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5-Day Berlin Itinerary: The Perfect Itinerary for Your First Visit

Updated: Aug 1, 2023

S-E-T-T Berlin 5 Days Berlin Itinerary
S-E-T-T Berlin 5 Days Berlin Itinerary

If you are planning a trip to Berlin, you should know that there is much more to see here than just the Berlin Wall and the Brandenburg Gate. Berlin is the largest city in Germany and one of the largest cities in the European Union. It’s a diverse city filled with world-class museums, beautiful squares to wander through, and a vast collection of historical sites to visit. And you can see it all on our 5-day Berlin itinerary.

Do five days sound like too much time? You might be surprised at how much there is to do in Berlin. Sure, you can run through the best of Berlin in one day, but it takes at least three full days just to scratch the surface of Berlin. Add in a day trip or two, and before you know it, you need four to five days to explore this city.

Here is our 5-day Berlin itinerary. Visit the must-see sights on days 1 through 3, go off-the-beaten-path on day 4, and take a day trip on day 5.

Have fun exploring Berlin!

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5-Day Berlin Itinerary

Day 1 - Museum Island, the Berlin Wall, Brandenburg Gate, & the Reichstag Building

Our tour of Berlin starts on Museum Island. This island is home to five world-class museums. You can pick one museum and see it at a leisurely pace or pop into two or three museums and see the main exhibits.

Tickets can be purchased individually for each museum, or you can buy a combination ticket for all of Museum Island. Learn more

Museums Island

Have lunch at one of the museum cafes or many restaurants located just off the island. If you like Asian/Thai food, you could try Restaurant Jolly, just a two-minute walk from Museum Island.

After lunch, visit the Berlin Cathedral (Berliner Dom), located on Museum Island. Climb the 270 steps to the top of the dome for a great view over Berlin (cost: €7).

View over Berlin Museum Island

From Museum Island, walk to Gendarmenmarkt, labeled as the “most beautiful square in Berlin.”

Gendarmenmarkt Berlin

Chocoholics should consider stopping in at Rausch Schokoladenhaus, a coffee and pastry shop that serves terrific chocolate delicacies (Charlottenstrasse 60, one block from Gendarmenmarkt).

Continue to Checkpoint Charlie. This very touristy spot is worth a quick visit and a photograph or two.

Checkpoint Charlie

From Checkpoint Charlie, it is just a short walk to the Topography of Terror. Outside, along a portion of the Berlin Wall, are permanent exhibitions documenting what went on in Germany during WWII. It’s an informative, sobering look at the terrible events that happened here. You can also go inside the Documentation Center to learn more about the war crimes of the Third Reich.

Museum Topography of Terror

Next is the Holocaust Memorial, the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. Two thousand seven hundred eleven concrete blocks of various sizes, designed to look like tombs, create a thought-provoking monument to victims of the Holocaust.

Holocaust Memorial

Brandenburg Gate

From the Holocaust Memorial, visit the Brandenburg Gate and end your day at the Reichstag Building. On top of the building is a modern glass dome with a 360° view of Berlin. From 8 am to midnight, you can visit the dome, look out over Berlin, and listen to the informative audio guide. Twilight is the best time to be here, watch the sunset over the city, and see the dome illuminated.

The best way to see and experience this is with a coffee/cake or an exclusive dinner in the Restaurant Käfers, which is located on top of the Reichstag. It´s not just the view, but if you book a table, you avoid standing in the queue as you will enter the VIP entrance; make your reservation at least five days in advance here.

Reichstag Dome

You can revisit the Brandenburg Gate for nighttime photos of this very cool spot if it is past sunset.

For dinner, consider Treffpunkt Berlin. This restaurant serves fantastic German food in a small, pub-like setting. It is located within walking distance of the Brandenburg Gate and Reichstag Building (closed Tuesdays).

Day 2 - More Berlin Wall, Hohenschönhausen Prison, and Prenzlauer Berg

To see what the Berlin Wall looked like, visit the Berlin Wall Memorial (Gedenkstätte Berliner Mauer). This is where a portion of the wall and the “death strip” are preserved for visitors to see. A visit here lasts about an hour, and it is free.

Berlin Wall Memorial (Gedenkstätte Berliner Mauer)

Ride the S-Bahn (S25 from Nordbahnhof to Friedrichstrasse, direction Teltow Stadt, 2 minutes travel time) to Friedrichstrasse Station.

Spend the next hour or so at Tränenpalast, also called the Palace of Tears. Tränenpalast is a small, well-organized museum, and it is a quick, free visit. This was the main border crossing between East and West Germany from 1962 to 1989. The site gets its name, Palace of Tears, for the tearful goodbyes as family and friends said farewell and crossed back into West Germany.

Hop back on the metro and go for another short ride to Alexanderplatz (S75 from Friedrichstrasse to Alexanderplatz, direction Westkreuz, 3 minutes travel time). Alexanderplatz is another significant square in Berlin and a significant transportation hub.

While you are here, take the view from the top of the Berlin TV Tower (Fernsehturm). There is a restaurant at the top, so you have the option to have lunch here. There are also numerous restaurants in and around Alexanderplatz for lunch.

In the afternoon, take a tour of Gedenkstätte Berlin - Hohenschönhausen. Now a memorial and museum, this site was the central political prison of the East German Ministry of State Security, the Stasi. Visitors watch a short movie and then take a 90-minute tour of the facility. Tours are offered at 2:30 pm daily.

Spend the evening in Prenzlauer Berg, a historic neighborhood becoming a trendy area filled with shops and restaurants.

Day 3 - Berlin Museums and Flughafen Tempelhof

Spend the morning at one of Berlin’s museums. Revisit Museum Island or pick a new spot in Berlin.

Jewish Museum. The first part of the museum is an architectural masterpiece. With slanting walls and sloping floors, it is meant to unbalance you, to make you feel disconcerted. This first part of the museum is about the Holocaust, and then you move onto the traditional museum with exhibits about Jewish history and culture. Open daily 10 am to 8 pm, €8.

German Historical Museum. Everything you ever wanted to know about German history is covered in this museum. Open daily 10 am to 6 pm, €8.

After lunch, take a tour of Flughafen Tempelhof. Until 2008, Tempelhof was one of Berlin’s operating airports. The Tempelhof building is one of the most significant buildings in the world. The only way to visit this abandoned airport is on tour. English speaking tours are offered Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at 1:30 pm. The tours last 2 hours and cost €15 for adults and €7 for children.

From Tempelhof, ride the U-Bahn to the East Side Gallery, a long stretch of the Berlin wall covered in graffiti.

East Side Gallery

Day 4 - Teufelsberg, Charlottenburg Palace, and KaDeWe

Today, we go a little off the beaten path but still see some cool Berlin spots. Wear a comfortable pair of walking shoes because today you’re going to need them. Also, consider bringing some snack food. There are few dining options around Grunewald and Teufelsberg, which means that lunch won’t be until early afternoon.

Today we start at the Platform 17 Memorial (Gleis 17). This is a simple but powerful memorial to the thousands of Jews sent off to the concentration camps. At this train station that Jews boarded the trains that would take them to the death camps.

This memorial is part of Grunewald Station. You can walk on the old, abandoned platform. The dates, the number of people deported, and their final destination are on the platform.

Platform 17 Memorial (Gleis 17)

How to get here: From central Berlin, take the S7 to Grunewald Station. Walk downstairs and turn left, following the signs for Gleis 17. You will climb a set of stairs up onto the abandoned platform. Walk straight towards the end of the platform. There is a small memorial plaque at the very end of the platform, near the abandoned railroad tracks.

Next, we visit Teufelsberg, one of Berlin’s strangest places to visit. Teufelsberg is an abandoned listening station used during the Cold War that is now covered in graffiti.

Teufelsberg - abandoned listening station used during the Cold War

For me, this was the kind of place that blew away my expectations. Teufelsberg does not get a lot of hype, so often, it’s an overlooked destination in Berlin. But it’s worth it for those who like street art or those who enjoy visiting unusual places.

Getting here requires a lot of walking. I walked to Teufelsberg from Grunewald Station. The walk took about 25 minutes. Once I finished visiting Teufelsberg, I walked another 25 minutes to the Olympiastadion. As long as it is not wet, raining, or freezing, it’s a pleasant experience.

From Teufelsberg, continue to the Olympiastadion. This stadium was built for the 1936 Summer Olympics. It’s a historic spot, and for €11, you can enter the stadium and walk around on your own. Or, see it from the outside if you want to save your time and your euros. Tours are offered if you want to learn more about the stadium.

Olympiastadion Berlin

From the Olympiastadion, ride the U-Bahn (U2 from Olympia-Stadion to Sophie-Charlotte-Platz, travel time 6 minutes) to Charlottenburg Palace. For lunch, consider dining at Restaurant Schlossgarten. This restaurant serves German food and is located on the walk from the Sophie-Charlotte-Platz metro station to Charlottenburg Palace. Note: they are closed on Monday.

If you like castles and palaces, consider touring Charlottenburg Palace. This is a summer palace built for Sophie Charlotte (the first Queen consort to Prussia) featuring baroque architecture. It was modeled after Versailles in France. It costs €12 to tour the Old Palace €17 to tour all Charlottenburg Palace.

Take the chance and see if you can participate in a football match during your stay and find Tickets for special rates here.

Charlottenburg Palace

From Charlottenburg Palace, ride the U-Bahn to Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church (U2 from Sophie-Charlotte-Platz to Zoologischer Garten, transfer to U9 for one stop to Kurfurstendamm, travel time 11 miles).

The Kaiser Wilhelm Church was built in the late 1800s. It was badly damaged during an air raid in 1943. Unlike many of the buildings that have been rebuilt in Berlin, the remains of this church have remained unaltered as a reminder of the devastation of WWII.

Just a short walk from the Kaiser Wilhelm Church is Kaufhaus des Westens (KaDeWe). KaDeWe is Germany’s best-known department store, with seven high-end merchandise and gourmet food floors. The best part of KaDeWe is the 6th floor, a gourmet food mecca. Take your pick from one of many small cafes for dinner.

Day 5 - Day Trip from Berlin

There are many great options for day trips from Berlin. Potsdam, Dresden, Leipzig, and Wannsee all make a list, and many of these spots are accessible using public transportation.

However, if you are interested in going on a very excellent German road trip, we have a suggestion for you. In just one day, you can visit the fairytale bridges of Rakotzbrücke and the Bastei, take a stroll through the picturesque town of Görlitz, and cross the border into Poland. It’s a long day, but you get to explore some beautiful spots in Saxony, Germany.

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