Traveling to Berlin was amazing. It’s a city where, at the time I visited, everything was a work in progress. Historical relics and buildings were being restored. A true city center was being developed. Old meets new, and both are getting a makeover. I loved it.
Berlin itself is full of history. There’s a lot to see, so let’s get into it. Here’s how to spend 4 days in Berlin!
How to Spend 4 Days in Berlin
Introduction to Berlin
Official Language(s): German
Emergency phone number: 112
When to Go to Berlin
Early November – December
I visited during December and honestly? I’d do it again. I was freezing, but the Christmas markets in Berlin are such a spectacle, they’re not to be missed. Berlin goes hardcore. There are at least 50, if not more of these elaborate markets scattered across the city.
It’s worth the bitter cold. Pack your heaviest coat and don’t look back.
Where to Stay in Berlin
It’s tough to find a good place to stay in Berlin since the city is so big. So with this recommendation, I tried to pick a place that’s closest to the activities and hubub.
Give wombat’s CITY HOSTEL a go. It’s in Alexanderplatz with nice amenities.
How to Get Around in Berlin
Berlin is three times the size of Manhattan, making it difficult to pin down an exact “city center.” Everything you’ll want to visit is on one side, another, or in the middle. Public transportation is fantastic, and Uber is available. Just be aware that transportation will take a bit longer than other cities with more defined centers. Nothing bad, just budget 20 minutes or so for getting around.
Where to Eat in Berlin
Rausch chocolate house
Berlin is like, the chocolate capital of Earth. Just visit Rausch chocolate house. It’s better than it sounds. Walk inside, and you’ll see that all the major Berlin landmarks have been recreated, with chocolate. The sweets there are ridiculously good quality, and deciding what to get took me way too long.
There’s also a cafe if you’re a huge chocolate head and would love nothing more than to shove all things sweet in your face.
I did the vast majority of my eating at the Christmas markets (seriously, your first currywurst should be had there) but I managed to make time for other neat spots.
Hofbräu Berlin is one such place. It’s just… really ridiculous fun. There was a live band when I was there. You’re seated in long benches (great way to meet people). The food was fabulous. I’d say overall, a neat restaurant to chill after a day of sightseeing and enjoy some German cuisine.
If you didn’t get your fill of sweets at Rausch, I feel ya. Stop by Ritter Sport, there’s a good chance it’s been in your Instagram feed already. It’s a lot less formal than Rausch, with the same good quality. Plus, you can make your own chocolate. It’s awesome, they’ve got a whole line of people waiting to hear orders for your weird creation.
One thing to note; it will be busy. So if you want to make your own chocolate, be prepared to wait.
You’re gonna be starving after spending time on Museum Island (more on that in a bit). Luckily, there’s some great cafes and restaurants in the area. Spreeblick is one such cafe. Pretty, decently priced, and outdoor seating if the weather is nice. What more could you want?
Day 1 of 4 Days in Berlin
Berlin has endless museums, and Museum Island is where the best ones live. The Island has a wide variety of stops to cater to a wide variety of interests. You could want to visit everything or a small selection of places. There’s a lot to do, but don’t feel overwhelmed. Honestly, you’ll enjoy yourself no matter where you end up.
You can get one ticket for all five museums here
Here’s what I did…
I first visited the Pergamonmuseum. It has a huge collection of Middle East art and antiquities.
Berlin Cathedral Church
I also got to check out the Berlin Cathedral Church, which is the colloquial name for the Evangelical Supreme Parish and Collegiate Church.
It sustained heavy damage during WWII but was beautifully restored.
Climb the dome
You can also climb the dome! The view was delightful. If you can, go on a day that isn’t so windy, it makes dome-viewing way easier.
Berlin Palace Museum
Lastly, I stopped by Humboldt-Box, which was standing in as a place holder for the construction of the Berlin Palace Museum. Humboldt-Box has since closed because the Berlin Palace is now open!
Berlin has an endless amount of Christmas markets and they don’t play around. You can ride a ferris wheel, go ice skating, see a live band or just shop around. I’m only scratching the surface.
Berlin’s attention to detail is remarkable; they even have “indoor” shopping areas if you get too cold. You pay a small price to enter and are given a ticket/token of some sort. From there, you’re free to eat, skate and shop to your heart’s content. If nothing else, visit Weihnachtszauber Gendarmenmarkt, the most popular market. It’s unreal.
You can also visit the Fernsehturm, a 60’s communist radio tower, to get a great view of the city.
Day 2 of 4 Days in Berlin
Berlin Wall Memorial
Berlin Wall Memorial and East Side Gallery are two places commemorating the same horrors. They’re both a good distance from each other, but it just makes sense to see them both together.
The Memorial has a visitor’s center for more information. It also grants you access to the wall itself, where you can see just how powerfully intimidating it was.
East Side Gallery
The East Side Gallery is where several different artists try to send their own message. Following the fall of the Berlin Wall, graffiti felt like it’s own personal middle finger to everything the Wall had represented. You can see elaborate art depicting everything from past to current events.
The Reichstag is Berlin’s government building. You’ll need to reserve a time in advance to enter.
The dome and rooftop are accessible to tourists. It’s a bit odd to get through security and into the right entrance, but the views are lovely, both from the top and down below.
Brandenburg Gate is a just a short walk away. It too, is impressive up close and somehow survived the onslaught of history.
Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe
The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe is a structure worth visiting, because it’s not immediately apparent what it’s trying to say.
It’s barrier free and consists of 2,711 columns of various heights, forming a maze. It’s controversial. Even it’s construction was a battle to complete and many argue it doesn’t say enough. I say, walk around, let yourself get lost in the maze. What does it say to you?
Topography of Terror
Topography of Terror is where everything you’ve seen so far all comes together. A museum that, quite appropriately, is set inside the former Gestapo headquarters, details the rise of Nazism.
Actually, “details” is an understatement. Every law, article and photo has been meticulously curated and uniquely arranged so visitors can learn what led to the horrors that took place. No stone is left unturned. You’ll learn a lot.
Day 3 of 4 Days in Berlin
Schloss Charlottenburg is Berlin’s largest palace, built for the Queen consort in Prussia. They spared no expense. The outside alone gives me serious Schönbrunn Palace from Vienna vibes. It’s a ways away from just about everything, so make sure you pencil in enough time for transportation.
Take it in
Take the rest of the day to chill around. Wanna go back to a museum? Walk around the city? Revisit a monument? I’d do that.
Day 4 of 4 Days in Berlin
Day Trip to Dresden
If you’ve got the time, a day trip to Dresden would be a fabulous final send off. Check out the guide I prepped for info on how to make the most of your day there.
Know Before You Go
So much is going on in Berlin, new palace museum, construction of an official city center, the works. This had led to an increase in young, artistic people settling in the city. Pretty cool, right? New events are constantly popping up. Ask someone on the bus what festival is currently going on and check it out.
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