How to spend one day in Berlin

How to spend one day in Berlin

One day in Berlin is simply not long enough, let’s be perfectly clear about that. Berlin is massive; the capital and largest city in Germany and the second largest city in the EU, you could have 365 days here and still not see all you should. That said, though, this means if you do only have one single day in Berlin, it is guaranteed to be packed with fantastic things to do, see, discover, and experience.


Can you do Berlin in one day? 

Of course, you can! You won’t see everything, not even a significant fraction of it actually, but what to do with just one day in Berlin really depends on your own individual interests and curiosity.

Berlin is a veritable wonderland of culture, counterculture, history, modernity, retro, cool, kitsch and everything in between. It is an utterly unique city, so making the most of your one day in Berlin is going to take some planning and knowing a few things before you arrive. Lucky for you, we’ve got some tips below to help you do just that!


Top tips for spending just One day in Berlin

We’re not here to make an itinerary for you. There’s already plenty of blogs out there pretending to have nailed the ultimate way to spend a day in Berlin, what to see, do and even eat for breakfast. That’s not our style; the beauty of Berlin is that there’s a different Berlin for everyone, so we’re just going to try help you plan your perfect day here.

We’ve structured these helpful tips to assist you with navigating your way around Berlin in a single day, highlight the best districts in Berlin to visit in just one day, some of the absolute must-sees, and some miscellaneous things to know for making the most of 24 hours or less in the German capital.


Things to do in Berlin


Best districts for spending one day in Berlin

Within the zones A and B, there are some fascinating Berlin districts to explore. Below, we give you a little insight to them and some of the suggested things to do in each. You can read more about some of the mentioned attractions in our must-see sights for first-timers in Berlin blog.


The word Mitte means centre or middle in German, so this ought to give you a clue about its geographical location right in the historic heart of Berlin. We recommend arriving to Stadmitte station from where you have a host of attractions within easy walking distance.

Examples of some of the must-see sights in Mitte include the Brandenburg Gate and City Palace, each at either end of Unter den Linden, the pedestrianised stretch lined with linden trees, as well Museum island, yes, literally an island of museums, and Checkpoint Charlie.


If you are after a bit of decadence, want to indulge in some shopping or indeed even some high-brow culture, then Charlottenburg is your bag. Home to KaDeWe, the famous West-Berlin shopping centre, and fashion boutiques in and around Kurfürstendamm, as well as the Freidrichstadt-Palaste theatre, the rococo Charlottenburg Palace, park and gardens, and high-end restaurants, the affluent district of Charlottenburg is where you’ll want to spend at least some of your one day in Berlin for an upscale vibe.

We recommend arriving to Zoologischer Garten station as the most convenient stop for exploring Charlottenburg. And, as you may have guessed from the name of that stop, Berlin Zoo is in Charlottenburg too!


Kreuzberg is, in many ways, the antithesis of the afore mentioned Charlottenburg. A distinct urban grittiness, contemporary street art, thrift-shops, cool & quirky cafes and bars, food stalls and a plethora of diverse, affordable cuisine, and a notable laid-back vibe and casual charm makes Kreuzberg a delightful district in which to spend some of your one day in Berlin!

It’s a big area, and home to lots of artists, students and a vibrant multi-cultural population. It isn’t as tourist-infested (yet) as other districts in Berlin, so is still a nice place to absorb a sense of the authentic local Berliner culture by strolling along Landwehr Canal, mingling with the locals or people-watching from one of the wonderful and cheap restaurants or bars around Wiener Strasse, Oranienstrasse, and Schlesisches Tor.

Kottbusser Tor station in the centre of the Kreuzberg district is our recommended stop to arrive to for easily making your way around.


Connected to Kreuzberg by the wonderful Oberbaum Bridge crossing the river Spree, the former East-Berlin district of Friedrichshain is not too unlike its afore mentioned neighbour. Boasting indie boutiques, casual cafes & restaurants and chilled-out bars - particularly along Warschauer Strasse, Revaler Strasse, and Simon-Dach Strasse - it too has a reputation for an uber cool attitude and alternative vibe, albeit being noticeably more touristy than Kreuzberg.  

Friedrichshein is also where you’ll find one of our recommended must-see sights in Berlin, the East-side gallery. This GDR-era relic is a 1.3km preserved stretch of the old Berlin wall depicting 102 individual pieces of political art / murals by international artists. Don’t miss it, even if you do only have one day in Berlin.

We recommend arriving to Warschauer Strasse station when visiting Friedrichshein. Right next to Warschauer Str is The urban Spree, one of the last squats of the 90’s which now hosts Cassiopeia nightclub, Emmapea vegan restaurant, an open-air cinema, a charming bar, and even a climbing wall and tower!

A large portion of Berlin’s reputation as Europe’s party capital can be attributed to Friedrichshein – the night lasts days here and is played out in the several bars and techno clubs of the district, especially along Revaler Strasse and by Ostkreuz train station, including the notoriously exclusive Berghain which is arguably now more famous for being near-impossible to get into than it is for actually being a club.


Prenzlaurberg district is worthy of some of your day in Berlin, especially if you’re here on a Sunday when Mauerpark on Eberswalder Strasse hosts one of Berlin’s biggest and most diverse flea markets as well as the world-famous bear-pit karaoke where anyone can sing their heart out in front of the huge gathering of fun-loving people. The atmosphere here is special and shouldn’t be missed.

Of course, Prenzlaurberg is a delightful district on any day of the week. Get off at Schonhauser Allee station and stroll along some of the long, leafy boulevards backed by the sound of street musicians, enjoy the serenity of beautiful parks, or relax on Mauerpark hill.



Transport – navigating one day in Berlin

One of the fundamental parts of maximising your day in Berlin is navigating your way around. Berlin is a sprawling 821 kilometres and then some. So, forget about exploring the fringes and focus your attention more centrally for just one day in the city.  

The Berlin transport system (BVG) is going to be an inherent element of your adventure. Whether you find yourself arriving to Hauptbahnhof station (the main train station in Berlin) or a different one, you’ll easily find a BVG ticket machine inside and/or just outside the station, or you can use the BVG ticket app. Buy yourself a day ticket, this will allow you travel from the time of validation until 3 a.m. the next day.

Berlin’s transportation map is made up of different zones, and different tickets allow you unlimited travel within the specified zone combinations. We recommend going for the AB or ABC ticket. Zones A and B contain the bulk of must-sees and things to do across a fairly-large portion of the city, so this makes most sense for a single day in Berlin, though, for just 60 cents more you can add Zone C too, so you may as well, especially if you need to travel to / from Berlin-Schönefeld Airport.  

Day ticket Berlin AB    

€8.60 - reduced fare €5.50

Day ticket Berlin BC

€9.00 - reduced fare €5.80

Day ticket Berlin ABC  

€9.60 - reduced fare €6.00

Berlin is vast and expansive, even among just the A & B zones, and while much of the joy of travelling is figuring stuff out on the ground and seeing where you end up, with just one day in Berlin you simply can’t afford to not get familiar with the layout of the city before you arrive. We highly recommend acquainting yourself with a Berlin map and the transport system routes here to save some precious time if you’re visiting Berlin for just one day.


One day in Berlin – Make the most of it!

If ever there was a city in which spending a couple of hours touring with a proper local guide was an excellent idea, it’s Berlin; especially if you want to maximise your time and make the absolute most of just one day here!

Berlin’s historic legacy is a vast as the city is sprawling, and there are many different free walking tours in Berlin to make all of this easily accessible and digestible. Of course, it’s not all about history here either Berlin’s alternative character is much celebrated and sought-after, as is the famous nightlife. Whether it’s the history of the Kaisers, WWII, or the Cold War that fascinates you, the alternative, creative and contemporary culture of the city, or the famous nightlife of Berlin, there’s a free tour or budget activity to suit you on the platform,  ensuring you’ll see many of the iconic sights of the city, interact with authentic local Berliners, and get unrivalled insight to life lived here, as well as useful hints and tips for your day.
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