Germany's capital Berlin has an extraordinary variety of attractions, a rich cultural life and a lively but relaxed lifestyle. Due to its unique flair, Berlin is one of the most visited cities in the world. With almost 4 million inhabitants, it is the largest and most populous city in Germany. Berlin is divided into twelve districts and the rivers Spree and Havel lie between the many lakes and forests. The two rivers give you the opportunity to explore Berlin's sights from the water. Berlin's main attractions include numerous shopping opportunities, extraordinary museums, a rich history, an endless selection of international restaurants and impressive architecture.

Top attractions in Berlin

  1. Brandenburg Gate
  2. Reichstag Building
  3. Berlin TV Tower
  4. Humboldt Forum
  5. Gendarmenmarkt 
  6. Berlin Wall Monument
  7. Charlottenburg 
  8. Museum Island
  9. Holocaust Memorial
  10. Tiergarten Park
  11. Unter den Linden 
  12. Checkpoint Charlie 

1. Brandenburg Gate

This 18th-century neoclassical monument and one of Germany's most recognisable landmarks is one of Berlin's most famous attractions. It is the only surviving one of a total of 18 city gates and symbolises the overcoming of the division of Germany.

Brandenburg Gate

2. Reichstag Building

This is the home of the German parliament and is a must-see in Berlin. Take a leisurely stroll up to the glass domed roof for amazing 360 degree views of the city, as well as learning about Germany’s political history. 

Reichstag Building

3. Berlin TV tower

At 368 metres, the Berlin TV Tower is the tallest building in Germany and offers a unique viewing platform including a bar and revolving restaurant. The tower has become one of the country's most recognisable symbols, ranks among the top ten most popular attractions in Germany with more than 1,000,000 visitors a year and is a frequent feature in films set in Berlin.

Berlin TV tower

4. Humboldt Forum

The museum and event building combines the converted baroque facades of the former royal palace with a modern interior and exhibits non-European art. It mainly houses the non-European collections of the Berlin State Museums, temporary exhibitions and hosts public events.

Humboldt Forum

5. Gendarmenmarkt

The Gendarmenmarkt is Berlin's most beautiful public square, an architectural ensemble with the Berlin Concert Hall and the French and German Churches. In the middle of the square stands a monumental statue of the poet Friedrich Schiller. The square was laid out as a lime tree market by Johann Arnold Nering at the end of the 17th century and reconstructed in 1773 by Georg Christian Unger. The Gendarmenmarkt is named after the “Gens d'Armes” cuirassier regiment, which had stables on the square until 1773. The square hosts the annual Christmas market and an open air concert is held here in July.

Panoramic view of the famous Gendarmenmarkt with the historic Berlin Concert Hall and the German and French churches

6. Berlin Wall Memorial

The 60 metre long section of the Berlin Wall, built in 1998, serves as a national memorial to commemorate the victims of the Berlin Wall and the division of Berlin.

Berlin Wall Memorial

7. Charlottenburg

This palace was built at the end of the 17th century and greatly expanded in the 18th century. The elaborate interior decoration is characterised by baroque and rococo. A large garden surrounded by forests was created behind the palace with a viewpoint, a mausoleum, a theatre and a pavilion. Badly damaged during World War II, the palace has since been rebuilt. Formerly used as a summer residence by kings, it now serves as a museum where you can admire the Porcelain Cabinet, the Golden Gallery and many paintings.

Charlottenburg

8. Museum Island

Listed as a Unesco World Heritage Site, this unique ensemble of five museums housed in historical buildings is nestled between the Spree River and the Spree Canal in the heart of Berlin. The museums include the Altes Museum, the Neues Museum, the Pergamon Museum, the Bode Museum and the Alte Nationalgalerie. The James Simon Gallery, a new visitor centre and art gallery, opened in 2019. Please note that the Pergamon Museum is temporarily closed to visitors due to extensive renovation work. Not only is the spectrum of collections, ranging from prehistory to 19th century art, worth seeing, but also the beautiful architecture of the historic buildings, one of the most beautiful architecture Berlin has to offer. The historic Berlin Cathedral is also located on Museum Island.

UNESCO World Heritage Museum Island on the Spree and famous television tower

9. Holocaust Memorial

Located directly opposite the Tiergarten and US Embassy, this memorial is dedicated to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust and contains 2711 rectangular concrete slabs in a grid pattern that take up the size of approximately two football pitches. 

Holocaust Memorial

10. Tiergarten

The Tiergarten is the largest park in Berlin and one of the largest in Europe, standing at 519 acres. It’s popular with skaters, joggers and people who just want to walk around in nature in an inner-city park setting. 

11. Unter den Linden

This famous boulevard stretches out over 1.5 km and connects many of Berlin’s most famous monuments and attractions from the Brandenburg Gate, right through to Museum Island. There are also many shops and cafes for you to peruse through. 

12. Checkpoint Charlie 

A popular tourist hotspot, Checkpoint Charlie was formerly a crossing point between West and East Germany, until the Berlin Wall fell in 1989. Contrary to popular belief, it is not named after an American soldier, but the letter C in the phonetic alphabet, as America had three checkpoints named A, B and C. 

Checkpoint Charlie

Top activities in Berlin

  1. Aquadom & Sea Life Berlin
  2. Zoological Garden 
  3. Walking tours 
  4. Parks
  5. River Spree Tour

1. Aquadom & Sea Life Berlin

The Aquadom & Sea Life Berlin is an absolute must-see in the capital. Here children and adults have a lot of fun admiring the sea creatures such as rays, sharks, sea anemones, starfish and many others. You can also watch the animals being fed at set times.

2. Zoological Garden

Germany's oldest and the world's most species-rich Zoological Garden is also located in Berlin. Around 1,500 species with 15,000 animals live here. The giant pandas are among the absolute highlights of the zoo. There are also gorillas, giraffes, Chilean flamingos, two-toed sloths and many other rare and beautiful animals, as well as a petting zoo.

Elephant Gate entrance of the Berlin zoological garden

3. Walking Tours

A guided walking tour is a great way to see the city and all its history on foot. There are many options, from visiting the top tourist attractions to exploring Berlin's hidden back alleys and neighbourhoods.

4. Parks

There are hundreds of green spaces in Berlin, from the already mentioned Tiergarten, the largest in Berlin, to the Charlottenburg Palace Park, the Lustgarten in the middle of Museum Island, to the Mauerpark, where part of the Berlin Wall stood, to mention some of the most important ones. 

5. River Spree Tour

If you fancy taking more of a scenic route and don’t want to walk, consider a boat tour along the River Spree on one of their many tours. There are many different themes, such as a historic city cruise, bridge tour, an evening tour and a tour of 7 lakes from Wannsee to Potsdam. With an audio guide you can learn more about the history of Berlin. The departure takes place in the Nikolaiviertel.

River Spree Tour passing by Museum Island with Berlin Cathedral

Islam and mosques in Berlin

The proportion of Muslims, mostly guest workers from Türkiye and the Balkan countries, is just under 8%. Due to its diversity of cultures, the Kreuzberg district is also called “Little Istanbul”. The many halal restaurants and shops as well as the Berlin mosque with its minaret in the middle of the city have their own charm.

In Berlin you can find just about anything you could want, from hookah bars to Muslim fashion and wedding dresses. Since the cityscape is characterised by an above-average proportion of Muslim residents, as a Muslim visitor to the city it is easy to feel a sense of belonging.

There are a total of 7 mosques and 91 Islamic prayer rooms in Berlin. Most of these are small backyard prayer rooms that can be found using Google Maps. There are also some with minarets.

Sehitlik Mosque

This impressive building is considered the most beautiful mosque in Berlin and has two minarets almost 40 metres high and a large dome about 21 metres high. It was built between 1999 and 2005 as an octagon with columns and supporting arches based on traditional Ottoman architecture of the 16th and 17th centuries. It can accommodate 1500 believers.

Sehitlik Mosque

Dar as-Salam Mosque

The Dar as-Salam Mosque is an important place of congregation for Berlin's Muslim community with a blend of traditional and modern elements.

Mevlana Mosque 

The Mevlana Mosque is an important place of worship for the Turkish community in Berlin. It features a striking architectural design and is known for its vibrant cultural events and festivals that showcase Turkish traditions.

Umar Ibn Al-Khattab Mosque 

The Umar Ibn Al-Khattab Mosque is one of the oldest mosques in Berlin and has a distinctive white exterior.

Ahmadiyya Mosque (Berlin Mosque)

The extraordinary mosques in Berlin include the oldest mosque in Germany, the Ahmadiyya Mosque, also called Berlin Mosque. Its unique architecture is similar to the Taj Mahal in India and is a true gem.

Ahmadiyya Mosque

Halal food and restaurants in Berlin

Due to the large Turkish population, there is no shortage of Turkish and halal restaurants in Berlin, whether you are in the city or in the surrounding neighbourhoods. There are also very popular markets such as the must-visit Markthalle Neun, where all kinds of fresh produce such as fruits and vegetables, cheese, fish, eggs, spices, cakes, cookies, chocolate and much more are sold. There are also a number of food festivals that take place here, such as the Berlin Coffee Festival, the Stadt Land Food Festival and the Cheese Festival

Street food has grown in popularity around the world over the last decade and Berlin is no exception to this growing trend. The small snack truck with its long queues near Kreuzberg is a cult in Berlin and a must for every kebab lover! Many wait up to an hour to try the unique doner kebab. What makes it so special are the fried vegetables and the various spices in the kebab.

Located in the Kreuzberg area, Mustafa’s Gemüse Kebab has a cult following in Berlin, which gained popularity via local and international press and word-of-mouth recommendations for its Gemuse Kebab. It is a street vendor that attracts people from all over the city that queue for up to an hour on a busy day to eat what many say is the best kebab in Berlin. Ingredients include doner meat, plenty of vegetables, garlic and chilli sauce, topped with feta cheese. 

Also in Kreuzberg, Hasir Ocakbaşı offers up some of the best Turkish food you’ll eat in Berlin. They have a wide range of halal Turkish food such as kebabs, homemade mezze and delicious desserts to keep you very full and satisfied. While there are plenty of non-alcoholic drinks on offer at Hasir, do note however that alcohol drinks are served here. 

The world-famous Berliner Döner is the most popular street food in the city and can be found in many street stalls, fast food outlets and restaurants. So popular is the Doner Kebab, that there are now more stores selling it in Berlin than Istanbul. A typical kebab is made from chicken, veal or beef encased in pitta bread, with a selection of sauces, grilled vegetables, salad and cheese. If you want a meat alternative, A vegetarian Berliner Doner is also becoming increasingly popular.

There are also places where you can a halal Currywurst too, which was invented in Berlin just after World War II. Literally meaning curry sausage in English, street stalls typically serve a smoked sausage, which is then boiled and fried, smothered with tomato based curry sauce and served with chips.  

The Arabic pastry shop Damascus on Sonnenallee enchants customers and lets them taste the beauty of the Orient. From dry pastries to baklava varieties with cheese, there is a wide range of different delicious treats.

The Halalicious Store is the dream of every Muslim sweet tooth. All sweets are halal. In addition to the “Pick & Mix” service, you can buy mixed bags and cups.

The small snack bar Kumru Izmirli Mustafa Usta in Neukölln is an absolute insider tip in Berlin. Here you can find the famous Izmir sandwich called Kumru, strips of fried halal sausage, sucuk (spicy beef sausage) and salami in a fresh sesame bun with pickles and sauce. The inconspicuous-looking sandwich prepares a real taste explosion with a risk of addiction! The service and the ambience are also highly praised.

How to get around in Berlin

As you’d expect from a major European city like Berlin, using public transportation is extremely easy. To get around there are trains, subways, trams, S-Bahn, buses, bike rentals and scooters.

A little advice: Be sure to buy a WelcomeCard, a Berlin 72hr card, before arriving, which will cost you €40 and give you access to all public transport in the city and surrounding areas of Potsdam and the airport, saving you the hassle of buying daily tickets. There are also taxis with apps such as Uber and Bolt that can get you to wherever you need to get to.

That being said, Berlin is a very walkable city with all the major tourist attractions all reachable easily by foot. Thanks to its infrastructure, Berlin is also popular with cyclists. Cycling is not only healthy, but also saves you from looking for a parking space and congestion in city traffic. In addition, many sights can be easily reached by bike. There are many attractive offers for bike tours to explore the capital. For example, you can ride to one of the lakes or take a tour of the Tiergarten. Thanks to the large number of bike rentals, you don't even have to take your own bike with you in the car. There is a rental of e-scooters, mopeds and bicycles on every street corner. Access to rental is simple via the corresponding free application.

Berlin is popular with cyclists

Where to shop in Berlin 

Whether you’re after a bargain or high-end fashion, Berlin is a place to suit all budgets. Hackescher Markt is a fashion district where boutique labels and stores can be found on every turn. Shop at Kurfürstendamm, Berlin's famous shopping boulevard where you’ll find high-end boutiques as well as popular fashion chains and department stores, this street stretches out several kilometres and offers a variety of shopping experiences. While you’re there, don’t skip the Kaufhaus Des Westens (KaDeWe) department store, one of Europe's largest and most prestigious. There are also boutiques and shopping opportunities on Berlin's oldest boulevard, Unter den Linden. For high street items, Alexanderplatz is the perfect place to shop, as well as being near many tourist attractions. 

Where to stay in Berlin?

Halalbooking has a great choice of selected properties with unique characters and locations that will make your holiday more personalised.

Choose between world-renowned hotels with the best views of the city:

Vienna House Easy by Wyndham offers views of the Berlin TV Tower. The Ritz-Carlton Berlin overlooks the historic Potsdamer Platz district. nHow Berlin is located right on the River Spree. Hotel Atlas Berlin is one of the only hotels in Berlin that offers halal food only. 

Suggested 4-day Berlin Itinerary

Day 1 - Head towards Alexander Platz, where you’ll find the TV Tower. Up top, there is a revolving restaurant and unparalleled views of Berlin. From there, go to the historic Unter den Linden and follow the path that will take you past numerous sights and attractions such as the Bebelplatz. From there you can walk or take an S-Bahn towards the famous Brandenburg Tor. A 2 minute walk will lead you to the Reichstag Building, where you can get 360 views of Berlin via its glass dome. From there, walk across and visit the Tiergarten, Berlin’s biggest park. Spend a few hours here to walk amongst the greenery and eventually you’ll walk towards the Holocaust Memorial. Walk down towards Potsdamer Platz to see some remains of the Berlin Wall Memorial. A further 15 minute walk takes you to Checkpoint Charlie.  

Day 2 - Visit Museum Island to see the historic buildings that house unique museums. Then visit the Humboldt Forum inside Berlin Palace to see exhibits dedicated to human history. For somewhere to eat and if you’re going on a Thursday or Saturday, go to the Hackescher Markt for street markets and boutiques selling fresh produce and drinks. 

Day 3 -  Take a one-hour boat trip through the historic city on the Spree and visit the Reichstag building, the Hauptbahnhof, Museum Island and the Nikolaiviertel. If you fancy going shopping, head to the west of the city to Kurfürstendamm for retail therapy as Berlin’s shopping district. Check out high-end brands like Lacoste, Ralph Lauren and many more. Be sure to visit the KaDeWe department store, one of Europe's largest for the finest in high fashion. Afterwards, head to the Charlottenburg Palace for 17th century baroque art and an expansive palace garden.  

Day 4 - Visit the nearby Potsdam, located on the outskirts of Berlin for a half day tour to see elegant spaces such as the Sanssouci Palace and Park and Babelsberg Park. When back in Berlin, visit the Victory Column, known as the Siegessäule. Head west towards Olympiastadion for a tour of the stadium and trophy cabinet. After which, visit Tempelhof Airport, which nowadays is a large public park.

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