The German capital has many reminders of the turbulent times it faced in the 20th century, but there is far more to explore in Berlin. The city is known for its art scene and modern landmarks. 24 hours in Berlin isn’t nearly enough time to properly get to know the city but if it’s all the time you have, this itinerary will help you to get a taste of the city and all it has to offer.
To start we highly recommend buying a ticket for the Hop-on Hop-off bus. With your ticket in hand you won’t have to worry about public transportation or how to get from one place to the next as the bus stops at all the best sights in Berlin and you can get on and off as many times as you want while your ticket is valid. And your ticket also gives you a discount at selected attractions and shops.
Art, history and views
We recommend you start your day at the longest open-air gallery in the world, the East Side Gallery. On the northern bank of the Spree, you’ll find the longest remaining section of the Berlin Wall, which was, after the wall fell, decorated by artists from 21 countries. The East Side Gallery stands both as a symbol of joy over the end of Germany’s division and as a historical reminder of the inhumanity of the GDR border regime.
From the East Side Gallery, we suggest you take the Hop-on Hop-off bus to Alexanderplatz and make your way to the top of one of Berlin’s most defining landmarks, the Fernsehturm (TV Tower). This unmissable part of the capital city skyline soars 368 metres into the sky, with an observation deck at 203 metres off the ground. A lift will take you up so you can get a breath-taking panorama view of the city.
Berlin’s best museums can be found on Museuminsel, only a ten minute walk away from the TV Tower. This small island in the Spree is home to a unique ensemble of 5 renowned museums. You could easily spend all day here but if your time in Berlin is limited we recommend you choose one or two.
Each museum has its own speciality or theme: the Altes Museum is dedicated to classical antiquity; the Neues Museum combines geographically and thematically related exhibits with Egyptian art, prehistoric objects and classical antiquities; the Alte Nationalgalerie houses paintings and sculptures from Classicism, Romanticism, Biedermeier, Impressionism and the early Modern Age; the Bode Museum displays a unique collection of sculptures from the Middle Ages to the 19th century; and the Pergamom Museum, Berlin’s most visited museum, is home to the Collection of Classical Antiquities, the Museum of the Ancient Near East and the Museum of Islamic Art.
If you are ready for lunch after your time on Museum Island, there are plenty of great restaurants and cafés in the area. After lunch, it’s time to enjoy some time off your feet. We recommend the Berlin Wassertaxi, a 1-hour cruise on the Spree, which departs near the Berliner Dom.
Escape the city hustle and bustle
After all that sightseeing, you might want to discover Berlin’s greener side. There are two great options in the heart of the city. Tiergarten is one of Berlin’s most popular parks and sometimes referred to as the lungs of the city. It is the city’s largest public park with the Victory Column at its centre surrounded by landscaped gardens, large open spaces, a boating lake, cafés and beer gardens.
The second option are the palace gardens at Charlottenburg Palace. The gardens here can be visited for free and are considered a world renowned example of garden design. The palace itself is the largest and most significant palace complex still remaining from the former Brandenburg electors, Prussian kings and German emperors. Both options can be reached with the Hop-on Hop-off bus.
After you have filled your lungs with fresh air, you might want to head to Berlin’s most iconic and world famous landmark, the Brandenburg Gate. Once the symbol of the country’s separation between West and East Berlin, it is now a symbol of the German reunification. Just around the corner, you will find Germany’s parliament and centre of power, the Deutsche Bundestag. If you fancy seeing the impressive glass dome from inside and learn more about its history, make sure to book your tickets well in advance.
You can enjoy dinner on top of the Reichstag building for a delicious meal with a view. Another option is to head south, to the neighbourhoods of Kreuzberg, Friedrichshain and Prenzlauer Berg. Here, you will find some of Berlin’s best and culturally most diverse restaurants as well street food stalls, enjoyed by locals and tourists alike.