Berlin with kids: A 5 day Berlin itinerary

Berlin Cathedral and Fernsehturm seen from a Trabant

Our bumper 5 day Berlin itinerary is here to help you plan your trip to Berlin with kids!  Berlin has a heavy history and is also known as a bit of a party town, so you might be wondering if it’s a suitable place for children.  The answer is, of course, yes.

We took our family to Berlin over the Christmas holidays and we found plenty of fun stuff to see and do (and eat).  Find out about the best things to do in Berlin with kids, and how to approach all that history with little ones.

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The best things to do in Berlin with kids: Berlin highlights

The World Balloon and Trabi World in Berlin

Berlin has absolutely tons of things to do, whether you’re visiting with children or not.  There are a wealth of museums and attractions; many of the exhibits cover some of the city’s terrible 20th century history.  You’re not going to be bored here for sure.

Berlin is an incredibly fascinating city, and many of its attractions can be approached in a child-friendly way.  Our kids came away with an age-appropriate knowledge of the Berlin Wall and even understood a little about World War Two, although we were very careful about what we said about the Holocaust.

Do be careful about what your children see, depending on their ages.  Some of the exhibitions are not suitable for young kids and older ones will find certain museums very upsetting.  I’ll explain more as we go!

Our kids’ favourite museum was the Spy Museum at Potsdamer Platz.  They also loved Berlin Zoo – the panda and hippos were the biggest hit.  They have never enjoyed a zoo visit before (really) but they had a great time here.

The husband and I probably enjoyed our Trabi Safari most.  Driving East Germany’s famous cardboard car through the city was more than a little hair-raising but as an experience it can’t be beaten!

If you’re visiting Berlin in summer then take advantage of the city’s amazing parks – Tiergarten, the Botanical Gardens, the abandoned airfield at Tempelhof, and Tierpark’s animal park are some of the best.

We visited in winter so we made sure we crammed in as many Christmas markets as we could.  We enjoyed the markets at Rotes Rathaus, Gendarmenmarkt and Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church as well as a much smaller one at Potsdamer Platz.  Click here to read more about fun things to do in winter in Berlin with little ones.

A 5 day Berlin itinerary suitable for families with young kids

Christmas lights in Berlin near the Brandenburg Gate

We spent 5 days exploring Berlin.  Actually, that’s a bit of a lie as I was ill on our first day and couldn’t venture out.  This meant that we had to change our plans at the last minute and something had to go – our day trip to Potsdam was duly scrubbed off our to-do list.  I’ve included Potsdam here anyway as hopefully the same fate won’t befall you!

Berlin’s attractions are spread out but I’ve tried to avoid moving around too much each day.  You can get around easily by using the U-bahn (underground) and S-bahn (overground) services.  Trains are quick and convenient and we didn’t have any trouble with them.  Find out more about getting around Berlin near the end of the post.

We covered a mix of attractions, including museums, markets, tours and other attractions.  Our kids are still young and so while we stopped in at a few museums, we didn’t see nearly as many as we could have.  We also spent a lot of our time at Christmas markets, which you may or may not be able to do depending on when you visit.

At the end of the post I’ll give you some more ideas if you don’t like the suggested itinerary.  Anyway.  Here are the best things to do in Berlin with kids!

Day 1 in Berlin with kids

Our hotel was near Potsdamer Platz and we spent our first day exploring the area around our base.  Today you can take a look at Checkpoint Charlie; learn about East Berlin’s iconic car, the Trabi; try out some fantastic chocolate; and learn how to be a spy.

There’s a lot to see and do in this area and you probably won’t be able to cover absolutely everything in this itinerary; just pick and choose what appeals to your family.

How much you get done depends on how quickly you look in the various museums, and whether you decide to book a Trabi Safari or not.  If you do you may run out of time to see some of the other museums, but I’d definitely recommend taking the Trabi Safari if you possibly can!

Gendarmenmarkt

Gendarmenmarkt is one of Berlin's most beautiful squares

Begin your first day in Berlin at one of its prettiest areas.  Gendarmenmarkt is central and easy to reach either by U-bahn or S-bahn.  It’s a large square, flanked at either end with a beautiful, domed church.  One is the French Church (Franzözischer Dom), the other the German church (Deutscher Dom).  These two former churches are now used as museums.  Between them is the Berlin Concert Hall.

In the summer there are open air concerts, and in the winter there’s one of Berlin’s best Christmas Markets, full of food, drink and handicrafts.  We spent quite a while browsing the stalls and deciding which restaurant to eat in!  If there’s a Christmas Market on then I’d start this day at Checkpoint Charlie and return to Gendarmenmarkt in the evening to see the markets at their best.  The same goes for any summer concerts you might like to attend, too.

The nearest stations are: Französische Str., Hausvogteiplatz, and Stadtmitte.

Bebelplatz

Bebelplatz is home to the Nazi book burning memorial, Berlin, Germany

While you’re in the area, you might want to pop around the corner to take a look at Bebelplatz, the site of the Nazi book burning in 1933.  Look on the ground in front of the university entrance and you’ll see a glass covered hole in the ground which reveals a room of empty bookshelves.  There’s also a memorial plaque on the ground.

In the corner of Bebelplatz is St Hedwig’s Church; it’s a beautiful building with a giant copper dome.  Unfortunately it’s under renovation, and you won’t be able to look inside until 2023.

Rausch Schokoladenhaus

Praline chocolates at Rausch Schokoladenhaus, Berlin, Germany

In one corner of Gendarmenmarkt, just behind the Deutscher Dom, sits one of Berlin’s institutions.  Rausch Schokolandenhaus is an amazing chocolate shop with over 200 types of praline chocolates to buy, incredible chocolate sculptures of Berlin landmarks, an audiovisual experience about the origin of chocolate, and a cafe upstairs.

Rausch Schokoladenhaus opens at 10am but if you’d like to eat in the cafe you’ll have to hang around until 11am when it opens.  You can book a table or just make sure you’re around for opening time.

Eating mini torte cakes at Rausch Schokoladenhaus is a top treat for kids in Berlin

We were first in and the cafe didn’t disappoint.  We each chose a mini torte and they were all incredible!  Definitely recommended for a sweet treat, and to give your kids energy for the rest of the day!

We didn’t try out the Plantagenwelt exhibit but here you can explore how chocolate is made on the Rausch plantation in Costa Rica.  You also get to make your own chocolate!  Audiovisual guides are available in English.  Tickets are available on the Rausch website, although this page is in German only.  Alternatively click here to book on GetYourGuide.  Our son was too young for this experience – it’s for ages 6+.

Checkpoint Charlie

Checkpoint Charlie is an icon of Berlin and marked the border between east and west Berlin.

The famous Checkpoint Charlie is only a 10 minute walk down Friedrichstraße from Gendarmenmarkt.  Checkpoint Charlie is the best known crossing of the Berlin Wall, and marks out the border between the American and Soviet sectors of the city.  Only diplomats and foreigners were permitted to cross.

The checkpoint itself will be overrun by tourists taking photos, but there’s a museum just next to it which has lots of information on the Berlin Wall, especially as it was founded in 1962, just months after the wall was built.

The Checkpoint Charlie Museum is open from 9am to 10pm.  Click here to buy skip the line tickets.  An adult ticket costs €14.50 and a child ticket costs €7.50.  Kids aged 6 and under go free.

Nearby, on the intersection with Zimmerstraße is an exhibit by the artist Yadegar Asisi about everyday life next to the Berlin Wall.  Die Mauer Panorama has immersive visuals and an exhibit with more information on the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Die Mauer Panorama is open from 10am to 6pm daily.  Tickets cost €10 per adult, €4 per child aged 6+ (under 6s go free).  Click here to buy tickets.

We just walked past Checkpoint Charlie and didn’t take our kids into the museums.

HINT: As you’re walking around the areas where the Berlin Wall used to be, look out for a double line of cobblestones on the ground.  These stones mark out where the Wall once stood.

Trabi Museum

The Trabi Museum is a fun thing to do with in Berlin with kids

If you walk down Zimmerstraße from Checkpoint Charlie, you’ll find the Trabi Museum to your left.  The Trabant, affectionately known as the Trabi, was built in East Berlin and has become a cult icon.

Inside the Trabi Museum there’s a small collection of cars and memorabilia from the era.  I particularly liked the camping set up, complete with creepy mannequin.  The kids had fun climbing in and out of the cars and pretending to drive them.

The museum is very small so you’ll only need to spend about 20 minutes here.

The Trabi Museum is open from 10am to 6.30pm.  An adult ticket costs €5 and kids 12 and under go free.

Trabi Safari with Trabi World

Trabi safari with Trabi World, Berlin

If looking around the Trabi Museum isn’t enough for you, why not take a Trabant for a spin yourself?  Trabi World is just along the street from the museum, right by the World Balloon.  You won’t miss it!

Trabi Safaris are self-drive, but you’ll travel in a convoy led by your guide.  Your cars are linked by radio and the guides are fantastic at keeping the convoy together.  The tour pootles along for 75 minutes and takes in plenty of sights in both East and West Berlin.

Taking a ride in a Trabi is a hair raising thing to do with kids in Berlin

You can choose from manual and automatic cars.  The automatic ones are also electric, in case you’re concerned about all those fumes belching into the air.  Having had a look at the gear arrangement, there’s no way I’d be picking a manual Trabi even though I drive a manual at home.

Driving a Trabant through the streets of east Berlin

Driving a Trabi is not for the faint hearted.  The husband exclaimed that it was the worst car he’d ever driven. I didn’t dare have a go. The pedals are squashy; the car takes an age to speed up and, more worryingly, to stop. The whole thing judders and rattles and I swear my door didn’t close properly the whole time.

The tour was fantastic though – we learnt loads about East and West Berlin and our guide (a Spaniard) cracked plenty of jokes at everybody’s expense.  The kids loved it too!

You need to book your experience in advance, either using the website linked above or through Get Your Guide.

Click here to book your Trabi Safari with Get Your Guide (the electric option is here).  Adult tickets cost €49 and kids (under 17) go free.  You may want to bring your own booster seats but be aware that there are no seatbelts in a Trabi.

World Balloon

The World Balloon is a fun thing to do in Berlin with kids

Just next to Trabi World is the World Balloon – if driving a Trabi isn’t white-knuckle enough for you then you can ascend 150m into the sky under the world’s largest helium balloon.  The views from up here are incredible!

If the weather is bad the balloon trip won’t go ahead but tickets are transferable.  Tickets cost €25 per adult, €20 per youth (10-17), €12 per child aged 3+ (kids aged 2 and under go free).  Opening times are 10am to 10pm April to September and 11am to 6pm October to March.

Click here to book your tickets.

Topography of Terror

The Topography of Terror is a sobering museum in Berlin

If you cross the street at the crossroads near Trabi World and the World Balloon then you’ll walk on to Niederkirchnerstraße.

Here you can see one of the biggest remaining sections of the Berlin Wall, and visit the Topography of Terror.  The Topography of Terror is a museum about the rise of the National Socialist Party.  The museum is set on the site of the Gestapo headquarters, the SS leadership and the Reich Security Main Office.  These buildings were razed after the war.

One of the biggest remaining sections of the Berlin Wall is found at the Topography of Terror

We looked around a little of the Topography of Terror but there is very little to occupy small children here; while the information is interesting and well presented, it is of course not accessible for small children.  We didn’t want to risk the children misbehaving in here (as it’s also a memorial) so after a quick look around we carried on.

The Topography of Terror is free.  Opening times are 10am to 8pm daily except Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.  There’s more information on the exhibits here.  If you have older kids you can book a guided tour – English tours are every Sunday at 3.30pm and you need to sign up at 3pm at the reception desk.  No advance bookings are taken.

Potsdamer Platz

Mall of Berlin at PotsdamerPlatz lit up for Christmas

Walk to the end of Niederkirchnerstraße and turn right; you’ll arrive at Potsdamer Platz in no time.  Potsdamer Platz is a good place to have dinner; there are plenty of restaurants in the area to suit all tastes and budgets.  When we were here there was a small Christmas Market, complete with rides and a dry ski slope that you could slide down on a giant tyre.

There’s a cinema complex, an ice rink in winter, and a large shopping centre so there’s plenty of evening entertainment.

German Spy Museum

One of the best things to do in Berlin with kids is to visit the German Spy Museum at Potsdamer Platz.  Our kids loved it!

Everything here is kid friendly and hands-on.  Here the kids learned how to be a spy, from writing secret messages in invisible ink, to working their way through a maze of laser beams.  They got to sweep a room for bugs and crack the code to a safe by listening to the clicks.

It’s not just about modern espionage though; kids can also explore spy tactics and codes that date back to ancient times.

Be aware that the museum gets very busy and you might have to wait a while to carry out some of the activities.  Our kids were a little young to absorb all of the written information (which was very interesting) so they focused on the practical activities.

The Spy Museum is open from 10am to 8pm daily.  An adult ticket costs €12, a discount ticket is €8 and kids under 6 go free.  You can book on the website, or click here to buy skip the line tickets.

Day 2 in Berlin with kids

Today’s a big history day.  Visit the Reichstag, the seat of German Parliament, find out about the Holocaust at the Memorial for the Murdered Jews of Europe, and then learn all about the Berlin Wall in the afternoon.  You can take a well deserved break in the middle of the day at Tiergarten.

As a big plus, entry to just about every attraction today is free.

Reichstag

The glass dome of the Reichstag, Berlin

The Reichstag is the seat of Germany’s Parliament.  It was originally built to seat the Imperial Diet (Reichstag) and was almost completely destroyed by a fire in 1933.  It wasn’t until the restoration of the building in the 1990s that it was used to house the German Parliament, or Bundestag.

You’re able to visit the glass dome that now sits on top of the building.  It’s pretty impressive; a spiral walkway takes you up to the top for lovely views over Berlin.  When it’s not foggy, as it was for us.  Of course it all cleared about 10 minutes after we left the building.

In the evening the dome is lit up so visiting at around dusk would be a good idea so you can watch the city light up; we were stuck with an early start.

Inside the Dome is a brief look at the history of the Reichstag building, including information on the rise of the Nazis, the Berlin Wall, and the reopening of the building.  The visit comes with an audioguide but we couldn’t get ours to work.

The facade of the Reichstag, Berlin

To visit the Reichstag you need to make a request on the website, here.  I’d do this at least a month before you visit as it books up quickly.  There were hardly any time slots left when I booked about a week before we went, and I probably only got tickets because nobody else wanted to visit at 8.45am on New Year’s Day.  Don’t forget to take your passports when you visit.

The nearest stations are Brandenburger Tor or Bundestag.

Brandenberg Gate

Brandenburg Gate, Berlin; not the best view when we visited

You can swing by the Brandenburg Gate either on your way to or back from the Reichstag.  It’s nice to visit it again in the evening as it will be illuminated.

When we visited there was a huge event going on in the Tiergarten just behind the gate and the whole front of it was covered in scaffolding and boards which spoiled our view of it somewhat.  Never mind – hopefully you’ll have better luck than we did!

The large tree lined boulevard that stretches away in front of the Gate is lined with shops and takes you right past the Berlin Cathedral and Museum Island.  We wandered along for a little way while we were in Berlin, and our kids absolutely loved the Ampelmann shop, which is all about the different road crossing signs in East and West Berlin (and everywhere else, too).

Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe

The steles of the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, Berlin

Just around the far corner of the Brandenburg Gate from the Reichstag is the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe.

The memorial is a series of grey concrete blocks, called steles, arranged in rows.  As you walk among them the ground dips down and you find yourself in a maze of blocks which begin to tower above you the further you walk, in a wave like pattern.  It’s very effective and you feel totally engulfed by the blocks by the time you reach the centre.

It’s tempting for kids to use this as a playground but there’s a sign specifically asking you not to climb on the blocks, to not shout, or to run around.  We told our kids a little about why they couldn’t run around the monument without going into too much detail.  Even hearing a little bit about the Holocaust upset our daughter so we didn’t say much.

I thought that the monument above ground was all there was to see here but there is an underground museum which opened just as we arrived.  As soon as we walked in the door the staff swooped on us and gave the kids some colouring and put them in the end room, away from the displays.

The husband and I took turns looking around the museum; it’s small but packed full of information on the Holocaust.  It’s extremely moving as there are several rooms telling the personal stories of families murdered by the Nazis.  Some of it was too harrowing to read.

I would definitely recommend you visit the museum as its contents are so important; just be aware that the displays aren’t suitable for children.  However the staff were really friendly and our kids were occupied by the colouring while we looked around.

Entry to the museum is free.  Opening times: 10am to 8pm from April to September; 10am to 7pm from October to March. Closed on Mondays.  From 24-26 December and on 31 December the museum closes at 4pm.  You can find out more about the exhibits here.

Tiergarten

Tiergarten is Berlin's biggest park

If your kids are in need of a run around then take them into Tiergarten, which is just by the Brandenburg Gate and the Memorial.  It’s a huge park – bigger than Hyde Park in London.  At the very far end of it is Berlin Zoo, but that’s for another day.

Tiergarten is a lovely park to visit; there are wide, open paths, lawns, more memorials, a tea house, and ponds and waterways.  Kids will make a beeline for the playgrounds.  There are a couple of cafes too, so you could get some lunch here if you like.

Berlin Wall Memorial

Berlin Wall Memorial, Berlin

After lunch head to the S-bahn at Brandenburger Tor and travel a couple of stops to Nordbahnhof.  Here you can visit the Berlin Wall Memorial.  There’s a visitor centre opposite the remaining part of the wall (we didn’t realise this at the time and missed it).  The visitor centre is a low, rust coloured building opposite Nordbahnhof station.

In the visitor centre there’s more information on the Wall including an introductory video.  A little further along the road is a Documentation Centre (Dokumentationzentrum) where you can get a view over the site to see a watchtower and the “death strip” between the two sections.  Yup, missed that too.

Part of the Berlin Wall at the Berlin Wall Memorial, Berlin

The part that we visited is next to the death strip and is now a green park with displays about the Wall, including some audio.  There’s also a memorial which lists the names of those who died attempting to cross.  It takes about an hour to visit the Berlin Wall Memorial, although you could probably spend longer looking around the Visitor Centre.

There’s more information here so you don’t make our mistakes!  The Visitor Centre is closed on Mondays.

East Side Gallery

East Side Gallery, Berlin

It’s not actually that far from the Berlin Wall Memorial to the East Side Gallery, although it looks it on the map.  From Nordbahnhof take the S-bahn back to Fredrichstraße and change here for Warschauer Str.

When you arrive at Warschauer Str. head downhill towards the river, and you’ll see the lovely Oberbaumbrücke (Oberbaum Bridge) crossing the river.  This is definitely one of Berlin’s prettiest bridges!

Just to the right you’ll find the East Side Gallery; the largest remaining piece of the Berlin Wall.  Today it’s become an art gallery and its entire 1.4km length is covered in murals, some beautiful, some weird and wonderful.  The kids were enchanted and found lots to look at and to talk about.

There is a museum on the Berlin Wall here.  The Wall Museum tickets cost €10 per adult and €5 for kids aged 8+ (online prices, prices on the door are more expensive).  Click here to book.  Open 10am to 7pm daily.

Murals on the Berlin Wall at the East Side Gallery

The most famous mural at the East Side Gallery is “The Kiss” (real title “My God, Help Me To Survive This Deadly Love” but that doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue).  You will soon find it; it’s where everyone else is standing.  There was a real scrum when we visited; everyone was trying to take photos with themselves in it so it’s impossible to get a good shot. I think the kids were pretty baffled as to why everyone was so interested in it – it’s not nearly as colourful as some of the surrounding art!

If you walk the full length of the East Side Gallery, then the nearest station to you will be Berlin Ostbahnhof – from here you can jump on the S-bahn and head back to the city centre.

Christmas Market at Rotes Rathaus, Berlin, Germany

We spent our evening at the Rotes Rathaus Christmas Market, which is definitely recommended if you’re in Berlin in December.

Day 3 in Berlin with kids

Spend your morning (or as long as you like, really) at Berlin’s famous Museum Island.  Then make sure you visit Berlin Cathedral and get some great views over the city from the dome walkway.

Later, visit the TV Tower or rest your legs on a boat tour (especially if you visit Berlin in summer).

Museum Island

Berlin's Museum Island is one of its prettiest areas

This morning make your way to Berlin’s World Heritage listed Museum Island.  Here you’ll find five world class museums and I’d advise taking the whole morning to look around.

In this time you’ll only be able to visit one or two museums and do them any kind of justice. Choose from the Pergamon Museum, the Altes Museum, the Neue Museum, the Alte National Galerie, and the Bodes Museum.  There are even more museums and galleries in the vicinity, but these are the heavy hitters.

The Pergamon Museum

The Ishtar Gate in the Pergamon Museum, Berlin

We picked the Pergamon and the Neue Museum.  The Pergamon is undergoing restoration at the moment and the entrance is in the James Simon Galerie at the time of writing.  It was a real pain to find as there weren’t any signs; expect the entrance to change as the renovations continue.

We arrived at the Pergamon before it was due to open at 10am and bought our tickets at the gate.  I’d advise buying tickets in advance or buying a museum pass like this one to avoid the hassle.  If you’re not sure how many museums you’ll visit in the day you can buy a Museum Day Pass for €18 (kids are free).

The Roman Market Gate in the Pergamon Museum, Berlin

You need a time slot for the Pergamon and luckily ours was around 10.30.  We dumped our bags and coats in the locker room (you can’t take them in) and we got straight in at 10am – nobody cared about the time on our tickets.  When we left the queue was horrendous so I’d definitely get here for as early as possible.

Unfortunately the Pergamon Altar is off limits until 2023 but the Ishtar Gate and the processional walk is amazing.  There’s a Roman gate just behind it – the Roman Market Gate of Miletus – and upstairs is an exhibit on Islamic Art.  The Islamic Art area includes the Mschatta Facade which comes from a Jordanian Castle, and a beautiful room from Damascus.

I’d definitely recommend the Pergamon; I’ve never seen anything like the reconstruction of the Ishtar Gate before.

The Neue Museum

We accessed the Neue Museum via the underground walkway from the James Simon Galerie.  This took us in by the lower basement so we probably avoided any queues at the main entrance.  You can just leave your coats and bags in the same locker room to avoid hassle.

The kids aren’t great with museums so we probably spent about 90 minutes in the Pergamon before we headed to the Neue Museum.  Our main aim here was to see the bust of Nefertiti – and she’s worth looking for!  There are a few replicas dotted around the museum but they’re not a patch on the real thing.  Sadly no pics of the original are allowed.

There are tons more exhibits to look at in the Neue Museum, including lots more on Ancient Egypt including sarcophaguses, mummies and statues.  The whole museum is themed around human cultural expression and there are plenty more treasures including Priam’s Treasure (silver vessels from Troy), a stone age axe head that’s 700,000 years old and much more.

You could spend all day in just one of these museums so pick carefully!  Of course, if you’ve bought the museum pass then you can always come back on another day, depending on how much your kids like museums.

We also had lunch in the Neue Museum cafe which was really good.  We arrived just before midday and it wasn’t busy, although it filled up as we ate.  Other museums have their own cafes too.

Berlin Cathedral

Berlin Cathedral is on Museum Island and is well worth a visit

After lunch at the museum walk past Berlin Cathedral, which is also on Museum Island.  There aren’t many churches on this itinerary but I wouldn’t recommend that you miss this one!  From the outside it’s a stunning building; ornate and topped with magnificent domes.  Berlin is not a pretty city for the most part, but the cathedral definitely is.

Once inside there’s plenty to look at.  You start in the main cathedral where you can see the altar, organ and look up to see the painted dome.  It was all very Christmassy when we visited.

Then you can continue on to climb the stairs up to the dome itself – well worth doing.  The stairs are quite narrow and there are over a hundred steps so small kids might not make it.  The views of Berlin from the dome walkway are lovely and make the climb worth it.

View of Berlin's Museum Island from Berliner Dom

On your way back down there’s a museum (which we skipped) and the Hohenzollern Crypt where members of the royal family and Electors are buried.  There are nearly a hundred coffins here and some of them are amazingly ornate, although it’s very sad to see the little coffins belonging to children and babies – sensitive youngsters might be upset.

Visiting the cathedral costs €7 per adult.  If you’ve got children with you then they can enter on the same card, if you buy a family ticket which is also €7.  To save waiting in the queue you can buy tickets online in advance – we didn’t but the queue wasn’t too long.  Large bags must be put into lockers before you enter.

Boat ride in summer

After all that walking and climbing up the cathedral’s dome you’re probably in need of a sit down!  Boat tours depart from Friedrichstraße which isn’t too far from the Cathedral.  We didn’t take a boat tour as they tend to be better in the summer months, but there are some tours which run in winter.

It’s best to book your tickets in advance.  This 2.5 hour trip takes you all the way up to Charlottenburg, along the Spree River.  Click here to take a look and to book.

If that sounds like too long for your kids to sit still then this tour is only an hour long and has the option of boarding at Nikolaiviertel which is right by the cathedral.  Click here to book.

Rotes Rathaus

Christmas Market at Rotes Rathaus seen from Berlin Cathedral

After your boat tour (or instead of, depending on what you’ve chosen to do) cross the bridge by Berlin Cathedral and walk down to the Rotes Rathaus (Red Town Hall).  In front of the Hall is a large square with the lovely Neptune Fountain.

In December this square is transformed into a fabulous Christmas Market with ferris wheel, merry-go-round and swing ride for kids.  There’s also an ice rink, and plenty of food and drinks so it’s the perfect place to spend the evening.  The kids insisted on going almost every evening!

Little Big City

At the base of the TV Tower is Little Big City, a child friendly representation of Berlin in miniature!

This is a great thing to do in Berlin with kids if you’d like them to understand some of Berlin’s history without going to all the heavy museums.  Exhibits at Little Big City cover Medieval Berlin, the Weimar Republic, WW2, the Wall, and modern Berlin.

Click here to book your tickets.  They’re much cheaper if you book online rather than buying at the door.  Little Big City is open from 10am to 7pm daily (last admission 6pm).

Berlin TV Tower

Outside the enormous Berlin TV Tower which has a revolving restaurant

You can’t fail to notice the enormous TV Tower, or Berliner Fernsehturm, looming high above Berlin.  Berlin is not a high rise city so the TV Tower really stands out!  It’s one of Berlin’s most popular attractions.

The Tower was built by the GDR in the 60s; the shape is meant to represent a Sputnik, and it lights up in the bright red of socialism.  The observation deck is 203m high and the restaurant slightly higher at 207m.

It’s best to book tickets in advance – a week or so should do it but the earlier the better really.  Click here to buy tickets. It’s entirely possible to book tickets for the same day at the base of the tower but whenever we went past the wait was 3 hours or more (you buy tickets and come back later, you don’t have to stand in the queue for 3 hours).  An adult ticket costs €22.50 and a kid’s ticket is €13.  Children aged 3 and under go free.

You can also book a window seat in the tower’s revolving restaurant.  This could be a great way to finish the day – watching the sun go down while you eat.  Click here to book a window seat in the restaurant (sadly, food not included).  The cost is a couple of € more than just the fast track ticket.

Day 4 in Berlin with kids

Today is a bit of a lower-key day – there’s not so much rushing around seeing lots of different things, but don’t think you won’t be walking a long way!  Start to day at the beautiful Charlottenburg Palace, and then treat the kids with a visit to Berlin Zoo in the afternoon.

Charlottenburg Palace

Charlottenburg Palace in Berlin is worth visiting

Charlottenburg Palace is one of Berlin’s prettiest buildings.  In the summer there are concerts in the gardens, and in the winter there’s a Christmas Market that runs from late November until Boxing Day.  The Palace dates from 1695 but it was destroyed in WW2, and many of its treasures looted.  However it’s since been restored to its former glory.

At Charlottenburg Palace you can visit the Old Palace; while there’s nothing specific for kids, it’s not a huge palace and the rooms aren’t empty so there’s plenty to look at.  The ceramic collection and the chapel are especially lovely.

The New Wing of Charlottenburg Palace is stunning

You can also see the New Wing which is just next to the Old Palace.  Derek took the kids to play in the gardens while I looked around the New Wing by myself.  Some of the rooms here are really stunning and they’re worth a quick look.

Charlottenburg Palace is in the west of Berlin.  To get there take the S-bahn to Westend (not Charlottenburg or Sophie Charlotte Platz) and the Palace is a 10 minute walk away.

Charlottenburg Palace gardens

You need to pre book timed tickets to visit – click here.  We had tickets for about 11.30am but tried our luck at 10am or so and we were allowed in.  It wasn’t very busy though!  Tickets cost €17 per adult and €13 per child (kids under 7 go free).  Family tickets are available but you can’t buy them online and you’ll have to try your luck at the ticket office.

Berlin Zoo and Aquarium

Giraffes at Berlin Zoo; one of the best things to do in Berlin with kids

Reward the kids for good behaviour and take them to Berlin Zoo after you’ve looked around Charlottenburg.  Berlin Zoo is hands down one of the best things to do in Berlin with kids – and our kids aren’t usually zoo fans.

We usually tend to avoid zoos but we’d heard good things about this one.  The boy was immediately wowed by the rhinoceros who came to say hello with her calf, and the girl went crazy for the panda.  There was only one panda in the enclosure when we visited as the female has just had cubs.  You’ll be able to see them all later this year.

Male panda at Berlin Zoo

The stars of the show were the hippos though.  We were treated to a particularly disgusting display from one of them that the kids will never forget.  Shrieks and groans all round.  Other amazing creatures you can see include polar bears, giraffes, gorillas and orang-utans.  The kids were enthralled and it was lovely to see them taking such an interest in animals.

Generally we thought conditions at the zoo were good.  However we did feel that the elephants weren’t looking too happy.  They didn’t seem to have much room and they were huddled together at the far end of the enclosure, and they looked as though they could have been exhibiting repetitive behaviour.  But I don’t think animals like elephants should be in zoos anyway.

Rhinoceros at Berlin Zoo; a fun place to take kids in Berlin

At the zoo there’s also an aquarium (which we didn’t have time to visit) and there are plenty of places for you to get your lunch.  There’s also a huge adventure playground that our kids loved.  When we visited the big cats area was under construction so we didn’t see them.

To get to Berlin Zoo from Charlottenburg take the S-bahn two stops to Westkreutz and change for the Zoologischer Garten.  The zoo is right outside the station.

Book tickets in advance to avoid queueing.  Tickets cost €14/21 per adult for the zoo /and aquarium; €8/10.50 for kids aged 4+; and a family ticket costs €41/51.  Click here to book.

Berlin Zoo opens at 9am every day.  In the winter months it closes at 4.30pm; in the spring and autumn at 6pm and in the summer at 6.30pm.

Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church (Gedächniskirche)

Christmas Market at Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, Berlin

The Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church is one of Berlin’s icons.  It was heavily damaged during bombing in WW2 but it was never reconstructed.  Instead its skeletal remains have been incorporated into the design of a modern church (this modern part is currently under reconstruction).  You’re able to visit the church from 9am to 7pm every day.

We visited the area after looking around the zoo as there’s a large Christmas Market in the square outside the church.  There’s tons of food and drink, beautiful lights, and music to keep everyone entertained.

Also in the area are two of Berlin’s biggest department stores; Bikini Berlin outside the church and a little further away KaDeWe, the most famous of all.  It’s a good place to get dinner.

Day 5 in Berlin with kids

On your last day you could either cover more attractions in central Berlin – perhaps you’d like to return to Museum Island or look around one of the other museums or parks; see below for some more ideas.

If you’re still up for a bit of sightseeing then you could take a day trip.  Popular day trips from Berlin include Dresden, Liepzig, Saxon Switzerland National Park, and the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp.

We’d planned on visiting Potsdam but I was ill when we arrived and we lost a day, so we had to cancel our plans to visit Potsdam.  But here’s what we’d planned on doing!

Potsdam day trip

Sanssouci Palace in Potsdam is a great day trip from Berlin

Potsdam is an easy day trip from Berlin.  Trains depart frequently from Berlin Hauptbahnhof, and you can also take the S7 from this station (you’ll need a Zone ABC ticket).

The main thing to see in Potsdam is the lovely Sanssouci Palace which is almost Versailles-like, especially its gardens.  If you’d like to visit Sanssouci Palace then you’ll need to buy tickets in advance.

The Sanssouci + ticket allows you to visit the other palaces and associated attractions in Potsdam, including the Chinese House, the Orangery Palace and the Ceceilianhof Palace, among many others.  Click here to buy tickets.  They cost €19 per adult and €14 for kids aged 7 and up.

The other things that we wanted to see in Potsdam were the Dutch Quarter, the Film Museum, the Babelsberg Park and Potsdam’s version of the Brandenburg Gate (smaller than the one in central Berlin!).

I consoled myself with the thought that Potsdam is probably best visited in spring and summer anyway.

More things to do in Berlin with kids

There are plenty more attractions in Berlin other than the ones we managed to see, and more than I can write about in this blog post!  Here are some of the more popular things to do in Berlin that you can add to your itinerary.

Tierpark

Tigers can be seen in Berlin's Tierpark zoo

Tierpark was built in the 1950s by the GDR as the Eastern version of Berlin Zoo.  It’s a large animal park in the grounds of a stately house called Schloss Friedrichsfelde.  The grounds are extensive and forested, giving you the impression that you’re in the countryside rather than a city.

Today Tierpark is the largest zoo in Europe.  There are plenty of interesting animals at Tierpark, including more polar bears, big cats, elephants and more.  The grounds are so large that you’ll probably need to spend the whole day here if you want to see everything.  All that space means that the animals generally have larger enclosures than at many other zoos.

Tierpark is open every day from 9am to 4.30pm in the winter; 6pm in spring and autumn and 6.30pm in summer.  Tickets cost €14.50 per adult, €7.50 per child and €38 for a family of two adults and up to 3 kids.  Click here to book tickets.

You can also visit Schloss Friedrichsfelde.  This palace dates from 1695 but the interior is laid out as an 18th century residence would have looked.

Schloss Friedrichsfelde is open from 10am until 4.30pm in winter and 6pm in summer.  Closed on Mondays.

Tierpark is in eastern Berlin and you can reach it on the U-bahn (line 5).  The station is Tierpark.

DDR Museum

I wish we’d had time to fit in the DDR museum while we were in Berlin.  It’s all about life in East Germany under the German Democratic Republic (GDR, or DDR in German).  It covers topics like the Berlin Wall and the Stasi.

The great thing about the DDR Museum is that most of it is interactive.  You can go into replica apartments and touch the artefacts, and even have a go at driving a Trabant simulator if you missed out on taking a Trabi safari.  This makes the DDR Museum a great place to take the kids in Berlin.

The DDR Museum is across the river from the Berlin Cathedral so it could be an alternative thing to do instead of a boat trip on Day 3.

Click here to buy skip the line tickets.  Tickets cost €8.50 per adult and €5.50 for kids over 6.  Opening hours are 9am to 9pm every day.

Flughafen Tempelhof

Take a tour of Tempelhof Airfield when in Berlin

Templehof is an abandoned airfield located just to the south of central Berlin.  The airfield itself is now a large recreational area but there are guided tours of the huge former airport building – this is one of the largest buildings in the world.

During WW2 it was the site of a forced labour camp and also where the Berlin Airlift happened.  You can find out more on a 2 hour guided tour called the Legend of Tempelhof – click here to book.  There’s also a Hidden Places guided tour, which also takes 2 hours.  Click here to book Hidden Places.

German Historical Museum

Find out about Germany’s long and sometimes disturbing history here at the German Historical Museum.  The museum’s exhibits cover German history from the Middle Ages all the way up to the fall of the Berlin Wall.  You’ll find the museum next to Bebelplatz.

You can find out more about what’s on and book tickets here.

An adult ticket costs €8.  Kids go free.  Opening hours are 10am to 6pm daily.

Natural History Museum

If your kids love dinosaurs then the Berlin’s Natural History Museum is for them.  The central atrium is home to an allosaurus, a brachiosaurus and more.  There’s also plenty of exhibits on the Earth and space, as you’d expect.

Click here to find out what’s on for your visit and to buy tickets.  Entry is €8 per adult and €5 per child aged 6 and older.

Museum für Naturkunde is in the north part of central Berlin; the U-bahn stop you need is Naturkundemuseum.

Legoland Discovery Centre

The Legoland Discovery Centre is at Potsdamer Platz.  It wouldn’t be my first choice in a city like Berlin but it might be a good option if the kids have put up with a lot of historical museums!

Buy tickets here.  Tickets cost around €13 if you buy in advance; more on the door.  Opening times are generally 10am to 7pm.

Madame Tussaud’s

Madame Tussaud’s is near the Brandenburg Gate.  You know what to expect.

Buy your tickets here.  Tickets cost around €18.75 per adult and €15.40 per child aged 3+.  It varies though and will be much more expensive on the door.  Opening times 10am to 7pm daily.

Berlin with kids: Know before you go

How to save money in Berlin

As with many cities with so much to do, costs in Berlin can stack up quickly.  Museums in particular can be expensive.  See below for some of the cards and passes you can buy to save money in Berlin.

Berlin Welcome Card

The Berlin Welcome Card includes free transport in zones AB or ABC (so this includes Potsdam and Schönefeld Airport) and discounted admission to over 200 attractions.  Up to three kids can travel with an adult on their pass so they won’t need their own.

Click here to buy the Berlin Welcome Card (Zones ABC) or here to buy the Berlin Welcome Card (Zones AB).

You can also buy a 72 hour version of the Berlin Welcome Card which includes admission to all the museums on Museum Island as well as transport and discounts.  Click here to buy the Berlin Welcome Card with Museum Island.

Berlin Museum Pass

If you’re real culture vultures then you can buy a Berlin Museum Pass which lets you visit over 30 museums.  The pass is valid for 3 days and includes all of the museums on Museum Island. Click here to buy the Berlin Museum Pass.

Berlin Pass

In addition to the Berlin Welcome Card there’s the Berlin Pass which gives free entry to over 60 attractions.  The Berlin Pass is valid for 3 days, but it’s fairly costly and you might not be able to get full value out of it, depending on what you plan on seeing.  Click here to buy the Berlin Pass.

How to get around Berlin

Kids in a Trabi at Trabi World Berlin

Berlin has two airports: Berlin Schönefeld, in the south, and Berlin Tegel, in the north west.  We flew in to Schönefeld and out of Tegel.  Both airports are easily accessible using public transport, but we took a taxi to Tegel for €20 as we had an early flight.

Berlin’s city centre is reasonably walkable and as usual we walked quite a bit.  Berlin’s transport system is extensive and reliable.  We mainly used the S-bahn (overground trains) and the U-bahn (underground trains).  You won’t ever be far from a U-bahn or S-bahn station!

Berlin also has a bus network and trams, although we didn’t need to use either.

Tourists can get a travel pass included in some of the Berlin Pass packages, as mentioned above.

If you don’t have a travel pass then you can buy either single tickets or day tickets from the machines on the train platforms.  We found the machines a bit clunky and frustrating to use at times.  There are three travel zones; you can buy tickets for AB, BC and ABC.  A is the central zone so you’re going to be OK with buying AB tickets most of the time (Schönefeld Airport is in Zone C).

You need to validate your ticket in the small machine next to the ticket barrier before you travel.  There are no ticket barriers but there are heavy fines if you’re caught travelling without a ticket.

Tickets cost €2.90 per adult and €1.80 per child aged 6+ for a single journey and €8.60 per adult and €5.50 per child for a day ticket (AB zone prices, other zones are slightly more expensive).

Click here for a map of Berlin’s transport system.

Where to stay in Berlin with kids

You can find a full list of hotels in Berlin here.

Budget accommodation in Berlin

We stayed fairly centrally, in the Novotel Suites Berlin City Potsdamer Platz.  This hotel had a large family room with two double beds, TV, Wifi (pretty awful, a bar, and restaurant for breakfast.  Location was good with an S-bahn station right by the hotel and only five minutes on foot from Potsdamer Platz, the Topography of Terror and the Spy Museum.  We’d recommend it for a budget stay at under £100 per night.  Click here to book this hotel.

Over near the East Side Gallery, Meininger Hotel Berlin is a good choice.  Transport to the centre of Berlin is easy and the family rooms have all mod cons.  You can also get breakfast on site.  Click here to book.

Right in the centre of Berlin, the Calma Berlin Mitte is a great choice at just over £100 per night.  The hotel has modern decor, family rooms, a pretty courtyard to relax in, and serves breakfast. There’s also free coffee… Click here to book.

Mid range accommodation in Berlin

The Scandic Berlin Potsdamer Platz is well located and has family rooms.  The rooms are Scandinavian inspired, as is the breakfast buffet which also has a kids menu.  You can even eat on the roof terrace in warm weather.  Click here to book.

The Mondrian Suites Berlin am Checkpoint Charlie has a great central location in a busy area.  Families can stay in an apartment, although the front desk is open 24/7.  Transport is great, and the hotel also has bikes to rent which could be ideal if you’ve got older kids.  Click here to book.

If you’d like a bit more space then Apartments Rosenthal Residence is a good choice.  This aparthotel has modern decor and self catering facilities.  It’s just over half a mile from Museum Island so it’s well located for all sightseeing.  You can also rent bicycles.  Click here to book.

High end accommodation in Berlin

The 5* Mandala Hotel has beautifully styled family suites with kitchens, a fitness suite, a spa, a Michelin starred restaurant and all mod cons.  It’s well located only 10 minutes away from the Brandenburg Gate.  Click here to book.

The 5* Meliá Berlin has spacious family rooms and a lovely riverside location. It’s right in the centre of the city so getting around will be easy. There’s an onsite bar and a restaurant.  Click here to book.

The Ritz-Carlton is one of Berlin’s top luxury hotels.  Located at Potsdamer Platz, this art deco styled hotel has everything you need including a bar, restaurant, swimming pool, fitness centre and airport shuttle.  Breakfast is included. Click here to book.

When is the best time to visit Berlin?

Berlin has so much to do that you can visit at any time of year and have a fantastic trip.

We visited Berlin in winter, and we thought it was a fantastic time to visit.  We spent a lot of time at Berlin’s Christmas Markets, trying out all the winter food and drink specialties.  The markets were great for the kids too.  You can find out more of our favourite things to do in winter in Berlin here.  Temperatures can dip to below freezing so make sure you pack enough warm clothes!

In the spring and summer you can enjoy Berlin’s green spaces to their fullest – this would be an ideal time to visit Potsdam’s palaces and gardens.  Temperatures reach around 24°C in August so summertime is pleasant to travel.


That about wraps up our five day itinerary for visiting Berlin with kids.  I hope it’s been helpful!  Have we missed anything out?  Let us know in the comments!

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Visit Berlin with kids with our 5 day Berlin itinerary. Packed full of information on the best sights to see including Museum Island, Brandenburg Gate, the Berlin Wall, Berliner Dom and much more. You'll also find tips on where to stay in Berlin, how to get around Berlin, and how to approach Berlin's history with kids.

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