I can honestly say Berlin is one of my favorite cities in the world, largely due to its people, art, culture, and music scene.
But Berlin is huge – roughly 5X bigger than the geographical size of Paris – and its layout is somewhat complicated because it was divided by the Berlin Wall for so long.
Now there are multiple “mini-centers” that scatter its sights and attractions throughout the city.
Furthermore, every neighborhood in Berlin has its own vibe, and picking where you stay in Berlin is going to have a huge influence on your experience.
To help, we’ve broken down where to stay in Berlin, and reviewed Berlin’s best neighborhoods!
Table of Contents
- Quick Tips
- Top 3 Recommendations for Where to Stay in Berlin
- Berlin Neighborhood Guide
- 5 Best Neighborhoods to Stay in Berlin
- 1. Mitte Neighborhood – Where to Stay in Berlin for First-timers
- 2. Friedrichshain Neighborhood – Where to Stay in Berlin on a Budget
- 3. Kreuzberg Neighborhood – Where to Stay in Berlin for Nightlife
- 4. Prenzlauer Berg – Coolest Neighborhood in Berlin
- 5. Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf: Where to Stay in Berlin for Families
- Where to stay in Berlin first time – Mitte
- Where to stay in Berlin on a budget – Friedrichshain
- Best area to stay in Berlin for nightlife – Kreuzberg
- Coolest place to stay in Berlin – Prenzlauer Berg
- Best neighbourhood in Berlin for families – Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf
In a hurry? Here’s my top neighborhood for first timers:
- Strike a pose in front of the formidable Brandenberg Gate
- See the Reichstag, Hitler’s former centre of power
- Admire the fine architectural details of Berlin Cathedral
Top 3 Recommendations for Where to Stay in Berlin
Looking for the best place to stay in Berlin? We’ve rated our top three picks for accommodation in Berlin below!
Best Hostel in Berlin: PLUS Berlin
Situated in Friedrichshain, the award-winning PLUS Berlin has mixed four and six-bed dorms; four-bed dorms for females only, and private rooms for two and three.
The awesome common areas include a swimming pool, a games room with a pool table, Wifi, foosball, a terrace, and a restaurant-bar. Laundry facilities, free Wi-Fi, a book exchange, luggage storage, and parking make your stay even sweeter.
Best Hotel in Berlin: Leonardo Royal Hotel Berlin Alexanderplatz
This centrally located hotel has a comfy and colourful lounge area where you can relax and mingle, a business centre and meeting facilities, an elevator, ticketing services, a fitness centre, a sauna, a steam room, a restaurant, laundry services, and more!
It’s pet- and child-friendly, meaning that no member of the family needs to be left out of a trip to Berlin. Wi-Fi is free and some rates include a buffet breakfast. Rooms are cheerful, modern, and filled with light.
All rooms are en-suite with a TV, tea and coffee making facilities, free Wi-Fi, and a fridge. Interconnected rooms are available and there are several room types to choose between.
Best Airbnb in Berlin: Design loft with rooftop & pool
Chic and stylish with access to a shared pool and cool rooftop garden, this apartment is located in the heart of Berlin, in the neighbourhood of Mitte.
The compact apartment has a modern kitchen and the large windows provide plenty of natural lighting. There’s a separate desk and dining table and the apartment has free Wi-Fi. The monochrome pad is ideal for a couple.
Berlin Neighborhood Guide
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Both a city and a federal state, Berlin is made up of 12 districts. Each district is further split into 96 localities, many of which are sub-divided into even smaller neighbourhoods. There are certainly many different places to consider for a stay in Berlin!
Don’t feel too overwhelmed, though; in practical terms, Berlin city is divided into 12 key areas. Each area offers a unique vibe and the city is full of contrasts.
Mitte is at the heart of Berlin and it’s where you’ll find many major monuments and sightseeing hotspots. It combines a modern outlook with historic charms. Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf is one of the Berlin’s most exclusive areas, with many top-class restaurants and accommodations. There are also several historic sites and the area has a family-friendly vibe. Pankow’s Prenzlauer Berg has a hip and youthful vibe, with many health-food shops, cool bars, art galleries, boutiques, and a range of family activities.
Kreuzberg and neighbouring Friedrichshain both offer plenty of street art, river beaches, and a bohemian vibe. Each has diverse eateries, thanks largely to the large ethnic communities. Kreuzberg, in particular, is also known for its vibrant nightlife and abundant clubs. Friedrichshain also boasts a lively scene and has cheap property prices.
Neukölln is one of the most multi-cultural parts of the city and features many dive bars and offbeat things to do and see. While a bit out of the way of most tourist attractions, this neighborhood is affordable, and definitely up-and-coming. Many Berliners love spending their weekends here.
Schöneberg is green and leafy, and famous for having been one of the city’s first major gay neighbourhoods. Today, it is largely residential. Moabit has an industrial vibe and a large food centre, Spandau has a rich sense of history, and Lichtenberg, nicknamed Berlin’s Chinatown, has a large Asian community.
Editor’s Note: Check out our travel guide to Backpacking Germany!
5 Best Neighborhoods to Stay in Berlin
There are many interesting experiences to be found all around Berlin, but where should you stay? Each neighborhood has its own vibe. We’ve rated the top neighbourhoods to stay in when you visit Berlin below.
Mitte is home to many of Berlin’s “must-see” tourist attractions, so if you’re searching for where to stay in Berlin for sightseeing, this is the neighborhood for you.
Full of history and culture, Mitte also boasts some of the best restaurants and bars in Berlin, and there’s a good selection of shops.
All in all, the close proximity to major places of interest, ease of travelling around the area, and great leisure activities make Mitte our pick for the best Berlin neighbourhood for first-time visitors, who want to be close to the museums and attractions.
Top Things to Do in Mitte
– Strike a pose in front of the formidable Brandenberg Gate, one of Berlin’s iconic sights.
– See the Reichstag, Hitler’s former centre of power, and take a tour of the German parliament building.
– Admire the fine architectural details of Berlin Cathedral. Built in the 1800s the magnificent building contains royal tombs and a dome that offers awesome city views.
– Learn more about local life in the times before Germany was reunited at the DDR Museum.
– Marvel at ancient art at the Pergamon Museum.
– Pay your respects at the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, an austere site with numerous stone pillars and an underground exhibition.
– Ride in the unusual sealife-surrounded elevator of AquaDom.
– Step back in time with a trip to Berlin’s grisly past at the Berlin Dungeon.
– Soak up the sweeping views from the observation platform at the Fernsehturm.
– Shop till you drop along the vibrant Friedrichstrasse and discover charming boutiques at Hackescher Markt.
– Visit the offbeat gem of the Magic Museum.
– Take a relaxing cruise along the river.
Best Hostel in Mitte: Circus Hostel
The award-winning Circus Hostel is a cool place to meet tons of new people when exploring Berlin. There are dorms and private rooms. There’s an onsite bar-cafe with a microbrewery and the hostel arranges a variety of tours, including free daily walking tours. Bike rental is available, Wi-Fi is free, and access is by key card.
Best Hotel in Mitte: Melia Berlin
The four-star Melia Hotel is located in the heart of Berlin’s main shopping street and close to the river. It has a sauna, a gym, and a restaurant. Wi-Fi is free and bicycles are available to rent.
The spacious rooms have a private bathroom, TV, fridge, safe, wardrobe, and other items to make your stay comfortable. Inter-connected rooms are ideal for families.
Best Airbnb in Mitte: Spacious & bright 2-room flat in Berlin Mitte
Devoted travellers are sure to appreciate the enormous world map that covers an entire wall in this lovely apartment. The living room has a TV and desk and there’s a separate bedroom, bathtub, and kitchen, complete with a washing machine, dishwasher, oven, stove, and breakfast bar.
Located in what was previously East Berlin, Friedrichshain is an edgy neighbourhood with an alternative vibe. The happening night scene will appeal to night owls and party Friedrichshain.
It’s a great place for art lovers and creative souls and the definition of hipster, which means it’s up-and-coming and yet to be gentrified. This makes it one of the cheapest neighbourhoods to stay in Berlin too!
Top Things to Do in Friedrichshain
– Walk along the East Side Gallery, a section of the notorious Berlin Wall that has been painted with various social messages and thought-provoking images by a team of international artists.
– Feast on diverse cuisine along Simon-Dach-Strasse.
– Visit the Wall Museum to learn more about local history.
– Admire contemporary designs at Pablo Neruda Library.
– Appreciate art and photography at Urban Spree.
– Go on a trip down memory lane at the Computer Games Museum.
– Hunt for quirky souvenirs, vintage finds, and collectables at the weekly flea market of RAW Flohmarkt. You’ll also find an enticing selection of food.
– Visit a former prison at Berlin Hohenschönhausen Memorial and step into the previous headquarters of the secret police at the Stasi Museum.
– Challenge yourself and pit your wits against the escape rooms of Hipster Escape Party, Make a Break, and Trap.
– See the large sculptures of Warschauer Strasse.
Best Hostel in Friedrichshain: U Inn Berlin Hostel
Whip up a feast in the well-equipped kitchen and grab an ice-cold beer to go with your meal as you socialise with friends old and new at the friendly U Inn Berlin Hostel. Freebies include the use of computers, Wi-Fi, tours, and bikes to borrow.
There’s a book exchange, luggage storage, housekeeping services, and a choice of private rooms and mixed dorms.
Best Hotel in Friedrichshain: Hotel Kiez Pension Berlin
Hotel Kiez Pension Berlin is a popular hotel in Friedrichshain, offering stylish double and twin rooms. All rooms are en-suite and have a TV, a hairdryer, and free Wi-Fi. There’s an onsite bar and reception is staffed around the clock.
Best Airbnb in Friedrichshain: Flat for 2 in the Heart of Friedrichshain
Suitable for up to four guests, this modern apartment has a bedroom with a king-sized bed and a sofa bed and floor mattress in the cosy living room.
There’s a kitchen and a bathroom and you can dine al fresco on the compact but charming balcony. It has everything you need to feel at home, including a washing machine, TV, and free Wi-Fi.
Kreuzberg is a lively part of Berlin with a vibrant nightlife, and plenty of cool bars and nightclubs that stay open til the wee hours of the morning (if they close at all). This is the best area to stay in Berlin for nightlife.
That said, Kreuzberg isn’t just known for its nightlife, and there is plenty to enjoy during the day too.
From historic attractions, cultural hotspots, and diverse museums, to pretty parks, fantastic eateries, and awesome street art, there’s never a dull moment in Kreuzberg.
Top Things to Do in Kreuzberg
– Stand at the spot of one of Europe’s (if not the world’s) most notorious border crossings from times gone by: Checkpoint Charlie. Pose for pictures with people dressed up like soldiers from times gone by.
– Spend sunny days chilling out in the lovely Görlitzer Park, complete with a small petting zoo, a glow-in-the-dark mini golf course, BBQs, a lake, and play areas.
– Check out the fancy restaurants along Bergmannstrasse.
– Take kids to Spectrum Science Centre.
– See the Soviet War Memorial.
– Poke around in the vintage stores and quirky shops of Oranienstrasse.
– Admire interesting artwork at the Berlin Gallery.
– Examine the solar system at the Archenhold Observatory.
– Learn more about Berlin’s tumultuous history at the Topography of Terror, the Jewish Museum, and the Berlin Story Bunker.
– Dance the night away to techno beats in one of the many clubs.
– Have a laid-back night out in one of the bars along Kottbusser Tor Ubahn.
Best Hostel in Kreuzberg: Riverside Lodge Berlin
A unique and quirky hostel with friendly staff and a cool vibe, the small Riverside Lodge Berlin has mixed dorms and private rooms for two. Lockers are provided and there’s a common area and a kitchen. Luggage storage is available too and the hostel has bicycles to rent.
Best Hotel in Kreuzberg: Hotel the Yard
The modern rooms at Hotel the Yard feature quality furnishings and look over an inner courtyard. Each room is en-suite and has a flat-screen TV, telephone, Wi-Fi access, a safety deposit box, and ample storage space.
There’s a lift in the hotel, saving your legs from tackling stairs after a day of sightseeing in Berlin.
Best Airbnb in Kreuzberg: Bright apartment in Kreuzberg’s best area
This bright and airy studio apartment is ideal for a couple. The compact kitchen has all the essentials, including a washing machine, and there’s a TV in the bedroom. Wi-Fi is included and the apartment is close to public transportation links.
To be honest, Kreuzberg, Fredrichshain, and even Neukölln could take this slot too! Berlin is just too cool in general.
That said, hip and happening Prenzlauer Berg is rated the coolest place to stay in Berlin for all walks of life. A former bohemian hangout, it is now home to people from all spectrums of society, with flashes of the past combined with the marks of gentrification and hipster influences.
Top Things to Do in Prenzlauer Berg
– Experience the energy of Mauer Park and indulge in some top-notch people-watching. The green spaces are filled with food stalls, BBQs, and street performers, and there’s a big open-air flea market every Sunday. Don’t miss the large wall of graffiti too.
– Sip an ice-cold beer in Prater Garten, one of the oldest beer gardens in Berlin.
– Dive into urban culture at Kulturbrauerei.
– Wander around the Sunday food market of Kollowitzplatz.
– Pick up unusual gifts and souvenirs in the offbeat stores along Sredzkistrasse and Oderbergerstrasse.
– Stroll around and admire the elegant old buildings that survived the effects of WWII.
– See the sombre Berlin Wall Memorial.
– Take kids to the MACHmit! Museum for Children.
– Walk through Kollwitzplatz.
Best Hostel in Prenzlauer Berg: EastSeven Berlin
Not just a place to sleep, EastSeven Berlin has heaps of amenities and facilities to really make you feel at home. Clean and friendly, the hostel has self-catering facilities, a relaxing common room, and a café.
Other perks include laundry facilities, luggage storage, free Wi-Fi, bike rentals, and hairdryers. There are lockers in the dorms and beds have individual power outlets and reading lights.
Best Hotel in Prenzlauer Berg: Myer’s Hotel Berlin
Housed in a historic building, this boutique hotel is a pleasant base from which to explore the best of Berlin. Fine woodwork, interesting artwork, and high ceilings add to the air of sophistication and the hotel has a lobby bar, conservatory, free-to-use spa area, and tea room.
Rooms are en-suite and all come with a minibar, separate seating area, TV, free Wi-Fi, hairdryer, and phone. Laundry services and bike rentals are available and a filling breakfast is included in the price.
Best Airbnb in Prenzlauer Berg: Cosy Boho-Chic Apartment in Prenzlauer Berg
Accommodating up to three guests, this cute apartment is full of homey touches.
The open-plan living and sleeping area has a comfy sofa, double floor mattress, and inflatable single bed. There’s a kitchen and you can chill in the shared courtyard or on the private balcony.
One of the best neighbourhoods in Berlin for families, Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf was once its own independent town.
Today a wealthy part of the city, it has several family-friendly attractions and activities as well as things that will apply to broader groups of travellers.
Top Things to Do in Charlottenburg-Wilsmersdorf
– Tour the magnificent Charlottenburg Palace, the biggest palace in Berlin and a glorious reminder of the past. Featuring baroque and rococo styles, it was extensively restored to its former glory after suffering damage during the war.
– Observe an array of interesting creatures at Berlin Zoo.
– Buy tickets for a stunning performance at the Deutsche Oper Berlin.
– Feast your eyes on diverse art at the Scharf-Gerstenberg Collection.
– Learn more about the area’s history and culture at the child-friendly Museum Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf.
– Browse and buy along the well-known Kurfürstendamm shopping street.
– Snap a picture of the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church.
– See the official home of the German president at Bellevue Palace.
– Visit the Memorial to the German Resistance.
– Descend into an old underground bunker to learn more about Berlin’s history at the Story of Berlin.
– Gaze in interest at the architectural beauty that is Ludwig Erhard Haus.
– Spend time exploring Tiergarten, the oldest public park in Berlin.
– Watch creatures from the ocean deep at Berlin Aquarium.
Best Hostel in Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf: Smart Stay Berlin Centre
With en-suite private rooms for one and two, this cosy hostel is surrounded by boutiques, restaurants, and cafes. Each spacious room has a TV and Wi-Fi, and peace of mind is assured by key card access. A breakfast buffet is available for an extra charge.
Best Hotel in Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf: Best Western Plus Amedia Berlin Kurfürstendamm
Located right on the stretching shopping street of Kürfürstendamm, this hotel has single, double, triple, and quadruple rooms. All rooms have a private bathroom, TV, and Wi-Fi, and you have the choice as to whether to include breakfast.
Paid parking, a restaurant, 24-hour reception, bike rentals, an elevator, and a business centre add to the convenience.
Best Airbnb in Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf: Big modern apartment
Sleeping up to four people, this cosy studio apartment has three single beds and a sofa bed, all in the same room. You can cook up some home comforts in the kitchen, unwind in front of the TV, and surf the free Wi-Fi.
Final Thoughts on Where to Stay in Berlin
Anyone who loves art, culture, and history will love Berlin. With a dark and turbulent past, the pendulum has swung and Berlin is now the epitome of cool and progressive.
There is so much to do and see in Berlin; plus, Berlin’s techno and warehouse nightclub culture house arguably the best nightlife in Europe, if not the world!
But Berlin is huge and the city layout is complicated. It can be difficult deciding where to stay in Berlin with so many options! Make sure to read our neighborhood “top things to do” sections to get a better idea of what each neighborhood has to offer!
When in doubt, Mitte is the best neighborhood for anyone who wants to stay central to the museums and main attractions. Kreuzberg is the best neighborhood for hipsters and night owls.
Fredrichstain is a great neighborhood if you are on a budget and want to stay somewhat close to the action and within walking distance of some great clubs.
We hope our guide for where to stay in Berlin was helpful! Let us know in the comments if we missed anything!
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