Day One

  • Historic Mitte

One day in Berlin? Follow this whirlwind itinerary to take in all the key sights. Book ahead for an early lift ride up to the dome of the Reichstag, then snap a picture of the Brandenburg Gate before exploring the maze of the Holocaust Memorial and admiring the contemporary architecture of Potsdamer Platz. View the Berlin Wall remnants, then head to Checkpoint Charlie to ponder the full extent of the Cold War madness. Saunter up Friedrichstrasse to soak up the glory of Gendarmenmarkt before your lunch.

Follow Unter den Linden east to Museumsinsel and spend the afternoon marvelling at the antiquities in the Pergamonmuseum. Beer-o'clock! Head over to Brauhaus Georgbräu, a brewpub on the Spree River in the Nikolaiviertel.

  • Dinner Book ahead for dinner at Katz Orange.
  • Scheunenviertel

Stroll over to the all-ages Clärchens Ballhaus for a spin on the dance floor or process the day's impressions over a prime cocktail at swanky-cool Buck & Breck.

Day Two

  • Prenzlauer Berg

Spend a couple of hours coming to grips with what life in Berlin was like when the Wall still stood by exploring the Gedenkstätte Berliner Mauer. Take a quick spin around Mauerpark, then grab a coffee at Bonanza Coffee Heroes and poke around the boutiques on Kastanienallee.

  • Lunch W-Der Imbiss is a buzzy pit stop on Kastanienallee.
  • Museumsinsel & Alexanderplatz

Start the afternoon holding court with Queen Nefertiti and other treasures at the stunning Neues Museum, then relax while letting the sights drift by on a one-hour river cruise around Museumsinsel. Walk over to the Berliner Dom, into the crypt and then up the gallery to see how the rebuilt Prussian royal city palace – called Humboldt Forum – fits into the cityscape. Enjoy a swanky sundowner at eyelevel with the Fernsehturm (TV Tower) from the Park Inn Panorama Terrasse.

  • Dinner Head to Kreuzberg and have a modern German dinner at Orania, Turkish barbecue at Fes or German beer-hall grub at Max und Moritz.
  • Kreuzberg & Neukölln

After dinner, go bar-hopping around Kottbusser Tor, pulling up for cocktails at Würgeengel or Ora, beer at Möbel Olfe or wine at Otto Rink.

Day Three

  • City West & Charlottenburg

Day three starts at Schloss Charlottenburg, where the Neuer Flügel (New Wing) and the palace garden are essential stops. Take the bus to Zoologischer Garten and meditate upon the futility of war at the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche, then – assuming it's not Sunday – satisfy your shopping cravings along Kurfürstendamm and its side streets. Keep your wallet handy and drop by the Bikini Berlin shopping mall and KaDeWe department store.

  • Lunch Enjoy a casual lunch in the KaDeWe food hall.
  • Kreuzberg & Neukölln

Spend an hour or two at the striking Daniel Libeskind–designed Jüdisches Museum, then head down to the wide open fields of Tempelhofer Feld to see how an old airport can be recycled into a sustainable park and playground. Have a break at the Luftgarten beer garden or find a favourite cafe among the many in northern Neukölln.

  • Dinner Make reservations at eins44 or Coda, Neukölln's culinary hot spots.
  • Kreuzberg & Neukölln

You're already in party central, so hit the bars on Weserstrasse and its side streets, then move on to the dance floor at Griessmühle if you want to extend your evening.

Day Four

  • Potsdam

There's plenty more to do in Berlin proper, but we recommend you spend the better part of the day exploring the parks and royal palaces in Potsdam, a mere 40-minute S-Bahn ride away. Buy online tickets for your favourite time slot to see Schloss Sanssouci, a rococo jewel of a palace. Afterwards, explore the surrounding park and its many smaller palaces at leisure. The Chinesisches Haus is a must see.

  • Lunch Have lunch at the exotic Drachenhaus in the park.
  • Potsdam

If you're done with your park explorations, head to Potsdam's old town for a spin around the Holländisches Viertel (Dutch Quarter) or a take a look at the latest art exhibit at the dashing Museum Barberini before heading back to Berlin for a well-deserved post-sightseeing drink at Prater beer garden.

  • Dinner Pull up a stool at Prenzlauer Berg's lovely Umami.
  • Prenzlauer Berg

After dinner, enjoy a stroll around beautiful Kollwitzplatz. Still got stamina? Turn your evening into a bar-hop, perhaps stopping at Bryk Bar or Becketts Kopf for fine cocktails.