Where to Stay in Berlin (For First-Time Visitors)

A full guide to where to stay in Berlin for first-time visitors (+ the best areas and hotels for sightseeing, shopping, nightlife, Christmas markets and one night).

Berlin, the capital city of Germany, is a cultural and food hub. Once divided in two by the Wall, nowadays the city is a modern multicultural metropolis.

Located on the banks of the Rivers Spree, Berlin is the largest city in Germany. In fact, it’s nine times bigger than Paris! So, choosing the best area to stay in Berlin, could be a challenging task. Especially, if this is your first-time visit to the city.

Luckily, Berlin has an excellent public transport system. The metro system consists of U-Bahn (underground trains) and S-Bahn (suburban trains). They allow you to reach easily every part of the city. Yet, if you don’t want to spend too much time on public transport, I recommend you choose a more central place to stay. Or at least book a hotel near a metro station.

To see the best of the city, follow my in-depth Berlin itinerary. It covers all the must-see sites and the best day trips to take.

The German capital is divided into 12 districts (Bezirk). Each district is further divided into smaller neighbourhoods. The separation of the city into the capitalist West and communist East during the Cold War led to its incredible diversity. Each borough has a unique vibe and personality.

To help you decide where to stay when visiting Berlin, I’ve outlined the best places for sightseeing, nightlife, shopping and Christmas markets. In addition, you can find recommended hotels and apartments for each area.

Where I stayed

I’ve visited Berlin a few times, staying in a different area each time. So far, my favourite location is Alexanderplatz. It’s super convenient for transport links (for the airport and the S-Bahn for Potsdam). Plus, the major attractions are within walking distance and there are plenty of nice restaurants and cafés close by.

My favourite place in the area is H4 Hotel. I love its strategic location, close to a metro station and a few shopping centres. Plus, the beds are super comfy and there are free Sky satellite channels.

If you look for an area that is great for sightseeing, transport links and shopping, look no further than Alexanderplatz.

Most popular hotel in Berlin

Looking for the best hotel to stay in the heart of Berlin?

Then check out NH Collection Mitte – it’s the most popular hotel near Checkpoint Charlie.

NH Collection Mitte – Most popular

This hotel is the perfect place for tourists because of its strategic location next to Checkpoint Charlie. This is the hotel for you if you want to be at a walking distance to everything. Plus, it offers an excellent spa centre, a modern restaurant and public parking.
Why book – central location, close to metro, wellness centre, amazing breakfast

Berliner Fernsehturm

Where to stay in Berlin (for first-time visitors)

Mitte – best area to stay in Berlin for a first-time visitor

Where to stay in Berlin as a tourist? It’s important to choose a good location unless you want to spend most of your time commuting.

The best place to stay in Berlin for sightseeing is the Mitte district (the southern part). Mitte is the city’s oldest district and its historical centre. During the Cold War, this was the centre of the communist East.

Visiting as a tourist? Then don’t miss to take advantage of the Berlin Welcome Card, which includes free public transportation and discounts at 200 attractions.
Where to stay in Berlin for a first-time visitor?

Mitte is the most central place to stay in Berlin. It’s the best choice for tourists or first-timers. The area is home to the most iconic landmarks, like Museum Island, Brandenburg Gate, Berlin TV Tower. Plus, everything you need is just around the corner.

Why stay in Mitte district

  • It’s a central location, within reach of the historic sights.
  • Potsdamer Platz, Friedrichstraße Bahnhof, Alexanderplatz – three of the city’s major transportation hubs are within the area.
  • Convenient access to the Central railway station and Brandenburg Airport using the S-Bahn and U-Bahn.
  • A large portion of the tourist attractions is here. You can easily explore the city by walking (the distance between the sights is reasonable).
  • Take a stroll on the city’s most famous boulevard Unter den Linden.
  • Spend a day in the world-renowned museums on Museum Island. You can buy a Museum Pass that includes all the museums on Museum Island (plus, you’ll skip some of the lines).
  • See the iconic Brandenburg Gate illuminated at night.
  • Enjoy a unique panorama of the city from the viewing platform of the TV Tower. Don’t forget to buy tickets for the tower in advance (the lines are huge).
  • See Checkpoint Charlie – the famous crossing point between East and West Berlin.
  • Explore Hackescher Markt, an area full of small designer shops. There is also a weekly market on Thursdays and Saturdays from 09:00 AM to 06:00 PM. There you can find homemade products, antiques and unique items.

Hotels in Mitte (Best for couples)

ARCOTEL John F – Most popular

This is the most popular hotel in the heart of Berlin and for a reason. You can’t find a better location. The hotel is in a very walkable part of the city, right next to the Museum Island. The rooms are spacious and feature a modern design.
Why book – superb location, 100m from Museum Island, restaurant and bar on-site

Mercure Hotel Checkpoint Charlie – Best rated

If you look for both comfort and superb location at an affordable price, this is the best place. It’s only 5min from Checkpoint Charlie and 3min from a metro station. Modern big rooms, perfect for a rest after a whole day of sightseeing.
Why book – 200m from Checkpoint Charlie, bicycle rental, attentive personal

Hotels in Mitte (Best for families)

NH Collection Mitte am Checkpoint Charlie – Most popular

This is the most popular family hotel near Checkpoint Charlie. The location is strategic for exploring the city on foot (right in the heart of Berlin). The hotel features soundproofed rooms, excellent spa facilities and restaurant on-site.
Why book – 350m from Checkpoint Charlie, wellness centre, excellent breakfast

Park Plaza Wallstreet Mitte – Best rated

Situated right next to Museum Island, this hotel is the perfect base for sightseeing. Quiet area with a metro station just around the corner. The spacious rooms feature a modern design inspired by the New York Stock Exchange.
Why book – 100m from Museum Island, public parking nearby, comfy beds

Best luxury hotels in Mitte

The Westin Grand – Most popular

The Westin Grand offers airy and bright rooms with fantastic amenities. The location is ideal, 2min walk from the famous Unter den Linden Boulevard and near the tourist attractions. The hotel features a great restaurant and a spa centre with a swimming pool. It’s a perfect place for a luxurious stay.
Why book – 100m from Unter den Linden Boulevard, wellness centre, garden, superb beds

Titanic Gendarmenmarkt – Best rated

For a luxury city break at an affordable price, stay at Titanic Gendarmenmarkt. It is right next to Gendarmenmarkt Square, close to key museums. Plus, the hop-on-hop-off buses stop just around the corner. The hotel features a grill restaurant with a show kitchen and a spa centre with an authentic Turkish steam bath.
Why book – next to Gendarmenmarkt, grill restaurant, wellness centre, wide selection at breakfast

Best apartments in Mitte

Adina Apartment Hotel Checkpoint Charlie – Most popular

This aparthotel offers big apartments with full kitchen and laundry. And if you don’t want to eat out, there is a grocery store on the next street. Yet, the best part is that you can enjoy a spa treatment after a long day of sightseeing.
Why book – 500m from Checkpoint Charlie, spa with indoor pool, tapas restaurant, excellent amenities

Clipper City Home Apartments – Best rated

Modern stylish apartments with a kitchenette. Great location, with access to two train stations and next to Friedrichstraße shopping street. The area is quiet and safe.
Why book – 100m from Unter den Linden Boulevard, underground garage, Italian restaurant, easy check-in

East Side Gallery

Friedrichshain – Where to stay in Berlin for nightlife

Where to stay in Berlin to party? If clubbing is your thing, then stay in Friedrichshain or the eastern part of Kreuzberg. This area features the best bars and clubs in the city. It’s the heart and the soul of the city’s nightlife scene.

Where to stay in Berlin for nightlife

  • Friedrichshain – most popular nightlife area with an indie vibe and international atmosphere
  • Kreuzberg (eastern part) – home to many clubs and bars, especially around Wranglerkiez and Köttbusser Tor

Friedrichshain is a colourful and vibrant neighbourhood. If you look for nightlife, indie vibe and international atmosphere – don’t stay anywhere else. This is the place for you.

Located east of Mitte district, the area is still central and well-connected to the historical city centre of Berlin. You can reach it within 15-20min using the metro.

Kreuzberg is a large district south of the Spree River. It’s a multicultural neighbourhood. Kreuzberg is packed with vintage shops, canalside food markets and hipster bars.

Yet, if you’re in Berlin to party, stay in the eastern side. The areas of Wranglerkiez and Köttbusser Tor are quite popular for nightlife. Plus, you’ll be just a short walk from the clubs in Friedrichshain.

Why stay in Friedrichshain district

  • A vibrant neighbourhood with great bars and clubs
  • Easy access to the historic centre – only a couple of stops away (from Ostbahnhof and Warschauer Straße stations)
  • Take an East Side boat cruise along the River Spree
  • East Side Gallery – an open-air gallery, painted on the remains of the former Wall
  • Oberbaumbrücke – the most beautiful bridge in the city. It connects Friedrichshain and Kreuzberg
  • Berghain – a world-famous techno club (and known as the toughest one to get into)
  • RAW-Gelände – a former train station covered in graffiti. This is also the place where some of the best nightclubs in Friedrichshain are
  • Boxhagener Kiez – a small park, home to plenty of quirky bars and cafes

Schulz Hotel East Side Gallery – Most popular

This is the most popular hotel to stay in East Berlin. It features a modern design with a city vibe. The hotel is next to the Berlin Wall, in an area with plenty of nice bars and cafés. Ostbahnhof train station is just outside the hotel, so travelling to Mitte and the airport is easy as can be.
Why book – next to East Side Gallery, beer garden, vegetarian options for breakfast

Holiday Inn East Side – Closest to the nightlife area

This is the best place to stay in Berlin for nightlife. The hotel is just a short walk from the main nightlife areas – RAW-Gelände and Boxhagener Kiez. Moreover, there is a mall and a lot of trendy restaurants nearby. Great transport links, including metro and a ferry stop for river cruises.
Why book – the best location to party, next to East Side Gallery, bar and restaurant on-site

Gendarmenmarkt Christmas market

Where to stay in Berlin for Christmas markets

Wondering where to stay in Berlin for Christmas markets? If you’re visiting the city in December to explore the Christmas markets, Mitte is the place to be. Almost all of the main markets are within the historic city centre of Berlin.

Check out my guide to find out which are the best Christmas markets in Berlin. Also, don’t miss to visit the Christmas Garden, which takes place every year in the Botanical Gardens.

However, the most convenient place is around Checkpoint Charlie (near metro line U2). You’ll be at a walking distance from the most popular Christmas market, Gendarmenmarkt. This is the place to stay for New Year’s Eve, as there is a big DJ party with fireworks at Gendarmenmarkt.

In addition, the handy metro line U2 will take you in no time to the markets at Alexanderplatz, Potsdamer Platz, Tiergarten and Charlottenburg Palace.

Why stay near Checkpoint Charlie

  • you’ll be at walking distance to 3 Christmas markets
  • easy access to the rest of them by the S-Bahn
  • just a short walk from the main tourist attractions
  • convenient area for transport links (S-Bahn and U-Bahn)

NH Collection Mitte am Checkpoint Charlie – Best mid-range

NH Collection Mitte is the best place to stay in Berlin for Christmas markets. The hotel is at a walking distance from 3 of the Christmas markets. And to visit the rest of them just take metro line U2 from Stadtmitte station. The soundproof rooms feature an elegant design.
Why book – close to 3 Christmas markets, wellness centre, amazing breakfast

Regent – Luxury option

For a truly special Christmas, there is only one place to stay – Hotel Regent. It’s ideally located on Gendarmenmarkt Square, where the best Christmas market is. The rooms combine classical design with iconic Biedermeier furniture and modern amenities.
Why book – next to Gendarmenmarkt market, spa centre, airport shuttle, superior service

The Mandala Suites – Apartments

If you prefer an apartment for your winter break, this is the best option. Located next to Gendarmenmarkt Christmas market, this aparthotel features modern suites. The spacious apartments are airy and quiet with a fully equipped kitchenette.
Why book – 150m from Gendarmenmarkt market, spa centre, public parking


Where to stay in Berlin for shopping

There are two main shopping areas featuring plenty of shopping malls and streets – Alexanderplatz and Breitscheidplatz. Both are well-connected (by S-Bahn and U-Bahn) to each other and the historic centre.

Where to stay in Berlin for shopping

  • Alexanderplatz – home to a few big shopping malls and Hackescher Markt (a popular square with designer shops)
  • Breitscheidplatz – home to KaDeWe (the second-largest department store in Europe) and the famous shopping boulevard Kurfürstendamm


Alexanderplatz is a great place to stay for both shopping and sightseeing. There you’ll find a few shopping malls (amongst the biggest ones are Galeria Kaufhof, Alexa and Rathauspassagen). For small designer shops, visit Hackescher Markt.

The location is also great for foodies, featuring hipster cafes and restaurants. And the best part is that you’ll be only 500m away from Museum Island.

H4 Hotel Alexanderplatz – Most popular

H4 Hotel is the best place to stay in Berlin for shopping and sightseeing. It’s just a short walk from 3 major shopping centres. Getting to central Berlin is easy, as Alexanderplatz is a major transport hub. The modern rooms feature comfy beds and free Sky satellite channels.
Why book – 200m from Galeria Kaufhof, Sky satellite channels, public parking


Breitscheidplatz is home to Kaufhaus des Westens (KaDeWe), the second-largest department store in Europe. This is the place to go for high-end shopping. For retailer brands, visit Europe-Center, Bikinihaus and Kranzler Eck. Also, the city’s most famous shopping boulevard, Kurfürstendamm, is here.

Although Breitscheidplatz looks a little bit far from the historic centre, you can reach it in less than 15min by public transport. Plus, the area is full of great little restaurants.

RIU Plaza am Kurfürstendamm – Most popular

If shopping is your priority, RIU Plaza is the perfect place for you. The hotel is only a 5min walk from the largest department store in Europe. Rooms are modern, functional and feature fantastic city views.
Why book – 300m from KaDeWe, 24-hour front desk, city views

Pullman Schweizerhof – Luxury option

For a luxury city break, stay at Pullman. This international hotel offers a superb wellness centre with a heated pool and a nice restaurant with creative cuisine. Plus, KaDeWe and Europe-Center are just a short walk away.
Why book – 600m from KaDeWe, spa centre with heated pool, excellent room service

Brandenburg Gate

Friedrichstraße Bahnhof – Where to stay in Berlin for one night

If you have only one night in Berlin, the best place to stay is close to Friedrichstraße Bahnhof. This is also a great area if you look for a place with super convenient transport links.

Friedrichstraße Bahnhof is a major transport hub. You’re just one metro stop away from the Central Railway Station. It’s easy to catch an international train or travel to the Brandenburg Airport. Plus, you’ll avoid the not so pleasant area around the Central train station. 

Yet, the best part is that you’re right in the historic city centre, at a walking distance to the major attractions.

Why stay near Friedrichstraße Bahnhof

  • you’ll be at a short walk to tourist attractions and transport links
  • Central Railway Station is just one stop away with the U-Bahn
  • easy access to Brandenburg airport (express trains RE7 or RB14)

NH Collection Friedrichstrasse – Most popular

If you look for a hotel near a train station, this is the most popular option. The location is perfect for transport links, just opposite the Friedrichstraße train station. And the best part – it’s an easy walk to the major attractions, including Museum Isle and Brandenburg Gate.
Why book – convenient location next to Friedrichstraße Bahnhof, 24-hour front desk, WiFi

Meliá – Best rated

Meliá is situated on the banks of the River Spree, less than 2min walk to Friedrichstraße train station. It’s a great hotel, perfectly positioned for transport links and restaurants. Safe area, within a walking distance to the main attractions.
Why book – 100m from Friedrichstraße Bahnhof, 24-hour front desk, superb breakfast

Where to stay in Berlin first time

Hotel Rating Reviews
NH Collection Berlin Mitte8.7See 6,980+ reviews
ARCOTEL John F8.8See 3,500+ reviews
Mercure Hotel Checkpoint Charlie9.0See 2,820+ reviews
Park Plaza Wallstreet Mitte8.7See 5,120+ reviews
The Westin Grand8.8See 3,270+ reviews
Titanic Gendarmenmarkt8.9See 2,570+ reviews

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About the author

Avatar Milena Yordanova
I am a full-time traveller and I have visited over 20 countries across 2 continents. Travelling has always been my passion and I love to discover new places, cultures and food. I’m an expert in travel planning and I am here to help you plan your dream vacation.

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