Berlin is a particularly exciting travel destination because its unique character and rich history offer such a wide array of things to see and do. It’s easy to please everyone in the family, whether interests run more towards Prussian royalty or the Cold War, street graffiti or fine art. Here are some of the best choices for a rewarding and fun trip to Berlin.
1. Zoo Berlin
No visit to Berlin is complete without a stop at the zoo, the oldest in Germany. Located inside the Tierpark, the zoo is home to a huge number of animals, including big cats, apes, birds, and of course, the famous polar bears. There are regular shows for visitors, as well as open feeding times, where kids can watch a lioness chow down on a hunk of meat and hear the bones crunch in her jaws. A full day for the whole family will only cost 35 euro. The aquarium also houses over 9,000 different animals and is considered one of the best in the world. Located in the heart of Charlottenburg, there are many excellent options for accommodations in the area, including the luxurious but affordable Pullman Berlin Schweizerhof.
This charming fountain, built in 1913, is surrounded statues depicting famous fairy tale characters. The whole family will have fun spotting their favorites, from Sleeping Beauty to Snow White and Puss in Boots. The park itself is also a worthwhile stop for its lovely paths and wading pools, as well as a cafe and sports complex for volleyball or rock climbing. Stay nearby at the beautiful Hotel Indigo Berlin for easy access to all parts of the city.
Legoland Discovery Centre is the first and only indoor Legoland in the world, and a great choice for family fun in the heart of Berlin. Kids can build and test their own Lego creations, enjoy the 3D cinema, or even compete on a racing track. There’s also a section called Miniland, which presents a miniature city of Berlin built out of 4 million Lego pieces. Book your ticket in advance online to get 50% off admission prices. Legoland located right underneath the impressive Sony Center in Potsdamer Platz, which also houses a large movie theater. The Mandala Hotel is a great place to stay in this vibrant area, and offers family-sized suites.
Anyone with a sweet tooth, kids and adults alike, will find a chocolatey paradise at the Ritter Sport flagship store. There is, of course, a huge selection of beautiful and brightly colored chocolate for sale, as well as a chocolate cafe that’s worth a visit. But even more exciting is the opportunity to design your own chocolate bar. For under 4 euro, anyone can choose a type of chocolate and up to three fillings, and then watch your personal bar being made by an expert. Unusual combinations make for a fun surprise. To get an inside look at how chocolate is made and processed, sign up in advance for a chocolate workshop. The store is also located near the beautiful Gendarmenmarkt, where you can find lovely hotels such as the ARCOTEL John F.
5. Spree Boat Tours
There are a wide variety of options for boats tours on the Spree, the river than runs through Berlin. It’s a great way to get an overview of the city and see some of its most beautiful buildings, such as the Reichstags, the Museums, and the Cathedral, from a different angle. Stay on the river itself at the Radisson Blu Hotel right across from Museum Island.
On the far west of Berlin is the Wannsee, whose many attractions and two beautiful lakes make the perfect day trip that everyone in the family will love. The Wannsee offers a large sandy beach on the lake for a refreshing swim, all in a complex with bathrooms and cafes, making for a convenient beach day at 11 euro for the whole family. The area is also full of beautiful historic homes that are a pleasure to view on foot or by bike. The Wannsee House offers a view into World War II history, or short ferry ride can take you to Pfaueninsel, or Peacock Island, where a Prussian emperor built a gorgeous white palace for his mistress and surrounded it with peacocks. Hop on the S-bahn at Friedrichstrasse and and it’ll only take 30 minutes and less than 3 euro to get there, especially if you stay at close to the station at the lovely Regent Hotel Berlin.
The Fernsehturm, or TV tower, is the most striking and recognizable feature of the Berlin skyline. It is the tallest structure in Germany and the fourth tallest in Europe, offering unparalleled views of the city. The long elevator ride to the top is a treat for both kids and adults, and everyone will enjoy picking out Berlin landmarks like the Brandenburg Gate from a bird’s eye view. It’s a popular attraction, so booking tickets in advance is a good idea. An adult ticket is 13 euro, kids 4-16 are 8.50 euro, and toddlers are free of charge. The tower rises from the center of the city in Alexanderplatz, minutes away from the elegant but inexpensive Park Inn by Radisson Berlin Alexanderplatz.
One of the most beautiful parks in the city, Hasenheide Park also has a huge range of activities for families. The large grassy spaces are perfect for a game of dodgeball or a picnic, and kids will love the Arabian Nights-inspired playground, which features a large wooden pirate ship, a flying carpet, and climbing walls. At the petting zoo, kids can play with ducks, sheep, and goats, and there’s even an open air movie theater that serves snacks. It’s easy to fill a day at this lovely park, and staying nearby at the Hotel Ludwig van Beethoven will also make it easy to get to the Checkpoint Charlie Museum.
Located near the playground at Helmholtzplatz, this family-oriented cafe is a great place to spend an unusual afternoon with young kids. It features an indoor sandpit and reading nook as well as many children’s toys. Outside on benches or at tables, adults can supervise with cappuccinos while the little ones enjoy riding on tricycles, falling down the slide, or getting wet in the paddling pool. The cafe itself offers free wifi and serves a range of sandwiches, sweet and savory snacks, and excellent coffee and tea. Prenzlauer Berg is one of the prettiest areas in Berlin and great place from which to base any trip to Berlin. Try the Hotel & Apartments Zarenhof Berlin Prenzlauer Berg for a homey atmosphere.