Where to stay in Berlin for first time: 7 Safe areas

Finding where to stay in Berlin as a first-time visitor can be a daunting task. That’s why, in today’s article, I will share with you what I believe are the best and safe areas to stay in Berlin for first-timers and tourists, along with a helpful map and areas to avoid.

I’ll also share my personal experience of where I stayed during my visit to Berlin, and suggest some of the best hotels to suit all budgets.

Berlin is the capital and largest city of Germany, located in the northeastern part of the country. It is known for its rich history, cultural significance, and vibrant atmosphere.

Berlin has a tumultuous history, marked by events such as World War II, the division of the city into East and West Berlin during the Cold War, and the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, which led to German reunification in 1990.

The city is home to numerous historic landmarks, including the Brandenburg Gate, the Berlin Wall Memorial, the Reichstag building, Checkpoint Charlie, and the Berlin Cathedral.

It is also known for its many museums, including the Pergamon Museum, the Alte Nationalgalerie, and the Jewish Museum.

Berlin hosts numerous festivals throughout the year, such as the Berlin International Film Festival, Berlin Fashion Week, and the Berlin Marathon. Berlin Christmas markets are a beloved tradition in the city and draw visitors from around the world during the holiday season.

Berlin has an extensive public transportation system, including buses, trams, U-Bahn (subway), and S-Bahn (urban rail). The city’s two major airports, Tegel and Schönefeld, have been consolidated into Berlin Brandenburg Airport.

Is Berlin safe to visit?

Yes, Berlin is generally a safe city, with low violent crime rates. But, like any major European city, you should be aware of petty theft, pickpocketing in crowded areas and public transportation. It’s advisable to stay vigilant, take care of your belongings, and avoid poorly lit areas at night. 

There are also threats of terrorism attacks, so it is recommended to stay alert in public spots, report suspicious activity to the police, and follow instructions from local authorities.

Where to stay in Berlin for the first time?

The best and safe areas to stay in Berlin for first-timers and tourists are Mitte, Prenzlauer Berg, Kreuzberg, Friedrichshain, Charlottenburg, and Tiergarten. Regardless of which area you are in, it’s always a good idea to take common-sense precautions to ensure a safe trip.

Mitte is Berlin’s central district and is the most popular area for first-timers and tourists to book their accommodations. It’s home to many of the city’s top attractions, including Brandenburg Gate, Museum Island, and Alexanderplatz. It’s well-policed and generally considered safe.

Prenzlauer Berg is known for its trendy and family-friendly atmosphere. It’s generally safe, and you’ll find many cafes, parks, and shops here.

Charlottenburg is on the western side of Berlin and is generally safe. It’s a quieter and more upscale neighborhood, with many shops and restaurants.

Friedrichshain is known for its nightlife and is generally safe for tourists. The area around the Warschauer Strasse station can get crowded and rowdy at night, so be aware of your surroundings.

Kreuzberg has a diverse and vibrant cultural scene. While it’s generally safe, some parts, particularly around Görlitzer Park, have experienced issues with drug-related crime. Exercise caution, especially at night.

Tiergarten is a central district with the famous park of the same name. It’s generally safe, and the park is a beautiful place to visit.  

Neukölln has a mix of cultures and is known for its creative scene. Some areas, like the Neukölln-Kreuzberg border, can be a bit rougher, but most parts are safe for tourists.

When visiting Berlin, it’s generally advisable to avoid the eastern neighborhoods like Marzahn and Hellersdorf due to their distance from the city center and limited tourist attractions. 

Some parts of Neukölln and Wedding may have higher crime rates and less tourist infrastructure. While Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain offer vibrant nightlife, some areas can be noisy and rowdy late at night. I also recommend exercising caution in parts of Moabit, known for its prison and industrial areas. 

On my first trip to Berlin, I stayed at the 3-star Hotel Nikolai Residence in Mitte (yes, many first-timers stay in this area). It is a very good value for money hotel with a prime location in the heart of Nikolaiviertel. You can easily access major sights both on foot and by public transportation.

Below is a map of the safest areas in Berlin for first-time travelers. You can scroll down to view the live map.

Map of the safe areas to stay in Berlin first time
Map of the safe areas to stay in Berlin first time

Let’s get into the details of the recommended areas to stay in Berlin, especially for first-time visitors. I’ll provide you with some suggestions for the best places to stay in each area, catering to every budget. 

All hotels in Berlin have been carefully selected by me, with guest review scores of at least 8.0 or higher at the time I chose them. If you don’t like my suggestions (perhaps they don’t suit your budget or preferences), you can click the “MORE HOTEL DEALS” button where you can choose your own hotel.

7 Safe areas to stay in Berlin for first-timers and tourists:

1. Mitte

Mitte is one of the best places to stay in Berlin for first-timers and tourists who want to make the most of their time in the city. Mitte, which means “center” in German, is located in the heart of the city, offering  a convenient base for exploring the city

Mitte is within walking distance or a short public transport ride from many of Berlin’s iconic landmarks, including the Brandenburg Gate, Museum Island, Alexanderplatz, Berlin Cathedral, and Checkpoint Charlie. 

The neighborhood is rich in historical and cultural significance. You can visit world-class museums and galleries, such as the Pergamon Museum and Altes Museum, which are located on Museum Island.

Mitte boasts a wide range of shopping options, from high-end boutiques on Friedrichstrasse to more affordable stores on Unter den Linden. There are also plenty of cafes, restaurants, and bars offering diverse cuisines to suit every palate.

Mitte has a lively atmosphere with a mix of historic and modern architecture, and it’s a great place for strolling and people-watching. It’s especially charming in the evening when the city lights come on.

Mitte offers a variety of accommodation options, from luxury hotels to budget hostels that suit your budget and preferences. You can be a bit pricier compared to some other neighborhoods.

Best places to stay in Berlin in Mitte for first-time visitors:

  • Luxury ($$$): Radisson Collection Hotel, Berlin, 5-star hotel centrally located in the heart of Mitte, right in front of the Berlin Cathedral, next to the River Spree, within walking distance from Hackescher Markt’s, Museum Island, and Alexanderplatz Square. Easy access to trains and trams
  • Mid-range ($$): Classik Hotel Alexander Plaza, great 4-star hotel conveniently located within walking distance from Alexanderplatz and the lively Hackescher Markt. Easy access to the airport, Hackescher Markt S-Bahn Station, and Spandauer Str./Marienkirche Bus Stop. It has Fabulous breakfast according to more than 2500 guests’ reviews.
  • Budget ($): Hotel Nikolai Residence, 3-star good value for money accommodation that has an extremely central location only a few mins walk from Alexanderplatz and Fernseher Turm TV tower. Lots of bakeries, cafés, restaurants and bars can be found nearby.

2. Prenzlauer Berg

Prenzlauer Berg is a fantastic area in Berlin to book your accommodation, especially if you’re looking for a more relaxed and bohemian atmosphere during your visit to Berlin. 

Prenzlauer Berg is known for its tree-lined streets, historic buildings, and a distinctively cozy and village-like atmosphere. It’s a great escape from the hustle and bustle of the city while still being centrally located.

This district is famous for its abundance of cafes, art galleries, and small boutiques. It’s a hub for the creative and artistic community in Berlin, and you’ll find many unique shops and art spaces to explore.

Prenzlauer Berg is known for being family-friendly. There are several playgrounds, parks, and family-oriented activities, making it a great choice if you’re traveling with children.

The neighborhood offers a wide variety of restaurants, including local German cuisine, international flavors, and organic and vegetarian options. The Kulturbrauerei, a former brewery turned cultural center, is a popular spot with numerous restaurants and cultural events.

While not as central as Mitte, Prenzlauer Berg is well-connected to the rest of Berlin via trams, buses, and the U-Bahn (subway). You can easily reach other parts of the city for sightseeing.

Prenzlauer Berg also has its own historical significance. You can explore the Kollwitzplatz area and learn about the neighborhood’s history and its transformation over the years.

Best places to stay in Berlin in Prenzlauer Berg for first-time visitors:

  • Luxury ($$$): BENSIMON apartments Prenzlauer Berg, 4-star accommodation located in a quiet area in Pankow district, within walking distance from Eberswalder Str train station, as well as many bars, restaurants, cafes and shops.
  • Mid-range ($$): Myer’s Hotel Berlin, 4-star boutique hotel located in Prenzlauer Berg, easy access to the Senefelder Platz Underground Station for services to the rest of Berlin through Alexanderplatz. It has Fabulous breakfast, 24-hour front desk, and family rooms.
  • Budget ($): Hotel BIRGIT Berlin, great 3-star hotel located in the trendy Prenzlauer Berg district but also close to Mitte, only 5 mins walk from U Bahn station, 2 train stops from Alexanderplatz, offering soundproof windows.  

3. Kreuzberg

Kreuzberg is a great area to stay in Berlin, particularly if you’re looking to experience Berlin’s alternative culture, diverse cuisines, and vibrant nightlife. It’s also close to Friedrichshain and the city center.

Kreuzberg is known for its multicultural atmosphere, and it’s one of the most diverse neighborhoods in Berlin. You’ll find a mix of people, cultures, and cuisines, which can provide a rich and unique experience.

If you enjoy nightlife, Kreuzberg is one of the best neighborhoods for it. It’s home to a wide variety of bars, clubs, and live music venues. The district around Görlitzer Park is particularly famous for its nightlife.

Kreuzberg is home to several landmarks, including the Oberbaum Bridge and the East Side Gallery, which features a long stretch of the Berlin Wall covered in street art.

Keep in mind that Kreuzberg can be a bit more bohemian and may have a grittier feel in certain areas, which some visitors find charming, while others may prefer a more polished environment. 

Best places to stay in Berlin in Kreuzberg for first-time tourists:

  • Luxury ($$$): Orania.Berlin, 5-star accommodation set in a historic building in the Kreuzberg district, which is known for its diverse cultural and art scene. It offers Superb breakfast and family rooms. Close to three U-bahn stations and numerous bus lines in the Oranienplatz. 
  • Mid-range ($$): Wil7 Boutique Hotel, 4-star hotel offering Exceptional breakfast, located close to the Checkpoint Charlie, Potsdamer Platz and Holocaust Memorial. Easy access to U-bahn and Bus. It is a handy location for all the sights of Berlin.
  • Mid-range ($$): Hotel the YARD, 4-star accommodation located in the vibrant Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg district, within walking distance from Checkpoint Charlie and the Hallesches Tor Underground Station for connection to central Berlin.

4. Friedrichshain

Friedrichshain is an excellent choice for first-time visitors to Berlin, especially if you’re looking for a lively and dynamic neighborhood with a mix of history, culture, and entertainment.   

Friedrichshain is renowned for its vibrant nightlife and entertainment scene. The area around Simon-Dach-Strasse and Boxhagener Platz is filled with bars, clubs, and live music venues, making it a popular choice for those seeking a fun and active nightlife experience.

Friedrichshain is home to the East Side Gallery, a long section of the Berlin Wall covered in captivating street art. This is one of the city’s iconic landmarks and a must-see for many visitors.

Much like neighboring Kreuzberg, Friedrichshain has a strong alternative and countercultural vibe. You’ll find street art, creative spaces, and a rich history of activism and artistic expression.

The neighborhood offers a variety of boutique shops and vintage stores, making it a great place to shop for unique and trendy items. The Sunday flea market at Boxhagener Platz is a local favorite.

Friedrichshain is conveniently located near major Berlin attractions, such as the Berlin TV Tower (Fernsehturm) at Alexanderplatz, the Karl-Marx-Allee boulevard, and the historic Nikolaiviertel district.

The district features several parks, including Volkspark Friedrichshain and the lovely Treptower Park. These are great places to relax and enjoy the outdoors.

Friedrichshain is well-connected by the Ostbahnhof and Warschauer Strasse train stations, providing easy access to other districts.

Best places to stay in Berlin in Friedrichshain for first-timers:

  • Mid-range ($$): Holiday Inn Berlin City East Side, an IHG Hotel, popular 4-star hotel located in the trendy Friedrichshain district, only 2 mins walk from East Side Gallery. You can also have fabulous breakfast at the hotel, and there are also a wide selection of restaurants, cafes and bars nearby. 10 mins walk from S-Bahn Station and a tram stop.
  • Mid-range ($$): Hotel Indigo Berlin – East Side Gallery, great 4-star hotel conveniently located between Mercedes-Benz Arena and the East Side Gallery, the remaining section of the Berlin Wall. Easy walk from Warschauer Straße train and underground stations.
  • Budget ($): Hampton By Hilton Berlin City East Side Gallery, 3-star accommodation located in  Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg, within walking distance from Warschauer Straße Train Station, for direct S-Bahn trains to Schönefeld Airport and Berlin Main Station. 

5. Charlottenburg

Charlottenburg is a great option for first-time visitors to Berlin who prefer a more upscale and traditional atmosphere. The area is known for its beautiful tree-lined avenues, grand historic buildings, and a sense of old-world charm.

Kurfürstendamm (Ku’damm), a famous shopping boulevard, is lined with high-end boutiques, department stores, and luxury shops. It’s a paradise for shoppers and fashion enthusiasts.

Charlottenburg is home to  theCharlottenburg Palace (Schloss Charlottenburg), one of Berlin’s most beautiful palaces. You can explore its stunning gardens and palace interiors.

You can visit the Museum Berggruen and Sammlung Scharf-Gerstenberg, both of which house impressive art collections. The nearby Museum Island also offers a wide range of world-class museums.

The Deutsche Oper Berlin and the Theater des Westens are prestigious venues in Charlottenburg where you can enjoy opera, theater, and musical performances.

Charlottenburg is home to the Berlin Zoological Garden (Zoologischer Garten), one of the oldest and most famous zoos in Germany, which is a great option for families.

Best places to stay in Berlin in Charlottenburg:

  • Luxury ($$$): Hotel Zoo Berlin, 5-star hotel set in a prime location on Kurfürstendamm street. Within walking distance to Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church and Berlin Zoo. Offering a paid airport shuttle, Very good breakfast, and private parking for those who drive.
  • Mid-range ($$): Hotel Indigo Berlin – Ku’damm, an IHG Hotel, 4-star hotel, situated in the heart of western Berlin, within walking distance from Zoologischer Garten Train Station. Also close to the Memorial Church, Kurfürstendamm shopping street, and KaDeWe Department Store.
  • Budget ($): Motel One Berlin-Upper West, a very popular 3-star hotel located in  the Charlottenburg district in the heart of western Berlin, an easy walk from the Kaiser-Wilhelm Memorial Church and the Ku’damm boulevard. Also close to Kurfürstendamm Underground Station and the Zoologischer Garten Train Station for more sightseeing.

6. Tiergarten

Tiergarten is an excellent choice for first-time visitors to Berlin who are looking for a peaceful and more residential area while still being centrally located.:

Tiergarten is situated close to some of Berlin’s most iconic attractions, including the Brandenburg Gate, the Reichstag building, and Berlin Victory Column. You can easily explore these historical sites by foot.

The neighborhood is named after the massive Tiergarten Park, which is Berlin’s most famous and largest urban park. It’s an ideal place for a leisurely stroll, picnics, or cycling. The park is home to several landmarks, including the Berlin Zoo and the House of World Cultures.

Tiergarten hosts cultural institutions like the Berlin Philharmonic, which offers world-class classical music performances. The House of World Cultures (Haus der Kulturen der Welt) hosts contemporary exhibitions and events.

Tiergarten is well-connected to public transportation, making it easy to explore other parts of the city. The Hauptbahnhof (main train station) is also nearby.

The neighborhood is bordered by the Landwehr Canal, which is a beautiful waterway with walking and cycling paths.

Best places to stay in Berlin in Tiergarten for first-timers:

  • Luxury ($$$): Pullman Berlin Schweizerhof, 5-star accommodation, located within walking distance from Berlin Zoo and Kurfürstendamm. Easy access to Zoologischer Garten S-Bahn train station, short train ride to key landmarks such as the Reichstag and Brandenburg Gate.
  • Mid-range ($$): 25hours Hotel Bikini Berlin, 4-star hotel located at Zoologischer Garten Station, featuring a bar and the sauna with the views of the Tiergarten. 
  • Budget ($): aletto Hotel Kudamm, 3-star accommodation, short walk from Zoologischer Garten Station, for easy access to other parts of the city.

7. Neukölln

Neukölln is a wonderful choice for first-time visitors to Berlin who want to find a unique and authentic local Berlin experience.

Neukölln is known for its diverse and multicultural atmosphere. It’s home to a wide range of communities, which creates a vibrant and dynamic neighborhood with influences from around the world.

Neukölln offers an array of international cuisines, street food markets, and trendy cafes. The Sonnenallee area is known for its Middle Eastern cuisine, while the Reuterkiez area offers a wide variety of dining options.

The neighborhood has a thriving artistic and alternative scene. You’ll find numerous galleries, creative spaces, and independent boutiques, making it an exciting place to explore contemporary art and culture.

Neukölln hosts various flea markets, including the popular Nowkoelln Flowmarkt and Boxi-Flohmarkt. These are great places to hunt for unique items and vintage treasures.

Neukölln is home to Tempelhofer Feld, which is a former airport turned into a massive public park, and Körnerpark, a charming garden.

Neukölln has a burgeoning nightlife scene, with many bars and clubs known for their alternative and underground events. The Weserstrasse area is a hub for nightlife.

Best places to stay in Berlin in Neukölln for tourists:

  • Mid-range ($$): Estrel Berlin, 4-star accommodation located in Neukölln district, offering a direct bus link to Schönefeld Airport. Short walk from Sonnenallee S-Bahn Station for direct trains to the ICC Exhibition Centre.
  • Mid-range ($$): Leonardo Boutique Hotel Berlin City South,4-star accommodation located in a quiet area in the south-eastern Rudow district, short distance from Johannisthaler Chaussee Underground Station, and easy access to the A100 and A113 city motorways.
  • Budget ($): Minimal Hostel, great value for money backpacker hostels set in a prime location in the Neukölln district, close to the canal, subway station, local markets, cafes and bars.

In conclusion, Mitte, Prenzlauer Berg, Kreuzberg, Friedrichshain, Charlottenburg, and Tiergarten are the best places to stay in Berlin for tourists. They are generally safe neighborhoods with plenty of accommodation options for all budgets and preferences.

You can continue reading about Berlin and other destinations in Germany in these articles:

I hope you enjoyed my article and find it both informative and helpful. If you have any questions or would like to share your thoughts, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below. Your feedback is invaluable and helps me continue to create more quality content.

About Author: Ocean Cameron

I'm Ocean, founder and main editor of travelhotelexpert.com. I’m a passionate traveler who specializes in uncovering the best hotels and locations in every city, especially for first-timers, all without the need for a car.

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