What to Do in Berlin in 2 Days: First Time and Returning Visitors

Berlin Germany mixes old and new, with reminders of its dark history alongside modern life.

Two days in Berlin may not seem like a lot, but this guide will show you exactly what to do in Berlin in 2 days to make the most of your time. Whether it’s your first visit or your tenth.

Having lived in Berlin, I explored the city extensively. It’s a city that pulsates with the energy of its vibrant street art scene, just steps away from the sombre reminders of its Cold War division. The best way to experience it is by embracing these contrasts – by visiting its iconic monuments and museums, and by discovering its hidden gems.

This 2-day itinerary will have you experience Berlin like a local.

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Overview of What to Do in Berlin in 2 Days

cathedral statue with horse on a berlin 2 day itinerary

If you’re pressed for time, take advantage of this concise overview showcasing everything you’ll experience over 2 days in Berlin.

Subsequent sections will provide detailed insights, supplemented with helpful links to my dedicated articles for further information. Watch for the🌟to find them.

For those that are not first time Berlin visitors, watch out for the call-out boxes for suggestions of alternative activities.

Day 1: Landmarks & Museums

  • Reichstag Government Building
  • Brandenburg Gate
  • Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe
  • Checkpoint Charlie
  • Unter den Linden
  • Berlin Cathedral
  • Museum Island
  • Hackescherhöfe and Rosenhöfe

Day 2: Neighbourhood Experiences

  • East Side Gallery
  • Oberbaum Bridge
  • Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg neighbourhood
  • River Cruise
  • Alexanderplatz

Day 1 of Your 2 Days in Berlin Itinerary

Reichstag Building: a must for architecture and history buffs

glass parliament building  is what to do in berlin in 2 days

Start your day at the Reichstag Building, the impressive seat of the German parliament.

It’s a grand building, dating back to 1894, designed in the Neo-Renaissance style. Imagine tall columns, arched windows, and a massive dome. The modern glass dome offers stunning panoramic views of Berlin.

This tops the list of things to see in Berlin in 2 days, regardless if you’ve visited the city once before.

📍Platz der Republik 1 |⌛90 minutes | 🎟️ Free, reserve time slot online

Brandenburg Gate: the most recognizable landmark in Berlin

brandenburg gate with statue of horse and carriage as stuff to do in berlin in 2 days itinerary

Walk to the nearby famous landmark in Berlin and snap a photo! It will be fun to compare it against any return visit to Berlin.

The Brandenburg Gate, inspired by the ancient Greek gateway to the Acropolis, was built on top of the former city gate, on the orders of the Prussian king Frederick William II in the 18th century.

A little fun fact I learned was the Quadriga statue (a chariot pulled by four horses) that sits on top of the twelve Doric columns was stolen by Napoleon, and was later returned.

During the Cold War, the Brandenburg Gate stood isolated between East and West Berlin, becoming a powerful symbol of the city’s division. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, it is a symbol of unity and peace.

📍Pariser Platz |⌛<30 minutes | 🎟️ Free

Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe: a powerful tribute

concrete blocks at jewish memorial with trees on what to do in berlin in 2 days

This moving monument, also known as the Holocaust Memorial, is a stark reminder of the millions of victims systematically killed during the Holocaust.

Designed by German architect Peter Eisenman, it’s a vast area comprised of 2,711 concrete slabs of varying heights. Walking through this seemingly endless grid creates a sense of disorientation and unease, meant to reflect the overwhelming horror of the Holocaust.

📍Reichstagufer 17 |⌛<30 minutes | 🎟️ Free

Checkpoint Charlie: a must for Cold War history buffs

checkpoint charlie border office with sandbags as stuff to do in berlin in 2 days

As I walk up to Checkpoint Charlie, I can’t help but remember my first trip to Berlin in 1988 as a student. If I close my eyes, I can remember the concrete slabs of the Berlin Wall that once snaked through the city.

This wasn’t just a border crossing; it was a tangible line dividing East and West Berlin during the Cold War. The small guardhouse, where tense standoffs once occurred, now houses a museum with outdoor exhibits that bring that history to life.

📍Friedrichstraße 43-45 |⌛30 minutes | 🎟️ Free | 🌟Read about my experience visiting Checkpoint Charlie 

Alternate options for returning travellers to Berlin:

If you’ve already visited the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe and Checkpoint Charlie here are some nearby suggestions close to Potsdamer Platz:
🗸 Tränenpalast
🗸 Jewish Museum
🗸 Topography of Terror Museum
🗸 Gendarmenmarkt

Break for Lunch

After visiting Checkpoint Charlie, take a lunch break at one of two nearby restaurants. Both offer a refined dining experience for a classic German meal.

  • Borchardt 📍Franz. Str. 47
  • Einstein Unter den Linden 📍Unter den Linden 42

🌟Read about my experience dining at both of these restaurants – for having the best schnitzel and one of the best German restaurants

Unter den Linden: a grand boulevard in Berlin

view of buildings and spree river on 2 days in berlin itinerary

Next stroll along Unter den Linden, a broad boulevard lined with Linden trees. This historically significant street is home to palaces and embassies, flanked by the iconic Brandenburg Gate and the Berlin Cathedral.

While some buildings were badly damaged during World War II, the avenue is still a showcase of Berlin’s architectural heritage. Keep an eye out for impressive buildings like the Humboldt University and the Staatsoper (State Opera House) as you make your way down this iconic street.

📍Unter den Liden Boulevard |⌛<30 minutes | 🎟️ Free | 🌟Read about my guide for visiting Unter den Linden 

Berlin Cathedral: awe-inspiring architecture and view

cathedral with dome rooftops in berlin in 2 days itinerary

Towering over Museum Island, the Berlin Cathedral, also known as the Berliner Dom, is a gorgeous Renaissance and Baroque Revival architecture.

For those who’ve been to Rome, you might notice the design was inspired by St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, making it Kaiser Wilhelm II’s attempt to create a powerful symbol of Protestantism in Berlin.

I recommend visiting the inside. For one, to be awestruck by its lavishly decorated interior. But the highlight for many visitors, myself included, is the chance to climb the dome. Ascend the winding stairs, which are sure to get your heart pumping, you’ll be rewarded with amazing 360-degree views of Berlin.

From up here, you can spot iconic landmarks that are still yet to be explored on the 2 day Berlin itinerary.

📍Am Lustgarten |⌛60 minutes | 🎟️ €10 purchase on-site

An alternate option for returning travellers to Berlin:

If you’ve already visited the Berliner Dom and want a different viewpoint head to Humboldt Formum and its rooftop deck.

Museum Island: a UNESCO World Heritage Site

museum with pillars and fountain on a 2 day berlin itinerary

Museum Island is a collection of five world-class museums all situated on an island in the Spree River.

As an art and history lover, you will be spoiled for choice here! Seeing you’re only in Berlin for two days, it’s best to pick one of these incredible museums based on your interests.

Here’s a quick rundown of the museums to help you decide:

  • Altes Museum (Old Museum): home to classical antiquities, including Greek, Roman, and Etruscan sculptures. Highlights: impressive Etruscan sarcophagi and the monumental Pergamon Altar from ancient Greece.
  • Neues Museum (New Museum): focuses on Egyptian artifacts and prehistoric finds. Must-see: iconic bust of Nefertiti, mummies, sarcophagi, and everyday objects from ancient Egypt. Also features prehistoric and early European art.
  • Bode Museum: a sculpture haven, boasting Byzantine art, medieval sculptures, and masterpieces by artists like Monet, Renoir and Manet. Its Münz Cabinet showcases an impressive collection of coins and medals.
  • Alte Nationalgalerie (Old National Gallery): dive into 19th-century European art with works by Caspar David Friedrich, Monet, and Manet. An essential stop for art enthusiasts.
  • Pergamon Museum: houses monumental reconstructions like the Ishtar Gate of Babylon and the Pergamon Altar is closed for renovations until 2037.

📍Bodestraße 1-3 |⌛2 hours+ | 🎟️ €12 | 🌟Refer to my ultimate guide about the museums on Museum Island

Hackescherhöfe and Rosenhöfe: hidden courtyards

art deco building in berlin in 2 days itinerary
art deco building on 2 days berlin itinerary

The perfect place to unwind after a busy day of sightseeing and experience a more artsy and modern side of Berlin is Hackescherhöfe and Rosenhöfe.

These charming spaces were once home to factories and warehouses, but today they’re brimming with trendy shops, cozy cafes, and cool restaurants all found within a maze of interconnected courtyards.

Browse through the unique boutiques filled with local artisan shops like the Sawade chocolatier and my favourite lifestyle designer shop called Formost to quirky souvenirs from the Amplemann shop or Eat Berlin.

Don’t miss finding the passageway that leads you to the Anne Frank museum where you will find some street art. It’s a cool place to relax, order a beer and people-watch.

Choose a restaurant for dinner using my guide to the best German restaurants, as there are several to choose from that are close by, including:

Day 2 of Your Berlin 2 Day Itinerary

art mural on berlin wall of man jumping over the wall on 2 days in berlin itinerary

Start your day with a visit to the East Side Gallery, the longest remaining stretch of the Berlin Wall.

This section of the wall is now an open-air art gallery, covered in colourful murals created by artists from all over the world. Imagine a giant canvas stretching for over a kilometre, filled with messages of peace, hope, and freedom!

Take your time on this walking tour along the wall, admire the artwork, and learn about the history of the Berlin Wall and the Cold War.

📍Mühlenstraße |⌛90 minutes | 🎟️ Free | A must-visit for art lovers | 🌟Check out my favourites and how to visit using my  guide to East Side Gallery

An alternate option for returning travellers to Berlin:

If you’ve already visited the Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg neighbourhood which includes East Side Gallery and Oberbaum bridge, here are some different neighbourhoods to explore:

Charlottenburg: visit to Charlottenburg Palace and Gardens, Savignyplatz, Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, KaDeWe and Tiergarten
Prenzlauer Berg: visit Mauer Park, the streets around Kollwitzstraße and Rykestraße, Volkspark Friedrichshain

Oberbaum Bridge: an architecturally stunning bridge

red brick bridge with yellow metro on berlin 2 days itinerary

Right next to the East Side Gallery is the Oberbaum Bridge. This iconic bridge from 1896 crosses the Spree River and is known for its unique double-decker design.

On the upper deck, watch the yellow S-Bahn train wiz by, while the lower deck is for cars and pedestrians under the archway.

Cross the bridge to explore the trendy vibes of the Kreuzberg neighbourhood.

📍Oberbaumstraße |⌛<30 minutes | 🎟️ Free

Kreuzberg neighbourhood: trendy vibes

building with water reflection with street art on two days in berlin

This neighbourhood is a melting pot of cultures and an artsy hotspot.

Wander down colourful streets lined with independent shops, cafes, and vintage stores. Keep an eye out for cool street art and hidden courtyards.

I got to know this neighbourhood by going on a fun food tour. Where a local brings you to the best foodie hotspots while telling you about the history of this area of Berlin. It’s like multiple tours rolled into one – walking, history and food! 🌟 Read about my food tour experience.

If you want to explore it on your own, here are some highlights:

  • Markthalle Neun (Market Hall Nine): an indoor market hall that’s a feast for the senses, whether you grab a delicious lunch or browse unique food finds
  • Landwehr Canal: take a relaxing walk or rent a bike along the scenic Landwehr Canal. This historic waterway cuts through Kreuzberg, offering picturesque views and a chance to get a glimpse of local life
  • Weekend Flea Market: locals love their weekend flea markets. Haggle for vintage clothing, handmade crafts, antiques and quirky souvenirs 🌟Find out where the weekend flea markets are in this neighbourhood
  • Street art: Keep your eyes peeled for incredible street art throughout the neighbourhood. From large murals to hidden gems in alleyways, Kreuzberg is famous for its urban art
  • Boat tour: see Berlin from a different perspective with a relaxing river cruise along the Spree. I recommend joining an hour-long cruise 🌟Read about my Spree River cruise experience and select the tour that starts and ends in this neighbourhood
  • Lunch: foodies will have a hard time choosing only one place to dine at, here are a couple of suggestions: Café Mugrabi, Sorrel, or Burgermeister Schlesisches Tor

Alexanderplatz: the hub and heart of the city

view of tv tower, church and red city hall on a 2 day berlin itinerary

It’s time to wrap up your Berlin adventure with a visit to Alexanderplatz, a large public square in the city center that is known as a busy meeting point and people-watching spot in Berlin.

While I don’t suggest spending much time here (as it is my least favourite spot in Berlin) it’s one of those must-see experiences that you’ll want to check off your list when visiting Berlin. 🌟Read my guide to learn why Alexanderplatz is so famous.

Here’s what I recommend you visit:

  • the iconic Fernsehturm (TV Tower), Berlin’s tallest building
  • the big futuristic World Time Clock from the Cold War
  • St. Mary’s Church and the nearby Neptune fountain in front of the red City Hall

Now for an insider’s tip. Most guides will tell you to go up the TV Tower for the best views in the city. You can, or I recommend an even better view at a fraction of the price. Visit the rooftop deck of the Radisson Park Inn. 🌟Read about my favourite views of Berlin and how you can have this same experience.

After you’ve watched the sunset from the viewpoint of the hotel rooftop deck or TV Tower, enjoy a meal and last night in Berlin. I recommend dining nearby at Berlin’s oldest restaurant called Zur Letzten Instanz which you can find in my restaurant guide.

Where to Stay to Optimize Your 2 Day Berlin Itinerary

buildings with red roof and church steeple in berlin itinerary 2 days of where to stay

To make the most of your whirlwind 2 days Berlin itinerary, I recommend staying in the Mitte neighbourhood.

This central location puts you within walking distance (or a short metro ride) of everything on this itinerary.

To search for accommodations, visit my trip planning page which has my go-to resources.

FAQs: Berlin in 2 Days Itinerary

Is 2 days in Berlin enough to see the city?

While two days allows you to visit some of Berlin’s top landmarks, there are some highlights you will miss like Charlottenburg Palace and Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church.

Should I buy a Berlin Welcome Card?

While the Berlin Welcome Card offers great discounts on attractions and public transportation, it may not be worth it for everyone, especially the Berlin 2 days itinerary as I’ve outlined.

Are there any Berlin day trips I could take?

Yes, there are many nearby cities easily reached by train from Berlin. A popular day trip may include Potsdam or the Sachsenhausen Concentration camp, however, it would require adjusting your itinerary.

How much money do you need for 2 days in Berlin?

On average, a traveller should plan on a budget of 200 to 300 euros per day to cover expenses for hotels, restaurants and excursions.

As a Holidaymaker

If after reading this you’ve decided to add another day, you’re in luck as I have a guide on how to spend 3 days in Berlin.

If you decide you want a guide about Berlin and don’t have time to research, consider purchasing my e-book – Berlin Destination Guide – packed with insider tips and essential information for your visit. Email me at renee@dreamplanexperience.com if you are interested.