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How to do Berlin in 5 days like a local

Do Berlin like a Berliner...

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  • 10 February 2020
  • • 15 min read

Always wanted to plan a trip to the German capital? There are so many awesome things to do in Berlin so if you want an authentic experience of the city, we recommend planning a longer trip (so you don't have to cram loads into each day). Spending five days in Berlin is the perfect amount of time if you want to get a real feel for the city. You’ll still be able fit in some of the main sights and attractions like the Berlin Wall and Brandenburg Gate, whilst also getting to explore the city like a true local and getting off the tourist track. Want to make the most of five days in Berlin? We’ve created the ultimate 5-day itinerary so you can see Berlin like a Berliner, while still ticking off some of the iconic landmarks and museums...

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Where to stay?

St Christopher’s Inns Berlin Mitte

Our newest hostel in Berlin is located in Mitte, the city’s most central district. Just a few minutes walk from Museum Island and some of Berlin’s main sights and attractions, you couldn’t find a better location to base yourself. With newly refurbished rooms, an awesome bar, a daily Happy Hour and a big rooftop terrace for chilled out summer evenings, our hostel is a great place to socialise and meet new people. If you book directly on our website, benefit from a free continental buffet breakfast every day. Fill yourselves up in the morning and set off to explore the city.

Now that you know where to stay, let’s start with the first day...


DAY 1: Exploring Mitte

Since you’re staying in Mitte, it makes sense to explore the centre of the city first. Mitte is the cultural heart of Berlin where most of the major museums, sights and attractions are located so tick off all the touristy stuff on the first day. You’ll also find some hipster coffee shops, affordable Asian restaurants and authentic German dining experiences in this part of town...


Coffee at Distrikt 

Start your day with a coffee at one of Berlin’s trendy coffee shops. The German capital has a thriving coffee culture and Distrikt is one of the best coffee shops in the city that’s regularly frequented by locals. Located just a 15 minute walk away from the hostel, ditch the tourist traps and enjoy the local coffee scene at this cool hangout.


Mitte Sights & Attractions

Once you’ve had a caffeine kick it’s time to explore. You can tick off four main sights in Mitte by pretty much following one long street. You’ll pass the beautiful Berliner Dom (also known as the Berlin Cathedral), Museum Island (home to five prestigious museums), the iconic Brandenburg Gate and the Holocaust Memorial. To walk from Berliner Dom all the way to the Holocaust Memorial (passing the sights on the way), it will take about 23 minutes.

But of course, you’ll want to stop and explore some of the museums and take photos on the way. Once you reach the Holocaust Memorial, there’s an underground information centre so you can learn more about the history of the Jewish victims of the Holocaust.


Currywurst for lunch 

Time to fill your belly. What better meal to kick off your trip than Berlin’s staple dish? Currywurst is a street food favourite in Berlin and it’s simply delicious - and very cheap costing about €5. These deep fried sausages are smothered in a curry ketchup sauce and served with fries. We recommend getting your currywurst from Wurst, a currywurst stand which is right by the Brandenburg Gate. Or if you fancy a sit down meal, get your currywurst from Curry and Burger (which is a 2 minute walk from the Holocaust Memorial).


Happy Hour at Belushi’s

After lunch, head back to the hostel to relax and freshen up for the evening. There’s a daily Happy Hour to enjoy at the hostel bar Belushi’s from 5pm - 9pm. Selling an awesome range of cocktails, beers, spirits and shots, the hostel bar is an awesome place to socialise before heading back out. 


Dinner at Maximilians

Time for your first dinner in Berlin. Just a 22 minute walk from the hostel is an authentic German restaurant called Maximilians. We’d recommend it to anyone who is interested in trying a proper German meal in a local setting. Resembling a cosy Bavarian dining hall, Maximilians serves up hearty pickled pork knuckles, sauerkraut, pretzels, wurst, potato dumplings, meat loaf, lamb hocks, cheese spaetzle, pork steak, mashed potato and much more. For dessert, think hot apple strudel and ice cream.

Top tip: you have to order a stein of German beer here! 


DAY 2: Street art, food markets and sunsets

Your second day in the city will consist of less history and sights, and instead experiencing Berlin’s local scene. Make your way to Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg and start your morning at the East Side Gallery...


The East Side Gallery and Coffee

After stopping for a quick coffee at Einstein, walk 3 minutes to the East Side Gallery, one of the most Instagrammable spots in the city. We recommend heading down quite early as it tends to get quite busy in the afternoon. Check out the colourful murals and street art that are plastered all over this long remaining stretch of the Berlin Wall. While this isn’t exactly the prettiest part of Berlin, it’s certainly gritty and well-worth a visit. 


Lunch at Shibuya

Not far from the East Side Gallery is Mercedez Platz, a new leisure and entertainment district that’s been built in the city. There are loads of things to do here including bowling, a cinema complex, 110 shops and some really cool restaurants and bars. Take a look around to get a glimpse into modern Berlin and then stop for a Japanese lunch at Shibuya, one of the trendy restaurants in the complex. Specialising in ramen and sushi, the little spot will make you feel like you’ve been transported to Japan with low wooden tables and hanging lanterns.


Walk over Oberbaumbrücke Bridge

Once your belly is full of noodles, head over the Oberbaumbrücke Bridge, one of the city’s coolest landmarks. The double-decker bridge crosses over the River Spree and you can walk across the footbridge and benefit from amazing views over the water. Watch the yellow U-bahn trains cross over above you and try and get that perfect shot.


Watch the sunset at Fluxbau

Make your way to Fluxbau (which is a 5 minute walk from the bridge). This floating riverside bar is a dreamy spot to watch the sun go down over the river. Sip on some cocktails, hang out with friends and enjoy some pretty views of Berlin. You can spend a couple of hours here watching the world go by. 


Dinner at Markthalle Neun

You need to visit Markthalle Neun for an early dinner when you’re in Berlin (and it’s just an 11 minute walk from Fluxbau). This awesome market is a foodie paradise where you can wander around the stalls and eat street food as you go. Open from 12pm - 6pm everyday, this food hall sells cuisines from all over the world at affordable prices. We recommend going on Thursday for its ‘Street Food Thursdays’ event when it stays open until 11pm. On other days of the week, choose from all sorts of food including dumplings, handmade pasta, risotto, Spanish tapas, turkish mezze, beef burgers, crepes, BBQ meat and more...


Monster Ronson's Ichiban Karaoke

Time to let your hair down. Monster Ronson’s Ichiban Karaoke bar is one of our favourite places in the city because you're guaranteed a fun time. There are 14 private booths that you can book out with your friends and sing to your heart's content - or if you’re brave enough, take to the main open stage and sing under the disco balls. The bar here serves up awesome cocktails beers and spirits too. Look out for what events are taking place when you go as there are usually drag nights, live music and open mic nights happening.


Night out - Tresor

After karaoke, you might want to keep the night going and see what Berlin’s nightlife is all about. Tresor is one of the most famous clubs in the city so if you love clubbing, you have to go! Tresor is a 34 minute walk from the karaoke bar (or a 7 minute Uber). 


DAY 3: A day of tranquility and nature

Get off the tourist track in Berlin and spend your third day out of the city centre enjoying nature's delights. It might just cure that hangover too!


Charlottenburg Palace

This beautiful baroque palace in Berlin was once a royal residence to Sophie Charlotte, the first Queen consort in Prussia who used to spend her summers here. Located in Charlottenburg, the palace boasts beautiful grounds and some of the State Rooms are open to the public. For entry to the palace, it costs €13-€17 and you must book online so you can choose a time slot. It’s free to enter the Palace Gardens but you can opt to pay the voluntary fee of €2 to keep the gardens maintained. It’s the largest palace in Berlin! 


Grunewald Forest 

Before you leave the city centre to enjoy the delights of Grunewald Forest, find a local supermarket to buy some food for a picnic later on. Grunewald Forest is one of the most magical spots in Berlin with plenty of green space, high trees and picture perfect lakes where you can set up a picnic and enjoy a couple of beers under the sunshine. It’s the perfect retreat from the busy city covering 3000 hectares. It will take around 25 minutes to get to Grunewald from Charlottenburg Palace using the S-bahn train and changing once at Westkreuz station.

You’ll end up spending the whole afternoon here. There are some amazing walking trails, sunbathing spots by the water and lakes to cool off in so take your time and enjoy the tranquil oasis.

If it’s raining, why not check out Berlin’s indoor mini golf, the German Spy Museum or the Jump House (where you can trampoline to your heart's content).


Back to the hostel

Head back to the hostel and relax. You’ve had a long day outdoors and probably can’t wait to chill out for a bit and charge your phone. Enjoy the Happy Hour deals, listen to some live music in the bar and take your time getting ready for dinner...

Dinner at Yam Yam

Berlin does Asian food very well. Just 20 minutes away from the hostel, Yam Yam serves up tasty Korean food that won’t break the bank. Hearty rice bowls and wholesome bibimbab, you’ll leave this place feeling satisfied. 


DAY 4: A day out in hipster Kreuzberg 

Kreuzberg is a gritty part of Berlin known for its thrift shops, cool cafes and street art. While you’ve already explored a small part of Kreuzberg on day two, there is still so much to see in this up-and-coming part of Berlin.


Coffee at Concierge

Start the morning at one of Kreuzberg’s laid back coffee shops. Concierge is one of our favourite cafes in Berlin that’s completely off the tourist track. Hidden away on a quaint alley in Kreuzberg, this small coffee shop serves up some killer brews. From matcha lattes, iced coffees, cappuccinos and more, this magical boutique coffee shop is one to add to your Berlin bucket list.

Canal walk and beers

Once you’ve got your coffee, walk along the Landwehr canal for some fresh air and sunshine. This scenic route will take you to the west side of Kreuzberg where you’ll be rewarded with pretty views over the water along the way (and a lot of swans). Stop for beers at the floating restaurant Van Loon if you fancy an early drink. Located on a boat, this is a picturesque setting for a summer bar!


Lunch at Mustafa's Gemüse Kebab

20 minutes walk from Van Loon is your lunch stop. Kreuzberg is home to a large Turkish population which explains why you see lots of Turkish shops around the area. You have to stop for lunch at Mustafa’s Gemüse to try the dreamiest doner kebab you’ll ever taste. And it’s cheap!


Viktoriapark 

Walk to Viktoriapark and find a lovely spot to gobble up your kebab. Be sure to check out the waterfall here, it’s so beautiful. You can spend around twenty minutes walking around the park and soaking up the peaceful atmosphere. 

If you’re tired, catch the train back to the hostel to get ready for the evening. The journey back to St Christopher’s Berlin Mitte is just 26 minutes on the ubahn. Or you can continue exploring Kreuzberg until dinner...


Pizza at Zola 

Head back out into Kreuzberg for the evening and indulge in Italian food at Zola. This is our favourite pizza place in Berlin, serving up authentic neapolitan pizzas with a cosy, rustic interior. You can’t get more local than this!


Burlesque show at Prinzipal

It’s time to experience Berlin’s underrated burlesque scene. Prinzipal is one of the best places in the city to watch Burlesque where you can enjoy some cocktails and a lively atmosphere. It can get quite expensive here so we only recommend doing this if you’d love to get a taste of how Berlin during the Weimer era (when watching burlesque and cabaret were a regular pastime). Make sure to book a burlesque show in advance. If burlesque isn’t really your thing, skip this part of the itinerary and head straight to the club!


Wilde Renate for a night out

Get an underground clubbing experience at one of the best clubs in Berlin. Wild Renate is a popular multi-room club hosting some of the best DJ’s in town.


DAY 5: Keepin’ it local

It’s your last day in Berlin. Discover more of the local area around the hostel and you’ll get a much more authentic feel of Mitte. 


Street Art Alley in Hackescher Markt

Make your way to Hackescher Markt and find the hidden Street Art Alley. On the walls, there are colourful murals of street art and graffiti. Seriously impressive and it’s just a 12 minute walk from the hostel. There are cute coffee shops around Hackescher Markt too; we recommend Ben Rahim. It’s one of the highest rated coffee shops in the city serving up amazing croissants, sweet treats and pastries. 


Topography of Terror & Checkpoint Charlie

Museum time! Head to the Topography of Terror for your culture fix. One of the most interesting museums in the city, the Topography of Terror is a history museum that remembers the Nazi terror and persecution during WW2. The museum building actually housed the Gestapo and SS (Secret State Police) headquarters where terror was enforced on prisoners. Inside you’ll learn about the crimes that took place here and you’ll be given access to the gestapo torture cells.

Checkpoint Charlie is a bit of a gimmick but it’s super close by so you may as well check it out. The cool thing about this historic landmark is that it was the original crossing point between East Berlin and West Berlin during the Cold War.


Lunch and beer at the Hofbrau

After all that heavy stuff, time to relax and head out for lunch in Berlin. Makes sense to make your last lunch a German feast, right? The Hofbrau is a Bavarian-inspired beer hall in the heart of the city where you can drink massive steins and test out traditional German dishes. Dine on wooden benches while the waiters and waitresses serve your food and drinks in authentic Bavarian dress. We recommend the Jagerschnitzel for €7.90.

Alexanderplatz TV Tower

Get up close and personal with the iconic TV Tower in Alexanderplatz. Also known as the Fernsehturm, this is the tallest structure in the city and the Berlin’s skyline wouldn’t be the same without it. Not many tourists know this, but you can actually go up to the top of the TV tower and see the views from the observation deck for €22.50. You’ll also gain access to the sky high bar. Make sure to book your time slot in advance via the website. We recommend going to see the sunset as the views over Berlin are simply amazing - and you can enjoy a glass of wine while you’re at it.

Happy Hour at Belushi’s Alexanderplatz

Did you know that there’s another St Christopher’s hostel and Belushi’s (the hostel bar) in Berlin? Yup, it’s right next to the Alexanderplatz TV Tower. While you’re in the area, check out the branch on Rosa-Luxemburg Platz and enjoy the Happy Hour. This bar is the original Belushi’s; it’s spacious and there’s always something fun going on in the evenings like live music, beer pong and parties.

Dinner at Monsieur Vuong

If you’re anything like us, then you love Pho, too. Just a 5 minute walk away from Belushi’s is the best affordable Vietnamese restaurant in Berlin. Monsieur Vuong is a real hidden gem where locals go to get their Pho fix. Using super fresh ingredients, we love how tasty and fragrant the food is here. You must order a Vietnamese salad to go with your pho too!

Mein Haus am See for post-dinner beers

Mein Haus am See is an awesome little hang out where you can chillout in the evening with a few beers. With live DJ’s and a fun atmosphere, this is a local chill spot for young Berliners.

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