Dreaming of a city break in Berlin with kids? This guide will take you through everything you need to know including the best things to do in Berlin with kids, the best places to stay in Berlin, where to stay and the best day trips!
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When is the Best Time to Visit Berlin?
There are many things to do on holiday in Berlin with kids, and choosing the right time to visit means you can make the most of your city break. We lived in Germany for five years, so we were lucky to be able to visit the city across different seasons.
Berlin in May
The best time for a Berlin city break is in May. The month of June is warmer, but there can be more rain. In the first week of May, many people visit Werder (Havel – 30 minutes via D-Bahn from Berlin) for Baumblütenfest (Tree Blossom Festival). This festival hosts many musical performers, craft stalls, rides for the kids, different entertainers and sweet fruit wine for the adults.
Berlin in December
Berlin for children at Christmas is magical, and you are pretty much guaranteed snow. Alexanderplatz Roten Rathaus is a huge market and includes a skating rink, rides, crafts and tasty food/ drinks.
Potsdamer Platz has a man-made sledging hill for the kids to enjoy, and WeihnachtsZauber at the Gendarmenmarkt is stunning and well worth a visit for a small entrance fee. Start by going on this Christmas lights and markets tour, where you’ll discover some of Berlin’s best Christmas markets.
How to Get to Berlin
Berlin has two airports. Berlin-Tegel Airport (BTA) is 9km from the city centre; then you can take the TXL bus or shuttle train to Berlin Hauptbahnhof (Central Station) in about 20 minutes. Berlin
Brandenburg Airport (BER) is 27km from Berlin, with express train services to Berlin in 30 minutes.
You can travel via train from London on Eurostar, then across The Netherlands and France. This is more expensive than a direct flight and may be tricky with children and luggage.
Another option is travelling via car on Eurostar and taking a tour through The Netherlands and France on your way to Berlin.
Where to Stay in Berlin with Kids
There are so many family-friendly accommodation options in Berlin. Here are our top
Budget: Novotel Suites Berlin City (Potsdamer Platz)
The Novotel Suites Berlin City (Potsdamer Platz) were a great budget stay when we visited Berlin in Spring. The hotel is 100 yards from the Anhalter Bahnhof Station in central Berlin and has great public transport links from Potsdamer Platz. Rooms are colourful, soundproofed and have a small kitchen area with a fridge which was great. There is also a breakfast area, lounge and a café on site.
Mid-Range: Wilde Aparthotels by Staycity Berlin
Wilde Aparthotels by Staycity Berlin has unique design features and is practical for a visit with kids. There is a 24-hour front desk and concierge service, but you also have a fully equipped kitchen, dining area and some personal touches (tea, coffee, fresh milk, homemade sweets). Potsdamer Platz and Gerndarmenmarkt are also very close to this location.
Splashing Out: The Hilton Berlin
Located in central Berlin, overlooking the historic Gendarmenmarkt Square and German Cathedral, with the bonus of the Christmas market being held there when we stayed in December! The rooms and facilities are superb, including an indoor pool, spa, outdoor terrace and cots on request. Make sure you sign up to Hilton Honors for discounts and rewards.
Top 10 Things to do in Berlin with Kids
Berlin was once a city divided, but now it offers many family attractions with open green spaces, interesting museums, beautiful hotels and even Legoland! There are reminders of Germany’s complicated past and for older children, this can be a great learning experience. There is plenty to entertain younger kids too.
1. Brandenburg Gate
The iconic Brandenburg Gate was built in the 18th century and is stunning day or night. The Reichstag is just north of the Brandenburg Gate and houses the German Parliament. You can walk around the original historical buildings and gardens, then visit the new Parliament building to climb the futuristic-looking glass dome and enjoy the view over Berlin. 117
2. Zoo Berlin
One of the top family things to do in Berlin is visit the zoo. The ornate Elephant gate on arrival really got the kids excited and the zoo was amazing. There are lots of diverse species, many themed playground areas and a small aquarium. The kids loved the monkeys, hippopotamus, pandas and the huge aviary. You can get a combo ticket to visit the Tierpark (wildlife park) in Berlin which is home to over 9K animals.
You can reach Berlin Zoo easily on the hop-on-hop-off bus
3. Legoland Berlin
Located at Potsdamer Place in central Berlin and containing over 5M LEGO® bricks of all shapes and sizes this is one of Berlin’s major children’s attractions. Apart from the intricate Lego displays and opportunities to build, there is a 4D cinema, dragon ride, carousel and lots of fun activities. Potsdamer Place is great too. The modern architecture and Sony dome are impressive, there are segments of the Berlin Wall, and there is a cinema, shops and many restaurants.
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4. Tiergarten Park
Berlin has hundreds of parks. Tiergarten is the largest park (600 acres) and offers many playground areas, boating on the lake, meandering paths and quaint bridges to explore as well as the Victory Column to climb. Hidden in the middle of the park is the family-friendly Café am Neuen See, where you can sit by the water and enjoy pizza, pasta, desserts and a cold German beer for the adults!
5. Technik Museum
You can easily spot the German Museum of Technology as there is an aeroplane on the roof! This museum is extremely child-friendly, interactive and educational too. There are 14 exhibitions featuring trains, aeroplanes, engines and ships. Our kids loved the experimental areas with natural energy sources, magnets and light, making their own paper and climbing into a model mineshaft.
6. Tempelhofer Park
A cool thing to do in Berlin is visit Tempelhofer Park, a former airport and gigantic outdoor space for cycling, skating, walking, kite flying and picnicking. You can cycle on the takeoff and landing strips! The park is easily reached from Berlin by train to Tempelhof station and bike hire is available onsite. Check the weather as the park is very open to the elements!
7. Nakurnde Museum
The Natural History Museum has exhibitions about planet Earth, evolution, space, minerals, birds and native animals. The highlight for the kids was the World of Dinosaurs exhibition, including a huge 13.7-metre Brachiosaurus skeleton. There are after-hours guided tours where you can explore the building via torchlight, so something older kids may enjoy.
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Located in the Prenzlauer Berg area of Berlin, this is a family-friendly area with many great playgrounds, kid-oriented shops, ice-cream parlours and cafes. We went on Saturday and there was a great food and craft market to wander around, sample local cuisine and listen to live music.
9. River Spree Boat Tour
If the kids legs need a rest, hop on a boat tour of Berlin on the River Spree. Most tours leave from Museums Island and you will pass many landmarks. This activity is perfect on a summer day or if the weather is colder then you can take an enclosed boat and enjoy the view through the glass windows with a hot chocolate.
Great if you are visiting Berlin with toddlers, this unique museum has plenty of space for little guests to run around and ideas from children were used to design ANOHA. In the centre of the museum is a large wooden ark with lots of animals built from various materials, from giant snakes, mammoths and unicorns to owls and cockroaches.
Where to Eat in Berlin
Currywurst is a popular takeaway food in Germany (sliced bratwurst sausage and tomato sauce with a hint of curry) and the kids enjoyed this with regular ketchup!
The Berliner doughnut is a fried, jam-filled doughnut with sugar on the outside and tasted great at the Christmas markets. Chocolate in Berlin was of course fabulous!
Café Kreuzzwerg – Germany has an increasing number of Kindercafes which are ideal for the kids as more relaxed with lots of play opportunities. Café Kreuzzwerg, Hornstrasse 23 offers breakfast during the week, lunch options and cakes. There is a large indoor play area and ball pit as well as a garden terrace with swings and a playhouse.
Fassbender & Rautsch Chocolate Shop – Chocolate paradise, overlooking the beautiful Gendarmenmarkt and with amazing chocolate sculptures, tarts and desserts. The kids loved the hot chocolate, where you can choose the type of chocolate, flavours and toppings. View on TripAdvisor here.
Die Eselin von A. – This is a great place to eat if you are visiting Wannsee with children. The restaurant serves delicious German and European food and is located by the lake with an outdoor patio area. We enjoyed schnitzel and seafood and the kids enjoyed fish and chips. The price here was also reasonable. View on TripAdvisor here.
How to Spend 2 Days in Berlin
There are many activities you can enjoy on a Berlin weekend break. If you are visiting for a limited time here are the best options to make sure you and the kids have an amazing time.
Day 1: 24 Hours in Berlin With Kids
Morning: We started our Berlin kids tour at the impressive Brandenburg Gate and enjoyed various street entertainers, then visited the Reichstag Building where the kids had a runaround and explored the historical buildings and gardens. Book in advance to see the glass dome and home of the German Parliament, which has an amazing view over Berlin.
Why not try this Art and Graffiti walking tour?
Afternoon: The kids will love Legoland. It’s compact so more of a half-day activity. There are lots of Lego building opportunities, fun rides, 4D cinema and of course the Lego shop! Legoland is in central Berlin at Potsdamer Platz, where there are cafes and restaurants for a relaxed evening meal later.
Day 2: 48 Hours in Berlin with Kids
Morning: Head to Berlin Zoo and enjoy seeing thousands of animals, themed playground areas and aquarium. You can easily spend around four hours here. There are two entrances, the one opposite the church Gedächtniskirche (next to the aquarium) is quieter with fewer queues.
Afternoon: Berlin Zoo is in Tiergarten so you can relax in the park, boat on the lake, visit a café and the kids can enjoy the playgrounds after the zoo. This is close to Kurfürstendamm, a famous boulevard with many cafes and shops, as well as Savignyplatz, an atmospheric square with many restaurants. You can take the S-Bahn and arrive at these locations in five minutes.
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3 Days in Berlin
Visit the Technik Museum on Trebbiner Strasse. Our kids loved the transport section with trains, boats and planes on display and interactive science/technology areas. The museum is huge, so it’s probably best to choose the exhibitions you prefer if you don’t plan to stay for the day.
Café Kreuzzwerg is close by so you can enjoy a rest, some food and the kids can play indoors or outdoors at this lovely kindercafe.
Head to Museums Island via taxi or U-Bahn which takes about 15/20 minutes and take a boat tour on the River Spree to enjoy the sights of Berlin by water.
Day Trips from Berlin for Families
City breaks in Germany are great with kids, but if you wish to explore further then here are some ideas. We loved Potsdam, Tropical Islands was a big hit with the kids and Peacock Island was stunning.
Beautiful historic city southwest of Berlin, reachable by train from Potsdamer Station in 30 minutes. The city is famous for palaces, royal parks and the quaint Dutch Quarter, where 18th-century buildings now house boutiques, craft shops and cafes. Visit the Sanssouci Palace, Babelsberg Castle or Cecilienhof Palace. You need to pay to go inside the palaces and it’s a huge area so comfortable shoes, drinks/food are a must.
This amazing amusement park has a sandy beach, tropical sea, rainforest, butterfly house, pools and water slides as well as many restaurants, entertainment and overnight accommodation. From Berlin via hire car, you can reach Krausnick, Brandenburg in one hour or from Alexanderplatz Hbf the direct train takes 1 hour 30 minutes.
Pfaueninsel (Peacock Island)
in the River Havel. Admire the fairytale castle, beautiful peacocks, aviary and fountain as well as many picnic opportunities or the lovely café.
Getting Around Berlin
The Berlin Welcome Card allows unlimited travel on the U-Bahn, S-Bahn and buses as well as discounts to lots of attractions. There are cards covering different time periods and zones. An adult ticket for zones A, B and C permits free travel for up to three kids aged from 6 to 14.
We used the Berlin Welcome card, walked around central Berlin and took a rickshaw tour of the city which we all enjoyed. Our guide was informative and took us to some great locations; the kids loved the experience. I also highly recommend the hop-on-hop-off bus which is one of the best ways to get around Berlin with kids, while learning about the city.
Plan Your City Break to Berlin
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Berlin is one of the top recommended city breaks in Europe for families >>>
Sylvie Simpson is the founder of European Cities with Kids. For the past 6 years, she has been travelling all over Europe whenever she has the chance, both solo, for work and with her daughter. Sylvie is on a mission to help people make the most of city breaks in Europe with kids and helps over 50,000 readers per month plan and make the most of their trips in Europe with kids.