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Berlin in 1 day!

We made a spur of the moments decision and decided to do a day trip from Munich in may to Berlin. We are in Munich for 6 nights and have non refundable hotels will be doing day trips to Bavarian alps and Salzburg and saw cheap tickets to Berlin so succumbed we are flying to Berlin from Munich we land at 7 20 AM and our flight back is same day at 9: 30 pm from tegel airport that gives us 12 hours in Berlin. I am sure Berlin deserves more time but that's all we could squeeze in. Would like some itinerary help. Is the German history museum something we should squeeze in the only museum I really wanted to go to Pergamum and second question is is Berlin Wall memorial worth squeezing in that 12 hours as well, basically I want to know us if you had only 12 hours in Berlin how would you spend it! Thanks !!

Posted by
11294 posts

On my last trip in September 2012 (my trip report here), I loved the German History Museum and the Bernauer Strasse section of the Wall (two of the highlights). On a prior trip, I went to the Pergamum and it didn't "speak" to me. But that's just me; everyone will have a different experience. So, in your situation, I'd look at a few guidebooks and see what interests you, then go from there. Do consider a walking tour, as you will not only see "sights," but learn about the history; for Berlin more than for many other cities, that's key to appreciating what you are seeing. If you want to go up in the Reichstag Dome, you MUST get reservations in advance, as same-day tickets are usually sold out.

Posted by
2353 posts

We are doing the bike tour - seemed like a good way to get around.

Posted by
13383 posts

Hi, First, the time span doesn't offer much time. Unless you have got a specific esoteric museum, esp. an history one or a definite area in mind to see, I would spend a leisure day in the specific area of Mitte: the Brandenburg Gate, Pariser Platz, seeing the famous Adlon Hotel, Unter den Linden, Lustgarten, visiting the three famous churches, the Opernpalais, etc. The other option is to take a Hop On tour to get an overview.

Posted by
4835 posts

Take the Insider Tours "Famous" Walk. You'll get a fair amount of history and see a number of key sights during that four hour walk.

Posted by
8301 posts

Any of the bike or walking tours, like Insider tour, are going to give you a far better and memorable experience than a Hop-on-hop-off bus tour will give you. The bus drives by, gives you one sentence and then you are whizzing on to the next spot. There are no guides to ask questions about what you just saw, and no in-depth explanation about what happened here, the history, or personal stories. If you only have one day in Berlin, don't spend it riding on a bus.

Posted by
4535 posts

You'll have less than 12 hours in Berlin itself, since you'll need time to and from the airport. I've never thought of seeing Berlin in less than a day, but perhaps you have more energy and need less sleep than me ;-) You'll have a few hours in the morning and all afternoon. That's enough time to see 1-2 museums well. I love the Pergamon but I love ancient history and architecture. The Neues Museum is newly opened and is well regarded (I haven't seen it yet). You can probably get a combo ticket for both and they are next to each other. The other great sites of Berlin are also nearby such as the Brandenburg Gate, Reichstag, cathedral and some of the Wall, Jewish and Nazi sites. Personally, I'd skip the dome of the Reichstag as a time saver. Even with tickets, you wait in line and ultimately get a nice view of the city but I'm not sure it's worth it for the amount of time you have. A walking or other tour would be a nice orientation in the morning and leave the afternoon to see the sites or museums that most interest you.

Posted by
565 posts

Sarah, with so little time, I wouldn't do any museums at all. They are all very large and very popular with either long lines or a tremendous amount of information or both. Save them for your next visit. The only exception that is worth visiting that I can think of is the small but great DDR Museum, easily seen in 60-90 min, but could possibly have a line. A walking or bike tour is the way to go. If it's nice out, maybe a cruise along the River Spree. A stop along Bernauer Strasse and a look at the remnants of the wall. Cheap shopping and yummy kababs in Prenzlauer Berg/Kreuzberg.
Enjoy your trip!

Posted by
81 posts

Thank you for the wonderful advice!
We have done these 1 day trips quite often ( Granada, Malaga, Toledo, Cardova, Pisa to name a few ) and you would be surprised how much we can squeeze in if we plan it well. Though we have never taken on a giant like Berlin before!! Its all dependent on if our flight gets there on time. I will update you on how it went one we come back !

Posted by
13383 posts

@ George...From Alexanderplatz according to your directions, you're heading west all the way to Unter den Linden and Pariser Platz, (that's a long walk indeed), yes.. take a break at the Cafe am Opernplatz am Unter den Linden. You're right about that Berliner Luft.

Posted by
2829 posts

My philosophy to short visits is to enjoy just a bit instead of racing everywhere in a rush to say "I've seen it in person". I'd combine a walk from the Postdamplatz and vicinity all the way to Alexanderplatz. From there, I'd take a short U-Bahn ride and walk along a section of the wall that was left there and restored on Bernauerstraße (only 10 min away by U-Bahn). From there you go back to the airport already. I hate sightseeing buses and I think they are the worst possible way to spend a time in almost every city. But that is just me: I'd rather take a time to walk and enjoy just a couple places instead of walking on a more-touristy-impossible bus to see glimpse of places I can see with more time on Google Street View...

Posted by
13383 posts

@ George...Well, the way I see it, you've got three choices for such an indulgence: Cafe am Opernplatz am Unter den Linden or Cafe Krantzler am Ku'damm, or having coffee at the famous Hotel Adlon am Parisier Platz...all real traditional Berlin experiences.

Posted by
81 posts

I wanted to up date every one on my Berlin in a 1 day. SO it is definitely possible. Here is how it went! We took the 4 PM train ( No 8 ) from Hauptbahnhof in Munich to get to the air port to catch our 6:15 AM flight. It takes almost an hour to get to the airport from munich city centre. Our flight was on time and we were in Berlin at 7:15 AM. We got the TXL bus from the Tegel airport to the city and go dropped off at the Berlin Hauptbahnhof near the Washington Platz. From there we crossed the bridge and started to walk to the Reichstag which was obvious from where we got dropped off. I had already made an appointment via email and was suppose to have entree at 9 AM but we were there at 8 AM. It was not a problem they let us right in. There were two lines one for the tourist groups and the other for the pre registered one and the later one was really short and quick. There was no charge to see the Reichstag we picked up the free audio guide and spent almost an 1 1/2 there. The weather was great maybe around 65 degrees and sunny. From there we started to walk and saw the Memorial of the Berlin wall victims which is across the street from Reichstag and headed towards the Brandenburg gate. There we got our passports stamped and got interrogated by a fake soviet officer :) Crossed the praiser platz through the art museum and went to the Memorial of the murdered jews. Spent almost an hour there at the underground museum ( no charge but donations appreciated ) From there walked down to see hitlers bunker only 10 minutes away. Walked again to the Potsdamer Platz where we stopped to have lunch that was another 10 minute walk. From there we walked to the Topography of terror museum and were there in 15 minutes spent around 45 minutes there and the Check pointe Charlie where we spent around 30 minutes. We did not go to the museum though I am sure it would be a good experience. By this time it was 1 PM.

Posted by
81 posts

From here we started our walk up to the Gendarmenmarkt area which is a 15 minute walk. We got a snack and sat around there for a bit. It had lots of young people, locals and tourists and nice to sit and relax and people watch. Then we went up to the German Museum it was around 2 PM. The lines were short and we got right in almost spent 1: 30 minutes there. It is a huge really good museum we could have spent hours here! . Then we started our journey to the Museum Island. I had pre-booked tickets that I got online to the museum for an entry slot for 4: 30 PM. It was so easy to get in and we bypassed all the lines. ANother good museum and we were there till 6 PM. Then we made our way down to the Unter bin Laden hung out had dinner people watched till 7 30 PM then caught the TXL bus back to the airport to catch our 9:30 PM flight back to Munich. We were back in our hotel by Midnight : ) It was a 20 hour trip door to door! Ideally I would have liked to spend another day. But I think we got a lot out of our one day there!. The secret was research ! knowing the area well! having the routes planned and buying the tickets from before so not to waste any time. So here you go folks Berlin in a day all on our own can be done !!!!

Posted by
13383 posts

Hi, Great report on a day trip to Berlin. You had ample time to see Unter den Linden, Pariser Platz, and the Brandenburg Gate from the eastern and western sides, plus the Ger. Hist. Museum (DHM)...you did very well indeed for such an excursion. Your report shows such a day trip of 12 hrs can be done.

Posted by
1717 posts

Hello Sarah. I appreciate your report of your one day at Berlin. I have not been to Berlin. I am thinking about going to Berlin, in October of this year. I travelled in Germany, but I think my trip to Germany was not complete because I did not go to Berlin.
In your third sentence, you said "We took the 4 P.M. train". I guess it was the 4 A.M. train.

Posted by
15326 posts

I took the HOHO bus - waste of time and money. It goes very slowly and the explanations are short, with lots and lots of annoying music in between. Instead, splurge and hire a taxi for an hour and plan a route. He can stop and wait for you (or circle the block) when you want to get out for a few minutes to get a better look or take a photo. The museums on Museum Island are all great, but I agree it's not worth waiting in line for tickets. If you can get them ahead of time, though . . . The Pergamon is amazing. Try to see it. And across the river is the GDR Museum, a hands-on examination of what life was like in East Germany. I thought this was about the most interesting museum in Germany. I stayed near Checkpoint Charlie. It's worth going by. Along the streets there are a series of billboards with photos and lots of information about the Wall. I thought the Checkpoint Charlie Museum was badly organized, cramped and extremely overpriced.

Posted by
81 posts

Yes I meant 4 AM : ) Thank you all for your advice prior to my trip !
This forum makes travel planning much easier!