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First time in Berlin - 2/3 days enough?

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First time in Berlin - 2/3 days enough?

My husband and I are planning a Europe trip this fall (September) and plan on spending 2-3 days in Berlin Do you think it is enough? We have never been there before and want to go see the main sights/attractions. Do you think 3 days is enough time to see everything? What is a good area to live in? Any other suggestions? Thanks in advance

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1. Re: First time in Berlin - 2/3 days enough?

No, it's not enough.

Berlin isn't a "weekend break" city, and you can't "see everything in two or three days. Most visitors seem to think it is, but since you ask - it isn't. It is a very large, very complex city, very interesting city, with dozens of important "sights" which in themselves would take more than two or three days to cover; some of the best museums in the world, some very interesting and challenging history, and some beautiful areas to explore - lakes, rivers, forests - just outside the city and very accessible.

I think a full week is the very minimum - and even a week will be just an appetite-whetter.

However, you obviously want to see other places on your European trip, so your time is limited. Other European cities can be seen more easily in a few days than Berlin, so just spend as long as you can in Berlin.

However long you stay, you should probably try and stay in Mitte, where most of the main tourist sites and sights are.

Edited: 1:08 pm, June 24, 2012
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2. Re: First time in Berlin - 2/3 days enough?

Out of curiosity I've looked to see where else you are asking the question about. For Prague I'd say yes, at a pinch even two if it is too full days ie 3 nights, Amsterdam maybe 3 days is OK, just about; we spent a week there one Easter and didn't see everything we'd have liked to but we did a lot of museums, if you aren't so bothered 3 days is OK.

But for Berlin and Paris I think you do need more (as you would for Rome, or London, neither of which you ask about). I'd say 4 to 5 absolute minimum, a week is even better as Alabastron says.

and yes, stay in Mitte.

Edit, I see you are also saying 2-3 days for Rome. No way is that enough for Rome either!!

Edited: 1:53 pm, June 24, 2012
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3. Re: First time in Berlin - 2/3 days enough?

Planning to go for 16 days in total approximately and going to a lot of other cities. Still in planning stages so may cancel out some to be able to extend stay in a few instead. Currently the list is as follows: Amsterdam, Paris, Berlin, Venice, Sorrento and Rome. Approx 2-3 days per city but from what i gather it won't be enough time per city to enjoy it.

No specific interests other than just looking at the main highlights and enjoying the city. I guess rushing through each city every 2 days won't permit that! Sigh. Which ones to let go off?

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4. Re: First time in Berlin - 2/3 days enough?

I personally would eliminate Venice and Sorrento. Both are extremely touristy and IMO far less interesting than Berlin and Rome. I am not a big fan of Paris or Amsterdam but that is personal preference.

I agree with everyone that 2-3 days is hardly enough to scratch the surface of Berlin. We are going back for our 5th visit and find it an endlessly fascinating city. As for Rome, I have been there at least 15 times and always find something new to enjoy.

Trying to cram in too many cities in a short time is IMO a waste of time of money as you will spend a good amount of time and money on traveling between and checking in and out of hotels. Spend it enjoying the cities you most want to visit instead.

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5. Re: First time in Berlin - 2/3 days enough?

I hadn't looked at your other posts, and until Lynda did, and I saw your draft plan above, I didn't know what else you were planning to do.

Rushing through a city - any city! - in two days is a waste of time. With only 16 days to spend in Europe, three cities is maximum. And you won't even have 2-3 full days in each. Every time you shift cities, you lose the better part of a day, not only in the travelling time between the cities, but in all the nitty gritty bits one conveniently doesn't factor in but that add up. Packing up, checking out of Hotel A, checking into Hotel B, unpacking, getting settled. Asking the front desk for an extra pillow and how to connect to the WiFi. Shopping for the toothpaste left behind in Hotel A. Etc. Five of these shifts makes your 16 days look more like 11. Six cities? Hmm. You do need to re-think.

Options: take longer! You need at 3-4 weeks for this itinerary, unless you want to go home having had a box-ticking "if it'sTuesday this must be Amsterdam" experience. Or else decide which three of your six cities you'd most like to visit. Mine would be Berlin, Rome OR Paris, and Amsterdam. Berlin, Paris, and Rome, the three biggies, would be too much for me one after the other. And I'd spend seven days in Berlin, three in Amsterdam, and five in Rome or Paris, because I think Berlin is the most interesting and rewarding of the three. Or, if you want to be more even-handed, then six in Berlin, and six in Rome or Paris. You would then really enjoy the experience.

Neither Berlin nor Rome nor Paris can be rushed through in 2-3 days. It would be better not to go at all. That wouldn't be everyone's view, I know, but it's mine.

Edited: 3:31 pm, June 24, 2012
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6. Re: First time in Berlin - 2/3 days enough?

Iif this is going to be your only ever visit to Europe then amybe go ahead (in fact if you are really rushing through you are better with an organised tour as you have the logistics ironed out for you); if you are likely to be back, cut back a bit.

Now it seems Prague is off the list which is a shame as it's a nice contrast with Paris/Berlin/Rome. Amsterdam is also more different and I am a fan. I'd also say leave out Sorrento, not worth the added miles/km. Some people love Venice (I like what I've seen on very short visits) but some take against it (my husband for one!), too many tourists was only the start!

i'm not sure that I agree with Alabastron that Berlin deserves/needs more time than Rome (although yes possibly more than Paris). I think Rome and Berlin are very different but both infinitely fascinating

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7. Re: First time in Berlin - 2/3 days enough?

Thank you guys - this is helpful. I'm posting across multiple threads to see what people are suggesting and the consensus is drop some cities!! I'm hoping this isn't my ONLY trip to Europe (i've been before and plan on visiting again) so i think i should save some for later and enjoy what 3 or 4 i pick for the time being.

My options right now are either: Amsterdam, Paris and (one of the 3: Rome/Berlin/Prague) OR

then just doing Italy: Venice, Rome, Sorrento (which includes Capri/Amalfi etc).

Torn!!!

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8. Re: First time in Berlin - 2/3 days enough?

Can I give my opinion?

My husband and I are fortunate that we have been able to travel to Europe several times, first with business and now in retirement. So I know we are very fortunate.

But what we have found is that we have so much more enjoyed the trips where we have taken our time and not rushed. It may mean missing out on some places....but you will so enjoy 'living the life' in the places you do go. We are currently planning our trip to Germany in August, but will go for 4 weeks, much thanks to everyone's help. I still feel that we will only scratch the surface.

My advice is choose 2 places you would be sad if you never ever got the chance to see and do them well.

Paris is very easy to get around in and you could also do a train trip Orleans and Blois for the 'chateaux' experience. I think it is about 90 mins. Or perhaps Arles or Aix en Provence. This would give you a feel for France.

Of course I am only now learning how wonderful Berlin is and am also looking at discovering Cologne and Nuremburg and places in between.

Rome is huge and needs several day but then you could take a train to Cinque Terre (about 4 hours) IMO this region is much more beautiful than Sorrento (which is lovely) and offers a lot more diversity.

Amsterdam is lovely but doesn't need more than a few days and Venice is a favorite of mine but still only needs a couple of days.

I think your options above are sound.....you need to close your eyes and think 'what do I most want to see'.

You will definitely enjoy your trip more if you aren't constantly moving hotels and rushing to see it all!

Good luck!

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9. Re: First time in Berlin - 2/3 days enough?

If you want to see some of Berlin and this is your main chance, then perhaps it is worth coming to see 2-3 days rather than never seeing it! Often we think of "seeing it all" or "having the best experience" without constraints....we spent 7 days there just now (business trip) but have previously had 3 very good days some years back.

With 2-3 days you could see sights in the center city--perhaps a day to see some of the museums (you can spend many days in one, but it is feasible to see SOME of one or two--Pergamon is my favorite) and another to walk around the sites that you find most meaningful or interesting. Check a guidebook to select those. There are many themes...major buildings, a one- or two-hour cruise along the Spree, the Wilhelmstrasse area, etc.

Remember that "enjoy" is in the eyes of the beholder. We have spent 2-3 days in places that insiders insist MUST take a week or more and have ENJOYED it very much. Did we see it all? Of course not. But what we did see was meaningful and enjoyable to us! There is a distinction between "enjoying all a city has to offer" and "enjoying a limited time there" and the latter is often very nice if that's what one can manage.

Sampling can also provide information what what you'd like to do on a later trip!

Edited: 9:10 am, June 25, 2012
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10. Re: First time in Berlin - 2/3 days enough?

I agree with Honu_Ohana, even a glimpse of a place gives you an inkling but it's partly a question for this trip of how much onward movement (packing and unpacking) you want to have.

. My two visits to Venice have been really short, only a few hours. First time in 1980 was a day-trip from Bled in Slovenia where the travel time was around 10 hours there and back with about 5 hours in Venice! Not very satisfactory but it did make me want to go back. Second trip was 2002, also for a few hours but we were staying in Vicenza so it was a lot less arduous. It was fewer hours than I would have liked because my husband (who had been SO looking forward to finally seeing Venice) hated it. So I couldn't persuade him even to have one more vaporetto ride to see the islands (from the boat) and we set off back to Vicenza at around 3pm!. Last year I tried to book a weekend in Venice for us around All Saints but he said no again so we went to Porto instead (which we both loved). I've now decided I'll have to do Venice as a "girls trip" sometime!!

We have also visited Siena in a day (twice) and Florence in a couple of days but the capitals you mention have so many more major sights you have to organise your time well to see what you most want to in limited time.

And ultimately you (nor I ) will ever see "everything" however many times one visits. so make the most of what you do manage.

Edited: 10:51 am, June 25, 2012
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