Berlin is the home to some of the amazing historical places, museums, cultural landmarks and amazing nightlife. Tourists visit the city to enjoy the most vibrant life style and freedom. This is also a place of extremely creative minds. You can swim in lakes and walk in the amazing green spaces.
Why should anyone visit the city?
Berlin has a very painful past and you can still see different attractions related to war. There are Holocaust memorial, Berlin wall, Stasi museum, book burning square and many more. You can see what the people of Berlin have gone through. The other thing is the beer culture because drinking beer while roaming on the streets is legal in the city.
How does one get to the destination (airport, ferry or others)?
There are different ways to get to Berlin very conveniently and easily. Ways to reach the city are:
Tegel airport is the closest airport for Berlin that connects it to the different parts of the world. It was supposed to be closed several years ago whereas it is still operating.
Other airport that is used for the flights is Berlin Schonefeld. You will find many low budget flights and deals from this airport.
Buses from Zentraler Omnibusbahnhof Berlin run throughout Germany and Europe. You can easily get on one and reach different destinations.
Train station is very close to the city center and government district. It is linked to the S-Bahn and U-Bahn so you can easily start exploring the city as you reach. Berlin Hauptbahnhof is the main train station.
The city has very good connection with other parts through spacious motorways. The parking in different areas is also not very expensive. You can easily drive to Berlin.
Is the city safe? What areas are not safe?
Berlin takes a lot of pride in the organization and engineering. The systems run very smoothly and well managed. The crime is rare and only dangerous areas are where there is almost no tourism. General travel precautions apply while exploring different parts of the city like taking care of your belongings and staying alert of scams.
What’s the weather like?
- Mid-June to August is the peak tourist season. It is the summer season which witnesses the excessive tourism. The prices of attractions and accommodation are also very high.
- April to June and September to October is the wonderfully warm time to visit Berlin. The prices start coming down where as in October the Oktoberfest festival arrives. Prices are again skyrocketed during the time of the festival.
- November to March is the winter season when the city remains dark and dreamy most of the times. Snowfall is possible whereas freezing rains are very common. Mid December to early January the cold becomes slightly intense. The tourism and prices of places falls.
What languages are spoken in the area? Is English spoken?
The official language that is spoken y majority of the locals is German. People who work in restaurants and other places related to the tourism industry speak English to some extent. However, it is not that difficult to communicate in Berlin.
What’s the local currency?
Is US Dollar widely accepted?
Euro is the official currency of Berlin and it is not possible to pay in US dollars in the city. Dollar is restricted in most parts of the Europe. Money exchange is not hard to find. You can easily get good exchange rate from banks and exchange service offices.
What are the best areas or districts to stay in the city?
- Mitte is the best area to stay for the first timers. If you cannot decide a place to stay with many attractions, eateries and shopping. Select the accommodation in Mitte.
- Friedrichshain is the best budget accommodation place. This is also a perfect area for art lovers and hipster vibe.
- Kreuzberg is the best nightlife scene. It is a very lively and vibrant area with a variety of bars and clubs which remain open whole night.
- Prenzlauer Berg is the coolest Bohemian hangout place. This part is the home to the people from all parts of the society.
- Charlottenburg Wilmersdorf is the family friendly location with different activities and attractions.
What’re your top 3 hotels (budget, moderate, luxury) and why?
- Circus Hostel is a very cool place to stay in very less prices. The hostel offers dorms, private rooms, bar café and bike rental service. Hostel also arranges many walking and bike tours to explore the city.
- Melia Berlin is a four-star hotel in the heart of Berlin with river and shopping street in the proximity. The hotel has a gym, sauna, restaurant, free wi-fi and bicycle renting service.
- Schlosshotel Berlin by Partick Hellman dates back to the 1914. The luxury hotel has flat screen TVs, minibars, complimentary toiletries. Hotel has indoor pool, sauna, gym and different events.
How does one get around the city? Taxi, Uber, similar apps, ATVs?
- U-Bahn and S-Bahn is the underground system of rails to reach different parts of Berlin. The fares are according to the routes. The rails run from 1 to 1:30 am and 24 hours during the entire weekend.
- Bus and Tram system is a bit slower than the rail system but it connects to the other parts where rail system is not available. It is the best way to see different attractions while travel from one part to the other.
- Taxis are available and charge according to the meter. It is a nice way to get around whereas it costs a little higher than the buses and rail system. Uber is also available in a few parts of Berlin whereas it faced backlash in Germany so is not highly recommended.
- Car is not suggested to explore the city because of few parking lots and excessive traffic. Tram lines and other public transports block the way to get around in the car easily. It is better to use other ways of transport in the city.
- Bike is a very pleasant way to get around and explore the city. There are different companies working on providing the biking rentals. Bike share program is also gaining popularity among the locals and tourists.
Can you highlight the Top 5 MUST see sightseeing?
Reichstag is the historical monument that faced different hardships of Berlin. It is new baroque building that survived wars, Nazis era, bombing, German politics and division. You have to book the visit in advance by the website visite.bundestag.de by filling a form and selecting a time from the given time slots.
Museum Island is located between the River Spree and Kupfergraben. It is a UNESCO world heritage site because of the oldest and most important museums of Berlin. It was built during the eighteenth century with many old and modern collections in it museums. You can spend an entire day in exploring this part.
You can walk, jog or do cycling to explore the place. It is the most famous park of Berlin with many monuments. You can have beer and sausage in the refreshing surroundings. The park is filled with markers and maps so you will not get lost.
Charlottenburg Palace and Park
It is the 17th century estate that is considered as the oldest and largest one of Berlin. It remained the main residence of the German royals for decades. This palace is amazingly restored in its original baroque and Rococo style décor. You should not miss this amazing attraction. Different companies offer guided tours of the property to explain the furnishing, interior, paintings and décor.
The North Eastern side of Berlin is the home of 3000 lakes. It is extremely beautiful part of the city side that attracts visitors all around the year. Winters are starkly beautiful and summers are pleasantly warm. Apart from sunbathing and swimming, this area is also well known for its lively nightlife.
What’s the best place to take a photo?
Keep the camera and tripod with your all the time because there are a lot of amazing places to click. However, if you want to keep a memory of Berlin with the most important identity, then Berlin wall is the best place to click photos. The wall is covered with graffiti among which the typical Berlin memorial is well preserved.
What about the top 3 restaurants?
- Bar Raval is the bar and restaurant that is well known for its tapas and Spanish cuisine. Tapas is the most delicious variety in the menu. Other appreciable thing from the menu is the wine list that is beautifully combined with the food. You can also get by selecting according to your food choice.
- La Bolognina is the Italian restaurant with different pastas and pizzas. The small size restaurant gives you a choice of four to five options to select from. It is a very cozy and pleasant ambiance. You can also sit near the cooking area and see your chef preparing the food for you.
- Nauta is named after the small Amazonian town. It offers a range of Japanese and Peruvian cuisines. Ambiance is very relaxing with modern fusion décor. It is an amazing place to try some delicious meals.
What about the top 3 breakfast places?
- Benedict is located in the West Berlin. This is a sophisticated and chic place with delicious morning meal. They are considered as one of the best breakfast places of Berlin.
- House of Small Wonder is located in the popular Mitte among the other huge variety of eateries. It is a wonderful place to enjoy a splash out brunch. It is very famous among the tourists.
- Isla Coffee Berlin was named because of the desire of the owners to create an island. It is away from the crowded and busy places. The interior is the minimalist local furniture, lights and lots of plants.
What’s the one thing you MUST eat in the city?
You will find many dishes in Berlin which will attract your taste buds. However, the unmissable one is the currywurst. This is a deep fried pork sausage which is sliced and topped with tomato sauce. Curry powder is sprinkled over it before serving. It is served with French fries and bread rolls. It is easily available in every part of Berlin.
What about food markets?
There are following markets in Berlin where you can find a huge variety of cooked foods, fruits, vegetables, meats, baked goods and drinks.
· Market Hall Nine (Markthalle Neun) remains a normal market on Tuesday – Saturday whereas it becomes a proper street food market on Thursdays because of the locals and farmers. Thursday evening is the most vibrant and fun time to visit the market.
- Winterfeldt Square Market (Winterfeldplatz MArkt) is the farmer’s market that is arranged on the weekends. It is a very huge and well known place to buy food and ingredients.
Where should one go at night? Any bar/nightlife areas or districts you recommend?
Warschauer Strasse is the top nightlife area in the city. This is a techno paradise for techno fans. However, there are many live music bars and dance clubs also located in this area. It becomes crowded with locals and tourists during weekends.
Kreuzberg is the hipster area with a vibrant party and nightlife scene. This is a multicultural neighbourhood with many bars, clubs and party places. Some eateries of this areas have amazing food menus.
Any rooftop bars or restaurants that you recommend?
Monkey Bar is located on the Hotel Bikini Berlin. It has some of the most iconic panoramic views of the city and Berlin Zoo. This is a very cozy and trendy place to have food and drink a nice cocktail.
Rooftop at Hotel de Rome has the terrace with amazing panoramic views of the surrounding. It is more attractive because it looks over the historic quarter of Berlin. You can enjoy different drinks and champagne cocktails at the comfortable terrace.
Can you recommend the best shopping areas? Best shopping mall?
Almost every area of Berlin has different shopping spots where as some places have their own specialties. Some of them are
Friedrichstrasee is the excellent market to spend a day. There are many historical monuments, museums and other places near it. Market has stores of famous international brands like Gucci, Breitling, Hugo Boss and more.
Hackescher Markt is the trendy place for students. It is the historical Jewish quarter where the community lived once. There are many famous brands in this area like Diesel, Oakley and Ray Ban.
Do you recommend any tours outside the city? Islands? Boat Tours?
- Potsdam’s Parks and Palaces – Sanssouci Park
- Dresden – Elbe River Side and Historical monuments
- Spandau Citadel – Historical monument
- Peacock Island – historical monuments, rare plants and peacocks
- Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp
- Kopenick – Bronze Age Settlement and Historical monuments
- River Havel Highlights
- The River Spree
Are Casinos allowed? Blackjack tables? If so, what’s the best Casino in town?
There are different casinos in the city with many gaming options, food and drinks.
Most famous casino of Berlin is the Spielbank located at the Potsdamer Platz. This casino is counted among the most successful gambling points of Germany. There are different slot machines, roulette, blackjack, poker and many other games.
The second most famous is the Casino Berlin that offers many machines and games to their guests. It has roulette, blackjack and poker.
Any last advice for people visiting the city?
There are several things which you have to keep strictly in mind while going to Berlin.
- Nazi salute is the very serious thing. It is considered as a crime to do the Nazi salute. The punishment is the five-year imprisonment.
- Never talk about the war or get indulged in the discussion of second world war. It is a very serious topic for Germans.
- Point finger on the head is considered as disrespectful because it means that you are calling the other person stupid or fool.
- Do not place your hands while talking to someone or chew gum because it is considered as disrespectful and rude. Take off your shoes while entering someone’s house in Berlin.
- Bottle water has 25 cents extra in the price which are returned when you give empty bottle to the shop. Do not throw away the bottles.