How to Spend 48 Hours in Berlin
Planning your first ever trip to Berlin? While there’s so much to see in the German capital, you can definitely tick off some must-dos in 48 hours. We’ve created the ultimate itinerary for 2 full days in Berlin so that you know all of the best things to do when you touch down in the trendy city. From the coolest coffee shops, main sights and attractions, where to party as well as the best affordable food joints in town, follow our first-timers Berlin guide for all the tips...
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Today, it’s time for some cultural exploration. Once you’ve woken up and enjoyed the hostel’s all-you-can-eat free breakfast, get out early and explore the edgy city. Berlin has a rich history and it would be a shame not to learn more about it - so dedicate the first day to some sightseeing. Plenty of Berlin’s sights can be explored by foot and if you follow a certain route, you’ll be able to tick off Museum Island, the Brandenburg Gate, the Holocaust Memorial and the iconic TV Tower in just a few hours. Just make sure to wear comfy shoes as the walk is amazing, but fairly long.
Start off at Alexanderplatz (very close to the hostel), and walk your way past the Berlin Fernsehturm (the TV Tower), a landmark that plays a prominent part in Berlin’s skyline. The TV Tower is the tallest structure in the city, so be sure to take some photos of it from different points in the city. The television tower is 46 years old and a whopping 368 metres high. It costs €10.50 to get to the top but you’ll be rewarded with spectacular panoramic views of Berlin. From there, walk 10 minutes and you’ll reach Museum Island’s Berliner Dom Cathedral.
Once you’ve reached Berliner Dom, Berlin’s most famous Cathedral, you’ll be taken back by its beauty. The historic Protestant church sits on the River Spree and inside, it’s simply incredible. This building is an amazing example of Baroque architecture. For a real cultural tour of the island, pay a visit to some of the museums on Museum Island; the area is home to five different world-class museums. If you’re a bit of a culture vulture, 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.
We recommend spending an hour or two seeing exploring here; we recommend the Altes Museum and the Bode Museum but they are all amazing.
From Museum Island, follow one boulevard (the Under Den Linden) for about 25 minutes until you reach the Brandenburg Gate. 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. During your walk to the Brandenburg Gate you’ll notice that Berlin has very wide, clean roads and a very peaceful atmosphere - it’s a somber thought when remembering that Nazis would once marched down these very same streets.
Next stop - The Holocaust Memorial. 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. Be respectful around the Holocaust Memorial.
Lunch at Yam Yam
After all that sightseeing, you’ll need a refuel - and lucky for you Berlin’s food scene is pretty awesome. Head back towards the hostel for lunch at an amazing Korean restaurant called Yam Yam. To get there, catch the U2 from Mohrenstraße underground train station and get off at Rosa-Luxemburg Platz (to save you walking all the way back).
Berlin does Asian food very well, so be sure to try some in the city. We recommend Yam Yam because it’s affordable, filling and simply delicious. Our favourite thing to order is the steamed shrimp dumplings to start and the beef Bibimbap (pictured) for main. The spicy chicken ramyun is another amazing dish.
Check out the Best Asian Restaurants in Berlin Mitte
Head back to the hostel to chill
Time to relax. Rest your feet, have a nap, post some Instagram photos, have a drink at the bar, read one of our Berlin Travel Guides (such as The Most Underrated Things to do in Berlin). Whatever you choose to do, re energize yourself for the evening ahead.
Cocktails at Belushi’s
Where better to start the night than at Belushi’s, the epic bar below the hostel where guests benefit from drink deals. The 2 for 1 Happy Hour runs from 5pm - 9pm every day except for Saturday so make the most of the cheap drinks.
A German dinner & beer fest
After a busy day of sightseeing, it’s time to stop for a traditional German dinner - of course, this is no ordinary place. The atmosphere is also buzzing! The Hofbräu is our go-to spot for traditional German food in Berlin and it never lets us down for a fun night. Just a short walk away from either of our Berlin hostels, 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. Once you’ve washed your food down with a stein or two, you will be ready for bed.
If you feel like you’re ready to party and not go to bed, there are some also cool, quirky bars in Berlin. Our favourite bars are Kaschk, Aufsturz, Mein Haus am See, Kino cafe and Sharlie Cheen.
Enjoy the free hostel breakfast
Scoff down the free breakfast at the hostel before heading out for your second day of exploring Berlin. You can choose from many different brekkie options such as cereal, cheese, ham, bread, eggs, tea or coffee and more. We recommend buying some water from the hostel bar too so that you can keep hydrated throughout the day. If you fancy a cooked breakfast, you can upgrade from the free breakfast and order something from the hot breakfast menu - the breakfast burger is pretty amazing...
Make your way to the Reichstag on the U-bahn. From Alexanderplatz station, hop on the S+U line and in 6 stops get off at Bundestag (which is right by the Reichstag building). 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. The dome is free to enter but you need to book your slot online first.
Grab a coffee nearby
Time for some coffee! Berlin’s coffee culture is one of the best in Europe and just walking around the city, you’ll notice the sheer amount of trendy, hipster coffee shops dotted around that have come about from the city’s Aussie and American expats. Our favourite coffee shop in the city to get your caffeine fix in this area is WestBerlin, which is just a 25 minute walk away from the Reichstag and right by the next stop - The Topography of Terror.
The Topography of Terror
A fascinating museum that you simply must vist if you want to know more about the Holocaust. Visit the Topography of Terror. Housed in the former premises of the SS headquarters (the Secret State police during the Nazi regime), this museum documents the terror enforced by the Secret Service and explores the Nazi’s rise to power. You can also see part of the Berlin wall here. One area of the museum is actually located in the former Gestapo torture cells.
It’s also worth checking out Checkpoint Charlie afterwards because it’s right by The Topography of Terror. Checkpoint Charlie is the name given to the crossing point between West and East Berlin. The barriers to the crossing are 100% real - and now a popular tourist attraction.
Currywurst for lunch!
Our favourite time of the day - Lunch time! You have to try Berlin’s staple dish, currywurst, while you’re in the city. This sausage-ketchup-curry combination is usually served on top of fries and while it’s not the most presentable of dishes, it tastes amazing. And it’s cheap. Head to our fav place, Best Worscht. While it may be inside a Berlin mall, it’s one of the most highly rated places in Berlin for currywurst and hungry customers always leave happy. Just a short walk from the Topography of Terror, you can choose which sauce you want on your wurst (there are spicier options) and enjoy it with a heap of fries.
East Side Gallery
One of the most Instagrammable spots in Berlin, the East Side Gallery is a must-see landmark in the city where you can get a look at the graffiti and artwork painted by local artists on a stretch of the Berlin Wall. A wall that once represented division now represents freedom, love and unity. The best way to get to the East Side Gallery from lunch is by train - just catch the u-bahn from Mohrenstraße and change for the S Bahn at Alexanderplatz. Get off at Berlin Ostbahnof and then it’s an 8 minute walk to the East Side Gallery.
Now it’s time to explore Berlin’s coolest neighbourhood. From the East Side Gallery, just walk over the Oberbaum Bridge (which is a sight in itself) and cross over the Spree into Kreuzberg. The cool yet chic style of Berlin makes it a favourite place to hang out for locals and tourists alike. You’ll find trendy bars, ever-changing street art and pop-up shops around every bend, plus a popular Turkish Market comes to town every Tuesday and Friday. Have a walk around and explore what Kreuzberg has to offer. Grab a cocktail in a bar, wander the streets and get to know the hip area before dinner...
Markthalle Neun for dinner
Since Kreuzberg is one of the best places for foodies in Berlin, make sure to stop for dinner at Markthalle Neun. This amazing market offers up some of the city’s best international street food so we recommend enjoying dinner in the vibrant atmosphere. The market sells everything from Asian food, Italian, Japanese, German, Vegan, Burgers and plenty of drinks and dessert stalls. The natas here are incredible. In the evening, enjoy your meal under fairy lights in a warm, lively atmosphere.
See a Burlesque Show
Did you know Burlesque is actually a huge thing in Berlin? After dinner set off to one of the city’s best burlesque bars for a night of entertainment and cocktails. Eccentric, lively and promiscuous, burlesque shows in quirky, cool bars has become a regular fun night out for Berliners. Head to Prinzipal, a stylish speakeasy bar hidden away in Kreuzberg for some drinks and burlesque, just an 11 minute walk from Markthalle Neun. This bar also serves up some of the best cocktails in the city.
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Article by Shereen Sagoo