How to Spend Two Days in Berlin
Are you ready for two action packed days in Berlin? I bet you are! Berlin is a fascinating city that offers its visitors a deep education on recent history. Not to mention, nightlife lovers come from around the world to experience what Berlin has to offer them.
I’ll be honest: I wasn’t thrilled during my trip to Berlin due to a freak heatwave that paralyzed me. I really want to give Berlin another chance in the near future. So I’m writing this post as a tangible and positive start toward that goal.
My “two days in Berlin itinerary” works well enough for travelers who are passing through or individuals who want to do a Berlin weekend break.
I hope you enjoy my suggestions for two days in Berlin. Have a great time in Germany’s capital city.
Day 1 – Morning
Welcome to Berlin. Spend your morning discovering Berlin’s complicated history. I found it impossible to truly appreciate the city and its vibe until after I learned everything that had happened here, especially in the recent past. It’s insane.
Go to the Brandenburg Gate
No trip to Berlin would be complete without snapping the iconic photo of the Brandenburg Gate. Tourists all flock here for a reason. The gate is beautiful.
Believe it or not, throughout the tense years of the Cold War, visitors scaled an observation platform to see beyond the Iron Curtain into East Berlin.
Nowadays the Brandenburg Gate symbolizes unity and hope rather than forced separation.
Brandenburg Gate is the perfect place to begin your two days in Berlin.
Take a Walking Tour
Remember what I said about learning history this morning? Now’s the time.
Since you only have two days in Berlin, you ought to take advantage of a walking tour. Many walking tours leave from the Brandenburg Gate area. For example, Sandemanns New Europe’s Free Berlin Tour meets at the Starbucks in Pariser Platz where the Brandenburg Gate is located. These free tours usually last about three hours and cover all the main spots. Tip what you feel is appropriate.
However, if you’re truly interested in history and want to dedicate your morning and afternoon to the subject, then I suggest investing in Brewer’s Best of Berlin Tour. It’s six hours long, but you learn everything.
I love walking tours not only for their knowledge, but the guides give great local advice on restaurants and opportunities to meet other travelers easily present themselves to you.
Day 1 – Afternoon
Afternoon is starting (or lunch is already here!) after your walking tour! Are you ready for some more history?
At this time, make sure to grab lunch too. Berlin is well known for it’s currywurst and you really need to try some when you’re in the city. Dietary restrictions? No worries. You can even find vegan currywurst if you search hard enough for it.
Ascend the Reichstag dome
Don’t let the long lines scare you. The views are worth the trouble, and Reichstag Dome and Terrace are open to the public.
Admission is free, but you do need to register in advance. Why the hassle? The Reichstag is home to the current German Parliament. The building itself has a rough history. After a fire in 1933, the Reichstag fell into deep neglect and wasn’t the seat of government again until German reunification had already taken place. The Reichstag has seen it all. Literally.
You will see lots of memorials during your two days in Berlin.
See the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe
The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe consists of 2711 concrete slabs – which are open day and night. Walk through and feel slightly disoriented by their varying heights and the floor’s unevenness. This is a place for contemplation, to say the least.
Additionally, at the Memorial, there’s a free underground exhibit where you learn more about Germany’s Jewish population and the scarring effects of the Holocaust.
Important Note: Remember your manners at the Memorial. I saw some bad behavior here, sadly. For example, while I waited in line to go to the free exhibit, a couple was all over each other and it was just trashy given the nature of the site. Furthermore, don’t climb the gray blocks or take disrespectful selfies. Be better, folks.
See Other Nearby Memorials
The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe isn’t the only memorial dedicated to victims of Germany’s Nazi Regime. Many others are located throughout Berlin, and are worthy of your time and attention.
For instance, other nearby memorials include remembrances for both Europe’s Roma and homosexual populations, which were also targets of the Nazi party.
Both memorials are located near Tiergarten, one of Berlin’s biggest public parks, and a great place to relax if you need a break.
Learn more at the Topographie des Terrors
If you’re not too burnt out from Berlin’s dark history, then make a stop at the Topographie des Terrors. This outdoor museum is meaningfully located right on the site of the headquarters of the former SS Gestapo. The building was destroyed during the war. The permanent exhibit covers life in Berlin under the cruelty of the Third Reich.
The outdoor exhibit is free for anyone who wants to visit.
Day 1 – Evening
Time to take a break from the intense history lessons of the day! Berlin’s evenings also promise fun and excitement. For example, the clubs are absolutely legendary and definitely worth a visit if you’re interested.
Where will you spend your first night? Well…
Spend the Night in Prenzlauer Berg
Prenzlauer Berg was my favorite neighborhood in all of Berlin. My favorite. I wanted to rent a small apartment here.
This area is known for it’s endless number of pubs, cafes, cool galleries, and restaurants. In addition, examples of prewar architecture are very easy to find compared to the rest of the city. Eat dinner here and then let your hair down.
Honestly, if some of the historical sites are emotionally hard for you, then I suggest coming to Prenzlauer Berg early and exploring the area. The shopping is pretty darn fun, too.
Day 2 – Morning
Good morning! Are you ready for your second fun-filled day in Berlin? I hope so! Grab your comfy shoes and coffee, and let’s go on another twenty-four hour adventure around Germany’s capital city!
Go to Museum Island
Berlin’s museums are absolutely amazing and must not be missed. Start early while you’re still energetic. You’ll also beat the tourist crowds by coming to Museum Island in the morning hours.
Full disclaimer: It was the height of the heatwave when I went to Museum Island. So I bought a pass for all the museums and hid inside the air conditioned buildings rather than venture much outside. Seeing all the museums obviously extended well into my afternoon. If you love museums, keep in mind it will take much longer than if you choose to see only one. Adjust this itinerary at your own discretion.
Museum Island has the following amazing attractions:
- Pergamon Museum displays beautiful exhibits on the Ancient East such as Babylon and Uruk. Out of all the museums, Perganmon was the most popular and drew the heaviest crowds so you want to get your ticket ahead of time. Keep in mind the Pergamon Museum is undergoing renovations until 2025.
- Bode Museum has work from four different eras. One of the best parts of this museum is its beautiful Sculpture Gallery displaying works ranging from the medieval period to the late 1700s.
- Neues Museum is mostly known for its extensive collection of ancient Egyptian antiquities. The most popular piece in the Neues Museum is the Bust of Nefertiti.
- Alte Nationalgalerie is an art collection displaying works ranging from the Neoclassical and Romantic periods through early modern art.
- Altes Museum takes you way, way, way back in time when the ancient Romans, Greeks and Etruscans thrived as civilizations. Go here if you love antiquity.
Day 2 – Afternoon
Feeling hungry at this point? Yup, you’re headed into your second afternoon in Berlin. Grab lunch. My recommendation is to try some Turkish food during your two days in Berlin. This type of cuisine is fantastic considering Berlin international city with a large Turkish community.
Check out Berliner Dom
Berliner Dom or Berlin Cathedral is located on Museum Island in Mitte, which makes it easy to see after exploring one or several museums. Berlin’s largest Protestant church was greatly damaged in the war and stayed firmly closed during the GDR years. Now it’s restored and open to the public once again.
Most people would agree that Alexanderplatz is definitely one of the most famous squares in all of Berlin. Many metro lines stop here. Alexanderplatz is easily recognized by Berlin Television Tower. Go to the top if you want.
See Television Tower, do some shopping, and partake in people watching. Alexanderplatz is an action-packed place to come see.
Walk along the East Side Gallery
No visit to Berlin is complete without stopping at the East Side Gallery.
As most of you know, East Side gallery consist of painted murals on the remaining remnants of the infamous Berlin Wall. Many murals display themes of hopefulness and upcoming positive change.
The most photographed mural is probably the depiction of Leonid Brezhnev and Erich Honecker kissing. The Gallery consists of over 105 paintings so take your time as you walk along the final stretch of the Berlin Wall.
Day 2 – Evening
Are you ready for another fun night in Berlin? I hope so. Tonight we’re focusing on a different district – one that is perfectly located – considering you just finished walking along East Side Gallery.
Spend the Night in Friedrichshain
Friedrichshain is another area known for it’s nightlife. Have dinner here before having a good time in this neighborhood. If you like shopping, you ought to come here early and check out the many different indie boutiques.
Lastly, Berlin’s clubs and pubs are particularly numerous around Simon-Dach-Straße and Boxhagener Platz. So, if you’re hoping to party a bit, then I recommend this area.
Have a blast!
How do You Get Around Berlin?
Getting around Berlin on local transport is relatively easy even for tourists. Particularly, subways and trains run on a regular basis. During your two days in Berlin, you’ll probably take the U-Bahn and S-Bahn to maximize your time and see all the sights.
The U-Bahn is Berlin’s subway or underground system. The U-Bahn system is huge, covering 10 different lines, and you can reach pretty much any part of the city using the subway. Another benefit is the U-Bahn runs all night long on Fridays and Saturdays allowing you to enjoy Berlin’s very vibrant and cool nightlife.
Meanwhile the S-Bahn is Berlin’s light rail system. The S-Bahn links riders to areas technically “outside” Berlin including Berlin Schonefeld Airport.
Make sure to validate your tickets on the U-Bahn and S-Bahn. Plainclothes inspectors do check tickets. You don’t want to pay a fine so stamp your tickets at the machines.
Where Should You Stay in Berlin?
Berlin has many types of accommodation available for travelers ranging from hotels to hostels to apartments. One of the perks of visiting a big international city like Berlin is that you’ll find a place to stay that suits your personal travel needs.
I stayed at East Seven Hostel located in Prenzlauer Berg. I had a great time! East Seven Hostel is small, which makes it easy to meet other people. I also liked unwinding in the outdoor terrace and common room areas after my long days of sightseeing. It’s the perfect place for a solo traveler.
Likewise, if hostels aren’t your thing, then I recommend selecting a neighborhood and renting an apartment. Personally, I recommend staying in Prenzlauer Berg, but of course, the choice is yours. If you’re new to AirBNB, you’ll earn a $40 credit with me when you sign up for the service.
Have Three Days? Potsdam Day Trip from Berlin
In my humble opinion, with a day to spare, you really ought to take a Potsdam Day Trip from Berlin.
Potsdam is home to a UNESCO World Heritage site and provides an even deeper perspective into Cold War history due to the strategic location of “The Bridge of Spies.”
Potsdam is very simple to reach on the train and is only located 35 minutes away from Berlin. Highly recommended.
Are you ready to spend two days in Berlin? What are your suggestions for Berlin? Share your thoughts in the comments.
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