HOW TO SPEND 3 DAYS IN BERLIN – culture & historic sites,street food & fun places (updated 2023)
Berlin is one of Europe’s most historic cities and the wall that once divided the city became one of the icons of the Cold War. The large parks scattered throughout Berlin provide a break from the city and an insight into local culture. Add the strong street food culture and iconic nightlife and there’s nothing not to love about Berlin. To top it off, it’s a very budget-friendly city by Central European standards. 3 days in Berlin isn’t enough to dive deep into seeing the whole city, but it will leave you plenty of time to see the famous landmarks, visit the best museums and parks, and enjoy the beer gardens. But, we will give you the best highlights in this 3 day Berlin itinerary.
My biggest piece of advice is to get familiar with the metro because Berlin is massive. Seriously, its land area is almost 10x that of Paris’ and there are so many cool things to do in Berlin. Fortunately, the metro is cheap, well connected, and navigable using Google Maps. I also recommend not packing your itinerary too tight because the attractions are rather spread out. If you’re too ambitious, you may end up spending your vacation rushing between attractions.
A 3 day Berlin itinerary
Exploring Berlin DAY 1
Free Walking Tour
Take a free walking tour around Berlin which is the perfect way to get your bearings in a big city and learn about the history. Walkative’s detailed tour of Berlin’s history was one of the best walking tours I’ve taken.
Visit Berlin Cathedral
A 19th-century church that’s well-known for the tiring climb up to the rotunda of the dome. From here, you can see the contrasting architectural styles between East and West Berlin.
To the east there are rows of apartment buildings with identical communist-style architecture. The cathedral’s interior has royal tombs and an impressive organ with over 7,000 pipes. The entrance to the cathedral is €9.
Photo op at Checkpoint Charlie
Yes, it’s a tourist trap, but it’s still worth a visit due to its historical significance. This intersection was the main checkpoint between East and West Berlin. On the street approaching Checkpoint Charlie, the walls that line the sidewalks are full of worthwhile historic info. I don’t recommend buying anything here because the prices are higher. Also, beware of pickpockets around here.
Doner Kebab from Mustafa’s
Eat at Mustafa’s Gemüse Kebap
Street food culture is alive in Berlin and seeking out the best food stalls was one of the highlights of my visit. Doner kebab is the cream of the crop and Mustafa’s is the city’s most popular spot. On a summer night, you can expect to wait 30-45 minutes in line. Follow in the footsteps of Berliners and buy a beer from a mini-market before hopping in line.
If the wait time turns you off, there is a second location on the east side of the city with a shorter line. Many consider Rüya Gemüse Kebap to be the best in the city and they sure do make a heavenly doner kebab. However, with only 3 days in Berlin, it may not be worth the trek from the center.
The city’s most famous park sits along the former East-West border of Berlin and part of the wall still runs through the park. On a summer night, it’s full of Berliners young and old enjoying the live music, grilling out, and sharing pints. On Sundays the famous Bearpit Karaoke takes place and it certainly lives up to the billing as “the maddest karaoke show on the planet”.
Touring Berlin DAY 2
Topography of Terror
The former Gestapo headquarters is now a free museum documenting the atrocities committed by the Nazi party. I thought this was the best museum in Berlin and it’s so dense with information that I had to visit it twice. For those less interested in learning every detail, there are free daily 1-hour tours. Part of the museum is outdoors, so be sure to check the weather before going.
Topography of Terror
After absorbing all the information at the Topography of Terror, you likely won’t be in the mood for any more museums that day. It makes for the perfect afternoon to visit some of the city’s most iconic landmarks.
The former city gate is Berlin’s most famous landmark and a symbol of unity across Europe. Now, it’s a gathering point where Berliners celebrate New Year’s Eve or watch Germany play in the World Cup. Similar to Checkpoint Charlie, be careful of pickpockets and avoid buying anything here.
Memorial to the Murdered Jews
The abstract memorial to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust is worth a few minutes of your time to slowly walk through it. Its location near the Reichstag parliament building means every politician passes the memorial before each lawmaking session.
Reichstag parliament building
East Side Gallery
After the opening of the Berlin Wall, artists turned a section of it into an open-air art gallery. The most famous painting depicts the fraternal kiss of socialism between the former leaders of the German communist party and the Soviet Union.
The Socialist Fraternal Kiss
Visit a beer garden
The best way to cap off a day in Berlin is with a few pints in a beer garden. These relaxed, communal spaces have been a fixture in German culture since the 1800s.
A popular choice is Prater Biergarten, which is Berlin’s oldest. Another option is Café am Neuen See, which has scenic surroundings in Tiergarten Park.
Explore Berlin DAY 3
This fascinating museum details the state surveillance of the East German secret police, known as the Stasi. In essence, 250,000 agents and collaborators surveilled every resident of East Berlin. The museum is at the former Stasi headquarters and the entrance is €8.
Eat traditional German street food
Currywurst is one of the most common street foods in Berlin and it’s surely the most divisive. Some call the combination of sausage and curry ketchup one of the most addictive foods around and it appalls others.
Although it can’t compete with the fabulous doner kebab around town, I am a big admirer of currywurst. Curry 61 is an iconic currywurst spot where you can find out which side of the argument you fall on.
Museum Blindenwerkstatt Otto Weidt
This free museum tells the story of Otto Weidt, who protected blind and deaf Jews from deportation. It’s hidden from the street and there is a corridor with street art that leads to the entrance. The museum is small and it takes only 30-40 minutes to visit and admire the street art.
After its reopening, the former military airport is now the world’s largest urban park. During the summer, locals congregate here to ride their bikes, barbecue, or play recreational sports. The terminal and airstrips are still intact at this historical airport where the Berlin Airlift took place.
That wraps up the best way to spend 3 days in Berlin. There is a lot to see in this historic city and if you have the time, you could certainly entertain a longer stay. With more than 3 days in Berlin, other attractions that are worth a visit are the DDR Museum, the Charlottenburg Palace, and the Alte National Galerie.
Where to stay in Berin
There’s a variety of acommodations covering the gamut of places, value and location to this 3 day itinerary. For the best rated hotels in Berlin, check out these top reviewed places here for current prices and availability.
Pullman Berlin – located in the heart of the city with beauitful design and edgy details to this modern but casual chic hotel, a gorgeous pool, spa and lounge area to enjoy
Melia Berlin – centrally located and right next to the river with modern appeal, comfortable room and nice amenities and friendly staff and priced affordably
Scandic Berlin Potsdamer Platz – A Modern centrally located hotel with punctual and friendly service, great buffet service and nice rooms and amenities.
For the best rated hotels in Berlin, check out these Trip Advisor top reviewed places here for current prices and availability.
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Conclusion to a 3 day Berlin Itinerary
Hope you enjoyed reading about this visit on this 3 day Berlin itinerary. It’s a fun and easy three day itinerary trip around the city to follow and one you would definitely enjoy. Thanks again for checking out the post and if you enjoyed it please do share it with the social media buttons below.
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