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Berlin, Germany

Berlin for Beginners

Once upon a time, I lived in Berlin. I’ll be sprinkling recollections of my brief stint as a Berliner throughout this guide to 3 days in Berlin, but the TL;DR version is that if you’re thinking of moving to Berlin, think twice. Berlin is a wonderful city to visit, but Germany’s capital can be a surprisingly stifling home.

The next few paragraphs will guide you through whatever Berlin trip you want to take, be it a long weekend in Berlin or a shorter foray, and whether you come for the culture, the currywurst or the cocaine-dusted dance floors whose occupants ultimately drove me from the city.

Need help planning your Berlin itinerary? Hire me as your Travel Coach!

Where to Stay in Berlin

The question of the Berlin best place to stay is a surprisingly complex one, due both to the massive size of Berlin, as well as the various price points at which accommodations now exist in the city. In general I’d say the best base for a 3 days in Berlin is a boutique hotel in a central area (Titanic Chaussee in Mitte is a safe option for most travelers), but the reason for your trip might dictate another choice.

Gay travelers might select someplace like Artim Hotel in Schöneberg, while Grimm’s Hotel in Kreuzberg should appease the hipster crowd. Spoiler alert: Whatever twists and turns your Berlin itinerary takes, don’t move in with a stranger, no matter how handsome he is.

Top Things to Do With 3 Days in Berlin

Take Care of Berlin Basics

I didn’t know I’d be moving to Berlin when I first arrived there years ago, so I initially arranged my trip (before I met the man whose love/obsession would end up trapping me there for several months) as a 3 day Berlin itinerary. From the Berlin Wall, to the iconic Brandenburg Gate and nearby Tiergarten Park, and from the gorgeous Berliner Dom cathedral to the not-as-gorgeous Berlin TV Tower and busy Alexanderplatz, I certainly had my work cut out for me.

Lean Into Berlin’s Hipster Side

Like Tokyo, Berlin is less one huge city and more a congregation of smaller towns and cities that have grown into one another over the centuries, and keeping this in mind as you discover different areas is valuable. Many of these neighborhoods and the activities in them are decidedly hipster, whether you chill out at a biergarten along the Spree River, scour Neukölln for the best Turkish food or browse the chic (and not-so-chic) boutiques of too-cool-for-school Friedrichshain and Kreuzberg.


Discover Berlin’s Bougey Quarters

Personally, one of the only things that kept me sane during my period of captivity (as I’ve come to think of it) in Berlin was exploring Berlin neighborhoods I could never afford to live in. Upmarket areas like Prenzlauer Berg and Charlottenburg in particular, the former being where Angela Merkel herself owns a private residence, and is home to probably my favorite brunch in Berlin.

Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll

Other obvious things to do in Berlin in two days or longer would be to check out the city’s nightlife, whether you hit up the (in)famous 24-hour club Berghain (TIP: I hear they’re even more selective about who they let enter than they were when I lived in Berlin), gay bars you find in charming (even for straight people) Schöneberg or wherever the out-of-work sculptor you’re sure to encounter on the S-Bahn tells you him and his trust-fund artbros recommends you.

Take Day Trips from Berlin

It was on one of my day trips from Berlin (specifically to magnificent Dresden, which is one of my favorite cities in Europe, let alone near Berlin or in Germany) that I realized the predicament I’d gotten myself in with he-who-shall-not-be-named, though it unfortunately took me two more months of living in Berlin to begin to get myself out of it. To be sure, taking a day trip from Berlin is a good idea, even if you’re not running from anything.

City-wise, the most popular among Berlin excursions (apart from Dresden) is probably the university city of Leipzig, while those in search of a nature-y outing might head to popular Wannsee (or slightly less crowded Schlachtensee). Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp, meanwhile, provides a macabre look into the atrocities of World War II (though I wouldn’t waste a day here if you plan to visit more representative sites in Bavaria and Poland), while the site of the former Tempelhof Airport is a relaxing excursion, even if it’s technically within Berlin’s city limits and therefore not a day trip.

Is 3 Days in Berlin Enough?

I have to be honest: After my brief stint living in the German capital, the thought of even a short Berlin itinerary was unappealing to me. However, as time has passed and I’ve returned to the city, I’ve become more amenable. With this being said, I do think that three days is the “Goldilocks” length of Berlin trip to take—and I’m about to tell you why.

You see, when it comes to how many days in Berlin to spend, the danger is getting “stuck” like I did. Spending around three days in Berlin is a short enough trip that it motivates you to cover a lot of ground, but short enough that you can leave before you’ve seen everything—or before you accidentally find yourself in a relationship, as it were.

The Bottom Line

Whether you’re searching for the top things to do in Berlin, or want a more idiosyncratic list of Berlin attractions and possible day trips, I’ve got you covered. While I remain resolute (for reasons that are now well-known to you) that you should probably not move to Berlin, the German capital remains one of the best European cities in Europe. After you finish up your 3 days in Berlin, I encourage you to check out my guide to two months in Europe.

Leave Your Daily Hell   Filed under: Germany

About The Author

is the author of 1122 posts on Leave Your Daily Hell. Robert founded Leave Your Daily Hell in 2010 so that other travelers would have an entertaining, reliable source of information, advice and inspiration at their fingertips. Want to travel more often? Subscribe to email updates today!


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