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Exploring Berlin with Teenagers

Families with young children tend to have holidays that revolve around beaches, swimming pools, and theme parks. As your kids grow up, the nature of your family holiday also changes. You start including more cultural, historical, and scientific activities that they would appreciate and enjoy. Try to find out what countries they want to visit, what cultures they want to learn about, and what sights they want to see. If you find yourself in Berlin with teenagers, here are some tips for you.

Where to stay in Berlin with teenagers?

After checking out the different attractions we wanted to visit and researching the different neighborhoods in Berlin, we decided to book our stay at the Holiday Inn Express AlexanderPlatz, located in the Mitte district. It was a great choice for us because we got a good-sized triple room. Our family enjoyed the hearty open buffet breakfast every morning. There are museums, restaurants, and shopping malls within walking distance. And when it was raining, the underground station right in front of the hotel was a lifesaver.

Two restaurants in Berlin
There were many restaurants near our hotel on the River Spree. Some like these offered discounts when we showed them our Berlin WelcomeCards

How to get around Berlin with teenagers?

From Berlin Brandenburg airport, we took an S-Bahn train to Alexanderplatz station, and from there we took a taxi to the hotel. To make it easier to explore Berlin with teenagers, you should get the Berlin WelcomeCard. It includes a ticket for public transportation, whether buses, trains, or ferries, and gives discounts at more than 180 restaurants, activities, and attractions. You just need to validate it once at any station. Otherwise, keep it handy with you although it is unlikely anyone will check your tickets!

We bought the 6-day ticket for 53 euros each which covers Berlin’s urban areas. There was another ticket for 56 euros that also covers Potsdam and Berlin Brandenburg airport. There are tickets for 2, 3, 4 or 5 days and the prices range from 25 to 52 euros. Kids below 14 can use public transport for free. You can download a city guide and map, or pick up a printed one from the airport or one of the Berlin Tourist Information Centers.

Staying connected in Berlin with teenagers

We all know how our teenagers love their mobile phones, tablets and laptops. Almost all of the museums, restaurants, train stations, etc. have free public WIFI. There are more than 650 public hotspots throughout the city. Berlin is also part of a citizen-driven initiative called Freifunk which offers another 1,000 hotspots to residents and tourists alike.

If you do not have a great roaming package, my recommendation is to get a local sim card. Do not rush and get the ones at the airport because they are not the best bargain. Just pop into any mobile shop in a train station or shopping mall. We got a Vodafone sim card which we used to make reservations, book an Uber, or simply walk around.

Trees in a park in Berlin
If your teens are willing to part with their phones for an hour you can have a walk in one of Berlin’s popular parks called Tiergarten

What to do in Berlin with teenagers?

Hop-on Hop-off Bus

One way to explore Berlin with teenagers is to spend a day or two on the hop-on hop-off bus. We used a company called Stromma, and saw attractions like the Victory Column, Brandenburg Gate, Holocaust Memorial, Berlin Wall Memorial, and Checkpoint Charlie. This is one of my tips for visiting a new city, especially when you have kids, or are worried about getting lost or tired. You get to see most of the attractions in one day, which is perfect if your trip is short. It is also a great way to familiarize yourself with the city. And you can go back and visit the places you want to spend more time in or make any changes to your itinerary.

  • Hours: 10 am to 4 pm every day
  • Tickets: 31.50 euros per adult and 17 euros per child. Children under 5 ride free, and you can get a discount if you are a student.
Comic strip posters hanging on a metal wall
Checkpoint Charlie gets its name from the NATO phonetic alphabet (alpha, bravo, charlie, etc.) and is not named after a person

Berlin Zoo and Aquarium

Our daughter loves animals, especially fish and birds, so we spent a whole day at the Berlin Zoo and Aquarium, home to more 1,200 different species from around the world. We started with the Berlin Aquarium which dates to 1913. The ground floor has hundreds of fish, jellyfish, and other creatures of the deep sea. Next, we went to see the reptiles on the first floor, and then the insects and amphibians on the second floor.

One of the reasons we chose the Berlin Zoo over the Tierpark Zoo was that we especially wanted to see pandas, seals, and penguins. So, if your kids are fascinated by certain animals and you only have time for one zoo, check the website and decide which one you prefer. Also, if you decide to swing by the Hans in Luck petting zoo, a heads up that while the donkeys and cows are in enclosures, the goats are wandering freely and can be rather feisty!

  • Hours: 9 am to 6:30 pm in summer and to 4:30 pm in winter except for December 24, when it closes at 2 pm 
  • Tickets:
    • Zoo: 17.50 euros per adult and 9 euros per child / student
    • Zoo and Aquarium: 23.50 euros per adult and 12 euros per child / student
Penguins standing on rocks in a zoo enclosure
Founded in 1844, the Berlin Zoo is the oldest one in Germany. TierPark Zoo in East Berlin opened in 1955 after World War II and Germany’s partition

Stiftung Planetarium Berlin

My daughter has lately become interested in planets and constellations, so we thought we would check out the Stiftung Planetarium Berlin. It includes two observatories and two planetariums. Built in 1896, the Archenhold-Sternwarte is the largest and oldest public observatory in Germany. Another observatory is the Wilhelm-Foerster-Sternwarte sitting on top of the Insulaner hill. At the foot of the same hill is the Planetarium am Insulaner. However, it is closed until 2026 for extensive renovations. We ended up going to the Zeiss-Großplanetarium, one of the largest planetariums in Europe. We booked a show called Starry Night with English commentary, and it was such an immersive experience.

  • Hours: depend on the location
  • Tickets: range from 7-10 euros 
Girl sitting and watching fish in an aquarium tank
There is something deeply relaxing about watching fish swimming by or stars burning bright in the sky

Charlottenburg Palace

We spent half a day exploring the gorgeous Charlottenburg Palace. The complex includes the Old Palace which was built in the 17th century. It has breath-taking Baroque furniture, curtains, and carpets. The New Wing is more of a Rococo style with an enviable collection of paintings and sculptures. No visit is complete without a leisurely stroll around the 300-years-old palace gardens – weather permitting of course!

  • Hours: 10 am to 4:30 pm during winter and 5:30 pm during summer, Tuesdays to Sundays. The palace is closed on Mondays.
  • Tickets:
    • Single entrance to the Old Palace: 14 euros per adult and 10 euros per child / student
    • Single entrance to the New Wing: 12 euros per adult and 8 euros per child / student
    • Charlottenburg+: 19 euros per adult and 14 euros per child / student
    • Charlottenburg+ Family: 25 euros for 2 adults and up to 4 children
A room inside the palace with wall coverings, furniture and decor in the Baroque style
Commissioned by Sophie Charlotte, the wife of Frederick I, the palace was the summer residence for seven generations of German and Prussian royalty

Natural History Museum

In 1810, three museums – the anatomical, the zoological and mineralogical – merged to form the Natural History Museum in Berlin. Today, it is considered one of the world’s leaders in biological and geological evolution, and biodiversity. As you would expect, the busiest section of the museum is the World of Dinosaurs located in the main atrium. The exhibition houses dinosaur skeletons and fossils of plants and animals from the Jurassic era. Most of them were excavated from modern-day Tanzania between 1909 and 1913 and are well over 150 million years old. My teen really enjoyed the interactive nature of this exhibition where each major skeleton was brought to life through had step-by-step animations. We also passed by other exhibitions about the solar system, volcanoes, and evolution.

  • Hours: 10 am to 6 pm Tuesdays to Sundays. It is closed on Mondays and December 24 and 25
  • Tickets: 10 euros per adult and 5 euros per child / student 
Dinosaur skeletons in the museum atrium
While most visitors are here for the dinosaurs, the museum also has vast collections of minerals, meteorites, insects, birds, and fossils

Museum Island

We dedicated one full day to visit the National Museums in Berlin – aka Museum Island. You need to reserve time-slots for the Pergamon Museum, Neues Museum, and Alte Nationalgalerie online or at the ticket office. Another new experience for us was the requirement to check in any coats and bags at each museum. Some of them have a cloak room and some have lockers.

Our first stop during our museum marathon was the Altes Museum (Old Museum) which houses ancient Greek and Roman collections. Next, we hopped over to Neues Museum (New Museum) which is famous for ancient Egyptian antiquities like the bust of Queen Nefertiti. The Pergamon Museum has artefacts from the Middle East, including the mind-blowing Ishtar Gate. The Alte Nationalgalerie (Old National Gallery) has paintings and sculptures from the 19th century. The Bode Museum has a first-class sculpture collection and the Museum of Byzantine Art.

  • Hours: 10 am to 6 pm Tuesdays to Sundays. It is closed on Mondays and December 24
  • Tickets: a combined museum pass is 32 euros per adult and 16 euros per child / student
Walking next to the reconstructed Market Gate of Miletus at the Pergamon Museum transports you back to the Roman Empire circa 100 AD

Berlin Cathedral

Right next to Museum Island is the Berlin Cathedral fondly known as Berliner Dom. It is the largest Evangelical church in Germany and has daily services and regular events. It is hard to believe that it suffered bomb damage during World War II. Thanks to the ongoing reconstruction efforts until 1999, the cathedral was restored to its former glory. When we entered the Sermon Church, we were blinded by the white marble, gold decorations, and huge orchestral organ. Unfortunately for us, the Baptismal and Matrimonial Church was closed on that day. You need to purchase tickets online because there is no ticket office on the premises.

  • Hours:
    • Monday – Friday: 10 am – 6 pm
    • Saturday: 10 am – 5 pm
    • Sunday: 12 – 5 pm
  • Tickets: 10 euros per adult and 7.50 euros per child / student. There is also a family ticket that costs 10 euros and admits one adult and up to 3 children
The orchestral organ inside the Berlin cathedral
The organ is the largest in the world from the late Romantic period with 7269 pipes and 113 registers

There is so much to explore in Berlin with teenagers whether they are history buffs, science nerds or passionate artists. Find out what they are interested in and have a mix of activities that are enjoyable, immersive, and interactive so they do not get bored. Get them involved in the planning of family holidays. That way, they gain valuable life skills such as budgeting, time management, and researching.

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mirofromcairo

My name is Miriam and I live in Cairo, Egypt with my husband, daughter and Labrador! I am passionate about reading and enjoy travelling and writing so much that I started my own family travel blog. My nickname at university was Miro hence the name for my blog - Miro from Cairo

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