24 Hours in Berlin
Whichever way you look at it, Berlin is cool. Cool, but not a place for sitting back, sipping flat whites, and contemplating your navel. This is a city that’s all about getting up and getting going – and you can do a lot with 24 hours in Berlin.
Conquer the sprawling suburbs by getting familiar with Berlin’s extensive U-bahn (subway), S-bahn, and bus and tram services. If your Eurail Pass is valid in Germany, travel on the S-bahn is free! But the joy of the central section is that with a sturdy pair of shoes, it’s possible to walk between the main sights.
24 hours in Berlin: The itinerary
9.30am – The Berlin Wall
You can’t avoid the Wall, so you may as well start with it. There isn’t actually a single wall, but instead a looping network of monuments in various states of repair. The Berlin Wall Memorial does a fantastic job of tying together the complex history that divided not only this city but also the world.
Lines S1, S2, and S25 on the S-Bahn stop at Nordbahnhof, as does tram M10. To travel by bus, take either the 245 or the 247. On the U-bahn take line U8 to Bernauer Strasse station.
11am – The Topography of Terror Museum
Housed in the former Gestapo Headquarters, the Topography of Terror Museum, covers the chilling period just prior to the Cold War: the rise of Hitler and Nazism and the devastating consequences that brought upon the world.
It’s a short walk to the museum from any of the following U-bahn stops: Kochstrasse, Stadtmitte, Mohrenstrasse, or Potsdamer Platz. Alternatively, use Anhalter Bahnhof or Potsdamer Platz on the S-bahn.
1pm – The Currywurst Museum
After such a weighty reflection on the past, it’s time for something a little different – not to mention a spot of lunch to fuel your 24 hours in Berlin. The Currywurst Museum introduces the city’s signature dish conceived during the occupation at the end of WWII. Fittingly, it has influences from Britain (curry powder), the US (ketchup), and of course Germany (the sausage – or wurst).
It’s a quick walk from the Topography of Terror Museum to the Currywurst Museum, passing Checkpoint Charlie, possibly the most famous checkpoint in the world, along the way.
2.30pm – Exploring Kastanienallee
Move swiftly back into the 21st century by spending time around Kastanienallee. Browse through quirky boutiques and vintage record shops or soak up the street art and stop for coffee and kuchen (cake) in any one of the fresh and funky cafes.
The closest point to alight is Eberswalder Strasse on the U2 metro line or take tram M12 to the Prenzlauer Berg district.
4.30pm – The TV Tower
It’s time to embrace your inner tourist with a trip up Berlin’s TV tower, the Fernsehturm. Its bead-on-a-needle silhouette is an icon of the city but its viewing platform also lays out the streets of Berlin before your very eyes.
The Fernsehturm lives on Alexanderplatz, a main hub of Berlin. Tramlines M4, M5, and M6 stop here as do U-bahn lines U2, U5, and U8. S-bahn lines S5, S7, S75, and S9 also connect as do numerous bus services.
6.30pm – The Brandenburg Gate
Make the most of those comfy shoes by walking from Alexanderplatz right the way along central Unter den Linden to the classical bullseye of the city: the Brandenburg Gate. If you have the energy (and enough daylight), walk on to explore the expansive greenery of the Tiergarten.
9pm – Hit the clubs
With only 24 hours in Berlin, you may have to double up your eating out and going out plans. With a reputation as the best clubbing scene in Europe, Berlin’s nightclubs are also known for being a bit haughty. Check out up to date listings on ExBerliner.com.
Not ready to leave just yet?
If 24 hours in Berlin isn’t enough for you, check out our Berlin city guide. It’s full of inspiration on what to do with more time in Germany’s cool capital, including all the top attractions and tips from locals.
How to reach Berlin by train
As the capital city of the largest economy in Europe, Berlin has rail connections galore. Not only can you connect easily to cities across Germany like Munich, Cologne, Hamburg, Hannover and Frankfurt but the border crossings are fuss-free too. France, Austria, the Czech Republic, Poland, and the Netherlands have straightforward connections from their main cities. There’s also a stunning scenic route across the Alps that links Milan and Verona with Germany’s capital of cool.
Berlin Hauptbahnhof is the main station but there are many more. All are linked through the efficient and extensive U-bahn, S-bahn, bus and tram services so you’ll never end up stranded. Just pay close attention to which Berlin station you need for the rest of your journey.
Can’t get enough? Here’s what you should read next:
- Our Berlin City Guide
- 2 weeks in Germany from south to north
- 10 of the best European capital cities by rail