Of all Europe’s capitals, Berlin carries the biggest buzz. In the three decades since it was reunified, the city has developed into a heady meld of grit and glamour that’s vastly different from anywhere else in Germany – or the rest of the world for that matter. Today, this is a city of distinct districts, and deciding where to stay may be your most important choice. Whatever kind of trip you’re planning, here’s the lowdown on where to stay in Berlin.
Mitte (in English, middle) serves as Berlin's "downtown" area. This is a vibrant but touristic part of the city that's dense with boutiques, bars and restaurants. This is the most obvious area to choose when deciding where to stay in Berlin, particularly if you’re after a major hotel.
This area is also home to many world-class museums. The Berlin Jewish Museum and DDR Museum are both found here for example. Hackescher Markt is also within walking distance from Museum Island, an aptly named small island and hub for educational institutions. Don't miss the Pergamon Museum or Berlin Cathedral when in this part of town
The Potsdamer Platz area is a great place to stay in Berlin if you are looking to see some of Berlin's most iconic tourist attractions. Don't miss the opportunity to take a photo with the Brandenburg gate, or to see the Reichstag.
For budget travellers, don't miss the option to see the Berlin Philharmonic, which plays free at lunchtime on Wednesdays.
Potsdamer Platz is within walking distance from the Berlin Wall Memorial, The Holocaust Memorial, and many other major Berlin historical sites. For many, the Potsdamer Platz area is an important reason to visit Berlin.
Our Berlin and Potsdam trip takes you through many of the historic sites this area has to offer, including the Berlin Wall, Museum Island and Checkpoint Charlie. Our trips are completely customisable and are crafted by local craft experts.
If you prefer a hipper and less touristic neighbourhood, Prenzlauer berg is where to stay in Berlin. A bit more residential, Prenzlauer Berg is known for its delicious food and Alt Berlin atmosphere.
Built-in the nineteenth century as a working-class district, the area has seen huge gentrification. Today’s refurbished buildings and handsome, cobbled street make for a fantastic place to have a few drinks. The energy in this part of town is one part bourgeoisie, one part bohemian.
It is beloved by wealthy creative types and middle-class families. Try a stroll through laidback squares like Helmholtzplatz and Kollwitzplatz. There are plenty of independent bars and cafes nearby, as well as a buzzy Sunday flea market at Mauerpark.
The glittering heart of former West Germany, Charlottenburg is known for its wealthy residents and expensive shops. A great residential area, and very family-friendly. You won't want to miss the Charlottenburg Palace or the large park around it. Or take a day to visit the historical Berlin Zoo.
You’ll find plenty of options in every category here, although it’s a little away from Berlin’s brightest lights, so nightlife is very thin. Visitors in search of a more relaxed trip might be well suited to lodgings here. That said, the restaurant scene is generally very good and public transport links first-class.
Where to stay in Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf:
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This Berlin district is located in former West Germany, and is an affluent residential area that is great for shopping. You won't want to miss the chance to have oysters at the top of KaDeWe, Berlin's premier department store. Or try the dizzying amount of chocolates available at Winterfeldt Schokoladen — a vintage and beautifully ornate chocolatier.
The most visited historic landmark in this district in the Kaiser Wilhelm memorial church, a symbolic area of West Berlin. This church is partially in ruins after being destroyed in second World War. The church remains intentionally destroyed as an anti-war memorial.
Where to stay in Schöneberg:
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This former east Berlin neighbourhood is known for being a magnet for lefties, anarchists and students. It has managed to resist the same levels of gentrification thanks to an organised squatter scene, activist demos and the occasional car-burning frenzy.
The area is most popular for bar-hopping and clubbing – which can be an important factor when considering where to stay in Berlin. The German capital is home to some of the most famous European clubs, and there's a good concentration of them in Friedrichshain. So if you're a night owl, Friedrichshain is where to stay in Berlin.
But the area does offer some heavyweight public monuments, too. The world-famous East Side Gallery — the largest section of the Berlin Wall to still survive is found here.
Kreuzberg is one of Berlin's most colourful districts. It has proved a magnet for left-wing anarchists, the LGBTQ community, Turkish immigrants (it’s sometimes called little Istanbul) and, increasingly, hipsters and tourists.
Kreuzberg maintains a grungy, vibrant feel. Its energy and atmosphere is fuelled by an ever-expanding series of cool bars, excellent international cuisine, and independent clubs. The street art here is one of its main attractions.
Spend a lazy afternoon at Görlitzer Park, or try shopping at Oranienstrasse.
Travelling on a budget? See our guide to the best things to do in Berlin for free.
The up-and-coming Neukölln is known for its multicultural scene. Some of the city's best Syrian and Turkish food can be found here. There aren't many tourist attractions in this part of town, but it is a great place to visit if you wish to have a relaxed trip.
Walk down the extremely trendy Weser Strasse for some of the city's best vintage shopping and natural wine bars. Or, spend time at one of the area's many dive bars. Or, spend time as many of the locals do by lounging by the canal.
When planning a trip to the German capital, check out our list of things to do in Berlin.
If you prefer to plan and book your trip to Berlin without any effort and hassle, use the expertise of our local travel experts to make sure your trip will be just like you dream it to be.
Ready for a trip to Berlin in Germany? Check out the snapshot Pocket Rough Guide Berlin. If you travel further in Germany, read more about the best time to go, the best places to visit and best things to do in Germany. For inspiration use the itineraries from The Rough Guide to Germany and our local travel experts. A bit more hands on, learn about getting there, getting around the country and where to stay once you are there.
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