Layover in Berlin – the ultimate guide 2021
Berlin Brandenburg Airport, also known as Willy Brandt, has been a long time coming. Finally opened in 2020 after decades of planning, the airport has replaced several older facilities and become Berlin’s main hub for air travel. This state-of-the-art facility is one of the busiest airports in Europe, serving millions of passengers already.
If you find yourself killing time on a Berlin Airport layover, Brandenburg Airport has plenty of places to eat and shop while you wait to make your connection. But Berlin is too fascinating a city not to explore when you have the chance. And this brand-new airport has impressive transit infrastructure connecting it not just to central Berlin, but to other locations throughout Germany and across Europe. The Airport Express train runs four times an hour from the airport to Berlin Hauptbahnhof, and you can also take the S9 regional train. Either way, it takes around 30 minutes to reach central Berlin. Drop off your bags at a Berlin luggage storage and the city will be yours to explore.
6 hour layover in Berlin
Thanks to its excellent transit connections, even a short Berlin layover can give you enough time to see something of the city. Once you’ve dropped off your bags at a Berlin luggage locker, you’ll most likely find yourself at Berlin Central Station, or Hauptbahnhof. Just a few steps from the station you’ll find the intriguing attraction known as Futurium.
This unique place explores the challenges facing humanity in the future and posits creative solutions to them. A ticket gives you two hours inside, and interactive exhibits will make that time is one. It’s the perfect way to pass some time on a short Berlin layover, and if nothing else, will certainly give you something to think about on your next flight.
Take the Airport Express to Berlin Central Station.
A short walk from the station, you’ll find Futurium.
Two hours inside this unique place will get you thinking about the future in new and creative ways.
8 hour layover in Berlin
With an eight hour layover in Berlin, you can explore a little more of the city. Once you’ve explored the future, it’s time to learn a little more about Berlin’s fascinating past. A short subway ride of a single station will bring you to the Reichstag, Germany’s historic parliament building. When parliament is not in session, you can take a free guided tour of the building. The tours take 90 minutes, and will explain both the history and the present uses of this building. See bullet holes left from the Russian occupation at the end of World War II, then head up to the impressive glass dome at the top of the building. It’s an eye-opening look into Germany’s past and present, and a great way to spend your limited time in Berlin.
Take a short subway ride to the Reichstag.
Visit the German parliament and learn about the turbulent history of Berlin.
10 hour layover in Berlin
With a little longer to spend in Berlin, you’re ideally placed to see more of its attractions. Just a short walk from the Reichstag, you’ll find the impressive Brandenburg Gate. This 18th-century monument is Berlin’s most famous icon, and you can’t visit the city without getting at least a few photos of this location. And don’t miss the often neglected Room of Silence located inside the gate itself. This small room is a perfect place to escape the crowds for a moment and center yourself.
Once you’ve seen the gate, take a short stroll to Erlebnis Europa. Dedicated to explaining the workings of the European Union, this attraction features a 15 minute long video in an immersive 360° movie theater. You’ll come away with a better understanding of the European project and Germany’s place in it.
Visit the Brandenburg gate and its little-known Room of Silence.
Learn more about the European Union at Erlebnis Europa.
Enjoy a 360° video presentation at this unusual attraction.
12 hour layover in Berlin
A 12 hour long layover in Berlin gives you more time to see more of the German capital. A short walk down the famous avenue Unter den Linden will bring you to Bebelplatz. Once the site of Nazi book burnings, this square contains a memorial to this dark chapter of German history. It’s also home to St.Hedwig’s Cathedral and the State Opera House. These carefully restored buildings offer a glimpse into how Berlin looked before the ravages of war destroyed many of its old buildings. You’ll also find plenty of cafés and restaurants in the area where you can grab something to eat or drink and relax for a while in this charming district of the city.
Walk down Unter den Linden to Bebelplatz.
Explore the historic buildings for a glimpse of how Berlin used to be.
Grab something to eat or drink in one of the many restaurants and bars in this enchanting area.
24 hour layover in Berlin
With an overnight layover in Berlin, you’ll have a much greater opportunity to see the city’s major sites. When you’ve found a hotel and dropped off your luggage at a Berlin luggage storage, you’ll be free to visit more iconic locations. Thanks to Berlin’s excellent public transit, it’s easy to get around the city and explore everything it has to offer.
Berlin’s Museum Island is one of Europe’s top museum districts, and shouldn’t be missed if you have the time. The island is home to several museums and galleries, including the National Art Gallery and the Pergamon Museum, which contains stunning artifacts from ancient civilizations around the world. Even a casual visitor could spend hours in the Pergamon Museum alone, and history buffs may want to spend days on Museum Island.
For a glimpse of more recent history, take the subway to Checkpoint Charlie and learn more about Berlin’s past as a city divided between the Communist and Western worlds. A preserved section of the Berlin Wall provides a visceral reminder of Germany’s postwar division and lets you learn more about 20th-century history.
Explore the many museums and galleries of Museum Island.
The Pergamon Museum alone could occupy two to four hours of your time, and is just one of the many museums on the island.
Take the subway to Checkpoint Charlie and see one of the last remaining sections of the Berlin Wall.