Berlin Backpacker Guide: Best Things to do in Berlin Mitte
Heading to Berlin for a city break? We’ve rounded up the best things to do in Mitte, the city’s most central borough. There’s plenty of things to do in Mitte. In fact, this area is home to the majority of Berlin's famous sights and attractions including the Berlin Wall, the Reichstag, the Holocaust Memorial and so much more. Mitte is also a hub of incredible restaurants, bars, nightlife and coffee shops, so you’ll never run out of things to do. To learn about the best things to see and do in Mitte, check out our backpacker guide to the area’s hotspots:
Need somewhere to stay in Mitte? Check out St Christopher’s Inns
1 Walk from Museum Island to Brandenburg Gate
If you love culture, then you simply must pay a visit to Museum Island when you’re in Berlin. The UNESCO Heritage Site lies on the River Spree and is home to five different world-class museums. For your daily dose of culture, you can gain access to all 5 museums for €18 using one ticket - and if you’re under 18, you can get in to all of them for free. The Bode Museum displays beautiful old art collections from the 3rd to 15th century! It’s also home to one of the world’s largest sculpture collections. Then there’s the Neues Museum where you can explore the Egyptian and Papyrus collection (where you’ll find the famous head of Nefertiti). That’s just two of the amazing museums to discover on Museum Island.
Want to see the Brandenburg Gate in the same day? Makes sense because you can walk from Museum Island straight to the Brandenburg Gate, following one boulevard (the Under Den Linden), in about 20-25 minutes. The Brandenburg Gate is a beautiful 18th century neoclassical monument which was once a symbol of Germany’s division during WW1. Today, the monument has changed to represent peace and unity.
2 Admire the beauty of Berlin Cathedral
Did you know that the Berlin Cathedral is also on Museum Island? Also known as Berliner Dom, this is the largest Protestant church in Berlin - so if you’ve followed our advice and paid a trip to see the museums, kill two birds with one stone and check out the Berlin Cathedral too. This cathedral is beautiful inside and out and one of the main landmarks that you see in photos of Berlin’s cityscape. The magnificent green dome that sits on top of the cathedral is opulent, but it’s worth going inside to see the exquisite interior of the church, too.
We recommend buying your tickets for Berlin Cathedral online to avoid queues. For €7 you can enter during visiting times which grants you access to the Sermon Church, the Baptismal and Marriage Chapel, the Cathedral Museum, the Crypt and the amazing panoramic view of Berlin from the Dome. If you attend a worship service, entry is free.
3 Head to the best coffee shops
Berlin is very well known for its trendy coffee culture. In recent years, cool contemporary coffee shops have popped up all over the city, mainly due to Aussie and American expats in Berlin who have set up hipster roasteries. There are plenty of coffee shops in Mitte to satisfy your caffeine cravings where you’re guaranteed to be served a killer brew. Distrikt, Father Carpenter and The Barn are three of our favourite coffee shops in Mitte.
4 Shopping in Alexanderplatz & Friedrichstraße
Looking to do a spot of shopping Berlin? The best places to head in Mitte are Alexanderplatz and Friedrichstraße. In Alexanderplatz you can find several high street shops, department stores as well as the big shopping mall Alexa that has its very own food court and well known clothing brands. This is probably the prime shopping spot we’d recommend to backpackers on a budget. For more upmarket shopping and high end retailers, head to Friedrichstraße, a street lined with boutiques and designer shops. You’ll also find the famous French department store Galeries Lafayette here if you fancy a taste of Paris.
5 Go on an Asian Food Crawl
Mitte boasts an incredible Asian food scene so while you’re in the area you must stop for a quick Pho lunch, or tasty Japanese dinner. Just walking around the district, you’ll notice lots of charming Asian restaurants, particularly near the hostel. Whether it’s Viatnemese food, Thai, Japanese or Korean, Mitte has you covered for authentic and affordable food in the city. Spicy noodle soup and dumplings await!
6 Happy Hour at Belushi’s
Cocktails anyone? There’s nothing better than finding an affordable, fun bar in a new city. Belushi’s Bar in the heart of Mitte has one of the longest happy hours in the city where you can benefit from 2 for 1 on Carlsberg and 2 for 1 on Vodka, Gin and Rum. The Happy Hour runs from 5pm - 9pm every day except for Saturday, so your night is pretty much sorted. Whether you’re looking for a bar to pre-drink, spend your night or end your night, Belushi’s is the place for all of those things. This backpacker bar screens live sports and hosts fun parties with live DJs and an awesome young crowd. The beer is also super cheap here starting at €3. Not to mention the St Christopher’s Inns hostel is just upstairs, so after a heavy Belushi’s night your bed is just a short walk away.
7 Sample traditional German food
When in Mitte, get your traditional German food fix from Hofbräu. This Bavarian beer bar and restaurant is an affordable place to eat in the city serving up German pork knuckles, currywurst, schnitzel and huge steins of German beer. If you can’t be in Munich, just come to the Hofbräu in Berlin instead for a taste of the Bavarian culture! The casual bench seating and waiters dressed in traditional Dirndl and Lederhosen, are reminiscent of Munich’s old beer halls.
8 Holocaust Memorial
Pay your respects at the Holocaust Memorial, a memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. Based in Mitte, the memorial commemorates the six million Jewish victims of the Nazi Holocaust during Hitler’s regime. This is a place of contemplation and remembrance made up of 2711 grey concrete slabs which you can roam in between. The Holocaust Memorial is free to access, 24 hours a day. There’s also an underground information centre which is also free of charge where you can learn more about the victims.
9 TV Tower (Berliner Fernsehturm)
Check out Berlin’s iconic TV Tower right in the heart of Alexanderplatz. Also known as the Berliner Fernsehturm, the 200m tower is the tallest structure in Berlin and you can see it from almost anywhere in Mitte. But did you know you can also get right to the top and experience amazing views of the city from the observation deck? If you’re a student, you’ll get 20% off the ticket price (€16.50).
10 A glimpse into the German government
The Reichstag is the official parliamentary building in Berlin and well worth a visit. If you want to get a glimpse into the German government, you can even go into the Reichstag Dome, a glass dome (also known as the Bundestag) which is open to members of the public. Inside the dome, you can look down at politicians making decisions for Germany’s future, so it’s pretty cool. From the roof terrace of the dome, you can gain spectacular views of Berlin’s parliament buildings. The dome is free to enter but you need to book your slot online first.
11 Berlin’s Nightlife
And saving the best till last, Berlin’s famous nightlife. The city is arguably the nightlife capital of Europe with plenty of students and backpackers coming to party in Berlin. If you’re looking for the best nightclubs and bars in Mitte, we have a few favourites. House of Weekend, Tresor, Bricks, Kit Kat Club, Sage and Kitty Cheng just to name a few. Oranienburger street is a good place to start if you’re looking for a fun night out or pub crawl in Mitte. There are some also cool, quirky bars in Berlin as well as plenty of quality craft beer spots. Our favourite bars are Kaschk, Aufsturz, Mein Haus am See, Kino cafe and Sharlie Cheen.
Need a place to stay in Mitte?
Check out St Christopher’s Inns
Article by Shereen Sagoo
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