When it comes to Germany’s big cities, Munich and Berlin often go head to head as rivals. “Berlin is so cool!” shouts #TeamBerlin. “But Munich is so BEAUTIFUL!” shouts #TeamMunich. Regardless of where your heart lies, you have to admit though, Berlin makes one awesome weekend break. My personal preference? I like Munich to live in (it’s just so damn clean and lovely), and Berlin to visit when I wanna feel hip and wild.
If you agree and are planning a Munich to Berlin weekend trip to unleash your wild child, well then this guide’s for you. Enjoy!
Why Take a Trip from Munich to Berlin?
Despite being at (almost) opposite ends of the country, new express trains make visits from Munich to Berlin easier than ever. This is something worth taking advantage of. Why? Berlin is an amazingly cool city that buzzes with a vibrant energy, cool bars, delicious food and an always-happening sort of vibe that sleepy Munich can lack. It has something for everyone, whether you’re interested in awesome museums, a cool underground nightlife or a foodie scene that will blow you away. If you’re living in Germany and haven’t been to Berlin, you’re missing out!
How to Get from Munich to Berlin
To find the cheapest and fastest options, we always use Omio. It’s a free search engine that lets you compare and book transport options from Point A to Point B, and you can sort it by price, duration, departure time, etc.
Munich to Berlin Bus
Taking the bus from Munich to Berlin is definitely the cheapest option, but it can take a freakishly long time. If you’re on a very tight budget, consider getting an overnight bus from Munich to Berln (that way, you save on accommodation for a night and also maximize your time in Berlin). Flixbus has multiple departures a day and tickets can often be less than 20 euros each way if you book early enough.
NOTE: This isn’t recommended if you have a little extra cash because (from experience) night buses leave you really cranky, which makes it tough to enjoy anything.
Munich to Berlin Train
Last year, DB rolled out new express trains from Munich to Berlin that will get you there in about 4.5 hours. The downside is of course that the tickets can be very expensive, up to 150 euros one way if you book super last minute. Honestly, those rates are criminal and we would never pay them unless coerced.
How to get Munich to Berlin train tickets for cheap:
- Book early – looking at tickets in October for instance, I see some right now for less than 40 euros one way. That’s much more manageable than 150 euros a pop
- Look out for special DB deals – DB is always having deals. Sometimes you can get discount vouchers when you purchase special boxes of Toffifee or there’s promos like this summer’s MyTrain deal where you could get 2 free train tickets ANYWHERE in Germany with the purchase of “Maxdome” (70 euros) – such a steal
Munich to Berlin Flight
The best flight comparison tool we like to use is Skyscanner. It compares the prices of all the different airlines (including budget ones) and allows you to organize all the prices on a calendar, which is awesome because then you can see the cheapest dates to fly out.
The flight from Munich to Berlin is just under an hour, but after factoring airport commute/waiting time, this will still take longer than the express train, although it may be more cost-effective, depending on how early you book.
Once again, Omio is awesome for comparing different modes of transportation (like if you’re trying to decide between a flight or a train).
If you don’t mind getting cozy with some strangers, another cheap option is to go with BlaBaCar, which is a carpooling service that connects drivers and passengers so they can split costs for fuel, etc.
It’s definitely legit, I know lots of friends who use it, but just like with anything else, READ REVIEWS. If it’s some sketchy guy with no profile picture and zero reviews, then yes that 5 euro ride might be a murder in disguise. Otherwise, there are people regularly making this drive and offering up seats for 20-40 euros. The drive is usually from 6-7 hours, which isn’t much less than a bus, BUT you’re more likely to find cheap last minute deals this way (as bus prices usually spike close to the travel dates).
Where to Stay in Berlin
We always like using Booking.com to find accommodation because the rates are good, you can make a reservation without paying in advance AND most of the time, the hotels have lax cancellation policies so you can always cancel last minute without any penalty. It’s easy and requires minimal social interaction. Perfect for us. Click here to search the best deals on accommodation in Berlin.
PLUS Hostel & Hotel: I stayed here on my first stay in Berlin and loved it. It’s a hostel/hotel, really bright, modern and airy and within close distance to “cool” parts of Berlin like the East Side Gallery and lots of nightlife. There are obviously nicer rooms that are part of the “hotel”, but even the hostel dorms are really clean and nice. Not the most social atmosphere if that’s what you’re after, but it’s really clean and cheap. There’s a pool too!
Michelberger Hotel: A cool hipster boutique hotel that will fulfill all your stereotypical Berlin dreams. Tons of glowing praise for this one online – we definitely want to check it out on our next trip!
Hotel Adlon Kempinski: If it’s good enough for the Queen of England, it’s good enough for you. If you wanna ball out, this is how you do it. Also this is the hotel where Michael Jackson dangled his baby off a balcony once, so there’s that.
Berlin in a Weekend from Munich: Awesome Things to Do
Okay, so here’s the thing: Berlin has a lot of really amazing sights. You’ve definitely heard of Brandenburg Gate, the Holocaust Memorial, the East Side Gallery, the fifty million incredible museums… Yes sure, it’s cool to see these things during your trip, but don’t go so crazy with sightseeing that you forget to chill, relax and just enjoy the cool vibe of the city. Here are a handful of the well-known must-dos for your Berlin weekend trip, but don’t go nuts trying to do them all 😉
1. Take a stroll along the East Side Gallery.
You can’t come to Berlin and not do this. 1.3 solid kilometres of art and history. This former part of the Berlin Wall is now the longest open air gallery on Earth, with cool, beautiful and thought-provoking murals every step of the way.
2. Visit a museum (or at least, Museum Island).
Berlin is home to tons of cool museums, including one of my favourites in the whole world – the Pergamon Museum (although this is currently doing renovations until 2025 lol yay German efficiency). There’s a museum for everything, from currywurst (yeah for real) to daily life in East Berlin (the DDR museum – it’s super interactive and I highly recommend it). Of course, in a weekend, you’d be crazy to attempt doing more than a few museums, but definitely try to fit at least one in. Also make sure to visit Museum Island, which is home to many of Berlin’s grandest museums, but also one of the city’s most iconic sights – the Berliner Dom (Berlin Cathedral). It’s truly stunning.
3. Stop by the Holocaust Memorial and its Information Centre
The Holocaust Memorial (or the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe) is a must-visit in Berlin. 2,711 staggered blocks of varying heights, all scattered across a city block, minutes away from Brandenburg Gate. While most just come to visit for the installation, definitely stop by the underground Information Centre too. It’s free, and contains a lot of information and installations about the victims the memorial pays tribute to. A really moving place.
4. Visit the Reichstag.
Sure it’s home to the German parliament, but the upper dome part is surprisingly futuristic-looking, like something straight out of a sci-fi movie. Super cool. Don’t just admire the building from afar, be sure to grab free tickets to visit the roof/dome. Admission doesn’t cost anything, but surprise! It’s Germany! So you gotta register. More info on how to do that here.
5. Visit the flea market at Mauerpark and get your karaoke on.
If you’re here for the weekend, you MUST stop by one of the quirkiest hot spots in Berlin – Mauerpark, home to a Sunday flea market that is packed with amazing finds, and a fun afternoon karaoke session where you’re free to sing your heart out to a massive crowd. Definitely a fun must-do!
6. Stuff your face with amazing food.
Okay, sure, most tourist guides will tell you to try currywurst and döner in Berlin, but come on, we live in Munich… we can get those things anywhere. Instead, I recommend you omit the wurst and go instead for the best……. international food scene in the country. If there’s one thing where Berlin 100% has an edge over Munich, it’s the International food scene, where you can get cheap eats from around the world at relatively affordable prices. Whether you’re craving sushi, proper Chinese food, Lebanese, etc. etc. they have endless options in Berlin, and it’s way better than what we get down here.
RANDOM TIP: If you’re craving a good burger, Burgermeister is sketchily located under an U-Bahn station and built out of a renovated train station toilet. Yes, it’s super Berlin, and despite now being more popular among tourists than locals, you can’t deny they make a damn good burger.
7. Discover some of that insane Berlin nightlife.
Party until 6am. Party day and night the entire weekend. PARTY UNTIL YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT PARTYING MEANS.
Seriously though, Berlin’s nightlife is next-level. Whether you crave something more underground or just a cool speakeasy to chill at, there’s something for you. Don’t ask us for cool recommendations though, we’re practically grandparents at heart.
Other Random Tips for Visiting Berlin from Munich
Okay, so you’re still in Germany, so a lot of the quirky German rules we’re used to in Munich still apply. I.e. don’t jaywalk, don’t ride without a ticket, validate those tickets, feel free to lug your beer wherever, etc. Here are a few random tips to be mindful of though:
Know that the city is HUGE
Okay, listen: you’re not in cute little Munich anymore. Berlin is a big, big city, so forget about walking everywhere, and factor this in to your trip planning.
The best parts of Berlin are away from the tourist spots
Surprise! The touristy bits aren’t the best things about Berlin. I mean sure, there’s tons of amazing sights, but Berlin has a lot of really cool neighbourhoods (they call them Kiez informally) that are totally unique and have their own vibe. Unlike some cities where it feels like it’s built purely for tourists, there’s loads of real life going on in Berlin, so if you’re more inclined to “do as the locals do”, escape the tourist stuff and head over to different neighbourhoods like Mitte, the cool Cosmopolitan hood, Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf, where elegance thrives or one of the many other distinct neighbourhoods Berlin has on offer. This site sums them up well.
Ticket checks happen often
So Berlin also has “undercover” ticket checkers like we do in Munich, but it happens WAY more often there. Unlike Munich, where maybe you’ll get checked once in 6 months (which is kinda annoying but whatevs), I’ve been checked at least once every time I’ve visited Berlin. Don’t ride without a valid ticket ever (not that you should under any circumstance… but you know)
Consider renting a bike
If the weather is nice, exploring Berlin by bike is a real treat, and beats seeing nothing while waiting in the suffocating U-Bahn. They’ve got bike lanes like us, so ride away!
Okay, have fun – bye bye! We hope you enjoy Berlin, and if you found this guide helpful, do us a favour and use some of the affiliate links above. They come at no extra cost to you, we just make a small commission which means we get some extra coins to tip the judgey bathroom attendants in Munich so they don’t hate us. We all win! Yay!