Where to Stay in Berlin for the First Time

For many backpackers, luxury seekers, and all that have been bitten by the travel bug, Berlin is on their must-visit list due to its excellent location in central Europe, with short distances to popular cities such as Krakow and Amsterdam, and its magnitude of sights and discoveries. 

It’s a thriving city with a long history from World War II as well as massive cultural momentum, which is easily displayed by the vast amount of venues and galleries spread across the city. Its bustling streets boast a vibrant nightlife scene and mouthwatering local cuisine, and they are home to some of the world’s most iconic landmarks. 

For these reasons, and more, Berlin is one of the top city breaks in Europe, with millions of visitors travelling from abroad to discover what all of the fuss is about in this ever-expanding and culturally prosperous cityscape. So, if this capital has caught your eye, and you’re planning on booking a trip to discover all that the city has to offer, a question that will have undoubtedly crossed your mind is: where are the best places to stay in Berlin if you’re visiting for the first time?

With the city divided into districts, it feels like you are visiting little towns all in one area, and it’s safe to say that each has its own attractions and unique atmosphere that will appeal to some travellers more than others. This is why, in this article, you can find recommendations of the best places to stay in Berlin, both neighbourhoods and individual accommodations, suited for every type of traveller with every type of budget.


To immerse yourself in a more luxurious atmosphere when visiting the capital, and ideal for those who can’t resist endless hours of shopping, the Berlin neighbourhood of Mitte is the place to be. 

Mitte extends from where the Brandenburg Gate is situated, the symbol of the city, and stretches outwards to Unter den Linden – a street filled with historical architecture and designer shops leading the way to Alexanderplatz.

If you’re questioning where is best to stay in Berlin during your first visit to the city, Mitte is arguably one of the best areas to base yourself in. Given its proximity to many of the top sights in Berlin, such as the Reichstag and Brandenburg Gate, and its central location, travellers can immerse themselves in the very heart of the city at all times here.

Mitte, Berlin

Accommodation in Mitte


If you’re looking for cheap accommodation in Berlin’s Mitte district, then the Space Night Capsule Hotel is the place for you. Sleeping in its pod-style bedrooms is an experience in itself, having been designed to make you feel as though you’re in outer space. 

All guest rooms have a shared bathroom and there’s a 24-hour front desk and free wifi. You’ll never be too far from some of the city’s main attractions, with Gendermanmarkt being only 600m away and Checkpoint Charlie only 700m away. 

Mid-Range to High-End

If you’re the type of person who is happy to pay a little more for added comforts during your trip, then the 4-star Novotel Berlin Mitte Hotel will be right up your alley when looking for the best place to stay in Berlin’s Mitte area. 

Offering free wifi, a 24-hour front desk, and daily housekeeping, the hotel’s private rooms are spacious with modern decor. It even features its own Lounge Bar & Eatery, which serves drinks, nibbles, and Mediterranean cuisine throughout the week. 

And with Potsdamer Platz and Alexanderplatz being only a 10-minute journey from the hotel, it’s ideally situated for all the exploring of the city centre and Mitte that you have planned for your trip.


Friedrichshain in the very east of the city has, in recent years, become one of the coolest areas of Berlin. On the weekends, locals flock to its streets to spend time drinking, dining, and socialising in its many bars, restaurants, and cafes. 

Little eclectic shops can also be found concealed down its side streets, and they make for the perfect place to dip in to find that unique item to bring home as a memory from your travels here. Not to mention, the district is also home to some of the best nightclubs in the city. So, if you’re searching for where to stay in Berlin for nightlife, Friedrichshain is probably your best bet. Open from the evening until the early hours of the morning, if you’re a party, dance, or music lover, you’ll be enraptured by Berlin’s electric nightlife atmosphere. 

One of the most iconic sights in Friedrichshain is the East Side Gallery. Situated on the banks of the Spree in this area of Berlin, the 1316-metre-long open-air gallery has its artwork displayed on the longest surviving part of the Berlin Wall. It’s here that one of the most iconic art pieces in Berlin is found – The Kiss painting.

Friedrichshain, Berlin

Accommodation in Friedrichshain


If you’re in search of something truly unique during your stay in the equally unique Berlin area of Friedrichshain, the Eastern & Western Berlin Boat GmbH will likely capture your attention. Offering free wifi, a 24-hour front desk, and even its own terrace and bar, this hostel is made of two boats which are moored along the city’s famed River Spree. 

And only 10 minutes away from the remains of the Berlin Wall, the cosy cabins and comforts of this accommodation make it the ideal place to stay in Friedrichshain on a budget whereby you don’t have to sacrifice location.

Mid-Range to High-End

With an interior that can only be described as modern-industrial, the STAYERY Apartments in Friedrichshain is a sustainable aparthotel featuring free wifi, a sun terrace, and stretching city views. 

With modern touches and the added convenience of your own kitchenette, complete with appliances, this accommodation offers everything one could whilst staying in Berlin. Within 2.7km of the East Side Gallery, it’s further away than the aforementioned accommodation, but remains central and within easy reach of other famed sights also, including Alexanderplatz, which is 4.7km away, by public transport.


Just a touch more south compared to other districts in the city, Kreuzberg is the home of the hipster crowds and artists, teeming with nightlife spots and artistic boutiques, in particular on the Oranienstrasse. Its growth and popularity within Berlin’s art crowd have meant its streets have been used as a canvas, with much of them being filled with graffiti and splashes of colour in its shops, eateries, and galleries, which embody the vibrant personality of this district. 

For the music fans out there, Kreuzberg is filled with venues ranging from small intimate shows to large and intense ones. On any given night you are sure to experience a musical delight somewhere in this part of town.

Considered to be another one of the coolest places in Berlin, Kreuzberg is a destination for travellers who want to experience the new, the bold, and the unusual, and if you’re a lover of the arts, this district is one of the best areas to stay in in the city.

Kreuzberg, Berlin

Accommodation in Kreuzberg


The Three Little Pigs Hostel is a truly unusual accommodation in the bustling centre of Kreuzberg that offers both exceptional value for money and an unrivalled central location. 

Situated only a 10-minute walk from Checkpoint Charlie as well as Potsdamer Square, you can reach some of the top sights in Berlin in no time at all. Set within a 19th-century convent, this hostel will likely be different to any you’ve stayed in before, and it offers shared or private bathrooms, comfortable lodgings, and even an all-you-can-eat buffet breakfast, which is available for a surcharge. 

Mid-Range to High-End

Hotel the YARD is another ideally situated accommodation in the Kreuzberg district of Berlin. Only a 15-minute stroll from Checkpoint Charlie, iconic sights are at the tips of your fingertips to make your visit to Berlin all the more convenient. 

With contemporary interiors, its own courtyard, and even an indoor swimming pool, if you’re looking for added comforts and amenities to relax in when you’re not exploring Kreuzberg and wider Berlin, this accommodation will undoubtedly please.


Despite being a largely residential neighbourhood, Neukölln is still considered to be one of the best neighbourhoods in Berlin to stay in if you’re visiting the city for the first time. Despite it being further away from the city centre, which is what makes it stand out compared to the aforementioned areas of Berlin, the reason why Neukölln is so favoured is that it allows visitors an authentic glimpse into what life is like living in Germany’s capital.

Known for blending the old with the new, this is what gives Neukölln its irresistible charm and charisma. Home to high-rise buildings dotted amongst small houses, cafes and bars that hum with the sound of laughter, and vibrant greenspaces that harbour much of the city’s wildlife, it’s a much more peaceful area of Berlin to stay in. For this reason, if you’re considering where to stay in Berlin with family, this is probably your place. 

One of our favourite parts of this Berlin neighbourhood, the Turkish Market of Neukölln is a firm favourite amongst locals and tourists alike who consider themselves to be a gourmand, or who have an appreciation for diverse cultural cuisines. Here, you can sample some of the very best Turkish cuisine in the city, so it makes sense why the neighbourhood has gained itself its nickname of ‘Little Istanbul’.

Kreuzberg, Berlin

Accommodation in Neukölln


Echoing the funky vibe of Neukölln, Hüttenpalast is a vivid accommodation in Berlin filled with retro-style caravans and cabins in an indoor camping site. Built within two old factory halls, you can select which stylish lodgings you’ll stay in for the duration of your trip whilst enjoying the added comforts of a private bathroom, free wifi, and an outdoor terrace and garden. 

Many of Neukölln’s lovely bars and cafes are only a short walking distance, and you’re always within easy reach of more central Berlin, with the Hermannplatz Underground Station being only a 5-minute stroll away. 

Mid-Range to High-End

For those who want to experience the finer things in life during their stay in Berlin, Luxus-Doppelhaushälfte is a private accommodation in which guests have the entire apartment to themselves where they can reap the added benefits of parking on site, clothes washing facilities, and a garden. 

To seek a little piece of respite and privacy away from the fast-paced environment of Berlin, you can stay at this property, which is only 13km away from Alexanderplatz.


A European gem, the metropolis of Berlin has much to entice and engage travellers from all over the world and all walks of life. If you’re planning on travelling to the city for the first time, you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to where you can call home for the duration of your stay. From the peacefulness of Neukölln to the party scenes of Friedrichshain, there are ample areas of Berlin and accommodations that you can choose from to suit your every want and desire.


Is Going To Berlin For A Weekend Long Enough?

Berlin is a huge city, spread across 892km² and home to nearly 4 million residents. As such, many of its most famous and must-see sights and attractions are spread far and wide throughout its streets. Whilst it is possible to get around by public transport, in order to be able to enjoy the culture of Berlin whilst seeing these must-visit attractions at a relaxing pace, we’d recommend spending more than a weekend in Berlin. 

Is Berlin A Walkable City? 

Berlin is a walkable city, with many people choosing to meander through its streets sightseeing and soaking in its culture during their visits. 

But, as mentioned above, given the city’s sheer size, sometimes the distance between some of its sights can be quite lengthy. As such, you’d benefit from pre-planning your itinerary so that you can tackle each area of the city one by one. This will help you tick off the places you want to visit and things you want to see methodically to alleviate any stress or strain you may experience during your travels.

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About the Author

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Backpacker Boy

This blog is where I share my travel tales and advice picked up from more than 10 years of backpacking in various places around the world. I share my favourite places to visit, along with tips on how to travel cheaply whilst still going far.