48 Hours In Berlin: The Highlights

48 Hours Berlin Highlights weekend Berlin Travel Guide Berlin Top Things

Berlin is Germany’s Cultural Capital that has it all! A super cool city it is celebrated for its nightlife, art scene and amazing architecture which seamlessly combines the past with the present. Weekend Berlin Travel Guide. Berlin Top Things

Join me for a run down of Berlin’s Highlights – all which can be visited within 48 hours!

Berlin 48 Hours Highlights Weekend Berlin Travel Guide

 48 Hours in berlin: The Highlights

So you’ve got 48 hours in Berlin and not a clue where to start – then this post is for you! I’m going to share with you my highlight’s and ‘must-do’s’ for 48 hours in Berlin which will help you experience as much of the city as possible without having you feeling like you’re racing around the town!

RELATED: This is the SECOND stop on my ‘Europe By Rail in 25 Days‘ Tour. MISSED THE FIRST STOP – CLICK HERE TO READ ALL ABOUT IT: 48 HOURS IN AMSTERDAM: THE HIGHLIGHTS

1. Alexanderplatz & the world time clock

Berlin 48 Hours Highlights Berlin Top Things

Both a central transport hub and central to most of Berlin’s attractions, Alexanderplatz is a great place to start.  The World Time Clock has become a meeting point for locals and visitors alike – and at 10m tall, it’s hard to miss it! With a revolving cylinder displaying the 24 world time zones and corresponding major cities, it is constructed so that you can read the time in any of the named locations. A simplified solar system sits atop the World Time Clock and revolves once per minute. It’s really a sight you do not want to miss on your Berlin tour.

 

2. Museum Island 48 HOURS BERLIN HIGHLIGHTS

48 HOURS BERLIN HIGHLIGHTS

It’s the photograph everyone has seen in the guidebooks, and with just a short stroll down the river, you can capture it for yourself.  This is just one of the 5 museums located on the banks of the River Spree, which were collectively named as a UNESCO Heritage Site in 1999.

*Tip: For museum lovers the Berlin Welcome Card includes free entry to each site*

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4. Berlin cathedral weekend Berlin Travel Guide

48 hours berlin highlights

Nestled between the museums of  Museum island is Berlin Cathedral. Another truly beautiful building, take a seat on the well tended grassy areas outside and enjoy the view!

And if you and your buddy’s are feeling a little adventurous – hire one of these 6-seater circular bikes and give yourself the funniest tour of the Mitte district that you could ever experience!

48 hours berlin highlights

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5. Brandenburg Gate 48 hours Berlin highlights

48 Hours Berlin Highlights

A sight to behold at any time of the day, it’s stunning architecture makes for beautiful photographs and ensures it is one of Berlin’s best known landmarks.  Once a symbol of war and division in Germany, it is now a symbol of peace and unity.

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6. Reichstag 48 Hours Berlin Highlights weekend Berlin Travel Guide. Berlin Top Things

48 Hours Berlin Highlights

The Reichstag houses Germany’s Parliament and is one of the most historically significant buildings in Berlin. Partly destroyed as a result of an arson attack in 1933, it fell into disrepair and although it was made safe in the 1960’s, no attempt was made to restore it until the reunification of Germany in 1990. Following completion in 1999, it once again became the site when the German Parliament meets.

The restored building also boasts a glass dome which provides 360 degree views of the surrounds and looks down on the parliament floor below. Entry is free, however it is highly recommended that you register your interest in walking the dome prior to your arrival in Berlin. You can register your group here.  (There is limited availability to register on the day and 2 hours notice must be provided before entry) weekend Berlin Travel Guide Berlin Top Things

48 hours berlin highlights

 

7. Holocaust Memorial 48 hours Berlin highlights

48 hours berlin highlights

A Monument and Information Center combined, no trip to Berlin will be complete without paying your respects to the murdered Jews of Europe. This site provides a very large memorial to a terrible point in Germany’s history and is free for all the enter.

Related: For more information oN the Holocaust Memorial see my post on the 4 Sites That Will Turn Your EuroTrip Into The Ultimate History Lesson

Weekend Berlin Travel Guide. Berlin Top Things To Do

8. Berlin Wall 48 hours Berlin highlights weekend Berlin travel guide. Berlin top things

48 Hours Berlin Highlights

Once a physical symbol of separation and the suppression of human rights under the Communist ruled East Berlin, the remaining sections of the wall (found at The East Side Gallery and Mauerpark – also a site of an awesome flea market and outdoor karaoke venue each Sunday – a Berlin institution that has to be seen to be believed!) on are now covered in colorful graffiti.

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9. Checkpoint Charlie & Potzdamer Platz

48 hours berlin highlights

A site that has been memorialized in many movies, it was the best known official crossing point between East and West Berlin during the separation years. A slightly unimpressive sight these days, and overrun with commercial business trying the cash in, a quick stop here for the customary photo is all the time you’ll need.

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10. The Nightlife weekend berlin travel guide

48 hours berlin highlights

Berlin is toasted as one of the best clubbing cities in Europe, and residents are fiercely proud of their nightlife scene – with good reason! Berlin’s explosion onto the nightlife scene can be traced to the fall of the Berlin Wall – where when the wall fell, so did peoples behavior patterns and their embrace of techno music has made clubbing a culture and music a religion. Crazy, freaky, accepting and varied – with a great LGBT scene – you could easily forget each of your 48 hours in Berlin if you surrender yourself to the party!

So there you have it – my top picks and highlights for 48 hours in Berlin! Let me know if I have included your favorite spots – and let me know if there are any that I’ve missed!

NEXT UP: 48 HOURS IN PRAGUE: THE HIGHLIGHTS

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108 thoughts on “48 Hours In Berlin: The Highlights

  1. Toccara says:

    Great post. Definitely want to visit Berlin one of these days, so I’m bookmarking this post to refer to later. Lots of history there, along with really neat looking architecture!

  2. Julian says:

    Nice! Got the top touristic places covered for sure 🙂 Always good to see for every first-time visitor of the city.

  3. Alina Popescu says:

    Great guide and right on time! I am traveling to Berlin in June. I’ll have 48 hours to visit, and then another 48 attending an author event. This is absolutely perfect!

  4. LeAnna says:

    Another fantastic way to see a ton of Berlin (and get awesome history, context and insiders info) is to take a Sandeman’s New Europe walking tour. It’s free (woot!) and full of awesome info. You hit up a lot of these sites along the way so you know what you want to go back to as well.

  5. Dana says:

    Great list of things to do in Berlin! I really want to see the Berlin Cathedral. Hopefully we will be able to visit later this year.

  6. Stefan says:

    Absolutely loved gay Berlin – we based ourselves in Schoeneberg which was crazy cool. Did you (try to) visit the famous Berghain club?

    One thing I’d add to this – doing it on a bike tour helps see it all in one afternoon – love your suggestions.

    • Vicki says:

      Thanks Stefan! I’m not really a clubbing kinda gal and actually ended up with a bunch of friends from the UK in a little bar in the gay village watching the Eurovision Song Contest in fancy dress… but that’s an entirely different story!

  7. Meg Jerrard says:

    Brings back such great memories of my time in Berlin – my favorite photograph from my trip was sunset at the Brandenburg Gate. Was a definite treat. The visit to the Holocaust museum was sobering. Something which still sticks out in my mind.

  8. Natalie says:

    I live a couple of hours away from Berlin, and every time I head into the city I always stumble upon something fun going on. I have found beer festivals, international festivals, an art market, Jamaican festivals, and more. The city is so full of life. So, for me, it’s fun to see the main sites, but I think it’s also good to find out what cultural things are going on in the city as well (there are usually some!).

  9. Sarah Ebner says:

    I love this post – it’s useful and absolutely makes me want to go back to Berlin. We haven’t been for years, and we’ve never taken the kids. Also, your pictures in this post are fab, but I wanted to know if your tips are in order of what you liked best (we found Checkpoint Charlie and the museum fascinating, but you have it quite low down)?

    • Vicki says:

      Thanks Sarah – I suppose my preferences showed through a little bit! I found Checkpoint Charlie to just be overrun with cheap and tacky souvenir sellers which just detracted from the experience for me – but I still think it is somewhere everyone should visit as an important site in history!

  10. Katja says:

    Berlin has long been on my wish list, it sounds like the most incredible city with so much to see and do and with such a fascinating history. I distinctly remember the moment I was told that the Berlin Wall had come down and a friend actually bought me back a tiny, small piece of it when they visited Berlin. Although I’m sure that wasn’t allowed! Great tips, thanks!

    • Vicki says:

      Wow – you have a piece of the wall?! That’s pretty special but I am sure that you’re not meant to have it! What a souvenir!!

  11. sabrina barbante says:

    I loved Berlin and was lucky enough to visit all the places and spots you suggest. there’s much to walk to fully enjoy it! I loved the Bundestag Interiors and the Wall. Such a great piece of art so full of sufferance, joy… a still bleeding moment of Europe.

  12. Bob says:

    I spent 4 years living in Germany but never got to Berlin. The country was still divided at that time, showing my age huh? The bicycle looks crazy but fun and there is so much to see 48 hrs doesn’t seem like enough time but you sure made good use of it.

    • Vicki says:

      Thanks Bob – this is a bit of a whirlwind tour but I’m all about making the most of the time you have somewhere!

  13. Elena says:

    A good guide for those who do not have a luxury of spending a week or two in Berlin. I would add that it is so much better to visit it during summer. I was there in late March, and it was a bone-chilling adventure.

    • Vicki says:

      Thanks Elena – and good tip about the weather! I suppose because I’m used to the UK weather I wouldn’t even have considered it as a thing to plan for!

  14. Nadine (Scenes From Nadine) says:

    This makes me want to buy a plane ticket to Berlin RIGHT NOW! I’ve always fantasized about having my photo taken by the Berlin Wall. That would make for a great Facebook profile photo, wouldn’t it? 🙂

    • Vicki says:

      Thanks Nadine – and I think any profile pic with a graffiti background would be pretty cool!

  15. Marteen says:

    I’m loving this highlights series! The museum island sounds like my kind of place and thanks for the tip on Berlin Welcome Card to get in to each site for free.

    • Vicki says:

      Thanks Lyn – Berlin will only get better and they can never take away the history – I’m sure it will all wait for you!

  16. RaW | Ramble and Wander says:

    Berlin, or rather Germany, has somehow escaped me. It’s probably the only Western European country that I haven’t been to. Probably unconsciously saving the best for last? I don’t know, but I’d love to visit Berlin and hangout around Museum Island and explore the history & architecture that the city has to offer!

  17. anna says:

    I love Berlin. Such a vibrant and exciting city. I’ve never seen or heard about those circular bikes. Hahah! Did you get to try it? Looks pretty fun!

    • Vicki says:

      We didn’t get to try them Anna, there was only 2 of us and we thought we’d have looked like loners! Ha!

  18. Drew says:

    Love Berlin. We did 48 hours in Berlin as well and did most of the things on this list. I’m not a big nightclub person, but we did go to one and had a blast. Such an interesting mix of people of all ages. Made for a long, and fun, night!

  19. fiona maclean says:

    I haven’t been to Berlin and for some reason I had in my head a completely modern city. So, it was great to see some of the older buildings like the Cathedral

    • Vicki says:

      Thanks Fiona – its such a great city for contrasts – super hip and modern on the one hand,, and so filled with history on the other!

  20. [email protected] says:

    Great article Vicki. I love Berlin and am always making up some excuse to go back. You definitely caught the highlights in your post.

  21. melody pittman says:

    Fun post! I got to do all those except Museum Island, which looks like I really missed out. Great photos, too. The cheesy Checkpoint Charlie was very amusing for this American gal. 😉

  22. carla says:

    Now I know I can do Berlin in 2 days! I am planning for my Eurotrip and will try to insert Berlin. Thanks for the tip!

  23. Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie says:

    Berlin is on the list! Museum Island, the Holocaust Memorial, and the Berlin Wall are all things I’d like to visit. What is up with the 6 seater circular bike!? I’d have to try it. It looks like it would move faster than the security and check-in lines at Berlin’s airport, which I’ve had the (ahem) pleasure of transiting through. Next time, I’d much prefer a visit.

    • Vicki says:

      Haha Jackie – I don’t think i’ve ever had the pleasure of trying to get through Berlin Airport – we trained it everywhere on our trip so I will take your word for it!

  24. Tatiana Bastos says:

    Very good article! Covering the coolest things to see and do in Berlin. I would also add the DDR museum. It’s interactive and really informative! 🙂

  25. Tara says:

    We also did a whirlwind tour of Berlin not too long ago. We visited many of the same sites, including the Berlin wall, and the Holocaust Museum. I would love to try one of those circular bikes. Looks like a crazy ride.

  26. Agness says:

    Great guide! I visited Berlin few times and I must say that ALEXANDERPLATZ & THE WORLD TIME CLOCK are top sightseeing spots. During the winter there is a beautiful Christmas market there, so worth exploring!

    • Vicki says:

      Thanks Agness – and thanks for sharing about the Christmas market – I bet it would be magical!

  27. Travelwith2ofus says:

    Two of the places I definitely have to visit if I am in Berlin for 48 hours are the Brandenburg Gate and the Berlin Wall. I have wanted to visit the Brandenburg Gate forever. The other options are good as well.

  28. Kathrin says:

    I’m German and been to Berlin a few times, it’s definitely worth a visit (not everyone likes it though – it can be very alternative compared to other places in Germany). Berlin has a great street art scene and they do walking tours, so I’d definitely recommend that for everyone who has a bit more time 🙂

  29. Monika says:

    I really like Berlin – it’s a cool city and there is always something to do.
    Plus, as a break in sightseeing I always eat currywurst 😀

  30. Bianca says:

    Berlin is one of my favorite places in the world! There is so much happening all the time, that it’s easy to find something great to see and do. Also, it’s quite easy to get around so you can manage to see a lot of these highlights in 48 hours. Great post!

  31. Tess Andrade says:

    I remember visiting Berlin when I was 19 – way too long ago – and for some reason, the thing I remember the most, is the flea market near the Berliner wall! And also that it was bitter cold as we went in December. I sadly can’t remember Checkpoint Charlie and many other must-see things — i’m sure i must have visited it back then. Time to travel back to Berlin and used your amazing itinerary this time 🙂

    • Vicki says:

      Thanks Tess – I also love the flea market near the wall! It’s one of the best I have ever been to!

  32. Heather says:

    Thanks for such an informative post! I’ve always wanted to visit Berlin, I really hope to make it there in the near future. That six person bicycle looks so much fun, that will most certainly be a must-do! Bookmarking for future reference 🙂

  33. Elena says:

    I’ve never been to Berlin but might need to go just for those bikes! 🙂 It looks like these are excellent highlights…I’ll have to remember them if I get the chance to visit.

  34. annette charlton says:

    My mum was born in Dresden and spent time in Berlin. She returned to tour both cities recently after a 60 year absence. Your great post highlights some of her favourite spots in Berlin. The museums would definitely be my very first stop.

    • Vicki says:

      Thanks Annette – I bet your mum certainly noticed a difference in the city with a gap of 60 years between visits!

  35. Ruth says:

    I would be happy if I can visit all these sights in 48 hours. In addition, I will like to have time to walk around one or two neighborhoods in the city.

  36. Natalie Deduck says:

    Great tips!
    You managed to cover all the top attractions and cool places in Berlin!
    Berlin has so many things to do and hidden gems that explore the whole city can be tiring. It´s a great guide for a first time traveller, they can have a taste of Berlin and then come back for more!
    Cheers,
    Nat

  37. Elena says:

    Wow, have you actually managed to pack this into 2 days??? Including the museums??? You are incredibly efficient!

    • Vicki says:

      Hi Elena – I didn’t say that I went into the museums – just that they are there! I loved the buildings themselves 😉

  38. Claire says:

    Great run down of the best things to do – I reckon I could easily spend a week in Berlin! I’m fascinated by the wall!

    • Vicki says:

      Thanks Claire – you could easily spend a week in Berlin and still be exploring new things!

  39. Vicky and Buddy says:

    Berlin is such a cool city with so much to do! I spent New Year’s Eve there once. It was so much fun! But even with all the craziness we were able to squeeze in a few cultural sites that you mentioned on your list.

  40. RobRob @TravelLatte(.net) says:

    Gotta love a good plan! Of course, I’d probably hit Museum Island and blow the whole 48 hours before I knew it. Great post, and I love that picture of the Cathedral – beautiful! #wkendtravelinspiration

  41. Francesca | The Working Mom's Travels says:

    We LOVED Berlin! You did cover the top spots, my favorites being the cathedral and the Reichstag. I could not stop taking photos of the cathedral when we were there. Something about the structure just captured me. And the Reichstag is just fascinating!

  42. Bernard Tan says:

    I have never been to Berlin, your photos are making my travel bug itch! I would love to visit the museum island, am a sucker for UNESCO World Heritage.

  43. Sky says:

    To be completely honest, I never really had much of an idea of what was in Berlin. I just knew it was a cool city I wanted to visit some day. I would really love to visit the Holocaust Memorial and Museum Island, I think. And, of course, the Berlin Wall.

  44. Anda says:

    Very comprehensive and useful post, Vicki. I’ve only spent a day in Berlin but I’d love to go back and see all these great places.

  45. Nilabh Ranjan says:

    I had a pit stop at Frankfurt during my last visit to Germany , your post on Berlin is going to be very helpful on my next plan.Great post with pictures

  46. Lily says:

    Museum island is so unique! I love that. I really want to go to Berlin and now I can see you don’t need to spend a long time there to see a lot. With my work schedule I can sometimes only get 2 day trips in so this post is perfect for me.

  47. Natasha says:

    Great Post! I’ve never been to Berlin but it is next on my list. This is very informative and like how you also brought up the nightlife there, a lot of people don’t include that but it’s good to know. Great pictures too!

  48. Vlad says:

    Great post, I’m visiting Berlin this summer, and I’ll have almost 36 hours to explore it, hoping to see all these attractions 😀

  49. Mags says:

    Awesome list! I’ll actually be spending about 48 hours in Berlin at the end of the month and I can’t wait! This is some great inspiration.

  50. Ian says:

    Wow – you make a very strong case for visiting Berlin! I had never even heard of half of these places! I really really want to go now!!

  51. Ticker Eats The World says:

    I love your 48 Hour series because they always cover the most important places to see in the city you are featuring. I lived in Germany for 4 years and so visited Berlin a few times and have seen it change tremendously into what it is today. It’s truly a melting post of past and present and history and the future with so much to do and see. thanks

  52. Punita Malhotra says:

    Berlin was a huge surprise for us when we visited Germany. And now I can’t even imagine why someone would even think of skipping Berlin while in this fascinating country. I specially enjoyed the Nazi Walking Tour and Museum Mile.

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