Make the most of the BMW Berlin Marathon – what to do in Berlin in September

Berlin is one of Europe’s most metropolitan and diverse cities, full of culture, great food and incredible history. If you’re visiting Germany’s capital for the BMW Berlin Marathon, it’s well worth seeing the sights whilst you’re there.

There are a number of areas close to the BMW Berlin Marathon route that are bustling with places to visit, offering a range of activities, cuisines and experiences. Charlottenburg, Tiergarten and Kreuzberg are particular highlights, presenting a wide variety of interests for all visitors.

Charlottenburg – the city’s cultural capital

Charlottenburg was the capital of the former West Berlin, and provides visitors with a refreshing mix of history, boutique shopping and fine dining to cater all needs. Located between the start and kilometre 4 of the BMW Berlin Marathon, the course alone provides an insight in to the area’s beauty, with open green spaces and tree-lined roads making for a positive start to the marathon.

If you’re looking to shop during your time in Berlin, the Kurfurstendamm is the number one destination for everything you need. Lined with boutique shops, restaurants and theatres, this 2.2 mile long avenue is bustling with sights and sounds to satisfy your senses.

For those looking to experience Berlin’s incredible culture and history whilst visiting the city, the Charlottenburg Palace and park are the perfect destination. Formerly a royal residence used in the summer, the stunning building was completed in 1699 and is the largest palace in Berlin today. Entry is just €12 for adults, but if you just want to visit the beautiful gardens during the late September setting, entry is completely free!

One of Berlin’s most metropolitan areas is also located in Charlottenburg, showcasing some of the best of the city’s arts scene and food offerings. Savignyplatz is a great place to check out authentic, independent food outlets with some of the city’s best Asian food offerings available. As well as food, the area is also home to the city’s best cinemas and theatres and is a great location to take in a show or enjoy some of the cosmopolitan bars. Best of all for marathon runners, the area has a strict nightlife policy, meaning noise is limited late at night.

Take in the sights of Tiergarten

Located close to Charlottenburg, Tiergarten is home to the largest park and green space in Berlin, encompassing the city’s zoo as well as a number of cafes. Placed in the heart of the first 8km of the BMW Berlin Marathon, the area offers tranquillity and calm amidst the hustle and bustle of a thriving city.

Despite its sprawling green spaces and manicured lawns, Tiergarten also offers opportunities to view the city’s stunning landscape. The Victory Column offers panoramic views over the capital – though with 285 steps to the top it is perhaps best experienced before your race rather than after! At just €3.50 per person it also offers a cheap destination experience and is well worth a visit!

If heights aren’t your thing, Tiergarten is home to some of the most iconic buildings and architecture not just in Berlin, but in all of Germany. Although the BMW Berlin Marathon is centred around the Brandenburg Gate, the iconic monument has to be seen up close to be truly appreciated for its beauty and significance. Nearby to the Brandenburg Gate, you can also visit the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, as well as the Reichstag – home to Germany’s government. The German Bundestag building has a guided tour offering, including the opportunity to rise to the top of the dome at the height of the building, allowing incredible views of Berlin from its most important building.

The Brandenburg Gate is at the heart of events in Berlin and is also the city’s most recognisable landmark. [Source: Leichtathletik Berlin 22.08.2021 Generali Berliner Halbmarathon Foto: Tilo Wiedensohler/camera4]

If the plethora of buildings, history and architecture isn’t for you, Tiergarten is also home to one of Berlin’s most idyllic locations for a relaxing drink. The lakeside Cafe am Neuen See in the heart of the park has a large beer garden, offering a perfect location in the late-September sun to relax after or before the marathon!

Check out the cool area of Kreuzberg

For those of a cooler persuasion, Kreuzberg is the city’s bohemian centre, home to vibrant bars, second-hand shops and the place-to-go to see the city’s world-renowned arts scene. Located between kilometres 12 and 21 of the BMW Berlin Marathon, Kreuzberg is a great place to experience local independents in a city full of creativity.

Running through the centre of Kreuzberg is the idyllic Landwehrkanal, lined with dozens of cafes, bars and restaurants. With a large and diverse community, Kreuzberg is the best place to grab one of the city’s most renowned cuisines from some of its street-food vendors – the kebab! Locations such as the Markthalle Neun, a market in the centre of Kreuzberg, allow visitors to sample street food and craft beer, or the more traditional German dish Currywurst. If a market is too much choice for you, Mustafa’s Gemuse Kebab is world-renowned and a top recommendation when visiting the city.

Further sights to see in Kreuzberg include the district’s many art galleries, with contemporary art from all over the world showcased in Berlin. Art galleries such as Bethanien (located in a former hospital) and Konig (located in a former brutalist church) exhibit the cool and creative side of Berlin, with Bethanien in particular is located in beautiful grounds.

For history buffs, Kreuzberg is also home to one of Berlin and Germany’s most significant historical locations, Checkpoint Charlie. Popularised across movies and films, the checkpoint remains fully intact and despite the city growing around its location, offers a fascinating reminder of how much Berlin has lived through.

Our top three tips for your break in Berlin

The BMW Berlin Marathon is one of the 6 current Abbott World Marathon Majors. [Source: Marathon Tours & Travel]
  • Be prepared! Berlin has so much to offer visitors culturally, aesthetically and has a great food and drink scene, make sure you know where you want to go, how to get there and how popular it may be.

  • Make the most of public transport. Berlin is easy to navigate with a comprehensive metro system. The S-Bahn’s and U-Bahn’s are clean, efficient and cover a vast chunk of the Berlin city area.