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How to Spend 24 Hours in Berlin

VO: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Savannah Sher
When you think of Germany, maybe football or the classic traditional biergartens of Bavaria might leap to mind at first, but, of course, the country’s legendary capital Berlin is in fact a wonderfully diverse and cosmopolitan city that is constantly evolving. Welcome to MojoTravels, and whether you’re interested in history, urban exploration and development or just enjoying some laid-back culture, there is truly something for everyone in Berlin.
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How to Spend 24 Hours in Berlin

When you think of Germany, maybe football or the classic traditional biergartens of Bavaria might leap to mind at first, but, of course, the country’s legendary capital Berlin is in fact a wonderfully diverse and cosmopolitan city that is constantly evolving. Welcome to MojoTravels, and whether you’re interested in history, urban exploration and development or just enjoying some laid-back culture, there is truly something for everyone in Berlin.


We won’t be focusing on food for this video, but foodies should be sure check out our video on How to Eat Your Way Through a Day in Berlin.


There are two major ways to get around in Berlin without a vehicle (other than walking of course): cycling and taking public transportation. Renting a bike can be a great experience for first-timers to the city, even if you’re only there for a short period of time. You’ll have complete freedom with a bike, and you’ll look like a local rather than a tourist. Half a million people cycle in Berlin every day, so you’ll be in good company! Just don’t forget your helmet.



If you’re going to be travelling longer distances or aren’t comfortable biking in a foreign city, the Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe or BVG is for you. Berlin’s public transit system is well-run and extensive, with both the U-Bahn and S-Bahn serving different portions of the city, operating trains both above and underground. You may notice that there aren’t always ticket guards or turnstiles at every station, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to pay! The U-Bahn works on the honor system, and Germans are used to it being this way and know to always travel with a ticket.



In terms of a first place to stop in Berlin, there’s no reason not to go straight to the iconic, majestic Brandenburg Gate, which dates from the 18th century. It’s one of the most recognizable sites in the city, and is a lovely example of neoclassical architecture. Throughout the city’s history, the gate has served many different purposes, both practical and political, but today it’s a symbol of the past, and of peace in the present.


While you’re in the area, make sure to stroll by the nearby Reichstag building, which is where German parliament sits. While you don’t necessarily need to go for a tour inside, it’s worth it to book one just to see the inside of the building’s glass dome, as well as the incredible views of the city from inside.


Also in the Mitte neighborhood, just a couple of blocks away, is the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. Berlin is transparent about the Holocaust and this place of remembrance acknowledges German atrocities rather than glossing over them. This monument to millions of victims is deeply emotionally evocative in its simplicity, with the design consisting of 2,711 concrete slabs, arranged in a design that can be somewhat disorienting as you wander through. It’s a place of great solemnity, and not one to pass through quickly.


With only 24 hours to spend in a city, it’s tough to try to pack in all of the museums it has to offer, especially when that city is Berlin. There are countless options, whether you’re more interested in art or history, but with such limited time you probably don’t want to spend your day indoors. Luckily, Berlin’s Museum Island, or Museumsinsel, is a Unesco World Heritage Site where there’s a high concentration of the city’s best museums, including the Alte Nationalgalerie, the Pergamon Museum, and the Bode Museum. Best part? You can buy a single pass for admission to all of them, including other museums across the city. Even if you don’t want to go art-exploring, this is a beautiful area to spend an hour wandering around and appreciating the architecture.


Now, we mentioned earlier that biergartens are more associated with traditional Germany and Bavaria, but that doesn’t mean Berlin doesn’t have a few that are worth checking out. No one is going to turn their nose up at having a beer outside in the afternoon after all. There are lots of good options, but we’re going to recommend Prater Biergarten, at Kastanienallee in Berlin-Prenzlauer Berg, which is considered by many to be the oldest in the city.


You then certainly can’t skip making a visit to the Berlin Wall Memorial, even if you only have one day in the city. You can see the remains of the original Wall here, and, of course, learn more about the history of its construction and eventual destruction. Take time to wander around the open air exhibition and absorb the full impact of this disturbing icon of modern history.


One more historical relic to check out before the end of the day is Checkpoint Charlie. This was once the most well-known crossing point between East and West Berlin, and has been preserved for posterity. This checkpoint became an iconic Cold War image and the sign that once stood there has been replicated in order to recreate an authentic feel.


Our next suggestion is for the slightly more adventurous traveller among you. Post-war Berlin went through much social and political upheaval and turmoil, to say the least, and that resulted in some of the most well-documented urban decay in history. Exploring some of the city’s abandoned sites is a must if you want to see the city’s grittier underbelly. There are guided tours of some of the most popular spots, but for a more authentic experience you might want to wander on your own. Of course, this is all at your own risk, so use caution when making your plans.


As the day winds down, you’ll want to do as Berliners do and relax at a cafe or on the banks of the Spree river if the weather is nice. One of the best neighborhoods in the city to just wander and take in the sights is Kreuzberg, an area that has transitioned from being one of the city’s poorest regions to one of the artsiest and trendiest, at least in certain sections. There are tons of restaurants, cafe and bars here as well as some shopping. It’s also a great place to just sit on an outdoor patio and people watch, taking in all the different demographics that exist here.


And, of course, we end with nightlife. Germany’s capital is legendary for its wild party scene; and even if staying out all night at clubs isn’t at all your thing, it might be worth experiencing if only just to say you did. If you do feel like checking out the scene, there is no club more well-known or more notoriously hard to get into than Berghain. Situated in an old power plant, in 2007 it was called by one journalist "quite possibly the current world capital of techno” and even a decade on, it retains its reputation. Photos aren’t allowed inside, so you’ll have to go to see for yourself! Now is the time on WatchMojo when we dance!


Of course, 24 hours is only enough to merely scratch the surface of what Berlin has to offer. If you had a little more time, what would you add to the itinerary?
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