Going to visit the German's capital city and wondering where to stay in Berlin? This complete and comprehensive guide will help you find the perfect area and hotel in Berlin.
We lived in Germany for two years, so we really know our way around. We're here to help you make the right decision for your stay in Berlin.
Berlin is one of those enticing capital cities that many people dream of visiting, and continues to be the top pick for travellers year after year. There's a lot to offer, from fascinating history to outstanding architecture and arty districts that are bursting with creativity. The city overflows with delicious street food, artisanal cafés and restaurants. Officially made up of twelve districts, there are plenty of great places to stay in Berlin to suit your budget and travel style.
Most travellers decide to stay close to the city center where the list of things to see and do is endless. Whether you decide for a luxury hotel or want a lovely boutique hotel with private rooms, you are going to find it in Berlin. Our main recommendation is to stay in Berlin near the U Bahn station so you can visit Berlin with ease. Here is our complete guide to where to stay in Berlin with a comprehensive Berlin neighborhood guide. Let's go!
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Where to stay in Berlin
Choosing where to stay in Berlin can be a tough choice; every neighbour is so unique and diverse, with plenty to offer. Many people underestimate how big Berlin is (it's actually nine times bigger than Paris) so choosing the appropriate area for what you want to see is key if you would like to avoid spending too much time riding public transport. Luckily, Berlin's transport system is vast with the U Bahn (metro), the S Bahn (city train), the trams, and the buses which also operate at night and the weekends. Staying in the centre will mean you can walk to the various major attractions, so visiting Berlin will be a breeze. However, short walk to attractions means that your centrally located hotel will be on the expensive side.
The first question to ask is, should you stay in East Berlin or in West Berlin? East Berlin was the de facto capital city of the German Democratic Republic from 1949 to 1990 which belonged to the Soviet sector. The West Berlin belonged to the American, British, and French sectors. Both were separated by the Berlin wall, a must-see attraction in Berlin. The West Berlin is considered more modern and more developed, somewhat prettier to the eye. East Berlin is seen as gritty, charming and creative.
Mitte – Upmarket centre of Berlin
Why stay in Mitte
Mitte has it all so this is the ideal place to stay in Berlin for first time visitors. Take long walks on the river Spree, stay close to the Berlin wall memorial, within walking distance from the Berlin cathedral, the Berlin Zoo, DDR Museum, Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church and Branderburg Gate. A couple of blocks down is the Holocaust Memorial, a place of reflection on the horror of the WWII.
Perfect for those looking for an upmarket stay in the centre of Berlin, this part of the city is far more commercial than other parts and offers a diverse range of dining options and boutique hotels to choose from. You'll have easy access to many of Berlin's most historic sites and it's ideal if you like exploring world-class museums as you can walk to Museum Island, visit the Reichstag, and take a stroll along the iconic Unter Den Liden to Brandenburg Gate. It's a chic area, the upmarket Berlin where you will find it so easy to stay in a boutique hotel.
Why avoid Mitte
If you're on a budget then this part of the city may get pricey; there's not much budget accommodation and the restaurants, bars, and shops are on the more expensive end. It's a traveller hub, so it's geared towards tourism in many ways, particularly in the summer.
Guided tours and crowds tend to congregate near most attractions, making it ideal for the first time visitors who want to see the major highlights. If you are a creative spirit who is in search of authentic, gritty Berlin, Mitte might not be for you. You'll want to come here for the tourist attractions but stay in the former East Berlin instead.
Where to stay in Mitte
Tiergarten – Open green spaces and lots to do
Why stay in Tiergarten
Heard of the Berlin Zoo? Then you'll know it's one of the biggest in the world, and the impressive aquarium is not far off. The name Tiergarten itself means zoo in German, and apart from the obvious link, it does very much feel like a zoo for people due to the vast green spaces you'll find in this area - particularly the enormous Tiergarten Park.
If you're a visitor who likes a more relaxed pace of life, open areas, and perhaps space to go jogging or picnicking, then Tiergarten is ideal. Boasting its own sites like the Congress Hall, Victory Column, and the Schloss Bellevue it also benefits by being connected to Mitte. If you're looking to enjoy the historical side of Berlin and indulge in fine dining in both areas without the crowds, then this is for you.
Why avoid Tiergarten
Much like Mitte, this is not a budget-friendly area. There are plenty of attractions, although few to suit those on a budget, and because it's a desirable area even the higher end accommodation can book up fast. It can also get quiet after dark so if you'd like to be busy in the evening, then you may find yourself travelling to a different area.
Where to stay in Tiergarten
Friedrichshain – Arty hub with great nightlife
Why stay in Friedrichshain
If you're interested in exploring East Berlin and the communist history there, like the East Side Gallery, then Friedrichshain is for you. Friedrichshain is a great place to stay with a very different vibe.
There's a real youthful and arty atmosphere here, which is amplified by its reputation for being the location of Berlin's best clubs and nightlife. It's a perfect base if you like to party.
The alternative culture permeates every aspect of the gritty buildings, coffee houses, and expressive street art. The people are generally very liberal, LGBTQ-friendly, and like to have fun.
There's fantastic food here due to the prominent Turkish population and there's no better place to try it than the canal and street food markets. There's a lot going on, so you'll never be bored.
Friedrichshain is the ideal place to stay for young travellers who want to explore a fun side of Berlin.
Why avoid Friedrichshain
The main reason to avoid Friedrichshain is if you don't enjoy grungy aesthetics, concrete buildings, and graffiti. But honestly, this really is part of the charm.
It's very hipster and isn't an area where you'll find high-end hotels or dining, so if you're used to more polished holidays, this might not suit your tastes. It's definitely more suited to the youthful, mid-range or budget traveller.
Where to stay in Friedrichshain
Kreuzberg Hipster area with many museums
Why stay in Kreuzberg
Kreuzberg borders Friedrichshain and shares many similarities with it, like the incredible nightlife, hipster cafés, and interesting shops. It was on the West side of the Berlin Wall so is equally interesting regarding history.
Visitors should pay a visit to the Berlin Jewish Museum and Topography of Terror, a fascinating museum that examines Nazi history. The shopping here is extensive, with two notable shopping streets are Bergmannstraße and Oranienstraße. You'll also find fantastic Turkish street food in the area, and the area is often dubbed Little Istanbul for the sheer amount of influence.
Why avoid Kreuzberg
Kreuzberg won't give you the best luxury hotel, but it will be ideal for those who love history and less polished Berlin. Although it's becoming more gentrified, this still isn't a place where you'll find fine dining establishments but just like Friedrichshain, this is part of its charm. It can also be very noisy due to the nightlife, so not ideal if you're looking for a peaceful getaway.
Where to stay in Kreuzberg
Moabit – Central area with amazing transport links
Why stay in Moabit
Moabit is a central and very popular place to stay due to the proximity to the city's main train station, ideal if you're moving on to other destinations after Berlin or hoping to do day trips.
There's a wide range of accommodation, from budget to luxury, and most are in walking distance to the station. There are some museums and art galleries in the area like Hamburger Bahnhof Museum für Gegenwart and plenty of restaurants and cafes nearby.
There's a real multicultural vibe here as it's made up of four neighbourhoods and this is very much reflected in the cuisine options which range from Italian to Turkish and beyond.
Why avoid Moabit
It's a very busy area due to being so popular, and gets particularly packed during commuting hours and on the weekend. You may find yourself travelling to Mitte and Tiergarten to see some highlights in Berlin, but because Moabit has such great transportation links, this is not usually a problem.
Where to stay in Moabit
Wedding – Authentic, hipster area with nature
Why stay in Wedding
This under-the-radar spot is very much up and coming and has a lot to offer anyone staying in Berlin. Located in the North West of the city, it provides a very authentic place to stay, which matches up to many people's image of Berlin as being hip and arty.
You'll find a pleasant selection of vegan restaurants, artisan cafés, nightclubs in abandoned swimming pools, breakfast inside an old bus, an events space in a tree house and more. You name it, you'll find it!
If you like the sound of amazing street art, well-kept cycle paths, a beautiful swimming lake, and a gothic castle (Brunnenplatz) to explore then this is the neighbourhood for you. You can also explore the historic Berlin Wall Trail.
Why avoid Wedding
It does get very busy in the summer due to the cycle path and lake, and doesn't offer a lot of high-end accommodation or dining choices. You're also a little far from the main attractions of the city, so you may find yourself on public transport a lot.
Where to stay in Wedding
Prenzlauer Berg – Relaxed spot with numerous markets
Why stay in Prenzlauer Berg
More relaxed than some of the more Bohemian areas of Berlin but with a similar vibe, Prenzlauer strikes the balance between the two extremes of Berlin with its tree-lined streets, wine bars, a large variety of restaurants, boutique shops, and street performers.
You can rent modern flats with high ceilings and due to the area's proximity to Mitte, you'll be close to the main attractions.
There are plenty of flea and street markets to enjoy here. It does have some of its own unmissable attractions which will keep you busy like the largest synagogue in Germany, the Jewish cemetery, and Gethsemanekirche – a gorgeous piece of neo-gothic architecture where locals would plot against the East German government.
Perfect for history lovers and those who want a more peaceful area to explore.
Why avoid Prenzlauer Berg
Because of its ideal location and relaxing yet Bohemian vibe, the flats book up very early, so try to book early if you'd love to stay here. Also, the main square can be very noisy, so it's best if you book in one of the quieter side streets if possible.
Despite being close to Mitte, you will have to travel to all major attractions, so this may not be ideal if you'd like to keep off public transport as much as possible. It can be a little touristy in Prenzlauer Berg so if you're looking to get a slice of authentic Berlin life, you might want to consider something else.
Where to stay in Prenzlauer Berg
Neukölln – Arty area with a great Turkish Market
Why stay in Neukölln
A more affordable part of the city and, as a result, a hub for students and artists, Neukölln is a smaller neighbourhood within a large district of the same name.
There are plenty of food choices, cafés, and shopping here and are all suited to those on a budget. It's linked by an excellent transport system, so it'll be rapid to get to other parts of Berlin and greater Neukölln.
One highlight of the area is the popular Turkish Market where you can explore Turkish culture and excellent cuisine. While there's an edgy vibe to this area, it's not as popular with tourists yet due to lack of attractions in the area, so it's far more authentic in many ways.
Locals and visitors tend to gather at Tempelhof, a huge park that was once an airport.
Why avoid Neukölln
As mentioned, there aren't any significant tourist attractions in the area, so this can often put people off staying there despite the transport links.
There aren't as many accommodations options, and what is there tends to lean towards budget rather than mid-range. Many people treat this area as a day-trip to visit the Turkish market but would rather be closer to the nightlife and bigger attractions otherwise.
Where to stay in Neukölln
Schöneberg – Classy neighbourhood with lots of history
Why stay in Schöneberg
If you're in Berlin to walk in the footsteps of some of your favourite celebrities like David Bowie and Nick Cave, then this is the area you're looking for as they both once lived here.
Full of open boulevards, quaint buildings, live music venues, bars, and cafes, Schöneberg is just as popular with locals as visitors. It's close to Kreuzberg so you can enjoy the arty vibes and buzzing atmosphere of that area while having a calmer base. History wise there's a lot going on too, this is where John F. Kennedy delivered his famous ‘I am a Berliner' speech in 1963 and was the home of West Berlin's headquarters.
Why avoid Schöneberg
As pleasant as Schöneberg is, there aren't any major attractions here and can take over half an hour to reach them on the subway, which could add up. Also, the area is on the pricier end in general with more luxury hotels, so if you're on a strict budget it might not be for you.
Where to stay in Schöneberg
Charlottenburg – Wealthy area with incredible architecture
Why stay in Charlottenburg
This is one of the wealthiest areas of Berlin and the area reflects that with its pristine gardens, impressive architecture, and theatres. Charlottenburg is also one of the safest parts of Berlin, ideal for first time visitors. This really is a great place to stay in Berlin and explore all the attractions from here.
With photo opportunities at every corner, the whole neighbourhood is a work of art, with the pinnacle being the stunning baroque Charlottenburg Palace which stands proudly in the centre.
The famous Kurfürstendamm avenue runs through here and this is where you'll find the high-end hotels, fine dining, department stores, and boutiques. This is Berlin at its most polished.
Why avoid Charlottenburg
There are few downsides to staying in Charlottenburg, except for the fact it does generally cater to tourists and can be costly compared to other areas of Berlin. It's very busy so can be noisy but, on the flipside, there's plenty to do nearby in the evenings.
Where to stay in Charlottenburg
You now have a great understanding on where to stay in Berlin and which hotel to pick for your needs. You're going to love your stay and visit and want to come back to Berlin over and over again. Of course, don't forget to pick some wonderful German souvenirs or beautiful specific Berlin souvenirs from the capital as well. Do you have any questions about the neighbourhoods? Let us know in the comments section below.