlin concert hall. Also, another reason it’s a popular spot is for it’s awesome Christmas market that’s held in the winter time. This was one of my favourite Christmas markets in Berlin. 

But this spot is worth visiting all year round thanks to the beautiful architecture of the buildings. 

Gendarmenmarkt 

7. Admire the beautiful Berlin Cathedral 

The Berlin Cathedral is beautiful!! It’s such a dream from outside, and it’s easy to admire from all angles. We didn’t actually pop inside, but you can and you can even head to the top for a panoramic 360 view of Berlin.

 Berlin Cathedral

8. Sightsee the city on electric scooters 

Europe is going through an electric scooter phase at the moment and it’s great. There are companies popping up everything. Well, getting around by electric scooter is not only better for the environment, it’s convenient, easy and fun. If you’re short on time, i.e trying to see the best Berlin attractions with only one day in Berlin, this is a great idea. 

We used them throughout the day, and it all works via an app that you scan and ride, then scan and drop off anywhere within the city zones. 

Awesome!

9. Visit Alexanderplatz and the TV tower 

Alexanderplatz is another popular square in Berlin and particularly for it’s awesome TV tower. Heading up the TV is without doubt one of the best things to do in Berlin, but I will say, the view needs to be clear. Otherwise it kind of takes away from it. 

But, I suggest you book your tickets to skip the queue as when I visited years ago and didn’t have a ticket, well I queued for quite a bit. 

There is a restaurant up there too which is a unique spot for lunch. 

You can buy your tickets in advance here. 

10. Check out the East Side Gallery 

You can’t go to Berlin without discovering the Berlin wall. Berlin is steeped in history, and if you don’t know anything about it, then I suggest you head to the museums to find out more. There are small remains of the Berlin wall, which once split the city into two physical areas, dotted around the city, but the main stretch that is left is at the East Side Gallery.

It’s basically turned into somewhat of an art exhibition and you can walk along and admire the murals and their political statements (and check out the most famous kissing scene). Then, you can visit the East Side Gallery Museum. 

Another of the essential things to see in Berlin with only one day! 

east side gallery ebrlin

11. Eat Currywurst 

Now, you cannot go to Germany and not eat the classic currywurst dish. Bradley actually LOVES currywurst, as do I, but in Berlin it’s cheap, cheerful and delicious. Nowadays you can get vegetarian versions of it too. 

12. Get a picture at the Brandenburg Gate (at night!) 

Brandenburg Gate is a dream. It’s very Rome-like and at it’s beautiful during the day, but at night when it glows a gold shade, it’s amazing. One of the most beautiful monuments, areas I’ve ever seen. I love it, and it doesn’t cost a penny to view this beauty! 

Brandenburg Gate

Top tips for spending one day in Berlin

When is the best time to visit Berlin? 

Berlin is truly an all-round destination. Both times I’ve visited it’s been in the winter months, so I have a soft spot for that. Basically the Christmas markets in Berlin are amazing and there are so many of them, you could spend a week doing them all! But I also love the winter vibes in the city with all the Christmas lights. 

However, I can imagine Berlin is also quite nice in the summer, and it’s an easy city to get around by foot, if you’ve got a decent pair of shoes on. Or you can easily get around via electric scooter which is the latest trend in Europe and a lot of fun! 

Enjoying some wine at the Christmas markets!

How long do I need to spend in Berlin? 

You could easily spend around 3-4 nights in Berlin and still have lots to discover. The first time I visited, I spent 3 nights and I saw and did a lot, and on my second visit with Bradley, we did it all in one day. I basically took him to all the “highlights of Berlin”. 

But it’s a perfect city break destination and with cheap flights from all over Europe with Skyscanner, it won’t be an expensive trip either. 

Getting around Berlin 

Gosh, it’s super easy to get around Berlin. You’ve got so many options. 

  • Walk: You can actually walk between most of the attractions in Berlin. We did, but you’ll need a decent pair of shoes on. I personally like walking through the city, especially in the evening (you can also take a walking tour of Berlin too- and they’re cheap!).
  • Underground/overground: The train and metro system in Berlin is great and it’s super cheap to get a day pass for the use of trains and the underground. They run frequently and will get you from A to B with ease. 
  • Electric Scooters: as mentioned before you can rent out electric scooters which is an awesome way to get around Berlin. Uber do them and we frequently used “Lime” all around European cities. 
  • Hop-On Hop-Off Bus: yes, they are a toursity classic, but they will get you to and from all the major sights in Berlin, and when you only have one day in Berlin, it’s not a bad choice. You can book your ticket with a discount right here.

So there you have it, my guide to all the best things to do and see with one day in Berlin. This day will require you to start early, but it will give you a taste of all the amazing sights Berlin has to offer. 

Trust me, you’ll want to return! 

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