The best area to stay in Berlin! An accommodation guide + map!
You’re going to Berlin, but you’re not sure where to stay? Choosing the right area to stay in Berlin isn’t as easy as it sounds. We’ll tell you which Berlin district is the best for your city trip and we’ll share our personal hotel tips for the individual districts.
If this is your first time in Berlin, the city probably seems pretty confusing.
That makes finding a hotel a bit trickier than in other major cities.
Unlike most other European capitals, Berlin doesn’t have a city center in the traditional sense.
The light-rail ring (or “S-Bahn ring”) surrounding the inner city districts is a good point of reference.
Our tip: Make sure to look for a hotel within the S-Bahn ring. All the districts we’ll be presenting in this post are located within the ring.
We’ve selected a total of 5 districts that we consider to be the best areas to stay in Berlin: Mitte, Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf, Kreuzberg, Friedrichshain, and Neukölln. Which one is the best suited for you really depends on what you want to do in Berlin.
So we’ve also added information on the pros and cons for each district. Of course, we’ll also give you specific hotel tips for each district and for every budget. We’ll show you good and affordable hotels in Berlin, as well as some special hotels for larger budgets.
Map of the main areas of Berlin
This map shows the recommended areas in Berlin to give you a better overview.
Staying in Berlin-Mitte
“Mitte” literally means “Center”, and it’s the closest thing Berlin has to a downtown area.
Many famous Berlin sights, including the Brandenburg Gate, the Reichstag, the Gendarmenmarkt, the Museum Island, and the TV Tower are located in Mitte.
Mitte is definitely the best choice if you’re coming to Berlin for the first time and want to do a lot of sightseeing. It’s also well-connected in terms of public transport.
Most S-Bahn lines and many subway lines pass through Mitte and Berlin’s Central Station is also located here.
Please note: It’s a bit confusing, but there are actually two definitions of Mitte. We’re talking about the district of Mitte, but it’s also part of the borough of Mitte that includes the districts of Tiergarten, Moabit, and Wedding. You’ll often see hotels listed as being in Mitte – which is technically correct –, but are all the way out in Moabit or Wedding. So make sure to check the hotel’s location on a map before you book. All the hotels recommended in this post are in the central district of Mitte.
Pros of staying in Mitte:
- Most of Berlin’s sights are in the immediate area.
- It’s easy to get from here to other parts of Berlin by bus, subway, or train.
- There are lots of restaurants and stores in Mitte, and there’s generally always something to do.
Cons of staying in Mitte:
- Mitte is more touristy than other districts in Berlin.
- Food and drink prices are higher than in other districts.
- Room rates are also higher than in other districts.
Where to stay in Berlin-Mitte
There’s a huge selection of hotels in Berlin-Mitte. From venerable luxury hotels like the Adlon Berlin to inexpensive hostels, you’ll find the right hotel for any budget.
Staying in Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf
The districts of Charlottenburg and Wilmersdorf epitomize the spirit of old West-Berlin. Charlottenburg is home to the famous Kurfürstendamm, the most famous shopping street in Berlin, and the legendary department store Kaufhaus des Westens (KaDeWe).
The Berlin Zoo is right around the corner. Charlottenburg and Wilmersdorf used to be the de facto center of West-Berlin until the wall came down, but now they’re often considered to be a bit past their prime, especially compared to hipper districts like Friedrichshain, Kreuzberg, and Mitte.
But things have started to change in the past few years. The old West is reinventing itself. The venerable Bikini Building next to the zoo has been transformed into Germany’s first concept mall.
If you take a look inside, you’ll find some cool stores and start-ups presenting their products in pop-up boxes, i.e. small wooden modules.
The famous photo gallery C/O Berlin has also recently moved from Mitte to Charlottenburg. Something’s happening in the West, and it’s a really great area to stay. The train and subway connections are excellent and you can easily get to lots of sights from here.
If you’re planning to attend an event at the Olympic Stadium or the open-air Waldbühne, then Charlottenburg/Wilmersdorf is the best place to stay, hands down.
The same applies to the convention center Messe Berlin, which is located at the edge of the district.
Pros of staying in Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf
- You’ll be close to the Kurfürstendamm with lots of shopping opportunities.
- The convention center, Olympic Stadium, and Waldbühne are close by.
- It’s easy to get from here to Tegel Airport.
- There are lots of very delicious restaurants here.
Cons of staying in Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf
- If you want to experience Berlin’s nightlife, this is the wrong place.
- The alternative Berlin (Kreuzberg, Neukölln, Friedrichshain) is relatively far away.
Where to stay in Charlottenburg and Wilmersdorf
The hotel landscape in Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf has changed a lot over the last years, with many new and creative hotels emerging.
Our favorite hotel by far for both districts is the 25hours Hotel.
This design hotel isn’t just very new (2014), but also extremely stylishly furnished. The rooms are individually designed and some even have floor to ceiling windows, giving you a really cool panoramic view of the city.
In addition, as a guest of the hotel you have the huge advantage that you don’t have to wait in line to visit the Monkey Bar on the 10th floor of the 25hours Hotel.
Because the bar isn’t just popular with tourists, but also with the locals. No wonder, it offers an amazing view of the city and the Berlin Zoo.
Our top tip!
Staying in Kreuzberg
Kreuzberg is probably best described as the creative center of the city. The area isn’t really known for its variety of hotels, but there are still a few good options here. Kreuzberg is one of our absolute favorite districts in Berlin.
If you’re more into the alternative culture scene, then Kreuzberg should be right up your alley. Everything here is a bit rougher round the edges than in Mitte or Charlottenburg.
The U1, U6, and U8 subway lines connect Kreuzberg to the other districts. Kreuzberg is a utopia for bars and clubs. So if you want to dive right into Berlin’s nightlife, then this is the place to be.
Kreuzberg consists of two parts: Kreuzberg 61 around Bergmannstrasse and Kreuzberg 36 around Kottbusser Tor and Schlesisches Tor.
Kreuzberg 61 is more bourgeois with lots of families living there, so things are generally a bit quieter in the evenings. Even so, there are lots of great small restaurants and a smattering of cool bars and clubs.
Kreuzberg 36 is much more lively and creative. No matter what time it is, there’s alway something going on in the area around Oranienstrasse.
Please note: Kreuzberg extends almost as far north as Potsdamer Platz. Many hotels are listed as being in Kreuzberg, but they’re actually located in the area around Potsdamer Platz. It’s completely dead there, with hardly any bars and restaurants, so basically the opposite of what you’d expect in Kreuzberg. All the hotels we’ll be presenting here are in a prime location.
Pros of staying in Kreuzberg
- There’s always something going on, and you can while away the evenings at the many cute little bars and restaurants.
- There’s so much to see in Kreuzberg alone. Not your typical sights, but rather alternative streetscapes, graffiti, bars, and the pulse of Berlin life.
Cons of staying in Kreuzberg
- In some parts of Kreuzberg 36 in particular, it can get a bit loud in the evening and at night.
- There are very few hotels in Kreuzberg.
- It’s a bit further to get to the most famous sights than, say, from Mitte.
Where to stay in Berlin-Kreuzberg
Like we said, the range of hotels in Kreuzberg isn’t as large as in other districts. Nevertheless, there are some very good choices here.
Staying in Friedrichshain
We both used to live in Friedrichshain before we moved to Neukölln. It’s hard to describe the district because it’s so extremely diverse.
There are very different neighborhoods: In the area around Simon-Dach-Strasse and Boxhagener Platz, you can sample any cuisine in the world and the bars are packed every day of the week.
But just a few streets further down, there’s utter peace and quiet with mostly young families living there. Another few streets down, you’ll see the first East German prefab estates.
Friedrichshain is definitely a lot of fun. We often come here at the weekend to eat delicious ice cream at Caramello or to stroll across the Sunday flea market at Boxhagener Platz.
Pros of staying in Friedrichshain:
- Very charming district with lots of cafés, restaurants, flea markets, and an alternative scene.
- Friedrichshain is an attraction in itself, especially on weekends.
- If you love flea markets, Friedrichshain has two of them every Sunday.
- The area around Boxi and Warschauer Strasse is a Berlin nightlife hot spot.
Cons of staying in Friedrichshain:
- There aren’t really that many hotels.
- Some streets get be pretty loud, even (or especially) late at night.
Where to stay in Berlin-Friedrichshain
Our hotel tip for Friedrichshain is the Upstalsboom. The hotel is located in a quiet side street off Warschauer Straße. It can get loud quickly in Friedrichshain if your hotel’s in the wrong street.
Friends of ours often stay at the Upstalsboom when they come to visit us in Berlin. The hotel is perfect if you’re looking for quiet accommodation in Friedrichshain but still want to be close to the action.
Staying in Berlin-Neukölln
When Jenny moved to Berlin in 2009, she didn’t even consider looking for apartments in Neukölln – it just seemed so far away and had a dodgy reputation. But she soon changed her mind!
She’s been living in Neukölln since 2011 and doesn’t want to leave. Of course, not all parts of Neukölln are equal. There are cool areas, and then there are areas where there isn’t much going on.
That’s something you should know before you book, but in general, we love Neukölln and think it’s a great place to stay. The area around Weserstrasse and by Maybachufer is particularly lively.
A bit further along, the area around the Schiller Promenade – where we live – is a bit quieter, but still really beautiful.
Pros of staying in Neukölln
- You can get off the subway without being surrounded by crowds of tourists.
- The Tempelhofer Feld – a former airport turned into a huge park – is nearby.
- You get to soak up the Neukölln atmosphere.
- The nightlife in Kreuzkölln, the area bridging Kreuzberg and Neukölln, is legendary.
Cons of staying in Neukölln
- It’ll take you a little longer to get to the typical sights.
- There aren’t that many hotels here.
Where to stay in Berlin-Neukölln
Our favorite hotel in Neukölln is definitely the Hüttenpalast. Why? Because it has a very special and uniquely Neuköllnian vibe. It doesn’t just offer hotel rooms, but you can also stay in a camper van or in retro-style cabins.
Don’t worry though, you won’t have to freeze – the special rooms are all indoors, so you can stay there any time of the year.
The Hüttenpalast has a perfect location in a quiet side street in Kreuzkölln, at the border between Kreuzberg and Neukölln, and is only a few minutes’ walk from the Herrmannplatz subway station.
There are lots of cool restaurants, bars, and stores right outside the hotel and in the surrounding area. We live pretty close by, so we’re a bit biased – but we love this neighborhood!
What’s your favorite place to stay in Berlin?
Those were our hotel tips for your stay in Berlin. We hope our guide through the different districts helped you find the best place to stay. Let us know where you stayed and how you liked it in the comments! We’re always happy for new hotel tips for Berlin.