One of the methods that many travellers use to prepare for their journey is to read about the area. The following books are recommended for travellers planning a trip to Berlin:

Guidebooks: introductory
DK Top Ten Berlin. A good “taster”; excellent for a short visit. Themed chapters. DK Eyewitness Berlin. Most visual, hundreds of photos, 3-D maps, cut-away diagrams etc. Divides city up area by area.
Footprint Guide  Berlin. Very succinct entries and clear layout; good for short visit.  

Guidebooks: downloadable / digital 

Schmap Berlin Guide The Schmap Berlin Guide comes with dynamic Berlin maps, useful links, playable tours, top picks, plus photos and reviews for hundreds of Berlin hotels, restaurants, bars, sights and attractions, Berlin shops, cinemas, theaters, museums (free).  
Martin's Berlin Several tours showing East Berlin at the time of the fall of the Wall. Relates to the novel Stealing the Future, but tours are interesting and well described even if you haven't read the book!

Guidebooks: background and detail
Lonely Planet Berlin. Very clear layout with all info on opening times, prices etc . Also excellent background articles on history, arts etc.
Michelin Green Guide Berlin. Excellent on historical/architectural background.   Arranged alphabetically; very clear maps.
Time Out Berlin. Very wide range of topics; best for residents.
Rough Guide Berlin. Excellent descriptions and full background information. Arranged by city districts.
Only in Berlin: A Guide to Hidden Corners, Little-Known Places and Unusual Objects by Duncan J. D. Smith. This richly illustrated off-the-beaten-track guide to more than 80 fascinating and unusual sights will appeal to explorers and independent travellers.
Baedeker Berlin. Very dry style but LOTS of detail on museum collections (with floor plans), graves in churchyards etc; sights arranged alphabetically.

city-lit Berlin. Over 60 writers, novelists and non-fiction writers, with excerpts from some of the best books on Berlin. Includes recently translated German writers. 

Berlin New Architecture:  a guide to the new buildings from 1989 to today [2004], by Michael Imhof and Leon Krempel.
Architecture in Berlin: the 100 most important buildings and urban settings , by Arnt Cobbers (Berlin kompakt series). From the Gothic churches to the 1990’s.
Potsdamer Platz: urban architecture for a new Berlin Rauch and Visscher Ger/Eng.
(In German   only ) DDR-Baudenkmale in Berlin by Anne Holper and Matthias Käther  

History and heritage
Berlin, a modern history , by David Clay Large   [from Bismarck to the present].
Berlin : coming in from the cold , by Ken Smith. [The story of the fall of the Wall to reunification]
Ghosts of Berlin: confronting German history in the urban landscape , by Brian Ladd.
Looks at the thorny question of how historical memory affects the way we look at buildings, the political uses of architecture etc .
Companion Guide to Berlin , by Brian Ladd.
History of the city presented as history of the districts and their buildings.
Berlin Wall today: cultural significance and conservation issues , by Polly Feversham and Leo Schmidt . Ger/Eng. Published 1999; contains many illustrations and good bibliography.  

Teufelsberg: A Berlin Ruinology, by Chris Wunsch. Vergangenheistverlag. Published 2016; contains many illustrations.   


Jewish Berlin 

Goldapple Guide to Jewish Berlin , by Andrew Roth and Michael Frajman.
Jewish Berlin. Culture, Religion, Daily Life Yesterday and Today by Bill Rebiger
Jewish sights in Berlin by Bill Rebiger
Jewish cemeteries in Berlin , by Johanna von Koppenfels  

The Stasi
The Stasi: myth and reality , by Mike Dennis
Stasiland: stories from behind the Berlin Wall , by Anna Funder.
Real-life stories showing how the Stasi wrecked people’s lives.
The File: a personal history , by Timothy Garton Ash.
A complement to Stasiland ; Garton Ash considers the tedium of much of the work of the Stasi, by concentrating on his own Stasi file.
The GDR State Security - Shield and Sword of the Party , by Jens Gieseke with Doris Hubert
(published by Stasi   documentation centre)
The Stasi files: East Germany’s secret operations against Britain , by Antony Glees .

N.B. Some of the above books were published in Berlin and can be purchased there; another good source is , which has new and second hand books in both German and English. If you are purchasing the books from within the United States you can also browse the Berlin section of the Schmap Travel Store.  

Nazi period in Berlin:
My German Question: growing up in Nazi Berlin , by Peter Gay.
Mischling second degree.: my childhood in Nazi Germany , by Ilse Koehn
The past is myself , by Christabel Bielenberg   [An Englishwoman’s account of life in Nazi Berlin. She and her (German) husband were friends of people involved with 1944 plot against Hitler]
Berlin Diary: journal of a foreign correspondent 1934-41 , by William L. Shirer
[Shirer is also the author of “Rise and fall of the Third Reich”].
Woman in Berlin: eight weeks in the conquered city , by Anon. Originally published in the 1950’s and recently re-released. [Harrowing description of life in Berlin in 1945 when Russian troops liberated the city].
1980’s Berlin:
Once upon a time in the East , by Dave Rimmer [Berlin and Prague 1988-89]
Zoo Station: adventures in East and West Berlin , by Ian Walker. [Berlin in the mid 1980’s].  

Novels set in Berlin:
Novels by Theodor Fontane, a late 19 th century German author. Mainly set in Berlin; many translated into English.
Berlin Alexanderplatz by Alfred Döblin.
Goodbye to Berlin , by Christopher Isherwood  
Winter: a Berlin family 1899-1945 , by Len Deighton
Berlin Game , by Len Deighton
Funeral in Berlin, by Len Deighton
The Wall jumper: a Berlin story, by Peter Schneider
The Spy Who Came In From The Cold, by John Le Carre [evokes atmosphere of 1961, when the Wall went up]
Absolute friends
, by John le Carre [German history from 1960’s to now]
Brandenburg , by Henry Porter [ thriller about Stasi activities in 1989 as things start to fall apart….]
Stealing the Future, by Max Hertzberg [Stasi and other spies in East Berlin, includes tour guide to scenes in East Berlin]

Short stories set in Berlin:  

The Living Daylights, by Ian Fleming [a short story: Bond in Berlin, on a sniping mission]  

Mobile Apps

Holidayen Berlin Android app  

VoiceMap: a free app that gives you an insider's view of Berlin by using your GPS location to play audio automatically. For Android or iPhone

Online Travel Guides: