Berlin is both the capital and the largest city in Germany. Most people have heard of the famous Berlin wall, but not everyone is aware that a forest, canals, rivers, lakes, gardens and parks comprise a huge section of the city. The city has a long and complicated history in politics and culture.
The city has world-renowned universities, entertainment venues and music festivals. Spending two days in Berlin can seem like a bit daunting, but here is everything you need to make the most of your time in this exciting city.
This is the best guide to help you navigate 48 hours in Berlin or Berlin in two days. We will show you what to do, where to stay, what to eat and how to get around.
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The Best Time to Visit Berlin
To create a 48 hours in Berlin itinerary, it’s essential to decide what is the best time of year to visit. Berlin is the warmest between May to September, and this is typically when international travellers visit the city. Temperatures usually range between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit with some humidity.
One important factor to keep in mind for summertime visitors is that it is the rainiest season. However the rain never stops locals from enjoying all the outdoor activities that the city offers and neither should you…just pack an umbrella. The rain typically stops in September, and the weather remains warm enough to dress light.
Berlin is beautiful in the winter, but the temperatures do go down to freezing. Due to the drop in temperature, some activities are limited such as the visits to Berlins many gardens. Two of the best activities in winter are the Christmas markets and ice skating.
Things to do in Berlin
In Berlin, there is always something fun to see or participate in. Spending 48 hrs in Berlin will take some prioritising because there is no way to see everything in such a short time frame. Make your peace with that fact and enjoy the time you have rather than making a mad dash to mark off a considerable bucket list of sights. below is a list of what to see in 2 days in Berlin:
All urban art lovers need to visit Friedrichshain arthouse cinema. You can easily spend hours admiring all the graffiti art of Germany’s most prominent artist.
Berlin has a ton of parks, but Mauerpark is one that you should not pass up. Sundays, the park turns into a giant flea market where you can find unique souvenirs sold by a local artists. The rest of the week, when the weather is nice, you’ll find locals drinking and grilling till late into the night. One amazingly unique feature is that the park offers outdoor karaoke for those feeling brave enough to rock the mic.
Markthalle IX is a great place to grab a bite to eat or watch the locals shop for fresh produce on Fridays and Saturdays. The market hall first opened its doors in 1891 and is a great place to experience some German street food.
Places to visit in Berlin
Did you know that Berlin has nearly 1000 bridges? I highly recommend visiting the Oberbaumbrücke bridge. It previously separated East and West Berlin and was not accessible to civilians. The bridge is not only beautiful but is an essential part of the city’s history.
Berlin’s central park is a great place to visit and explore that the hidden gems located within. Throughout the park you will find, statues and monuments nestled amongst the beautiful greenery. You can get a free peek at the animals in the world famous Berlin zoo is that is located nearby.
Want to visit an abandoned cold war era spy station? Yes, you read that correctly. There is an abandoned spy station in the Grunewald forest that you can explore for just 7 euros. This is the perfect activity for anyone looking for something out of the norm.
If abandoned sites are your idea of a fun and quirky vacation, visit the abandoned theme park called Spreepark near Treptower Park. Although you are not allowed to enter, you can have a great view of this funky remnant along the Spree river.
Brandenburg Gate came to symbolize the divided Germany, as the Berlin Wall shut off access to the gate for both East and West Germans. It’s famous as it served as the backdrop for U.S. President Ronald Reagan’s he encouraged the Soviet leader to “tear down this wall.”
A 20 minute walk away is checkpoint Charlie, it gets it’s name from the phonetic alphabet. This checkpoint was the only place where visiting foreigners to Berlin could cross from the West side to the East side. It’s considered one of the most important landmarks in Berlin.
Charlottenburg Palace is the largest palace in all of Germany, It’s approx 1 hour and 30 mins out of Berlin city centre but is worth a trip if you have the time. The palace was building for Sophie Charlotte the Queen consort in Prussia in the 17th century. This makes for a perfect day trips around Berlin or you can visit for a few hours.
The Berlin Cathedral, short for the “Evangelical Supreme Parish and Collegiate Church” is located on the Museum Island in the Mitte district. The magnificent dome of the Cathedral is one of the main landmarks in Berlin’s cityscape. tickets for extry cost around 7 euros.
Where to stay in Berlin
The historic centre of the city has a large concentration of monuments and sights, but in the evenings, it can be a bit dodgy. By and large, Berlin is a very safe city aside from the occasional pickpocket. The West side of Berlin is mostly residential and calm, making a great option to find AirBnB rentals in quiet areas. The East part of the city is more lively with bars, clubs and restaurants. It is an excellent place to stay if you are looking to be in the heart of all the action. We have written an extensive guide on Where to stay in Berlin.
If you prefer to stay in a hotel, there are a few affordable options but keep in mind that prices can fluctuate during the high season. The Best Western Hotel Spittelmark, Cosmo Hotel Berlin Mitte, Mövenpick Hotel Berlin, Park Inn by Radisson Berlin Alexanderplatz and Abba Berlin Hotel are all affordable options. Each of these hotels are close to Berlin attractions and are well under 100 USD a night.
The Best Western Hotel Spittelmark is a 3-star hotel and has rooms as low as 60 USD a night. Cosmo Hotel Berlin Mitte is a 4-star hotel with rooms starting at 80 USD a night and has a highly rated organic restaurant on-site. The 4-star Mövenpick Hotel Berlin has a glass roof restaurant and city view with prices starting at 75 USD a night. Park Inn by Radisson Berlin Alexanderplatz and The Abba Berlin Hotel are both 4-star hotels with similar amenities. The Abba is slightly more affordable, but all the hotels mentioned above are viable options to make your stay in Berlin a memorable one.
How to get around Berlin
The S-Baun begins weekday service at 4:30 am and concludes at 1:30 am. Time intervals vary dependent upon the time of day, but they are typically every 5 -20 minutes. On Saturday and Sunday, the trains run every half hour for twenty-four hours. The S-Baun runs on fifteen lines, and there are close to 170 stations. The stations are easy to locate. They are all marked by green circular signs with a white letter “S” inside. You can purchase your fare from ticket machines located on the platforms.
The U-Baun runs service on ten lines, connecting to 173 stations. The trains run in 5-10 minute intervals between 4am and 1am Monday through Friday. Saturday and Sunday, the trains run every 10-15 minutes for twenty-four hours. Tickets can be purchased at subway platforms and ticket kiosk in larger stations.
Anywhere that can’t be reached directly through either the S-Baun or U-Baun, have routes through the BVG bus lines. Most of the bus lines run twenty-four hours. The essential bus lines that terminate service in the night are replaced by Night Buses that operate all night. The night buses are easy to identify as they are marked with the letter “N”.
Trams extend the service routes of the U-Baun. The trams run in large part in the eastern part of the city. The Metrotram runs more frequently than the regular tram. Timetables can change, so always check online for the most updated schedule of routes for the tram line. Tickets can be purchased on the tram or anywhere U-Baun, or S-Baun tickets are sold.
Single fare tickets are valid for a two-hour ride through the city. Once you are ready to head back in the direction of where you began, a new ticket is required even if it falls within the 2 hours. The area is designated into tariff zones. ABC includes the surrounding areas of Berlin Potsdam Hauptbahnhof, while AB only includes areas within the city boundary. All tickets can be used interchangeably with S-Baun, U-Baun, tram, metro tram or bus.
Tours to do in Berlin
Berlin is a major hub of energy and creativity that has countless tours to satisfy anyone visiting the city. There are walking tours, food tours, escape rooms and historical tours that take place throughout the year.
The Berlin Welcome Card is the best option for 48 hours in Berlin. You can pay 22,90 euros for 48 hours of unlimited travel any in the city and surrounding areas, including the Schoenefeld airport. Your card also includes free fare for up to 3 children (max age 14), one suitcase and one dog. There are around 200 participating sights that offer 25 to 50% discounts with the purchase of your card.
Craft Beer & Brewery Tour of Berlin is the perfect way work tasting of famous German beer into your 48 hours in Berlin itinerary. The tour will take you to the three of the city’s microbreweries to try the award-winning German beer. The tour runs about 3 hours, giving you plenty of time to soak up the atmosphere of a real German bar.
Viator has the perfect tour for foodies looking to indulge in all the famed food the city has to offer. Culinary City Tour through old Berlin run about 3 ½ hours and give you a taste of all the traditional local fare. The tour includes a stop at a restaurant over 100 years old.
Berlin Highlights and Hidden Sites Historical Walking Tour is one of the most affordable tours you will find. The cost is only 14 euros and 4 hours. With so much to see in Berlin, a walking tour with an experienced and passionate guide is a great option.
Berlin Bike Tour: Berlin Wall and Cold War is a cheap and great way for any history buff to learn more about this tumultuous time of the city’s history. The tour runs 4 ½ hours and cost 28 euros.
Recommend budget tours in Berlin:
- Discover Berlin Half-Day Walking Tour
- Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp Tour from Berlin – Holocaust Memorial
- Cold War Walking Tour of Berlin
- Evening Berlin Food Tour by Bike
- Small-Group Berlin Street Art Tour and Graffiti Workshop
- Berlin Christmas Markets Walking Tour (only available in December)
Get your guide is a Great company, that often offers heavily discounted tours! Check out a few options below:
48 hours in Berlin itinerary
The first stop of your 48 hours in Berlin itinerary should be to purchase a Berlin WelcomeCard 48-hour pass. It will provide you with the means to cover as much ground as possible and as efficiently as possible.
After securing your ticket, head over to the German Parliament. The roof, Reichstag Dome, offers a panoramic view of the city and is a great place to get oriented to its layout. It is also free, so make sure not to skip this chance for epic photo opportunities.
Taking one of the many food tours will be a great way to try local food and get useful tips when choosing where to eat the rest of your trip. These tours are typically 3 hours, leaving you plenty of time to continue your day.
Visit one of the famous Berlin parks. Each park has its own charm and is beautiful to explore during the summer. Mauerpark is one of the best options if you are looking to do as the locals do.
If you are visiting on a Monday or Thursday, visit Cosmic Comedy Berlin. The bar doubles as a venue for English language comedy sets and is a great place to experience will sitting down after an afternoon of walking. After getting dinner, head to one of the many clubs or bars for a nightcap. Berlin’s night scene is famous, and there is no shortage of options in the East part of the city.
Begin day two with a Biking tour. You can cover a lot of ground while still giving your feet a break and enjoying the rich history of Berlin. Visit Grunewald Forest and explore the abandoned spy station. This is an excellent activity for history buffs and fans of the unusual alike. Cut across town and explore some of the beautiful bridges, there are hundreds, to take in the beauty of Berlin.
The afternoon would be an excellent opportunity to try some local German beer. Join a beer tour or explore on your own to partake in on the country’s famous exports.
Finish the last hours of the day at your leisure instead of trying to rush everywhere.
There is no way to see everything Berlin has to offer in 48 hours, but you can get a real sense of the city while enjoying the time you have. Anything that you miss is the perfect excuse for a return trip to this fantastic city.