Herzlich Willkommen in Berlin!
Germany’s capital is the ultimate phoenix city. After all the turbulence of the 20th-century events, Berlin proudly exhibits its scars and has reborn into an international creative hub that attracts people from all over the world. Why? Perhaps its due to its overflowing and vibrant energy, or maybe its quirky and artsy touch, but there’s also the more historical and deep aspect of its personality to blame.
So if you hear Berlin calling and are ready to embark on your next European trip keep reading to find out the best places to stay in Berlin.
But just before you scroll down, to getter a better feel of the city, embark on a (1) cinematic journey through Berlin's streets, (2) skate around “Die Hauptstadt” and (3) fly over the Berlin Wall with these awesome Travideo's curated travel videos.
Flying to Berlin
Berlin has 2 operating airports offering great connections to the city: Tegel (TXL) in the north-west and Schönefeld (SXF) in the south-east area.
If you wish to take public transportation there are the regional/S-Bahn trains and buses from SFX and buses from TXL to the city centre and surrounding areas.
But keep up with the news as in the near future (scheduled for October 2020) Tegel will cease to function, Schönefeld will be extended and Berlin Brandenburg Airport (BER) will open.
Getting around Berlin
The BVG (Berlin Transportation Service) has a dense and public transport network: U-Bahn (subway), Bus, S-Bahn (train) and Tram. The subway has 10 lines and runs 24/7 on weekends while during weekdays you can get home a bit later by taking a night bus.
If you don’t enjoy sitting down with the crowds you can always flag down one of the many taxis in town, use the bike sharing system “Call a Bike” set up by the Deutsche Bahn (you’ll have to download the app) or hire a car (not considered the best option though, parking places are not always easy to find). But forget about taking an Uber, this car-hailing service has been banned in Germany.
Where to stay in Berlin
Berlin is vastly spread throughout its many districts and offers a wide range of accommodation options. Many choose to stay in Mitte, the city’s centre, but rarely does one size fit all and as we do know that, we have selected for you the best five places to stay in Berlin.
A visit to this wide borough is mandatory, as this is the historical heart of the city preserving many of its monuments and museums such as the iconic Brandenburg Gate, Berlin’s most famous landmark (feel free to check some of the best Berlin hotels with a Brandenburg Gate view).
But there's much more than Mitte’s the eye in Berlin’s first borough: the Museum Island (a culture lover’s paradise island floating in the river Spree hosting five unique museums and the stunning Berlin Cathedral), the Holocaust Memorial, the Kosmiche Oper (staging unforgettable and perfection crowned musicals, operettas and operas), the Tiergarten park (the lung of the city center), the famous Gedenkstätte Berliner Mauer (Berlin Wall Memorial), the Reichstag (be sure to pre-book your free entry upon visiting the iconic German Parliament) and the Berlin TV Tower (always worth your way up to enjoy the 360° breath-taking views over the city). Side note: should you wish to enjoy a fabulous view over this Berlin's modern symbol, check-in at Park Inn by Radisson Berlin Alexanderplatz.
So a lot to see in this neighbourhood but what about enjoying the views without even leaving the comfort of your room? Sounds interesting? Then check these top 3 hotel picks around Mitte:
- Hotel Adlon Kempinski Berlin: Pariser Platz (a beautiful square on the eastern side of the Brandenburg Gate) is one of this legendary hotel’s best views. Einstein, Charles Chaplin and many others have fully enjoyed staying at this former military hospital that is now a renowned luxury hotel.
- Hotel de Rome – Rocco Forte: yet another majestic hotel occupying a historical building. Highly-rated for its facilities, gourmet cuisine, welcoming staff, and excellent location (on the historic Bebelplatz Square). For some panoramic views over the city, head up to the hotel’s rooftop terrace, sit back, order a drink and relax while you overlook St. Hedwig’s Cathedral (the most important catholic building in Berlin), The State Opera House, Berlin TV Tower, and Unter den Linden boulevard.
- Das Stue Hotel: nestled in a green and quiet location by the Tiergarten Park, this is a contemporary retreat with great views over the Berlin Zoo and the Kaiser-Wilhelm Memorial Church. Enjoy a Michelin-starred meal at the indoor “5-Cinco by Paco Perez” Spanish restaurant and later go for a stroll around the city’s central park.
This former working-class neighbourhood, part of former East Berlin, has undergone a revamp in the last years and bloomed into one of the coolest in Berlin. Casual restaurants and bars, design boutiques, art galleries, and year-round events attract young families and trendy souls to Mitte’s more relaxed and bohemian sibling. Have breakfast around Kollwitzplatz in one of its many nice cafés, grab a fresh beer in Prater Garten and also stop by the joyful Sunday Flea Market in Mauerpark (where besides shopping around you can enjoy live performances and show off your vocal skills on a public karaoke experience).
The most alternative and revolutionary neighbourhood in Berlin: LGBTQI-friendly, graffiti-covered, and home to punk rock (SO36 club proves it) and a vibrant nightlife. This neighbourhood's must-sees include the Checkpoint Charlie (the best known border crossing between the two points of the Berlin Wall), the Jewish Museum Berlin (culturally rich to say the least), the Topography of Terror (guess the name says it all – it’s a historical museum in the SS and Gestapo’s former headquarters) and the artificial 24-metre-high waterfall and vineyards in Viktoriapark. After all the touring go for some bites at Markthalle Neun and enjoy a varied culinary experience.
Nhow Berlin, Europe’s first music hotel, has been long sounding its melody by the river Spree in the epicentre of Berlin’s creative outbursts. Affordable, eclectic and buzzing with the best clubs in town, Friedrichshain is a favourite among young travellers. The East Side Gallery, an outdoor art exhibition in the longest stretch of the Berlin Wall, cannot go unmissed in this neighbourhood and nor can Karl-Marx-Allee boulevard (formerly called Stalinallee), a showcase of socialist architecture stretching for two kilometres from Alexanderplatz to Frankfurter Tor.
The Kurfürstendamm Avenue (Ku’Damm), located in Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf - the wealthiest and most upscale area in Berlin - is where some of the best hotels, high-end restaurants, baroque gardens, cafés and shops can be found. Among the best hotels to stay you will find the Hotel Zoo Berlin with an interesting view over the Protestant Kaiser-Wilhelm Memorial Church (West Berlin’s peace landmark) and located minutes away from the Berlin Zoo, the elegant Intercontinental Berlin and the spacious and comfortable Swissôtel Berlin Kurfürstendamm. Also with a great view over the Zoo and the city centre is the 25 Hours Hotel Bikini Berlin, one of Berlin’s hippest hotels.
In this German Champs-Elysées also stands the biggest palace in Berlin, the rococo Charlottenburg Palace. The largest green space in Berlin - Grunewald (or Green Park) - is where nature lovers may breathe some fresh air and enjoy the quietness. It comprehends such a vast area that it hides a former NSA spy station Teufelsberg (or Devil’s Mountain), located in the highest point in Berlin and offering one of the best views over the city.
Other things to do and see in Berlin
- Kaufhaus des Westens (aka KaDeWe), located in Schöneberg’s district, is Europe’s largest department store. It’s been open since 1907, comprising an area of 60,000 square metres and hosting high-quality goods and services.
- One of the things that make Berlin such a special place is its legacy of abandoned ruins. Among them is the Tempelhofer Feld, a former airport where only kites take off now. In this huge playground, you can join locals as they bike, jog, play sports, enjoy some family time or simply relax.
- For a summertime dive, head off to Strandbad Wannsee, a bathing prime spot located in southwest Berlin in the district of Zehlendorf.
- And yet another unexpected spot south of central Berlin (Alt-Treptow) and in the middle of Treptower Park, is the impressive Soviet War Memorial, the largest in Germany and one of the three erected in Berlin (the others can be found in Tiergarten, Mitte and Schönholzer Heide, Pankow).
In need for some additional inspiration?