Perfect 3-Day Itinerary for Berlin (2020 Guide)

3 days in berlin

This 3 days in Berlin itinerary will help you explore the best of the German capital (in the summer and the winter). You’ll also find a map with all the must-see attractions and popular day trips.

3 days in berlin
Always book skip the lines tickets with GetYourGuide or Tiqets (you get a mobile ticket voucher + free cancellation up to 24 hours before the activity). Tickets from the attractions’ official websites, in most cases, are non-refundable.

Berlin is the capital of Germany and its largest city. This multicultural metropolis is a city of contrasts, a place where history meets the modern.

Vibrant culture, dark history, alternative nightlife, fabulous food, Berlin has it all! No wonder why it’s one of the most popular destinations in Germany.

Planning a trip to Berlin could be overwhelming (especially for first-timers) but don’t worry, I got you covered! This Berlin itinerary is the only thing you’ll need to fully plan your trip. From must-see attractions, where to stay and eat, to getting around, you’ll find it all in this in-depth guide.

3 days in Berlin itinerary

This 3 days in Berlin itinerary is perfect for everyone visiting the city for the first time. It covers all the main attractions with helpful tips on how to skip the lines. You will also find some ideas for modifications (depending on your interests and if it’s a winter or summer city break).

To see the best of the city in only a few hours, take a guided walking tour (this is the most popular one). You can also tour the city by bike or on-board a legendary Trabant (super fun experience)!

Find a detailed map of this 3-day itinerary for Berlin at the end of the blog post.


The perfect 3-day itinerary for Berlin

  • Day 1: TV Tower, Berlin Cathedral, East Side Gallery
  • Day 2: Museum Island, Reichstag Building, Brandenburg Gate, Holocaust Memorial, Gendarmenmarkt, Checkpoint Charlie
  • Day 3: Charlottenburg Palace, Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, Topography of Terror, Natural History Museum, Historical Museum, Madame Tussauds

My favourite place to stay in Berlin is the H4 Hotel. The location is next to Alexanderplatz, super convenient for sightseeing and transport links. Plus, there are free Sky satellite channels.

Already have a hotel booked? Check if your hotel has a good location in my guide to the Most Central Places to Stay in Berlin.


Booking.com

Day 1: TV Tower, Berlin Cathedral, East Side Gallery

Morning

Have breakfast at Gregory’s

08:30 AM – 09:00 AM
Start the first day with breakfast at Gregory’s. They offer great coffee, freshly squeezed juices and a variety of cakes and sandwiches.

See the city’s skyline from the Berlin TV Tower

09:00 AM – 10:00 AM
The Berlin TV Tower (Fernsehturm) is one of the most recognizable city’s landmarks. Towering 368 metres above Alexanderplatz, it’s the highest building in Berlin. You can visit the observation deck for a panoramic view of the city.

To visit the Fernsehturm you have to buy tickets in advance for a certain time slot. You can also enjoy a meal at the Sphere restaurant at the top of the tower.

Please note that the Fernsehturm opens at 9 AM (March to October) and at 10 AM (November to February). So if you’re visiting in the winter, visit the Berliner Dom first and then the tower.

Berlin TV Tower
More tours of the TV Tower

For an alternative view of Berlin that includes the Fernsehturm, visit the Panoramapunkt at Potsdamer Platz. Buy skip the line ticket for Panoramapunkt here.

Tour the Berlin Cathedral

10:15 AM – 12:15 PM
Berlin Cathedral (Berliner Dom) is one of the most important city’s sites and a must-see while in Berlin. It is located on Museum Island (home to several museums, hence the name).

The cathedral is known as the Supreme Parish and Collegiate Church. In fact, it has never been a true cathedral, because it has never been the seat of a bishop. The current cathedral was constructed during 1894 – 1905 on the site of an old church from the 15th century.

In 1465 the Hohenzollern family needed a court church close to their new royal palace. For that purpose, they used the catholic St. Erasmus Chapel, located on the site of the Berlin Cathedral at that time. It was elevated to the status of Collegiate Church. In Germany, they called such collegiate churches Domkirche. This is how the Berliner Dom got its name.

Berlin Cathedral

The Hohenzollern family also used the church as a burial place. You can visit the crypt, which contains 94 coffins from the 16th to the 20th century.

For awesome 360° panoramic views over the city, take the 270 steps to reach the viewing platform of the dome. You can see the Museum Island, Gendarmenmarkt, Reichstag and Rotes Rathaus. During the climbing, you will pass along the cathedral’s museum. It presents drawings, photos and models of the history of the church.

Berlin Cathedral dome

The entrance fee covers the church, the Hohenzollern Crypt and the dome. Leave the visiting of the crypt for last, because once you exit the crypt you can’t go back to the church.

There are regular classical music concerts organized in the church.
You can find all the concerts here.

Have lunch at Factory Girl

12:15 PM – 02:00 PM
Factory Girl is one of my favourite places for lunch. They offer fantastic healthy brunch options. Don’t miss to try their famous dessert Coco Anjéla. It’s worth every single bite!

Factory Girl
Factory Girl Coco Anjéla

If you still crave something sweet, then make Woop Woop Ice Cream your next stop. The ice cream is freshly made with liquid nitrogen. It’s super fun to watch the preparation process in front of you.

Woop Woop Ice Cream
Afternoon

See the remains of the Berlin Wall at East Side Gallery

02:00 PM – 03:30 PM
To get to East Side Gallery take the S-Bahn (lines S5, S7 or S9) from Alexanderplatz to Ostbahnhof. From there it’s about 200m to the famous landmark.

The infamous Berlin Wall was about 140km long and it stood almost 30 years. Its main purpose was to stop the emigration of the East German citizens to the more liberal West Germany. The wall, in fact, was two concrete walls with a neutral space between them.

The East Side Gallery is the largest remaining section of the Berlin Wall. Stretching to 1.3km, this open-air gallery is the longest in the world. More than a hundred paintings by artists from all over the world cover the wall.

To find out more about the story of graffiti in Berlin, take this Street art and graffiti tour. The best part – there is a workshop at the end of the tour, where you’ll learn the different techniques and create your own piece of art.

The most popular works in the East Side Gallery are the Dmitri Vrubel’s Fraternal Kiss and Birgit Kinder’s Trabant breaking through the wall.

Dmitri Vrubel’s Fraternal Kiss
Birgit Kinder’s Trabant

Take a boat cruise along the River Spree

A boat cruise along the River Spree is the perfect way to explore the city in a relaxing way. Plus, you’ll see many of the city’s popular landmarks, including Reichstag, Bellevue Palace, Museum Island, etc.

Have dinner at Schnitzelei

For a tasty Schnitzel, Schnitzelei is the place to go. The Schnitzels are huge and made using local ingredients. They also offer delicious German tapas and have an extended beer menu (plus craft beer).

To discover the best breweries and most famous beers, take this Beer tasting tour. You’ll explore the world of German beer and learn about its fine art of brewing.

Schnitzelei

Day 2: Museum Island, Reichstag, Checkpoint Charlie

Morning

Have breakfast at Zeit für Brot

09:00 AM – 09:40 AM
Zeit für Brot is my favourite bakery in all of Germany. Their speciality is sweet buns with a variety of fillings – chocolate, cinnamon, poppyseed, marzipan and many more. This is what heaven looks for me. The sandwiches are also fantastic.

Zeit für Brot

Explore Museum Island

10:00 AM – 12:30 PM
You can easily spend not 2 hours, but 2 days here. The island houses a complex of 5 museums – Neues Museum, Altes Museum, Pergamon Museum, Bode Museum and Alt Nationalgalerie.

All of the museums can be visited with an individual ticket. Yet, if you plan to visit more than one, buy a Museum pass. It gives you access to all of them, but the price is the same as the entrance ticket to the Pergamon Museum. So, you’ll start saving at the second museum!

Pergamon Museum (Pergamonmuseum)
If you have to choose only one, visit the Pergamon Museum. It is the most popular one. The museum houses antiquity collection, Middle East collections and Islamic artworks. Among its treasures are the Pergamon Altar, the Ishtar Gate of Babylon and the Market Gate of Miletus.

As being so popular, there are always lines even in the winter. Thus, book tickets for the Pergamon Museum in advance in any case.

New Museum (Neues Museum)
Visit the Neues Museum for Egyptian and Early History collections. The most famous item on display is the bust of Egyptian Queen Nefertiti.

The museum is also popular, so book tickets in advance here.

The Old Museum (Altes Museum) features Greek and Roman art and sculptures. The exhibits in Bode Museum include collections of coins and medals, as well as art from the Late Antique and Byzantine periods.

And if you’re an art lover, don’t miss the Old National Gallery (Alte Nationalgalerie). The featured collections include Romanticism, Impressionist and Neoclassical artworks. You can also find an amazing collection of masterpieces by Caspar David Friedrich.

Museum Island

Have lunch at Mogg & Melzer

12:30 PM – 02:00 PM
For lunch stop at Mogg & Melzer Delicatessen. This little restaurant is famous for its home-cured and smoked pastrami. The portion size is generous, so it’s best to share a starter and one sandwich (unless you’re not super hungry).

Mogg & Melzer
Afternoon

Climb the Glass Dome at Reichstag Building

02:00 PM – 03:00 PM
Reichstag building (Reichstagsgebäude) with its iconic Glass Dome is the seat of the German Parliament. You can not only visit the building but climb the glass dome for fantastic views of the city. There is also a rooftop terrace with a nice restaurant.

It’s free to visit the Reichstag, but you have to make online registration at the German Bundestag Service Centre in advance. To enter the building you need a passport or official identification card. Audio guides are available in 11 languages. The Reichstag is open daily from 8 AM until midnight.

To find out more about the city’s turbulent history, take this guided tour of the Reichstag. You’ll learn more about the Brandenburg Gate, Cold War and climb the iconic Glass Dome.

Another option to visit the Reichstag is by reserving a table at Käfer, the rooftop restaurant at the Reichstag. The reservation includes not only free unlimited coffee and tea, but also a piece of cake!

You can reserve your table here.

Reichstag Building
More tours of Reichstag

See the iconic Brandenburg Gate

03:15 PM – 03:30 PM
Brandenburg Gate (Brandenburger Tor) is one of the city’s symbols and a must-see for every tourist. It was built in the 18th century replacing a former city gate. That gate stood on the road to the town of Brandenburg an der Havel. From here comes the current name of the gate.

Napoleon first used the gate for a triumphal procession after he captured the Prussian capital in 1806. After Napoleon’s defeat, it became a Prussian triumphal arch. Only the royal family was allowed to pass through the gate.

Later the Brandenburg Gate symbolizes the division of the city into West and East during the Cold War and then a reunified Germany. Don’t miss seeing it illuminated in the evening.

Brandenburg Gate

Pay respect at the Holocaust Memorial

03:30 PM – 04:00 PM
Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe is dedicated to the 6 million Jewish victims that lost their lives during the Holocaust. The memorial is composed of 2711 rectangular concrete blocks of different heights.

It’s free to visit the Holocaust memorial, as well as the underground Information Centre. There you can hear sobering stories of survivors of the Holocaust.

Holocaust Memorial

Admire at the architecture at Gendarmenmarkt

04:15 PM – 04:45 PM
Gendarmenmarkt is one of the most beautiful city’s squares. Surrounded by three gorgeous buildings, the square gives you a sense of how magnificent the city was in the past.

Here, you’ll find two identical churches facing each other – the French Cathedral and the New Church. The French Cathedral (Französischer Dom) dates from the 17th century, while the German Church (Deutscher Dom) – from the 18th century. Both churches are free to visit.

Gendarmenmarkt

Visit Checkpoint Charlie

05:00 PM – 05:15 PM
Checkpoint Charlie was the most famous crossing point between East and West Berlin during the Cold War. Its name comes from the NATO phonetic alphabet (Alpha, Bravo, Charlie), as it was the third checkpoint opened by the Allies in Berlin.

Today, you can see a replica of the guardhouse and border crossing signs. And it’s the most touristy place in Berlin, so be prepared for crowds.

Checkpoint Charlie

Try the currywurst at Maximilians Berlin

For an authentic German experience, have dinner at Maximilians Berlin. It’s a huge restaurant with great ambience, where all the waiters are dressed in traditional costumes.

Try Bratwurst or Currywurst (the most popular food in Berlin). The latter is a sliced fried pork sausage, served with ketchup seasoned with curry.

Maximilians Berlin
Maximilians Berlin Currywurst

See the VIVID Grand Show

The VIVID Grand Show is a must-see while in Berlin. Experience a breathtaking performance at the biggest theatre stage in the world, Friedrichstadt-Palast. You’ll be entertained by more than 100 artists and dancers in spectacular costumes.

You can book tickets for the VIVID Grand Show here.

Day 3: Charlottenburg Palace, Historical Museum

Morning

Tour the royal Charlottenburg Palace

10:00 AM – 12:30 PM
Charlottenburg Palace (Schloss Charlottenburg) is the most magnificent palace in Berlin. It was built in the 17th century during the reign of the Hohenzollern Dynasty. The palace served as a summer residence of Sophie Charlotte, the first queen of Prussia.

If you like classical music, don’t miss the Berliner Residence Orchestra concert in the Great Orangery. Enjoy a great evening while listening to the most beautiful works of the Baroque era by candlelight.
See all musical events in the Great Orangery.

The admission to the palace includes an audio guide, while the gardens are free to enter.

Charlottenburg Palace

You’ll find the Belvedere tea house and the Mausoleum within the gardens area. The Belvedere houses a large collection of porcelain. The Mausoleum is the final resting place of Queen Louise. It was built by her husband, King Friedrich Wilhelm III after she died aged just 34.

Charlottenburg Palace
Afternoon

Take a look at the ideas below to fill the last afternoon from your 3 days in Berlin.

You can also take a half-day trip to Potsdam, Wannsee or Sachsenhausen concentration camp (more info further in the guide). In this case, you better do in the morning and leave the visit to Charlottenburg Palace for the afternoon.

See the unique Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church

Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church (Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche) is the most unique church in the city. Built in the 19th century, it was badly damaged by bombing raids during WWII. Rather than fully reconstructing the church, it was decided to intercorporate the ruins into a new church.

Today, the church is a memorial that reminds of the horror of the war.

Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church

Learn more about WWII at the Topography of Terror

The Topography of Terror is located at the same place where the headquarters of the Gestapo and SS once stood. The museum traces the history of WWII, featuring an indoor and outdoor exhibition.

In the outdoor exhibition, you’ll find one of the few large remaining sections of the Berlin Wall. And the best part is that the museum is completely free!

Find out how people lived in East Berlin

To get a real feel of what it was to live in the former DDR, visit the DDR Museum. The interactive exhibits include reconstructed apartments and items from daily life. You can even climb into an original Trabant!

Book skip the line ticket for DDR Museum here

See the dinosaur skeletons at the Natural History Museum

If you like dinosaurs, don’t skip a visit to the Natural History Museum. The exhibits feature an impressive collection of dinosaur skeletons, as well as lots of stuffed animals and reptiles.

You can book tickets for the museum here

Natural History Museum

Discover the German history at the Historical Museum

German Historical Museum is a must-visit for every history buff. Here, you’ll find 2000 years of history packed. The exhibitions take you from early-Middle Ages to the present days.

See the celebrities at Madame Tussauds

Don’t miss this opportunity to take a photo with your favourite celebrity stars. Book your ticket for Madame Tussauds here

3 days in Berlin in winter

If you’re visiting the city in the winter, follow the first and second day of this Berlin travel itinerary. For the third day – visit the Charlottenburg Palace in the morning, but skip the gardens. Devote the rest of the day to the Christmas markets (there are more than 80).

Find all you need to know about them in my Berlin Christmas markets guide.

How to save money on your 3-day Berlin itinerary

If you plan to visit more than one museum, buy the 3-Day Museum Pass in any case. The pass includes free entry to over 30 different museums, including the ones on the Museum Island.

To show you how much you can save using the pass following my itinerary, I did the math for you.

Museum Island (Pergamon Museum) – €19
Museum Island (Neues Museum) – €12
German Historical Museum – €12

Total without the pass – €43, if you use it – €29
Total savings – €14

As you can see you’re starting to save at the second museum.

However, if you plan to explore only the museums on Museum Island, buy this 1-Day Museum Pass. It’s valid for one day, only for the museums on Museum Island. The price is the same as the entrance fee to the Pergamon Museum, so it’s a real deal.

Must buy tickets in advance

Berlin TV Tower – book in advance, as tickets are sold for a certain time slot. Otherwise, you’ll have to wait in line first to buy tickets and then – for your time slot (which can be hours ahead). You can reserve your ticket to the tower here.

Museum Island – the most popular museum is the Pergamon Museum. Again, tickets are valid for a certain time slot, so book your tickets in advance here. If you plan to visit more than one museum, buy the Museum pass (the price is the same as the entrance fee to Pergamon Museum).

Reichstag building – you need to reserve in advance online at the German Bundestag Service Centre. And for the rooftop restaurant at the Reichstag, you can reserve a table here

How many days in Berlin

Are 3 days in Berlin enough?

3 days in Berlin is the perfect amount of time to explore the city and see the highlights. You’ll even have time for one half-day trip (like Potsdam or Sachsenhausen).

The itinerary is designed in such a way, that you’ll see the city’s essentials during the first 2 days. The third day includes the Charlottenburg Palace and a few interesting museums.

If you want to make any day trips from Berlin, you can easily modify the last day of the itinerary. Potsdam, Wannsee or Sachsenhausen concentration camp make great half-day trips. You can combine any of them with a visit to Charlottenburg Palace or a museum (in the afternoon).

For my trip to Berlin, I used this DK Eyewitness Travel Guide. I love their travel guides, as they have practical information, walking tours and a durable map!

What if I don’t have 3 full days in Berlin?

If you have less than 3 days in Berlin, skip the last day of the itinerary. Even though Charlottenburg Palace really deserves a visit, it’s out of the city centre. So, if you’re short on time you’d better leave it for another time.

2 or 3 days in Berlin?

Although it’s possible to visit Berlin in 2 days, I’d recommend 3 days (or at least 2 days and a half).

If you’re not into museums, 2 days is enough time to see the city’s highlights. Yet, if you are a museum lover or a WWII buff, I’d recommend you to spend at least 3 (or even 4) days in Berlin. There are some super interesting museums and a lot of WWII sites to explore.

Best time to visit Berlin

For nice weather, visit the city from May to October. Winters are very cold, so unless you’re visiting Berlin for the Christmas markets, avoid the period.

Long Night of Museums (Lange Nacht der Museen) takes place in the last week of August. From 06:00 PM to 02:00 AM more than 70 museums open their doors to visitors. 

During October, the Festival of Lights and Berlin Leuchtet take place and the city becomes a scene of illumination and light art. Berlin Leuchtet is also held at the beginning of March.

In December, the city becomes home to more than 80 Christmas markets! No wonder why the city is called the capital of the German Christmas markets.

Museum Island

Getting around in Berlin

Berlin is a huge city, so even if you stay right in the city centre, for some of the landmarks, you’ll need to use public transport. Don’t worry, the city has an excellent metro system called S-Bahn and U-Bahn. You can even use the S-Bahn to get to Potsdam and Sachsenhausen. To plan your route use this route planner.

You can find a detailed map of the itinerary here

I tried to group the landmarks for the first 2 days in such a way that you can explore the city with minimal use of public transport. You’ll need to use the metro only to get to East Side Gallery and back to the city centre.

For the third day (especially if you plan a half-day trip to Potsdam) I recommend you to buy a day pass. You’ll need Tageskarte Berlin ABC – if you want to visit Potsdam. If you plan to use it only within the city, buy Tageskarte Berlin AB. This pass can also be bought for 4 or 7 days.

The ABC zone also covers the Berlin Schönefeld Airport, while AB only includes areas within the city boundary. So, if you use it on the day of your arrival, buy the pass directly from the Tourist Information Office at the airport.

An alternative to the day pass is the Berlin Welcome Card. The card offers free public transportation (including Potsdam, Tegel and Schönefeld Airport). You’ll also benefit from discounts at 200 attractions.

You can also use the hop-on hop-off sightseeing bus for easy and convenient transportation around the city.

Rotes Rathaus

How to get to Berlin

By train

The Central Station (Hauptbahnhof) is located in the city centre, close to Brandenburg Gate. It is well-connected by S-Bahn and U-Bahn to the rest of the city. Check timetables and book tickets online at Deutsche Bahn official site.

By air

The city has two airports – Tegel Airport (TXL) and Schönefeld Airport (SXF). The easiest way to get from either airport to the city centre is by booking a private transfer directly to your hotel. I love Welcome Pickups because they are always on time and very helpful.

Tegel Airport is located only 12km away from the city. To get there you need to take a shuttle bus (see all buses here).

Schönefeld Airport is connected directly to the city centre by S-Bahn (lines S9 and S45). Trains run every 10mins and the journey is about 30min.

For the best flight deals check out Lufthansa official site (it’s the largest German airline).

Day trips from Berlin

Sachsenhausen concentration camp

Sachsenhausen concentration camp

If you’re interested in WWII, Sachsenhausen is a must-visit. This concentration camp was used primarily for political prisoners till the end of the Third Reich. After its fall, the Soviets used the camp for anti-Communists and Russians.

There is no entrance fee, but you have to pay for an audio guide or to join a guided tour.

How to get to Sachsenhausen
The easiest way is to take a Sachsenhausen Memorial guided tour from Berlin. The advantage is that you won’t deal with how exactly to get there. Plus, you’ll learn in-depth the dark history of the concentration camp.

Another option is visiting the camp individually. Take S-Bahn line S1 to Oranienburg Station. From there it’s about a 2km walk to the site. For more visitor information click here.

Potsdam

Potsdam

Potsdam was the royal city of the Prussian kings until 1918. Today, you can explore the huge palace complex and gardens. Don’t miss the New Palace and Sanssouci Palace (known as the German Versailles).

Potsdam can be done in half a day if you visit only these two palaces and part of the gardens. Yet, it’s best if you have more time to explore the city as well (it’s really nice).

How to get to Potsdam
The easiest way is to take a Sanssouci Palace guided tour from Berlin. Advantages: bus transfer directly from the city centre, guided tour of Potsdam and tour of Sanssouci Palace.

To get there by yourself, take the S-Bahn or the RE trains (it depends on where you’re staying) to Potsdam train station or Charlottenburg station.

Take a cruise

If you’re visiting the city in the summer months, don’t miss the opportunity to take a cruise and explore the beautiful countryside.

Spree Boat Tour to Müggelsee

Take a cruise along the River Spree to Müggelsee, one of the seven largest lakes in the city. Explore the idyllic park landscape of the old town of Köpenick and see its impressive palace.


Berlin-Wannsee World Heritage Cruise

Take this Berlin-Wannsee cruise and explore one of the most beautiful UNESCO World Heritage regions. You’ll cruise through the palaces of Potsdam and Berlin and experience Prussia’s great history.


Dresden

This beautiful Baroque city is known as the Florence at the Elbe. Located about 2h by train from Berlin, the city is a great option for a long day trip. Yet, I’d recommend staying overnight, especially if you’re a museum lover. Don’t miss seeing the Zwinger (a gorgeous Baroque palace) and Frauenkirche.

How to get to Dresden
As the city is not close to Berlin, to get most of your time, I suggest you take an organized day trip to Dresden. You’ll travel comfortably by coach with a local expert guide on board.

Another option is to take a train from Berlin Central train station to Dresden train station (2h journey). The Old Town is just a short walk from the train station.

More day trips from Berlin

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About the author
Avatar Milena Yordanova
I'm a travel blogger based in Sofia, Bulgaria. Travelling has always been my passion and I love to discover new places and cultures. I want to show you how easy it is to organize your vacation all by yourself.

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