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A weekend in Berlin has plenty to offer. Our 48-hour programme takes you to all the top sights, popular locations and must-see museums. See where key moments of German history happened and dive into Berlin’s international restaurant scene. And, of course, don’t forget to wander down Kurfürstendamm, which is packed with shops and boutiques.
It’s time to make the most of Germany’s capital!
Are you spending fewer hours or a few days in Berlin?
Day 1 in Mitte: take in all the city centre sights
Your first day will take you to all the key sights in Berlin’s city centre. In the morning, walk through the Brandenburg Gate and visit the famous Reichstag dome, which offers unbeatable views over the Tiergarten and the government district. After grabbing something to eat at Potsdamer Platz, you then continue down the Unter den Linden boulevard.
This magnificent street offers any number of highlights, from Museum Island with the James Simon Gallery through to the historic Bebelplatz. Don't miss a visit to the new Humboldt Forum, just opposite the Museum Island: Berlin's cosmopolitan centre for culture, art and science. You can also take a quick detour to the iconic Rotes Rathaus city hall. In the evening, swing by the famous TV Tower at Alexanderplatz, before enjoying the range of international cuisine available in the Hackesche Höfe courtyards.
Day 2 in City West: take a stroll through history
Morning: the divided city
Start your second day in Berlin by looking back to a time when there were two Germanys. The East Side Gallery was once part of the Berlin Wall. After the Wall fell, artists from all around the world came to paint on this 1.3 km stretch of concrete. You can now wander along beside it and take in the colourful artworks of the world’s longest open-air gallery.
Your route then continues to the Berlin Wall Memorial on Bernauer Strasse. The eyes of the world were on this spot in August 1961 – that’s when the Wall was built through this street, beginning a separation of East and West Berlin that lasted almost 30 years. Attempts by East Germans to escape to the West are documented here in particularly powerful images, ones that were seen around the world. After the country’s reunification, 70 metres of the Berlin Wall were rebuilt here as a memorial, including the border strips and watchtower, so visitors can see a realistic depiction of how the city was divided. You can still get a sense of the atmosphere created by the Wall during the East/West divide. History buffs can also make the most of the wealth of information in the open-air exhibition, which offers plenty of audio and image material.
Midday: City West and shopping on Ku’damm
Now it’s time to head to City West for lunch on the legendary Kurfürstendamm shopping street.
- If you want a particularly stand-out experience, try Rogacki in Charlottenburg. This delicatessen is not only where many Berliners buy their fish, but also where they meet to enjoy delicious dishes and a glass of wine for lunch. Reminiscent of a market hall, it’s been serving up incredible food for over 90 years – it was a traditional street food market before the concept of street food even existed!
- At Paulo Scutarro, directly by Ku’damm, you can enjoy both Italian cuisine and great views of the colourful goings-on along the shopping street.
- Reinhard’s offers a regularly updated menu of German and French lunch dishes in a refined atmosphere.
- At What do you Fancy Love on Knesebeckstrasse, there are fresh bagels, healthy smoothies and trendy interior design.
- If you want a late lunch, drop by Marooush, which serves Middle Eastern specialities from 3 pm.
Once you’re refreshed and ready to go again, it’s time to hit the shops. Kurfürstendamm and the surrounding side streets offer everything you could possibly desire, with major chains and brands spanning from cheap and cheerful through to luxury items.
- The Europa Center, a shopping centre with around 70 shops, is located at Europaplatz.
- Right behind this shopping centre, you’ll find Bikini Berlin. This is Germany’s first concept mall and boasts modern design and unique boutiques far from the mainstream. Alongside clothes and home furnishings, you’ll also find food: the KANTINI food market recently opened here and offers a range of street food from various stands.
- No tour of Berlin would be complete without a trip to the famous KaDeWe department store. Since 1907, it’s been offering everything you could wish for over six floors. The range of international designer fashion, luxury cosmetics and high-quality furnishings draws huge numbers of visitors every day.
- If you’re looking for style away from the crowds, then head over to Savignyplatz: there are plenty of small boutiques to be found around the square. Bookworms will love the Bücherbogen Savignyplatz bookshop, where you can buy international illustrated books on film and art beneath the railway arches.
- The exclusive design centre stilwerk on Kantstrasse is a mecca for furniture lovers, offering fine interior furnishings and unusual items across multiple floors. Plenty of other interior design shops have opened up around stilwerk, such as Bramigk & Breer. This lovingly designed shop is filled with hand-picked items both large and small for you to browse through.
Afternoon: art and culture around Charlottenburg Palace
In the 17th century, the Prussian queen Sophie Charlotte built her summer palace just outside the gates of Berlin. It’s since been swallowed up by the city, and you can now visit Charlottenburg Palace in the west of Berlin. Take a look around the palace and immerse yourself in the world of European nobility! In the New Wing, you can see how the Prussian kings lived, and in the Golden Gallery and the Silver Chamber, you can marvel at just how opulent their celebrations used to be.
It’s not only the palace’s interior that impresses: the large palace garden also offers a striking setting. The flower beds are colourfully laid out, filling the air with their scents in spring. In summer, many Berliners use the park’s spacious lawns to relax and have picnics. Children can let loose in the playground at the far end of the park. It’s also worth visiting in winter, when you can wander through the trees on enchantingly winding paths. And that’s not to mention the popular Christmas market at Charlottenburg Palace, which attracts plenty of visitors year after year to enjoy a glass of mulled wine against the historical backdrop.
Museums at Charlottenburg Palace
Once you’re at this famous palace, you’re not far away from any number of other interesting museums.
- The Berggruen Museum is right next to Charlottenburg Palace. It houses the former collection of Heinz Berggruen, which includes classic works of modern art by artists such as Pablo Picasso and Paul Klee.
- The Bröhan Museum, which is directly opposite the collection, displays furniture designs and handicrafts from 1880 to 1940, a time period which included fascinating styles such as Art Nouveau, Art Deco and functionalism. The exhibition pieces come from various countries and show just how quickly design developed during this time. The museum also houses works by the Berlin Secession artist group.
- The Scharf-Gerstenberg Collection is yet another local artistic highlight. The collector Otto Gerstenberg bought many famous works at the start of the 20th century, with a focus on surrealists such as Dalí, Max Ernst, Paul Klee and René Magritte. Today, you can enjoy the work of all these prominent painters in the historic Stüler building at Charlottenburg Palace.
Tip: Berlin Welcome Card gives you discounts on entry to the Berggruen Museum, the Bröhan Museum and the Scharf-Gerstenberg Collection, and you can also enjoy free public transport throughout Berlin.