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What to see and do in Berlin

A man with long blonde hair in center shot with the beautiful Berlin Cathedral Church in the background

What to expect in Berlin

Situated at the heart of European geography and history, there are endless layers to this super-cool city. It's one of Europe's best destinations for learning about world-altering events, while also enjoying the charming local neighborhood and culture.

And German’s capital city has even more to offer than just thought-provoking museums and monuments, though it’s clear that these can be found in abundance. The city is also a magnet for European creativity.

You'll find yourself rubbing shoulders with both music and history makers, plus plenty of artists and creatives. Simply head to one of Berlin’s iconic hipster bars, underground clubs, or vibrant markets to soak up this atmosphere for yourself.

The best time to fly to Berlin

Berlin is a city that can be enjoyed in every season - with each providing both locals and visitors alike with an entirely new experience. As a result, there really isn’t a bad time to visit this incredible city.

Visit in summer to enjoy the best of their outdoor park life, exploring the outdoor markets and drinking beer in their beer gardens.

Travel to Berlin in winter for a completely different experience involving winter markets, mulled wine and cosy stops in Berlin’s many cafes.

The shoulder seasons may be the cheapest time to visit, and allow you to sample a bit of both summer and winter in Berlin.

One of Berlin's many green parks basking in the evening glow, with a family walking in the forefront
A man does a cartwheel in front of The Rebuilt Reichstag in the center of Berlin, Germany

Discover the historic sites of Berlin

Berlin is a history lover’s dream. Several major 20th-century events took place in Berlin and the German people have made a conscious effort to remember this history.

To learn more about it, check out the Reichstag (German Parliament), Berlin Brandenburg Gate, or the Holocaust Memorial. A trip to Berlin would also hardly be complete without seeing the remains of the Berlin Wall – the fall of which represents an important moment in both European and German history.

Visit the treasure trove that is Museum Island to reflect on recent history and get your fill of ancient art. This UNESCO World Heritage site is home to five museums and is one of the most visited sights in Berlin.

Pop by the Island on Saturday or Sunday to explore the wares at the famous Berliner Kunstmarkt (Berlin Art Market).

Shopping in Berlin

If shopping is on your list, Kurfürstendamm is the city's prime retail strip (it's also a mouthful, so feel free to call it Kudamm like the locals). It's more than 2 miles long and lined with boutiques and stores.

Luxury-seekers should make their way to Fasanenstrasse to enjoy boutique design stores. Meanwhile, food lovers shouldn't miss the sumptuous food hall inside the KaDeWe department store.

Going to the markets in Berlin is a popular activity among tourists and locals alike. While there are plenty to choose from, the Sunday market at Mauerpark is the perfect place to browse trendy clothing and artwork.

A skyline of Berlin with city lights lit up against the dusky evening light with Berliner Fernsehturm: Berlin's Television Tower, in center shot
People eat with friends and family at various tables at an indoor food market in Berlin

What to eat in Berlin

You can get a taste of the city's favorite flavors from a local imbiss, or fast-food stall. Currywurst (sausage in a curry sauce) is a classic local snack, and there are loads of places selling doner kebabs, another favorite among Berliners. Then there are Spätis, classic 24-hour corner stores selling everything you need, including late-night snacks.

Fast and cheap dining is well covered, but so is fine dining, and there is a smorgasbord of options in between.

You’ll find everything from cool coffee bars and rustic wood-paneled taverns to stylish gourmet temples serving on-trend local flavors alongside international dishes.

Where to find the best food spots

Head to neighborhoods like Scheunenviertel, Kreuzberg, Neukölln, and Prenzlauer Berg to explore streets lined with cafes, indie stores, and fun diversions.

You can raise a glass in the city’s leafy beer gardens such as the Prater Garten, which opened in 1837 and is a favorite among locals.

Or head to one of the many buzzing 'beach bars' along the Spree River for a relaxed drink with friends.

Colourful chairs are placed outside a restuarant cafe in the center of Berlin
A man with long blonde hair emerges from a U-Bahn station in Berlin, Germany

Traveling around Berlin city center

Getting around Berlin is relatively easy thanks to U-Bahn underground trains and S-Bahn overground trains. These are part of the city’s BVG public transport system.

Germany’s capital is very well connected, so you will likely never be stuck for transport.

The city is a little too spread out to rely solely on walking, though there is plenty you can still explore on foot.

And though renting a car may seem like a convenient option, finding parking in a large city like Berlin can be tricky. Taxis are fairly easy to come by though.

Traveling from the airport to the city center

Icelandair flights land at Berlin Brandenbeurg Airport (BER). To get from there to downtown Berlin, there are several options.

Taking the S-Bahn S9 train is one of the most popular means of getting from the airport to the Hauptbahnhof station in the city center. The trip takes around 50 minutes. As Berlin Airport is in the C zone, passengers should buy an ABC zone ticket for this trip.

The Airport Express Bus X7 (taken from the arrivals level of T1) leaves every 5 minutes and will deliver you to U-Rudow Station, from where you can take a train into the heart of the city.

Of course, there is always the option of taking a taxi from the airport to downtown.

A boat rides past Museum Island in Berlin, the capital of Germany

FAQs about travel to Berlin

Helpful information for travelers to Berlin

What US cities fly to Berlin?

You can fly to Berlin from most major US cities thanks to Icelandair’s transatlantic flights. Depart from any of our departure cities in the US, including New York (JFK), Boston (BOS), Portland (PDX), or Seattle (SEA) and fly to Berlin via the Land of Fire and Ice.

How long are flights to Berlin, Germany?

This depends entirely on where you are flying from in the US and how long your layover is. However, as a guide, flights from New York to Berlin can take around 10 hours.

Travelers can choose to Stopover in Iceland for up to 7 days at no additional airfare and enjoy everything Iceland has to offer on their way to Germany.

How can you find cheap tickets to Berlin?

The cheapest month to fly to Berlin is usually either January or February, as this is when there is slightly lower demand.

That isn’t to say that other months are a lot more expensive or that you can’t find cheap flights to Berlin in these months - we simply recommend booking your flights as far in advance as possible to be in with the best chance of securing a good flight deal.

When should you go to Berlin?

Each season is unique in Berlin and we’d say that it’s always a good time to visit this fantastically chic city.

The summer months are long and festive in the city, with locals and travelers alike trying to make the most of the warmer days. Whether you are looking to cool off with a swim at Strandbad Wannsee or indulge in one of the city’s beer gardens, the buzz of the city welcomes you.

For those planning to visit in the winter months, make sure you time your trip at the same time as the German Christmas markets, where you’ll be able to pick up trinkets while sipping on glühwein.