3 Days in Berlin, Germany
Read our best travel tips for what to do and where to stay and eat for 3 Days in Berlin, Germany. A hotel review of the Sofitel Berlin Kurfürstendamm.
As many of you know from following me on Instagram, my husband and I recently spent 3 days in Berlin, Germany. Joining up on a Viking Cruise to sail the North Sea, to Denmark and Norway, we went a few days early to the city. You can watch my highlighted videos on Instagram of our time in Berlin!
What to do in Berlin
Berlin has truly become one of our favorite European cities to visit, leaving a strong impression on us. Learning more of the history, the stories between the East and the Western sections, and what it’s like today in modern day Berlin, we will cherish our experiences in our hearts forever.
What do you do for 3 days in Berlin, Germany?
When we arrived to Berlin, we taxied to the Sofitel Berlin Kurfürstendamm, where we stayed for 4 nights.
Paul and I were busy tourists. With so much to see, we were really soaking in the city and all the history, so having a comfortable room and bed at the end of the day was very important to us.
Riding the bus and train, the canals of Berlin, the cathedrals, the museums, the history, and the food! So much to do in a short 3 days!
Oh, dear Berlin. So much happened in your city years ago! I put a heartfelt story on Instagram, explaining that I’d wake up in the night thinking about the stories of former tragedies in this city.
But today’s Berlin is full of joyous, free-spirited people, putting the past behind, now with an artistic flair–so many museums, important places to visit (many are free), and let’s just say it– amazing food!
Going in September? The weather was perfectly beautiful, warm and the best “tourist” weather. Wow, we lucked out.
Where to Stay in Berlin: Sofitel Berlin Kurfürstendamm
The Sofitel Berlin Kurfürstendamm is a 5-star hotel in the heart of West Berlin, with a touch of French elegance, a landmark on the Kurfürstendamm. We debated, do we stay in the East or the West?
We experienced warm colors and thoughtful design in every room, and there was a sophisticated ambience, with a view of the city. The award-winning architecture of this hotel is by Jan Kleihues.
The rooms and bathroom were spacious and very clean. Our room was fantastic, very large, with everything you could wish for, with of course espresso every morning!
We even used the fitness center, steam room, and sauna. Everything is so well maintained.
I can’t say enough about the concierge team, especially Tony. He recommended amazing restaurants and jazz bars, and on weekend of the Berlin marathon, steered us in the right direction on the train.
Location: A 5 minute walk from the zoo, transit hub, U-bahn, S-bahn, street car, and the bus.
Breakfast in the hotel: You can enjoy a beautiful breakfast every morning in the Restaurant Le Faubourg, with an elegant French flair.
10 things to do in Berlin
3 Days in Berlin, Germany is not a lot of time to see everything! I’m highlighting what we were able to do in this amazing city, and the fantastic restaurants where we ate!
1. The Holocaust Memorial – Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe (Berlin’s Holocaust Memorial).
Berlin’s Holocaust Memorial consists of a grid of 2,711 concrete blocks (some measure up to 6 feet tall) that were created to memorialize the 6 million Jewish victims of the Third Reich.
Sobering, you walk (reverently) amongst the gray slabs, and then you descend to the underground visitors center (free). For sure, rent the audio guide to learn (and feel) as much as you can.
2. Museum of Jewish history – another museum for learning more about Jewish history in Germany.
3. The Brandenburg Gate. Inspired by the Acropolis entrance in Athens, the Brandenburger Tor (Brandenburg Gate) is one of the most popular places to visit in Berlin. Located in Pariser Platz, the Brandenburg Gate was built for King Frederick Wilhelm II in 1788. Divided during the Cold War, this is where Napoleonic invasions and Nazi parades took place, but now the gate is a symbol of reunification between the East and the West.
4. Berlin Wall Memorial. The East Side Gallery refers to the longest intact section of the Berlin Wall, which stretches nearly a mile. After the Berlin Wall’s fall in 1989, dozens of international artists created more than 100 murals and paintings of the end of the Cold War era.
After the construction of the wall, the protestant Versoehnungskirche (Church of Reconciliation), built in 1894, ended up in “no man’s land,” inaccessible to residents of either West or East Berlin. The church tower was even used by border guards as a watchtower. In 1985 the East German government detonated the church. Today, the beautiful Chapel of Reconciliation stands at the very site where the Reconciliation Church once stood. A place for contemplation for all.
5. Half-day trip to Potsdam. It’s easy to take the train out to Potsdam, where you’ll become acquainted with the history, and attractions such as the Dutch Quarter, the Russian colony Alexandrovka, the rebuilt City Palace, and the New Palace.
We learned about the Prussian Empire, and met a new friend on the train. Kathleen told us about a secret Italian restaurant, Pino, where we enjoyed the best food and wine.
6. Sanssouci Palace – Schloss Sansoucci, also known as Sansoucci Palace, was the summer palace of Frederick the Great, King of Prussia.
We got off the train and walked to it, and got lost for hours in the beautiful gardens and amazing architecture that went on and on and on.
7. Kathe Koliwitz Museum. Kathe was one of the greatest German female artists during the Cold War. This museum is right around the corner from our hotel. Paul and I actually have 2 pieces of her drawings.
8. Checkpoint Charlie: Many say a visit to the Checkpoint Charlie border crossing should not come without a visit to the Haus am Checkpoint Charlie, or the Checkpoint Charlie Museum. This is where you’ll learn the stories of those who escaped from East to West via the Berlin Wall, as well as stories about those who didn’t. You’ll also get a thorough history of the Berlin Wall – its creation and eventual fall.
9. Reichstag. A symbol of Germany’s past, present and future, the Reichstag or Parliament Building reflects a variety of different architecture from the late 20th and late 21st centuries, symbolizing the country’s path from dark past to brighter future. Bombed during World War II, it didn’t become the seating house of government again until 1999, after the glass dome was added. You can tour the Reichstag’s dome for free, but you have to get tickets in advance.
10. Sachsenhausen concentration camp memorial. This is one of the first Nazi concentration camps in Germany. We really wanted to tour Sachsenhausen, but because of the Berlin Marathon (which we saw part of), we were unable to get a taxi. I’m adding it here because we hear it’s a “must”. Also, if you can get to Auschwitz‑Birkenau Memorial and Museum, GO.
Museums in Berlin: Although we only vistied a few museums, here is a link to all of the museums in Berlin.
Transportation in Berlin
Transportation: Taxi from the airport. Berlin Hop-on Hop-off Sightseeing Tour (excellent for the money), subway (to Potsdam), then walking everywhere else.
A few of our favorite things: Berlin’s humor, colors, and goodies :)
Where to eat in Berlin
Berliner Donut (to me – a simple donut)–Available at almost any bakery!
Curry-wurst–A legendary dish for Berlin, curry-wurst was originally created by a woman in 1949 who got ketchup and curry powder from British soldiers. She mixed them with grilled pork sausage, and today it’s become a signature fast food dish. You can grab it on the run, available all over Berlin (and it’s very affordable).
Louis Laurent–Delicious French food within walking distance of our hotel. We enjoyed perch with pureed carrots and potatoes, pizza, and a scrumptious pear tart. Best wine, too.
Hopfingerbrau–We enjoyed wienerschnitzel and currywurst and shared a beer. The Hopfingerbräu in the Palais is by the Brandenburg Gate.
Cafe Wintergarten in Literaturhaus—Lovely, tranquil space with delicous German menu, try their fleischkuchle! The gardens are beautiful and the library (reading room) so interesting!
Ristorano Pino—An Italian restaurant tucked away on one of the side streets in Potsdam (near Brandenberg), ten minutes walk from Luisenplatz. The menu is presented on a blackboard in front of your table. The locals know this restaurant, so we were happy that we got a table with no reservation. Best tartare avocado salad, lamb, and a mousse with chocolate and currants.
LPG Biomarket Organic Supermarket Shop—You must walk through and experience the markets. Here we enjoyed espresso and sachertorte. And cheese! :)
Mustafa’s Gemüse Kebap is famous in Berlin for their Döner Kepas. Our concierge Tony sent us on the train (U-Bahn station on the west side of Mehringdammin Berlin Kreuzberg). “Just look for the long line,” Tony said. We waited in line for 45 mintues for what might be our favorite meal in Berlin.
The last night, we met up with our friends Brian and Lori for an authentic German meal.
The next day, getting ready to get on the Viking cruise ship, the Viking Star, for a dreamy one week sail.
Stay tuned for my Viking cruise to Denmark and Norway!
Viking Cruises sponsored airfare and our last night at the Sofitel. All opinions are my own!