What to do in Berlin in one day

Berlin has forever been known for its wall, which once split the city in two from August 1961 through to November 1989. Berlin is also the home to the parliament, and had a big involvement in World War 2. It’s been a city since 1417, and has grown and grown ever since. It was an important base for Germany; through it’s war with Russia. It’s known better known for the Berlin wall memorials, the famous World Time Clock and the tallest open building in Europe.

You’ll be staying in the 25 Hours Hotel Bikini, before heading out to the Tiergarten. Find yourself walking along the part of the Berlin wall and immerse yourself in all the history this previously troubled city has to offer – visit the Brandenburg Gate, the Reichstag Building and the Alexanderplatz. Enjoy food and drinks from the famous Einstein Kaffee, Milch and Zucker, lunch at Treffpunkt and dinner at Monsieur Vuong, the well-known Vietnamese fusion restaurant. Take time to have a few drinks first at Mademoiselle Claude and then at the Last Cathedral. End the night away in Berghain – thats if you manage to get in!

09:00 – Start your endless day at the 25hours Hotel Bikini Berlin

25 Hours Hotel Bikini Berlin is located in the centre of the city, overlooking the Zoologischer Garten Berlin – the Berlin Zoo, and less than a 15-minute walk from the Central Train Station. There’s even a restaurant and bar on the roof, with views of the city and the zoo. And if you want something simpler for breakfast, there’s a café and a bakery in the hotel for a more relaxed start to your day. The rooms decor are all inspired by the neighbouring zoo – and a jungle theme, for the zoo lookout rooms, and more urban designs for the room that overlook the Kurfurstendamm – one of the most famous shopping streets in Berlin

Rooms cost usually €115 a night, without breakfast or €132 a night, with a buffet breakfast included. This includes all taxes and free high-speed Wi-Fi. There’s also the option for free bike hire, and maps provided so you can tour the local neighbourhoods. You can also test drive a mini (for free!) around the area. There’s also a ‘jungle’ sauna, with views directly over the zoo

The Jungle L room provides panoramic views of the zoo, your own bike in the room, a walk-in shower, a built-in Bluetooth speaker and an iMac Workstation – and the free mini rental. An Urban M room has a view over Breitscheidplatz – a major public square within Berlin, a king or queen size bed, built-in Bluetooth Speaker, and again, a free Mini rental, with bikes available to rent. There’s also the option of the Urban M twin, where you can switch out the queen/king for two single beds, whilst still keeping your city view // 25 hours Hotel Bikini Berlin – Budapester Str. 40, Berlin.

09:30 – Parks and Recreation at theTiergarten

Once you’ve checked in and dropped your bags off, it’s time to head to the Tiergarten – one of Berlin most popular parks – it’s one of the largest urban gardens in Germany. This park was first sectioned off in the 16th century and has developed more and more ever since. Of course, you can also find the Berlin Zoo – the most species-rich zoo in the world – with 22,000 animals over 1,400 species, including Germany only giant pandas

If the zoo isn’t your thing, there’s plenty of space for picnics, relaxing in the sun or just sitting, reading a book, and sports like football and rugby. If you’re not in the mood for all that walking, there are bikes available for hire from the hotel or pedal taxi hire, whether you’re pedalling or not, just sit back, relax and enjoy the views! There are monuments aplenty, for you to spot and admire and English gardens to wander through and admire

If you’re really feeling adventurous, there are water sports- pedal boats for hire in the summer over the lakes and in winter – you can ice skate on these lakes! There are two famous memorials in the park – the Memorial to Homosexuals Persecuted under Nazism (built in 2008) and the Memorial to the Sinti and Roma Victims of National Socialism (built in 2012) – both towards the eastern part of the hotel. Just on the edge of the park, and around the corner from the hotel, you can even find an aquarium // Tiergarten – Berlin

10:30 – The perfect coffee equation at the Einstein Kaffee Berlin

Einstein Kaffee is a well-known German chain coffee house with over 20 coffee houses around Germany.  They’re known for their freshly roasted coffee, which they do on site daily. Ask a German where you can go and get a good quick coffee, and they’re more than likely going to recommend Einstein Kaffee.  The chain was first opened in 1978, by an Austrian founder (Uschi Bachaur), who wanted to bring a Viennese style coffee house to Germany.  To this day, he still often organizes concerts in the cafes

A year later, he developed his own coffee blend, which helped boost the success of the company. 10 years later, he opened his second café, next to major art gallery, with the café being frequented by politicians from the nearby Bundestag – home of the German federal parliament. They serve a range of coffee-based drinks, as well as teas, cold drinks, and a range of baked goods

And if you really love the coffee, you can buy bags of their beans in store, or if you miss it when you get home, you can get it from their online store – as well as mugs and latte glasses. They’re environmentally concerned too – bringing out their new porcelain reusable cup – pick on up if you’re planning on visiting often. They cater for every craving – whether it’s a full traditional German breakfast or Bailey’s latte, they’ve got you covered // Einstein Kaffee Berlin –  Kurfürstenstraße 58, Berlin

11:00 – Cross over history at the Brandenburg Gate

A twenty-minute walk away from Einstein Kaffee, and back towards the Tiergarten you’ll find the Brandenburg Gate. Built in the 18th century, the Brandenburg Gate is a neoclassical monument after the early Batavian Revolution. It’s seen as a symbol of the tumultuous history of Germany, and also of European unity and peace. Built between 1788 and 1791, the gate replaced a simpler guardhouse and is based on the Propylaea – the gateway to the Acropolis in Athens. When it was first built, only the royal family were able to pass through the central arch

The Nazi’s then used the arch as a party symbol. It survived World War 2, but it was significantly damaged. During the cold war, it was restored by both East and West Berlin and was then closed during the Berlin Wall period. In modern-day Berlin, it was used to host street events in the 2009 IAAF athletic championship and will be used again in the 2018 European Athletic Championships. It’s also used as the finish line for the Berlin Marathon

Whilst you’re at the Brandenburg gate, and in the Pariser Platz, you can also visit the Raum der Stiller (Room of Silence) on the north wing, where you can have a quiet break from Berlin. There’s also the restored American Embassy, and the Akademie der Künste (Academy of Arts). If you do want to learn more about the gate, there’s also a Brandenburg Gate Museum within the square // Brandenburg Gate – Pariser Platz, Berlin

12:30 – Proper traditionnal Lunch at Treffpunkt Berlin

Just a 10-minute walk from the Brandenburg gate, you’ll find Treffpunkt, a lively restaurant in the centre of Berlin. They serve traditional German meals, and German beers and liquors to wash them down with. The menus a mainly in German – but don’t be afraid to ask for one in English. Added bonus, all the waiters have a great grasp of English

Try a currywurst and choucroute and have course, apple strudel for dessert! There are wieners a-plenty, and if you want to try, you can also get some schnitzel.  And of course, there are plenty of vegetarian options, perfect if you do not want to try the traditional German meats. They can also provide a list of which meals are gluten-free or not – both meals and beers!

If you want to try it all, they have their own mixed platter, where you get to try everything from Viennese sausages to sauerkraut and everything in between. If you worried, you can always call up earlier and make a reservation, and be sure to have a table. If you’re in the mood for fun, they’ve even got a jukebox where you can pick your favourite song to play // Treffpunkt Berlin – Mittelstraße 55, Berlin

14:00 – Walk along the Berlin Wall and the East Side Gallery

Would it be a trip to Berlin without the Berlin Wall being involved?  Just a ten-minute walk away from Treffpunkt is the East Side Gallery – the longest open-air museum in the world. For 1.3km, you can walk along the banks of the Spree in Friedrichshain, and see the longest continuous section of the Berlin Wall. 118 artists from 21 countries have put their mark on the wall, in 1990 to add more positivity and colour to the space

A year later the site was given a memorial status. The paintings depict the changing political sphere at the time. Due to it being exposed to the elements, there is a continuous effort to restore sections of the wall and to keep it around for as long as possible. The East Side Gallery is also the only authentic memorial to the moment of reunification of the two sides and has been for 20 years

If you want to learn more about the history of the wall and the artwork, you can pay for a private tour, and learn more from a local. Throughout the length of the wall, you’ll finder buskers and artists, trying to show their skills to the throws of tourists. If you’re not in the mood to walk the 1.3km, you can hire bikes nearby and ride up and down the wall. As well as the artwork, spend some time on the other side, with a scenic walk up the River Spree // East Side Gallery – Mühlenstraße 3-100, Berlin

16:00 – Relax and people watch at the Milch & Zucker

Once you’ve made it to the south end of the wall, you’ve probably worked up quite an appetite. And after all the German meat and beer earlier, it’s time for a sweet treat and coffee. Again, you have the choice of menu in German or English so it’s not going to be difficult to decipher and pick your favourite sweet treat. From a jam croissant for €4.50, salads from €6.50, vegetarian crepes for €6.80 and even vegan options – crispy steamed vegetables for €6.80

You can even get cheese and meat platters if you want a savoury snack. And if you’re indecisive, you and get a sharing platter between two, and both get to pick and mix. The daily options change, so head online and check out the menu for the day you’re heading there, and take your pick. They’re also well known for their choice of freshly baked goods

Drinks-wise, you can get freshly squeezed juice, coffees and cold drinks. They also offer milk alternatives, whether you’re lactose intolerant or prefer other types of milk. It’s a beautiful, modern café, where the locals love to catch up with friends, to stop and do some work, or to sit back, relax and people watch // Milch and Zucker –  Oranienstraße 37, Berlin

17:00 – Face the Reichstag Building

The next stop is a little distance away – a fifty-minute walk, half-hour tram ride, or more convenient 15-minute cab ride away from Milch and Zucker. The Reichstag building was opened in 1894 and was the home of the German government until 1933 when it was destroyed by a fire. It was quickly rebuilt and it was used for occasional representative meetings and one-off events – Michael Jackson even performed there in the 1980’s!

In 1990, the Berlin reunification ceremony was held there, including a huge firework display. In 1994, a glass dome was constructed on top of the building. It’s the perfect place to head up to and get an amazing view of the city of Berlin. It’s a smart dome – it has sensors that track the movement of the sun and shades windows as it moves, so you can always see out, without having to squint

If you want to learn as much as you can whilst up in the dome, there is an audio tour, teaching you about the history of the building, the German parliament and their work, and all about the skyline in front of you. There’s also a restaurant in the Dome, in case you want a drink whilst you take in the views. Within the Reichstag building, there is an exhibition on the German Bundestag, so you can still learn the history, even if you don’t want to head to the dome // Reichstag – Platz der Republik 1, Berlin

18:30 – Go shopping at the famous Alexanderplatz

Alexanderplatz is a ten-minute taxi or half hour walk away from the Reichstag building. It’s a large public square, one the edge of the ‘Alex’ neighbourhood in Berlin. During the 1960’s it was turned into a pedestrian-only area, with the famous Brunnen der Völkerfreundschaft (Fountain of friendship between people), which is frequently re-graffitied. In 1993, there were several skyscrapers built surrounding the plaza. A shopping mall was built nearby in 2007 containing 108 stores, and a cinema was opened in 2000. Nearby you can find the ‘Red City Hall’, or Rotes Rathaus, the traditional seat of the city government

You can also find the World Time Clock, a rotating clock that shows the time in 148 major worldwide cities. It was declared as a historical and culturally significant monument in 2015. It’s also an important public transport hub – if you ever need to go anywhere in the city, you’re more than likely to pass through here

In the middle of Alexanderplatz, you’ll find the Berlin TV Tower – the tallest building in Europe open to the public – you can get a full 360-degree view from the top – over 200m in the air.  There’s also a bar and restaurant if you’re wanting another drink with a view // Alexanderplatz, Berlin

19:30 – Exotic and trendy dinner at Monsieur Vuong

Just a ten-minute walk north you’ll find Monsieur Vuong, a famous Vietnamese restaurant. The menu changes every two days, so everything always fresh and up to date. So if you decide to head back, you’re more than likely going to get something new to try.  The restaurant was opened in 1999 by a Vietnamese man (Dat Vuong), who was missing the foods of his hometown, Saigon, and opened the restaurant to spread his love to Vietnamese food to the Germans

There’s a great range of vegetarian foods, as well as plenty of meat-filled options. Try their speciality of the day, which, of course, changes daily, so you know it’s always the freshest. The restaurant is decorated like a traditional Vietnamese restaurant – with low tables and stools that are deceivingly comfortable. If you’re only a group of two, you may find yourself next to another couple – the best way to find new tips and travel inspiration

Bonus – if you’re a big fan of the food, they’ve released their own cookbook, so you can recreate the food at home. They also serve traditional Vietnamese coffee, transporting you straight to Hanoi // Monsieur Wong – Alte Schönhauser Str. 46, Berlin

21:00 – Enjoy live music at Madame Claude Bar

Once you’ve got your fill of Vietnamese, it’s time to dance the night away. Just a twenty-minute taxi ride away from Monsieur Vuong, you’ll find the Madame Claude Bar. Situated in an old brothel, where every night from 7 pm, you’ll find either a DJ, concert or event, ready to keep you dancing until late. And if you’re not confused already once you’ve started drinking, it prides itself as an ‘upside down’ bar – with furniture stuck to the ceiling

With a small entrance charge – which you can choose what you want to pay, it has the perfect lively yet still quiet environment inside.  The drinks are affordable, ranging from beers to cocktails, depending on your drink preference. If you’re feeling competitive, there’s a foosball table for you to have a play on, graffiti on the wall to admire. The best way to describe the place is just weird and wonderful

If you’re not in the mood to sit in the basement with the DJ playing and furniture on the ceiling, there’s always the roof terrace to sit and breathe in the fresh air, whilst also admiring the view over Eastern Berlin // Madame Claude Bar – Lübbener Str. 19, Berlin

22:30 – Experience the gothic mood at the Last Cathedral

A fifteen-minute taxi ride back across Berlin, you’ll find the Last Cathedral bar. It’s well known for its horror rock style. Once you arrive, you’ll instantly be reminded of a tomb. Head downstairs to the main area and find a dance floor waiting. Instead of furniture attached to the ceiling, you’ll find skulls and bats hanging from the ceiling, dragons in every corner. If you’re lucky, you may be there for one of its famous themed nights, whether it’s gothic rock or electro dance music

The waiters are all on a theme, dressed in all black, with candles on the bar like you’re stuck in a cemetery. Nights like “Metal Mania” and “Night of Vampire” bring out the underside of Berlin, and you’ll never be bored. Despite it seeming dark and almost morbid, there’s no need to be scared – it’s got the best atmosphere, everyone around you is having so much fun

Cheap drinks will draw you in, and coffin shaped seats will draw you in. There is a small cover charge, but the drinks and atmosphere more than make up for it. How many other places like this have you seen before? // Last Cathedral – Schönhauser Allee 5, Berlin

23:59 – Welcome to the Berghain factory

Once you’re all gothed out, it’s time for some fresh air and a ten-minute taxi ride back across town to Berghain. As one of Berlin’s most exclusive nightclubs, it well worths the wait and cover charge to get in. But be careful. They have a very strict dress code and don’t act too drunk in line!

The club itself is set in an old industrial estate, with a door framed by graffiti, the whole place giving off an underground feel. The main dance floor has an 18m high ceiling, and room for 1500 people to dance the night away. The design has been kept as minimalist, steel and concrete dominating the walls. There are many small dance floors scattered around the building as well, there are often used.  If you’re lucky, you can find a room with windows and views of East Berlin 

Be careful of which rooms you head into, some are known to be dark, for the hidden activities inside. There are no mirrors or any reflective surfaces inside, adding to the darkness and feel of the building. No photography is allowed in the building, so it’s hard to find pictures to prepare you for what’s inside. The club is open round the clock Friday through Monday, so don’t worry about having to head back to the hotel too early! // Berghain – Am Wriezener Bahnhof, Berlin

We mapped out your day trip in Berlin

Each highlight of your day trip is numbered, simply follow the guide

What you should absolutely know about Berlin

City highlights, food & drinks, expressions, weather, how to get there and how to get around

Berlin, Germany’s capital and cultural mecca, is known for its nightlife, art scene, and modern architecture. During your Berlin day trips, enjoy beer tours and indulge in amazing German food. Explore the Berlin Cathedral and see animals at the Berlin Zoo. Do some shopping around Kurfurstendamm Boulevard and enjoy pretzels with mustard from a street cart. Stroll or bike through the Grunewald forest or hang out at Museum Island, looking at the many museums housed there. Hunt for vintage and bargain finds at Mauer Park, zip around town on a bike tour, and dance the night away at the Clärchens Ballhaus

The Brandenburg Gate, Berlin Wall, and Reichstag Building are all Berlin must-sees. Enjoy a concert at the Berlin Philharmonic or learn about history at the German Memorial Museum. Pay tribute at the Holocaust Memorial and the Berlin Wall too

Heaps of schnitzel and massive pretzels to giant steins of beer, Germany is a mecca for food. Enjoy scrumptious Mustafas Gemüsedöner and different varieties of Wurst (sausage). Käsespätzle and Döner Kebab should also be on your list

German is a harsh sounding language, but has a certain beauty to it. To say “Yes” or “No” in German, it is “Ja” and “Nein”. “Bitte” means “Please” or “Excuse me” and “Danke” means “Thank you”. To greet someone, say “Hallo” or “Guten tag”

Summers are long and sunny but tend to be intermixed with some showers. Fall is cold and grey, with snow and highs of 68 degrees. Winters are cold, with 20 degrees temperatures. Spring brings unpredictable weather, a mix of rain and sun

The S-bahn makes frequent trips from the airport to the city, costing 7 Euros. Taking the bus 171 and X7 into the city is relatively easy and costs about 3 Euros. You can always take a taxi, costing 45 Euros

Berlin has a great public transportation system, consisting of the U-bahn, S-bahn, buses. Taxis are always a safe way to travel from destination to destination. Berlin is also bike friendly and bike rentals are everywhere

Feeling adventurous? Have a look at these city guides