This post's overview:
- 1 What to expect from Berlin?
- 2 What to pack for Berlin?
- 3 Where to stay in Berlin?
- 4 3 days in Berlin: the best alternative & touristy places
- 5 Day 0: Arriving to Berlin – how to get to Berlin Mitte (City Centre) from the airport
- 6 Day 1: Cycling tour around Berlin, head for lunch & discover the area of Prenzlauer Berg, dinner & drinks at Claerchens Ballroom, try Green Beer!
- 7 Day 2: Brunch at Two Trick Pony, walk to La Maison along the river, drinks and snacks at Klunkenkranich & maybe a kebab at Mustafa Gemüse Kebap
- 8 Day 3: Mauerpark for the weekly flea/food and crafts market (if it’s Sunday), East Side Gallery, the DDR Museum & the Alexanderplatz, evening flight back
- 9 Other alternative and quirky things to do in Berlin:
- 10 Summary of 3 days in Berlin: Alternative guide to Berln
- 11 Here are some other articles that might be interesting for you
Heading to Berlin for a long weekend? In this 3-day itinerary for Berlin, you can find some must-see attractions as well as some of the best alternative and quirky spots to visit in Berlin!
What to expect from Berlin?
Berlin is not the most beautiful city in Europe when it comes to architectural ensembles – if you’re looking for opulent palaces and architectural hotspots, Vienna, Paris, Florence or even St. Petersburg are much better places for that. Berlin, however, is a unique city with a very difficult and complicated history and a lot of amazing things to do! Yes, there aren’t as many palaces as in Paris or St. Petersburg, but it has plenty of great museums and a couple of nice palaces as well – so everyone will find something they like doing in Berlin. However, what Berlin is especially great for – is an exploration of various unusual and alternative spots! From rooftop bars to neighbourhood kebabs, Berlin has so much to offer and 3 days are definitely not enough to see everything! However, 3 days in Berlin would give you a taste of the city and enough time to combine sightseeing with some of the best street food markets and unusual attractions! I absolutely loved Berlin and would love to come back there and explore even more and perhaps stay for a bit longer this time.
What to pack for Berlin?
Berliners are famous for having a very casual and laid-back clothing style. A lot of people just wear black all the time – a black t-shirt, black jeans and black converse shoes. I recommend bringing very casual clothes and maybe perhaps a set of something fancier / better for going out if you decide to visit a more upscale place (although even in those, people are super casual). Berlin can be pretty hot in summer and very cold in winter, so make sure to check the forecast in advance and bring a few layers of clothes!
When packing your bag for Berlin, don’t forget to bring an adaptor if you’re from outside Europe (e.g. UK to Europe or US to Europe).
Where to stay in Berlin?
If you’re wondering, where to stay in Berlin, I’ve got you covered! Berlin has a huge variety of amazing hotels and apartments for any budget. We stayed at TSH for 5 nights, as we needed to work remotely for 2 days, and honestly, it’s the best place on Earth if you want to get some work done. TSH hotels are famous for having a coworking space and good internet connection as well as a desk in each room and no, it’s not a hotel just for students. There are people of all ages staying there. Also, it’s more of a boutique hotel rather than a hostel (there is no hostel element at all).
Alright, without further ado, let’s start with the 3-day itinerary for Berlin, featuring some of the must-visit attractions as well as some of the unusual places in Berlin!
3 days in Berlin: the best alternative & touristy places
Here’s a quick overview of the itinerary for 3 days in Berlin:
Day 0: arrive to Berlin late after work, check in at the hotel/hostel (in our case, it was The Student Hotel Berlin)
Day 1: take a cycling tour around Berlin, discover the area of Prenzlauer Berg, have dinner & drinks at Claerchens Ballroom, try Green Beer!
Day 2: Brunch at Two Trick Pony, walk from Hallesche Tor all the way to La Maison, drinks and dinner at Klunkenkranich & try a Gemüse Kebap
Day 3: If it’s a Sunday, head to the Mauerpark for the weekly flea/food and crafts market, East Side Gallery, the DDR Museum & the Alexanderplatz, evening flight back
TSH Hotel Berlin – book here
The highlights of Berlin by bike – book here
DDR Museum – book here
Some other cool tours & activities in Berlin I’d recommend:
Street art tour of Berlin by bike – book here
1-hour city boat tour – book here
Berlin TV tower tickets – book here
Now let’s talk about the itinerary in more detail!
Day 0: Arriving to Berlin – how to get to Berlin Mitte (City Centre) from the airport
Congratulations! You now have landed in Berlin. Now it’s time to go through passport control, pick up your luggage (if you have any) and head off to the city centre, Berlin Mitte or the place where you’re staying.
Now, Berlin has pretty good connections from the new airport – you can either take a speed train that can leave you anywhere around East Railway station, Alexander Platz, Main Railway station or some other stops as well. There is also S-Bahn (overground rail) that is slightly slower than the train because it has more stops, but sometimes the times/stops are more convenient, so you will end up getting to your destination faster. You can buy the ticket in the ticket machines just before the platform. You would need a ticket for zones ABC.
Alternatively, if the Tourism Office is open in the airport, you can purchase your Berlin travel card called Berlin WelcomeCard – there is a card for 3 days that gives you unlimited transport and discounts for a lot of museums and attractions! Visit Berlin actually provided us with those cards to help up create this alternative guide to Berlin, so thanks a lot to Visit Berlin for that! You can book yours here.
There is also another variation of the BerlinWelcome card that also includes unlimited attractions – it’s more expensive, but if you want to do A LOT of sightseeing, it might be a good deal for you! You can check the price and availability here.
It takes between 30-50 minutes to get to Berlin Mitte by train. If you only have backpacks with you, you can continue the journey to your hotel by electric scooter or bike if it’s located a bit far away from the train station. In our case, The Social Hub Berlin was very conveniently located, just 4 minutes away from the S-Bahn station that leads to the airport and circa 10 minutes away from the railway station, so we got there from the airport in no time!
Day 1: Cycling tour around Berlin, head for lunch & discover the area of Prenzlauer Berg, dinner & drinks at Claerchens Ballroom, try Green Beer!
Take a cycling tour around Berlin
On your first day in Berlin, I recommend taking a cycling tour around the city! There are plenty of cycling tours available in the city and while some of them are more generic, e.g. Highlights of Berlin, some other ones are more themed, e.g. Berlin Wall cycling tour or Alternative Berlin cycling tour. Even though the tours usually last 4-5 hours, Berlin is so big that it’s likely that you won’t be able to see everything! However, at least, you will be able to visit some of the main highlights and learn more about the history of Berlin! You can check the prices and availability of Berlin cycling tours here. >
Discover Prenzlauer Berg
Cycling tours usually finish around 2:30-3pm and I can guarantee that you will be at least a little bit hungry, so it’s time to have lunch. A lot of cycling tours start and finish at Kulturbrauerei, and there are plenty of places to eat nearby! We had our eyes on two places: häppies for some unique food – germknödel, which is a traditional German dish, but in this tiny restaurant, it is served with a twist; or Wen Cheng hand-pulled noodles – a wonderful spot recommended to us by a lot of locals and featured in plenty of articles I’ve read before coming to Berlin!
After having lunch, you can walk around and discover Prenzlauer Berg – it’s a lovely area full of cafes and restaurants. Make sure to walk along the Kastanienallee – it is especially lovely!
You can easily spend a couple of hours walking around the area, as there are so many unique shops and cafes. Another great place to stop by for a coffee if you get tired of walking is Frank cafe – it’s gorgeous inside and also has a lovely outdoor sitting space!
Visit Rosenthaler Straße 39 & Hackerische Höfe
From Frank Cafe, you can easily walk to Rosenthaler Straße 39 in less than 20 minutes. Under this address, you can find a very interesting and unusual place, probably one of the best alternative spots to visit in Berlin. It’s a small alley with museums, shops and bars and it also has a lot of street art!
Just a short walk away; you can find a shopping area called Hackerische Höfe – it’s a small network of courtyards where you can find plenty of shops, cafes and other businesses. It’s also very beautiful inside – I definitely recommend paying this place a visit!
Have dinner in the famous Clärchens Ballroom
Clärchens Ballroom is one of the only surviving ballrooms in Berlin. It’s absolutely marvellous inside, however, on a sunny warm day, you can also dine outside. I recommend booking it in advance to avoid disappointment! We loved everything there – the food was great, the drinks were unique (we got to try green beer), and the restaurant wasn’t too expensive either.
It was recommended to us by locals, and after visiting it, I must confirm that this place should be on everyone’s bucket list for Berlin!
If you still have any energy left in you, I recommend heading to Holzmarkt 25 for a few drinks. It usually closes around midnight, but on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays it stays open until 1am. Holzmarkt 25 is some sort of open-air street food market, mainly focused on drinks and unusual spaces. It feels almost like a beach bar – even though there is no beach, you still get access to the river (Spree) & can sit anywhere you find a spot. It’s very casual, like most spots in Berlin and it’s a wonderful spot to hang out with friends, grab a couple of drinks and watch a sunset!
Day 2: Brunch at Two Trick Pony, walk to La Maison along the river, drinks and snacks at Klunkenkranich & maybe a kebab at Mustafa Gemüse Kebap
Brunch at Two Trick Pony
After such a long and tiring first day in Berlin, I reckon, you are probably pretty tired! If that’s the case, I won’t blame you if you wake up somewhat later than usual! In our case, we did actually wake up early, but then we went for a gym class in Berlin (bootcamp-style) and only after that we had time to grab brunch! Two Trick Pony is one of the most popular brunch spots in Berlin – if you have an opportunity to visit it, I definitely recommend going there!
River walk to La Maison
Once you’re finished with your brunch, it’s time to walk again! This time, you will be exploring the canal that leads all the way to Kreuzberg. It’s a really nice walk that you can start if you just walk up towards the canal from Two Trick Pony and follow the canal all the way to La Maison (a lovely bakery, where you can grab a coffee or a pastry, or, perhaps, both). Along the route you will see a lot of greenery and plenty of cafes and restaurants! It’s a very scenic walk and it’s busy all the time during the day and even at night (in summer).
You will be passing Kreuzberg – one of the trendiest areas in Berlin. You can also take a small detour and walk around the streets of Kreuzberg!
Head to Klunkenkranich for the nicest view of Berlin from above
Since you will be in the area, I recommend going to Klunkenkranich – a nice bar/rooftop terrace with stunning views of Berlin and the most beautiful sunsets. Klunkenkranich usually opens around 4-5 PM and I recommend arriving close to the opening time, as the queue will be the shortest. Getting there is actually a challenge – we had to ask a security guard in a shopping mall, where Google has marked the location of Klunkenkranich. If the lifts are operating, you just need to take a lift to the last floor of parking and then walk 200-300m to the entrance of Klunkenkranich (you’ll see people queuing, so you won’t get lost, don’t worry). Sometimes the lifts don’t work (like it was in our case), so you need to take the escalators all the way up to the last floor, then find a door that leads to the parking area, walk to the last floor of the parking area – and voila, you’ll see the entrance to Klunkenranich!
Klunkenranich has a very relaxed vibe, everybody is dressed casually and people just have drinks with friends there. It’s not really a nightclub, more like a lounge with 1 or 2 live DJs! If you’re wondering, if there is food, usually, there is, although, the selection of dishes available is very limited. When we were there, there were a couple of buns (one with pulled beef and a vegetarian one), a burger and a few more snacks. We bought a bun, and it was absolutely delicious! It was so good that we found it hard to resist getting another one!
Queue for the most famous kebab in the world
If you still have any energy left after visiting Klunkenranich, you can do the most typical activity in Berlin – getting a kebab (or kebap, however you spell it in your region), or, better to say, queuing for a very good kebab! Mustafa’s Gemüse Kebap is probably the most famous kebab in the world and that’s why we absolutely had to try it. We had to wait in the queue for 2 hours and 45 minutes, which was absolutely insane and we got our kebaps around midnight! Pepe really loved his, but I found mine just okay.
If you’re not keen on waiting for so long, a lot of people recommend Ali Gemüse Döner as an alternative! Or you can ask any local on the street (or at your hotel) – every Berliner usually has their own favourite kebab place!
Day 3: Mauerpark for the weekly flea/food and crafts market (if it’s Sunday), East Side Gallery, the DDR Museum & the Alexanderplatz, evening flight back
Visit the market at the Mauerpark if it’s Sunday.
Good morning, you made it to day 3 in Berlin! If it’s Sunday, you are very lucky! One of the best things to do in Berlin on Sundays is heading to the flea and street food market at the Mauerpark in the morning. Hundreds of sellers come there every Sunday to sell all sorts of things – from DDR-era trophies to vintage clothes and war memorabilia, books and art. There is also a part of the market that only sells new things, usually jewellery, art, craft beers, unique gins and other alcohol, clothes, cosmetics and other exciting small business things. Finally, there is also a third section that is only dedicated to food – there are plenty of international stalls, where you can try food from all around the world.
Unfortunately, the market is closed on all other days, so you can only visit it on Sundays!
Head to the East Side Gallery & admire the art
Another iconic thing to do in Berlin is admiring art at the East Side Gallery – the longest surviving section of the Berlin Wall, which was painted with a lot of interesting and meaningful art. You can easily spend an hour there, admiring art and seeing all of the artworks, as the East Side Gallery is very long! You probably have heard of East Side Gallery before, even if the name doesn’t ring a bell – that’s where the famous painting of the kiss between Brezhnev and Honecker is located! The entrance to the East Side Gallery is free of charge and you’re allowed to take as many photos as you like!
If you’re interested in visiting more unique locations, head to the DDR Museum – this interactive museum is dedicated to life in DDR. If you’re from the West, it will definitely look very different and unusual to you and you will learn a lot of interesting facts about DDR. On our last day in Berlin, it was very hot outside (over 33C), so we not only enjoyed the exposition of the museum but spent more time there than expected, trying to hide from the heat! You can book a ticket to the DDR museum here.
Try Berliner Currywurst & visit Alexanderplatz
No visit to Berlin is complete without trying a Berliner speciality – Currywurst! Currywurst is a Bratwurst (yeah, similar to the one you have probably tried at any Christmas market at any point in your life) with a lot of curry sauce. Together with döner, it makes up for 70% of fast food in Berlin. Some of the best currywurst spots have a large queue, but I honestly never could tell the difference between superb currywurst and an average one, so in my opinion, it’s not necessary to stand in the queue for an hour to eat currywurst in a popular place, just get it somewhere, where there is no queue!
Next, head to Alexanderplatz – while it’s not the most beautiful square in the worst, it’s a cool place to visit in Berlin. I really liked the area near the Lululemon shop and the Alley Bubble Tea store – there are a lot of beautiful streets, interesting shops and gorgeous buildings.
Finally, if you still have some time left before your flight back home (or to another location), and you’re up for another important historical location, head to Checkpoint Charlie. Checkpoint Charlie is the last surviving checkpoint between East and West Berlin &, and it also has a small museum and installation. It looks like something straight out of a movie and it’s pretty sad to think that it was a reality in the past.
Other alternative and quirky things to do in Berlin:
Other amazing alternative things to do in Berlin that we didn’t have a chance to visit but were recommended to us by Berlin Tourism Board:
Vabali is a very cosy open-air spa space that indeed looks like it came straight from Bali! If you want to visit, I recommend booking a spot in advance to avoid queuing. You can do it here >
There are plenty of different activities you can experience, e.g. sauna (keep in mind that in Germany people usually go to the sauna naked and it’s a mixed sauna), massage, steam room and more. It’s a great activity for a hot day in Berlin!
Gardens of the world
Another place we haven’t had an opportunity to discover, but it was recommended by Visit Berlin and other bloggers, was Gardens of the world. Located outside the city centre, Gardens of the world is a large park that consists of 10 smaller international parks: Japanese, Chinese, Italian, Middle Eastern and many others!
Spreepark – abandoned amusement part tour
If you want to experience some chills and go on a very unique activity that runs only once or twice a week, go on a Spreepark tour. These tours run until October & cost around 5 EUR per person. You can book them here.
Urban street art bike tour
If you’re a fan of street art and cycling, then the best thing is to combine both and visit the best street art in Berlin. Berlin on a bike run these Street Art cycling tours and they are definitely fun! You can book a tour here.
Guided kayak tours
Finally, if the weather permits, you can take one of the exciting guided kayak tours as well! You can check the prices and availability here.
Summary of 3 days in Berlin: Alternative guide to Berln
I hope you enjoyed this itinerary for 3 days in Berlin, mainly focusing on alternative and quirky places to visit in Berlin. I absolutely loved Berlin and I hope you will, too!
There are so many amazing places in Berlin and it’s hard to visit everything in just 3 days, but in this itinerary, I tried to summarise and list some of the best alternative things to do in Berlin.
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