Is Berlin Worth Visiting? 20 Amazing Reasons to Visit Berlin

Looking for an exciting city break? Look no further than Berlin!

If you are wondering is Berlin worth visiting? It most definitely is!

Bursting with history, culture, and a vibrant nightlife scene, Germany’s capital has it all. Whether you’re a history buff and want to delve into the poignant chapters of WW II and the Cold War. Maybe you’re an art and architecture enthusiast eager to see iconic landmarks like the Brandenburg Gate and East Side Gallery or a foodie searching for delicious currywurst, Berlin has something to offer everyone.

From its world-class museums to its year-round festivals, this city exudes creativity and diversity at every turn.

When I decided to live in Europe for 3 months, I chose Berlin to call home. I could have lived anywhere – from Paris, London, or Rome but I chose Berlin.

There are just so many reasons to go to Berlin. It’s the kind of city that exceeds your expectations. It’s a very livable city that is authentic, and far less touristy than some other European destinations.

Let me share 20 reasons to check out Berlin! Get ready to immerse yourself in the unique atmosphere of the city – trust me, it’s worth the visit!

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Visiting Berlin: Why It’s Often Overlooked by Travellers

why visit berlin - berlin cathedral, park with trees with bike rider

I think Berlin is an underrated city by most travellers to Europe as it’s fraught with many misperceptions.

Some consider it the “least German city in Germany” due to its eclectic blend of language, cultures and liberal, cosmopolitan atmosphere. Agreed, it’s not your typical German city. But you can get your fill of cute fairy tale towns just a short train away.

Unlike picturesque Bavarian towns like Garmisch Partenkirchen, Berlin might not immediately strike you as beautiful. But it’s there, you just have to know where to find it! The city will slowly unveil itself to you.

Its vast expanse can indeed seem overwhelming, and a first glance might leave you thinking it’s too big. Yes, Berlin indeed is big and has no one distinct city centre, rather it has multiple. The capital city has many distinct neighbourhoods that are destinations in and of itself.

The city’s grit and grunge, occasionally seen as ‘dirty’ and ‘chaotic,’ are the very traits that lend it an authentic, lived-in charm. But I have to say it’s on the same level as other capital cities like Rome, London and Paris.

The bustling streets can get noisy but venture into some of the neighbourhoods for nothing but peaceful calm. Berlin is a very family-friendly city with a multitude of tiny parks and playgrounds.

Lastly, its legendary party scene, often the talk of the town, draws a young crowd from all corners of the globe. That youthful energy is what makes Berlin an exciting city to visit. Trendy cafes, restaurants and bars are in abundance.

Don’t let these perceptions deter you, for Berlin thrives on its uniqueness and unabashed individuality.

20 Reasons to Visit Berlin

1. Museums

museum with cathedral dome with tree in reasons to go to berlin

Berlin’s museum scene is an absolute goldmine for history buffs and cultural enthusiasts. From Museum Island which houses five incredible museums, to the poignant Jewish Museum and the fascinating DDR Museum.

The city offers a wide spectrum of history, art, and culture at its over 170 museums. And surprisingly many are free.

ℹ️Here are a few of my favourite free museums:

  • Jewish Museum
  • Topography of Terror
  • Tränenpalast
  • Berlin Wall Memorial

2. History

Berlin is a living history book, where every street corner has some reminder of the past by way of plaques, historical markers and memorials. Even amongst the cobblestones, you’ll find polished brass squares called Stolpersteine or stumbling stones. There are over 5,000 implanted in Berlin’s sidewalks serving as a reminder of the lives lost during the Holocaust.

ℹ️I recommend these areas of Berlin to find information plaques:

  • Bernauer Strasse path runs from Strelitzer Str to Schwedter Str
  • Karl Marx Allee near Rose Garden
  • the famous Checkpoint Charlie

3. Art

If you appreciate art and culture, visiting galleries and museums in Berlin should be high on your list! From world-renowned institutions like Museum Island to independent art spaces showcasing emerging artists’ works – there is no shortage of inspiration here.

For contemporary art, head to the KW Institute for Contemporary Art for some cutting-edge exhibitions, or housed in a former railway station, the Hamburger Bahnhof’s collection. But it’s not just confined to walls – the city’s streets tell stories through graffiti and murals, notably along the East Side Gallery, a portion of the Berlin Wall adorned with striking artwork.

ℹ️I recommend this area to find many independent galleries, and it just so happens to be my neighbourhood: Linienstrasse and Auguststrasse between Rosenthaler Str and Oranienburger Str

4. Architecture

building with roses on trip to visiting berlin germany

Berlin’s architectural landscape is a testament to its turbulent history and vibrant present. The Brandenburg Gate, a majestic neoclassical structure to a futuristic contrast, the Hauptbahnhof, Europe’s largest railway station, showcases contemporary architecture at its finest.

The city’s reconstruction after World War II has left it with a diverse range of styles, from modernist marvels like the Berliner Philharmonie to the Cold War Ultitarian style of East Berlin to the historic charm of Nikolaiviertel, Berlin’s oldest district.

ℹ️Some of my favourite areas to admire architecture are:

  • Karl Marx Allee
  • Unter den Linden and Museum Island
  • Gendarmenmarkt with Französische Friedrichstadtkirche, Konzerthaus Berlin, Neue Kirche
  • Viktoria-Luise-Platz and nearby streets like Regensburg Str

5. Culture

Berlin’s culture is a cosmopolitan melting pot with a lot less German influences than one might think. You can effortlessly navigate Berlin without ever speaking a word in German. Don’t be surprised when you hear couples speaking German to each other, but when a server comes to take their order they speak in flawless English.

The city’s neighbourhoods each possess a unique flavour, from the Turkish markets of Kreuzberg to the chic boutiques of Mitte. The Spandau neighbourhood has the most traditional German feel, but it’s also the farthest away.

6. Landmarks

trees with landmark column on is berlin worth visiting

Berlin’s skyline is dotted with iconic landmarks. The majestic Reichstag building, crowned with a glass dome offering panoramic views, the Berliner Dom a beautiful cathedral on Museum Island and the Fernsehturm TV tower, dominating Alexanderplatz, are just three of the many symbols that define Berlin’s identity.

ℹ️The landmark street that is chock-full of history and architecture is Unter den Linden. I recommend this as a must-visit when in Berlin.

7. Berlin Wall

There are several areas of the city where remnants of the Berlin Wall have been left standing as reminders of the past and future reunification.

The longest section at 1.3 km can be found at the East Side Gallery which is adorned with 100 vibrant murals from artists all over the world.

ℹ️Other sections of the Berlin Wall can be found at these locations:

8. Green Spaces

garden with flowers, trees and fountain on is berlin worth visiting

Despite being a bustling metropolis, Berlin is a city of parks and greenery. The Tiergarten, Berlin’s answer to Central Park, offers a tranquil escape from urban life, while the sprawling Tempelhofer Feld, a former airport turned public park, is perfect for biking, kite flying, picnicking, or simply enjoying open space.

ℹ️Take a break from sightseeing and relax in one of the many parks. Here are some of my favourites:

  • Viktoriapark
  • Volkspark Friedrichshain
  • Humboldthain

9. Flea Markets

reasons to go to berlin - flea markets! art at vendor booth

Berlin’s flea markets are like open-air treasure troves for books, antiques, and vintage finds. Mauerpark’s Sunday flea market is legendary, offering everything from vintage clothing to vinyl records. It’s the perfect spot for uncovering unique souvenirs and experiencing Berlin’s eclectic spirit.

ℹ️Here are the ones I returned to multiple times for a fun thing to do on a weekend

  • Arkonaplatz
  • Mauerpark
  • Str. des 17. Juni

10. Zoo

This capital city doesn’t have just one zoo, but two!

The Berlin Zoo, located in the heart of the city, is one of the world’s oldest and home to over 20,000 animals. It’s where you can witness the charm of Germany’s only giant. The Tierpark Berlin is the largest landscaped zoo in Europe and is home to over 9,000 animals from all corners of the world.

Both zoos are a delight for families and animal lovers.

11. Shopping

Berlin caters to all your shopping desires. From luxury boutiques in Kurfürstendamm to vintage treasures in Friedrichshain to common brands near Alexanderplatz, you’ll find unique fashion and an eclectic mix in the city’s many shopping districts.

ℹ️Here are a couple of my favourite areas to find boutique shops:

  • In Mitte: Rosenhöfe, Hackesche Höfe, and nearby streets like Neue Schönhauser Str., Rosenthaler Str., Hackesche Höfe, and Oranienburger Straße
  • In Prenzlauer Berg: nearby streets of Schönhauser Allee, Kastanienallee and Oderberger Str

12. Beer and Biergarten

two beer steins clicking when visiting berlin germany

When it comes to Berlin, beer isn’t just a beverage; it’s an integral part of the city’s culture. Don’t be surprised to find Berliners walking down the street drinking a beer like we might a water bottle. From crisp pilsners to rich, to light and dark lagers to wheat beer Berlin offers a wide array of beer options.

Dive into the local scene by enjoying a chilled glass of Berliner Weisse, a light and slightly sour wheat beer. Or ask for Colaweizen, which is half cola and half wheat beer. Or my favourite combination is lemon-lime citrus soda and pilsner.

ℹ️Here are a few of my favourite biergartens to visit:

  • Prater
  • Platzhirsch
  • Erdinger and Park Cafe
  • Café am Neuen See and Schleusenkrug in TierGarten
  • Zollpackhof
  • Brauhaus GEORGBRAEU
  • BRLO Brwhouse

13. Food

why visit berlin? the food - plate of potatoes and schnitzel

Berlin’s culinary scene is vast and diverse.

While the beloved currywurst, a sausage smothered in tangy curry ketchup, is a quintessential Berlin experience, the city’s food scene goes far beyond.

Don’t miss out on visiting the Turkish markets of Kreuzberg, where the aroma is thick of freshly baked flatbreads and sizzling kebabs, this I learned from going on a fun food walking tour. Food markets like Markhalle Neun where there are even more international street food options as well as the Berliner Pfannkuchen, a jelly-filled doughnut.

Berliners love to do brunch, especially on the weekends. Along with tourists, they sometimes crave a traditional English breakfast which is often found on most menus.

ℹ️For something more upscale, try some of my favourites that I recommend:

  • Cookies and Cream and Kopps for all vegetarian fine dining
  • Einstein Unter den Linden and Borchardt for best schnitzel
  • Clärchens Ballroom from 1913, for its live music and dancing
  • Zur Letzten Instanz, the oldest restaurant in Berlin dating back to 1621

14. Nightlife

Berlin’s nightlife is legendary. From the pulsating beats of Berghain to the chic ambiance of rooftop bars, the city comes alive after dark. If you’re looking for unforgettable clubbing experiences, Berlin is the place to be.

But if you’re like me and your clubbing days are over there are still late dinners, cocktail bards and cozy bars with live music to enjoy.

15. Annual Festivals

Berlin hosts a wide array of annual festivals all year long. Some are city-wide and draw large crowds and others are more cozy local neighbourhood festivals. Come summer there is Fête de la Musique where every weekend there is a music festival happening.

ℹ️Here are some of the festivals I recommend to plan your trip around:

  • Berlin Fashion Week – January and July
  • Berlin International Film Festival (Berlinale) – February
  • Karneval der Kulturen (Carnival of Cultures) – May/June
  • Berlin Art Week – September
  • Lollapalooza Berlin – September
  • Berlin Marathon – September
  • Jazzfest Berlin – October

16. Affordable

Compared to other major European cities like Paris or London, Berlin offers more budget-friendly options for accommodation, food, and entertainment. You can experience a diverse range of cuisines without breaking the bank and enjoy affordable accommodations in trendy neighbourhoods.

17. Easy to Navigate

Berlin’s public transport system is a breeze to navigate. The U-Bahn, S-Bahn, trams and city buses ensure you can explore every corner of the city with ease. Plus, Berlin’s flat terrain is ideal for walking and cycling, a popular and eco-friendly mode of transportation.

18. UNESCO World Heritage Site

Any destination that features as UNESCO World Heritage site gets my attention!

Museum Island gets Berlin on that prestigous list. Five museums, including the Pergamon Museum and the Neues Museum, house ancient wonders from civilizations across the globe. It’s a voyage through time and a testament to human creativity.

ℹ️If you are a big museum-goer and top attraction seeker, you might benefit from getting the official tourist pass of Welcome to Berlin card

19. Christmas Markets

Berlin’s magical Christmas markets are a must-visit during the winter season. Wander through Gendarmenmarkt, Alexanderplatz, and Charlottenburg Palace, sipping mulled wine and indulging in seasonal treats. Browse the unique handicrafts for that perfect holiday gift and memory keepsake.

20. Day Trips

pond wit staircase to castle is reasons to visit berlin

Explore beyond Berlin’s borders with some incredible day trips. This was the top reason for me selecting Berlin – the ease of jumping on a train and being in a new magical place.

ℹ️Here are some of the day trips I recommend:

  • Potsdam, with its stunning Sanssouci Palace
  • Quedlinburg, known for its multiple centuries-old half-timbered buildings
  • Lubeck, known for its red brick buildings and scenic Altstadt
  • Whittenberg, is known for being the birthplace of Martin Luther and the Protestant transformation
  • Hamburg, the modern northern city that is known as Germany’s Venice

If you are interested in taking a road trip to UNESCO destinations near Berlin, I’ve got perfect itinerary for you!

FAQs About Why Visit Berlin

Is English widely spoken in Berlin?

Yes, English is widely spoken in Berlin, especially in tourist areas, restaurants, and shops. Many locals are proficient in English, making it convenient for travellers.

What is the best time to visit Berlin?

The best time to visit Berlin is during the spring (April to June) and fall (September to October) when the weather is mild, and outdoor activities are enjoyable. Be sure to add late a visit to Berlin in December for the Christmas Markets.

Is Berlin safe for tourists?

Yes, Berlin is safe for tourists. Like any big city, it’s important to be mindful of your belongings and stay aware of your surroundings especially at night.

As a Holidaymaker

Berlin will always hold a special place in my heart. My first encounter with this remarkable city was as a teenager during the Cold War, and it etched a lasting impression that lured me back many decades later to live here. Another bonus reason to visit Berlin is it is extremely dog-friendly – restaurants, shops, and transit – all welcome dogs. And, my dog enjoyed the city as much as I did!