Where to stay in Berlin
This is the #1 question that gets asked by visitors coming to Berlin, and for good reason. Berlin is geographically a very large city and finding where to stay will require a little bit of research before your trip. We’ve made a list of helpful guidelines to find a good hotel/apartment location and make getting around Berlin easier.
Because the city is so large, it’s possible that you can stay at one location, and be very far from many attractions. An example would be staying near the Blissestraße station (U7) in Wilmersdorf (South East Berlin). This location is within 10 minutes to the great shops on Kurfürstendamm (Ku’damm), but if you wanted to visit the famous Karl-Marx-Allee in the Eastern part of the city, you will need to take a ride on the U-Bahn (subway) for nearly 40 minutes to get there (one way). This problem is not unique to Berlin, it’s the fact of life in many major cities and that’s why it’s important to research a location that will be perfect for you while staying in Berlin.
#1: Stay inside the “Ring”
The Ring (RingBahn) is the outer S-Bahn train loop that runs around the city of Berlin. On the transportation map (shown above), the ring is shown in a brown color. If you want to limit the amount of time spent on the U-Bahn, S-Bahn and Trams, then you will want to stay inside this ring. This will ensure you are close to Berlin’s attractions and also that you can escape back to your hotel/apartment when you get tired from a busy day of sightseeing.
The previous example of staying near Blissestraße and having to spend 40 minutes in the train to reach attractions in the East is a great example of the importance of picking your location wisely as both of these places are located within the Ring.
You can download a larger PDF map of the Berlin public transportation system on the BVG website (left side of that page).
#2: Stay close to the attractions that interest you
When deciding where to stay in Berlin, select what you are most interested in seeing, then find accommodation in that area. We’ve made some general suggestions for visitors based on popular reasons for coming to Berlin. These suggestions are merely that, a good place to start researching places to stay and the attractions nearby.
- Dancing the night away: Kreuzberg (between Hallesches Tor and Warschauer Straße stations on the U1)
- Shopping: Charlottenburg (Kurfürstendamm to Kurfürstenstrasse stations on the U1)
- Museums: Mitte
- East Germany: Friedrichshain & Prenzlauer Berg
- World War II: Mitte
- Hipster: Kreuzberg & Prenzlauer Berg
- Upscale: Mitte & Prenzlauer Berg
If you’re more of an all-around traveler and want to see a bit of everything, we might recommend staying close to the district of Mitte, which means “Middle” or center.
#3: Stay close to public transportation
Now that you have an idea of where to stay inside the Ring and that you should try to tailor your accommodation around parts of the city that interest you the most, it’s important to talk about public transportation. Ideally, visitors should try to find accommodation near a U-Bahn, S-Bahn or Tram station. This will ensure that you don’t have to walk very far each time you leave your hotel. Be aware! There are parts of the city that are 10-15 minutes walk to the nearest station. This may not seem like very much, but if you leave your hotel twice in a day, you will have used 40-60 minutes simply going to and from the station! Find a hotel you like, then check on the hotel’s about page (or use Google Maps) to see how close it is to public transportation.
We’ve previously said that visitors should stay inside the Ring. It’s good advice, but it isn’t absolute. Let’s say you find a great apartment or hotel that it only 2 minutes walk to Seestraße (U6) in the northern district of Wedding. This location is three stops outside of the Ring, but only takes 9 minutes by U-Bahn to get to bustling Friedrichstraße in the heart of Berlin. Walking to the station, a few minutes waiting for the train and then taking the journey itself takes no more than 15 minutes. This is a great example of how important public transportation when deciding where to stay.
To find out how far your hotel is to a specific attraction via public transportation, simply visit the BVG website, or download the app to your device: