One of the best day trips from Prague is the one to Berlin. It is that kind of trip that can be easily extended into a 2 days city break and that will entice you with a lot of cultural experiences. Following next in this article, you’ll find the top one-day itinerary for a short day trip from Prague to Berlin. I’ll also add some tips on how to transform it into an unforgettable weekend getaway, where to eat and where to take pictures. And, as always, how to spend your money smart while you’re traveling to Berlin. Also, make sure to check Part 1 and 3 of this series: 3 things to do in Berlin, and How to get from Prague to Berlin.
Your itinerary for a day trip from Prague to Berlin
1. Potsdamer Platz
You can start your self-guided tour around Berlin at Potsdamer Platz, one of the most important public squares in the city. From here, several landmarks can be accessed by foot, including the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe and the Branderburg gate. From here you can work your way towards other important landmarks in Berlin.
Tip!Add all the locations you want to visit in this city on your Google Maps app, just so you don’t miss anything. Moreover, with the aid of this app (or any other travel app you might prefer using), you can get an accurate idea about how far a certain monument is.
2. Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe
The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe is at a short 5-minute walk from Potsdamer Platz. Starting your Berlin city tour at the Memorial of the Murdered Jews of Europe will get you a deeper understanding of how much history this place has. Also known under the name the Holocaust Memorial, it is a display of more than 2,700 concrete slabs that cherish the memory the six million Jews that perished during that time. A free exhibition is available on site and is worth visiting.
3. Brandenburg Gate
Just close by the north of the Memorial, you will enter the Pariser Platz, which hosts the internationally known Brandenburg Gate. Nowadays, it stands out as a symbol for German freedom and reunification of Berlin. Of course, alongside the gate, you will find other landmarks such as the Reichstag Dome, the meeting place of the German Parliament.
4. Volkswagen Forum
After checking the Brandenburg Gate, walk down the Bundestrasse up until you reach the corner with Friedrichstrasse. Here, on the corner, you’ll discover the Volkswagen forum. It’s one of the most exquisite open museums of this brand’s history and it offers several historical items inspired by the brand’s evolution in time. But not only the history is presented here. Exhibitions dedicated to the modern technologies this car manufacturer uses nowadays, to improve the driving of the future, can also be seen here.
From here, head down Friedrichstrasse to reach Checkpoint Charlie. Walking this way, you’ll discover the most prominent shopping street of Berlin.
Tip!If you curious about luxurious or lavish shopping of the rich in Germany, stop by at Galeries Lafayyette. It is a prominent shopping mall half-way through Friedrichstrasse and it caters the taste of the most demanding customers – the top 1%.
5. Checkpoint Charlie
From this point, you should retrace your steps towards the Potsdamer Platz, where you will stumble upon Checkpoint Charlie on Friedrichstraße. Originally, it was the checkpoint that separated East and West Berlin during the Cold War. It was transformed into a tourist hotspot in Berlin. The thing is, here you can usually find two people dressed in different uniforms and holding flags. For some spare change, you can take a selfie with them. It’s probably the most cliche thing to do in Berlin, but hey… We’ve only got 1 day here, right? 🙂
Just next to the Checkpoint you can see the Wall museum. It’s dedicated to the history of the Berlin wall and has a lot of interesting items at display. It features all sorts of information, documents and even photographs that somehow survived till this day.
6. The Remnants of the Berlin Wall
In Potsdamer Platz, close by the Bahnhof station, you will find some pieces of the original Berlin Wall. Those were kept in their original location, giving it a somehow chilling flair. Moreover, an entire part of the original wall was preserved quite well at the previous SS headquarters that are easily accessible from Potsdamer Platz.
7. Tiergarten and Victory column
Time to take a little break, therefore let’s go to Tiergarten, the most famous park in Berlin. With a bundle of walking trails, this park features several historical monuments, ponds and many more. You can simply sit around on a bench and relax while admiring the sunset.
I recommend you stop at the Victory Column (“Siegessäule” in German) while you are in Tiergarten. It was constructed to commemorate the German victories over Denmark, Austria, and France. What is even more interesting about this monument, is that it is not where it was originally meant to be. It was moved by the Nazis from its original location (Platz der Republik), which coincidentally saved the monument from being destroyed during the bombing. Otherwise, in its original location, it would’ve been destroyed.
Tip!While in Tiergarten, consider making a small detour to visit the Café Am Neuen See. It is a beer garden that also serves delicious dishes of local cuisine. You can enjoy a well-deserved glass of beer, or you can have your dinner in a unique ambiance. Try the classic Kartoffelsuppe or the popular currywurst, all the dishes on the menu are affordable and tasty.
After your stroll through Tiergarten and rest a bit, let’s start making our way through to Arminius Markthalle. It’s an iconic place, foodies love it, hipsters love it, senior citizens love it – everybody finds its atmosphere very special. So, although it’s going to take you a while to get there, it’s worth it. This Markthalle is an old market hall building which has a multitude of food choices to offer. From international dishes from quite literally all over the world to local German beverages and sausages, this place is a must-visit if you’re looking for a unique Berliner experience.
Tip!As you walk there from Tiergarten make sure you check the beautiful Schloss Belevue Palace on the way. It is the first official house accommodation of the German President, located on a beautiful spot on the banks of the Spree river. On your way to Markthalle Berlin, you can enjoy a walk on the riverside, just cross the river over Lutherbrucke bridge and continue your walk to the Markthalle.
Finish your day trip to Berlin, head back to Prague…
Now, unfortunately it’s time to head back home, in case you decided to spend only 1 day in Berlin. I recommend you book your bus tickets to / from station called “ZOB am Funkturm” in Berlin. That way, once you finish your day 1 itinerary, you will be only 25 min away from the station. Leaving Arminius Markhalle, just walk to Westhafen train station and take S42 train, which will take you to Messe Nord/ICC (Witzleben). Then it’s just 2 minutes walk to the bus station at Funktrum, from where RegioJet buses leave in the direction of Prague.
Or stay in Berlin overnight and return to Prague tomorrow!
If you follow my recommendation and decide to stay in Berlin overnight, keep reading. Berlin has a completely different vibe at night, so you will experience it more holistically if you decide to stay. Besides, that way, tomorrow you will have one more whole day to keep exploring the landmarks of this amazing city.
The best area to stay in Berlin would be one of these two – these are safe and hip areas that are very vibrant at night and pleasant to have a walk in during the day. Kreuzberg is my personal favorite, but you might find a bit cheaper options in Friedrichshain, which is equally nice.
Where to go on your first night in Berlin?
There are plenty of restaurants, bars and clubs in these two districts of Berlin. People start going out around 9-10 PM, so I recommend you just go for a walk in the neighborhood and do a bit of bar hopping. My favorite restaurant in this area is actually an Indian one, it’s called AMRIT. Apart from absolutely delicious traditional Indian dishes they also offer amazing cocktails. I strongly recommend this place. And I’ll just name a couple of nice bars with a typical rough Berliner atmosphere and very eclectic decor:
- Wild At Heart – dark, wild (indeed), live music performances are quite common here
- Madame Claude – friendly staff, super eclectic decor (it used to be a brothel), everything is quite literally upside down, frequent live performances
- Kvartira 62 – Russian-style house party atmosphere, very vintage, very “Berlin”
- Schwarze Traube – a bit more sophisticated place with a great selection of signature cocktails
Visiting a beer garden is a must during this trip
Now it’s also the perfect time to run some beer tasting. If you are staying in one of the areas I recommended above, go check out Republic Berlin or Birgit & Bier, or better – visit both! These beer gardens are my favorite and they are as authentically German as it gets. They focus heavily on local products, so you can be sure the beer you get there is true Berliner craft beer. And the food that goes with it at these establishments is also simply delicious.
Day 2 (optional, if you extend your day trip from Prague to Berlin)
1. Wake up recommendation: admire the sunrise at Museum Island
I think the best option for starting your day 2 in Berlin is spending your morning at Museum Island. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site, located in the middle of the Spree River. It hosts 5 internationally known museums, along with the most important cathedral in Berlin, the Berliner Dom.
This is the best spot in Berlin to admire the sunrise. The Spree River that surrounds the complex reflects the water, leading to an overall mesmerizing view.
Tip!Head to the northern side of the island, as there you can snap the best water reflection of the Bode Museum’s round architecture.
The Berliner Dom was initially built back in the 16th century, yet what you will admire today is the 19th century restoration. Besides it’s beautiful architecture, another reason for its popularity is its impressive pipe organ hosted inside. Visiting the cathedral is a must, of course. But I recommend you choose one of the museums on the island, based on your interests, and pay it a quick visit before heading to the cathedral. I recommend considering one of the following: The Pergamon Museum, Alte Nationalgalerie, Neues Museum or the Bode Museum.
2. Get a tasty break
After all those morning activities revolving around the Museum Island, you for sure deserve a good snack. Heading North from the island, you will find a place called the House of Small Wonder. Their menu features several food options, while the coffee served will go perfectly with one of their popular Benedict biscuits. I recommend you just grab a little bite here and keep some space for a proper lunch later. Keep in mind that this place only accepts cash payments. That’s so “Berlin”! 🙂
If you’re looking for a proper meal by this time, I have another tip here. You can have an authentic German lunch at Schwarzwaldsuben. Their menu is filled with typical dishes from Southern Germany. My top choice is the German egg noodles dish, yet there is plenty to choose from in their menu. Keep in mind that this is another establishment that only accepts cash.
3. Alexanderlatz and the TV tower
From here head south-east to Alexanderplatz, passing by Monbijou park. Many consider Alexanderplatz the heart of modern Berlin. The main square is packed with shops, restaurants and a several monuments worth admiring. Yet most people come here for the Berlin TV Tower.
Built back in the 1960s, this tower is accessible for visitors, which is why you’re here. It will take you up – 203 meters above Berlin. It has a bar/restaurant at the top, so you can have a nice cup of coffee while admiring the views of the city. And the best thing about this establishment is that it rotates, so you get to see the whole Berlin if you stick around. I recommend booking a window seat in advance for the best view in Berlin. It’s pricy, but it’s worth it. For a window table at the restaurant you’ll pay 24.5 EUR per adult. You can also save a bit and go for the bar and observation point, then the price is 3 EUR lower.
3. Oberbaum Bridge
If you take the S3 train from Alexanderplatz Bahnhof to Berlin Warschauer Straße, you will reach the Oberbaum Bridge in no more than 15 minutes. It is a very popular landmark in Berlin, being a double-deck bridge crossing over the River Spree it’s really beautiful and not just functional. Over time, it became one of Berlin’s most important symbols of unification.
4. Charlottenburg Palace
And at this stage you’re approaching your last point of interest in this day 2 itinerary. Brace yourself, because it will require a long train ride, but believe me it’s worth it. Take a 45 minutes ride from the Bridge to the Charlottenburg Palace. Here you can explore and admire this architectural gem up until you are ready to return to Prague. In fact, this ride is going to bring you closer to one of the bus stations, from where you can take your bus back to Prague.
I believe that your trip to Berlin won’t be complete without a stop at Charlottenburg Palace. Positioned in the western part of the city, this is one of the largest palaces in Berlin. It went through a lot of challenging events since it was built in the 17th century. Yet, all the bombings or renovations did not change its original architecture and appearance, it is still simply stunning.
Tip!If you’re traveling to Berlin in December, try to attend the Christmas markets that are organized on this palace’s premises. But in any month of the year, there will be something worth admiring here.
To reach the palace, you will need to take either U1 or U3 line from Schlesisches Tor next to the Oberbaum Bridge, and go all the way to Bhf. Möckernbrücke. Then change with U7 to continue until Richard-Wagner-Platz. And this would be your last stop in Day 2, after which you can easily access Funktrum bus station, to take your bus back to Prague. Just make sure you choose this station when you’re booking your tickets.
4B. Markthalle Neun – nice alternative to Charlottenburg Palace
If you decide you don’t want to go to Charlottenburg, then visiting Markthalle Neun would be a perfect alternative way to finish your day 2 in Berlin. It is a very vibrant indoor market with a great variety of food options and community events. The atmosphere there is very unique and it’s a great place to absorb some positive energy before you commence your journey back to Prague. And it’s only a couple of minutes walk from the Oberbaum Bridge.
If you’re planning to spend the end of your day 2 in Berlin here, I recommend booking the bus tickets to / from Sudkreuz instead of Funktrum, as it will save you some time. After the visit at Markthalle Neun, you can take U8 at Kottbusser Tor then change to S-bahn at Hermannstrasse station and continue to Sudkreuz. The journey is only 25 minutes.
Final thoughts about your short trip from Prague to Berlin
That’s it! This is the end of Day 2 of my top itinerary for a short visit of Berlin from Prague. Stick to the day-trip itinerary at the beginning, if you absolutely cannot turn in into a weekend getaway. But I really hope you’ll manage to spend those two days in Berlin and will enjoy the full list of places to visit I recommended here.
And at the end, a little reminder – book a place in one of these two areas. I really love these districts of Berlin, and I believe these are the optimal locations if you’re traveling for such a short period of time. And, of course, don’t forget your Revolut card, to save on exchange rate when you spend Euros in Germany. Enjoy your trip, and keep traveling!