Top 7 Things to Do If You Only Have 24 Hours in Berlin

Top 7 Things to Do If You Only Have 24 Hours in Berlin

Temporarily leaving my adopted home Dubai, I flew to Berlin via Frankfurt and entered Europe for the very first time. It was a dream I feared would never be realized. And yet there I was, walking out of Berlin Tegel Airport without any questions asked. It signaled the beginning of my trip of a lifetime: my backpacking days in Europe – 8 countries, 16 cities in 22 days. I stepped out of the airport smiling from ear to ear. What greeted me outside made my heart soar even more. I almost wanted to kiss the ground.  

Iconic landmarks and historic buildings dotting the landscape, restaurants and cafés lining the streets, mascots and street performers sprinkled across the city, roads swarming with female bikers in short skirts and gents in commuter suits, Berlin turned out to be one thriving, vibrant and dynamic metropolis. There was a plethora of things to see and do. I regretted my decision right away. I only planned to stay in Berlin for a day.

If you were like me and made a similar mistake or you really cannot avoid just staying there for one day, here are my top 7 things to do in Berlin to help you make the most of your visit. 

Top 7 Things to Do If You Only Have 24 Hours in Berlin

7. Enjoy a 360-degree view of Berlin from the Berliner Fernsehturm.

Top 7 Things to do in Berlin

The Berliner Fernsehturm

Towering over the city at 207 meters above ground level, you can enjoy an uninterrupted view of the city’s skyline from the Berliner Fernsehturm. From the top, you can see famous landmarks, including Friedrichstadt-Palast, Altes Museum, Lustgarten, and Berliner Dom, just to name a few. Entrance to the tower costs €13.00 for adults and €8.50 for kids. With more than a million visitors each year, I would suggest you book your tickets online in advance.

6. Join a ‘Third Reich Walking Tour’.

Top 7 Things to do in Berlin

My ‘Third Reich Walking Tour’ group

It’s hard to explore Berlin and not be reminded of Hitler and what he’s done. So, to gain a better understanding of who he was and what he did, join a ‘Third Reich Walking Tour’. It will take you to the Air Ministry; Hitler’s bunker; Wilhelmstrasse, a thoroughfare once occupied by the Nazis, as well as the iconic Brandenburg Gate. Aviator offers a half-day walking tour for only $15.49.  

5. Visit the Berliner Dom.

Top 7 Things to do in Berlin

The Berliner Dom behind me

A Baroque style Cathedral, the Berliner Dom or Cathedral of Berlin was built between 1894 and 1905 and is a sight to behold. The city’s largest church, its massive dome overlooks Lustgarten or Pleasure Garden, also an excellent place to visit. Climb up the 270 steps inside the Cathedral and you’ll be rewarded with a magnificent view of the city at the Viewing Deck. You can take a guided tour of the crypt, organ, or dome. Adults pay €5 and students pay €3 while children are free.

4. Buy a German sausage from a ‘Grillwalker’.

Top 7 Things to do in Berlin

A friendly ‘grillwalker’

Ubiquitous in Berlin, ‘grillwalkers’ are the city’s unique street vendors, so named since they sell sausages and burgers cooked on portable grills. Germany is known for their juicy sausages and Frankfurters, so what better way of tasting an authentic German sausage than by buying one from a grillwalker? 

3. Visit Fassbender & Rausch.

A miniature replica of the Brandenburg Gate made entirely of dark chocolate? What about a chocolate sculpture of a Faberge Egg or A380? Yes, only at Fassbender & Rausch. It’s a shop where chocoholics will surely have a blast. Just looking at the enormous chocolates by the windows is already gratifying. 

2. Visit the Berlin Wall.

Top 7 Things to do in Berlin

The Berlin Wall behind me

Although little remains of the grey Berlin Wall today, it is still worth visiting if only to remember the families that were divided and reunited through the Wall. Behind the walls are mementos of what life was like during this dark period in Germany’s history. It is located in the center of the capital, on Bernauer Strasse. Entrance is free.

1. Visit Bebelplatz.

Top 7 Things to do in Berlin

Bebbelplatz where the book burnings occurred

 

Previously called ‘Opernplatz’ or public square, it is the site of the first of the infamous book burnings held on May 10, 1933. Around 20,000 precious books were burned that night. Be sure to check the memorial designed by Israeli artist Milcha Ullman. Visible through a glass plate built on the cobblestones, visitors look down at a ‘Library’ with empty bookshelves big enough to hold 20,000 books. The State Opera, St. Hedwig’s Cathedral and the Alte Bibliothek of the Humboldt University law faculty are also located at the square.

Top 7 Things to do in Berlin

The iconic Brandenburg Gate

I ended my day tour of Berlin by the iconic Brandenburg Gate, badly wishing that I had at least one more day in the city. There are just so many more incredible places to see. I would have added a visit to the Jüdisches Museum, the Topography of Terror, or go on a river cruise to my to-do list in Berlin. If you can, plan to spend at least 3-5 days there. You will surely have the time of your life. And when it’s time for you to leave, you won’t be smiling while saying ‘Auf Wiedersehen, Berlin.’ 

 The Konzerthaus at Gendarmenmarkt, my favorite public square in Berlin WIM

The Konzerthaus at Gendarmenmarkt, my favorite public square in Berlin

Top 7 Things to Do If You Only Have 24 Hours in Berlin






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