Berlin vibrates with unparalleled energy. It is a charismatic and sophisticated metropolis, which offers first-class art galleries, avant-garde cuisine and absolutely iconic cultural institutions, such as the Pergamon Museum.
It is also an innovative, trend-setting city in the music, visual and performing arts and a famous club culture with the legendary Berghain techno hall as its flagship. In the clubs of Berlin you can enjoy internationally renowned DJs without any breaks from Friday to Monday.
The past is also present. The Holocaust Monument and the Berlin Wall Memorial are a must see. Berlin is also famous for its avant-garde architecture in which the golden building of the Berlin Philharmonic by architect Hans Scharoun or the New National Gallery by Mies Van der Rohe stand out.
- Top 5 reasons to visit Berlin
- What to do in Berlin
- When to visit Berlin
- How to get to Berlin
- Where to stay in Berlin
- How to get around Berlin
- Where to eat in Berlin
Top 5 reasons to visit Berlin
Berlin emerged in the 13th century. It was a focal point in World War II and, in the modern era, has become the symbol of German reunification. Centuries of history can be seen in architectural elements such as the iconic Neoclassical Brandenburg Gate built in 1791.
Extensive and vibrant art scene
All spectators have their place in the Berlin art scene. The Museum Island brings together 5 museums in the northern part of the Spree Island, where you can appreciate 6000 years of world art history.
In Berlin you can stay up all night and have a great time. There are underground bars where punk bands perform, cabaret shows, beer tasting and world famous clubs like Berghain and Panorama Bar, located in a former power plant and where the best electronic music DJs play internationally.
The German capital has a lot of green spaces: almost one fifth of the city has planted trees. In total, there are more than 2,500 parks and gardens, including Viktoria Park. Although Berlin is not a paradise for beach lovers, the city is surrounded by beautiful lakes where you can cool down in summer, such as the Tegeler See.
Berlin offers numerous free outdoor events throughout the year. At the end of May, the Kreuzberg district turns to the Karneval der Kulturen, an original celebration of multiculturalism where you can enjoy a parade, concerts and gastronomy from different parts of the world. On June 21st, with the arrival of summer, the Fête de la Musique floods the city with free concerts. Music sessions are organised in almost all bars and cafés and in Mauerpark, in the north of the city, large stages are set up where internationally famous bands play for anyone who wants to come.
What to do in Berlin
Admire the Brandenburg Gate, the symbol of freedom
The Brandenburg Gate is the most important tourist attraction in Berlin. Until the fall of the Berlin Wall, it was located on the edge of the division of the city. Now it is just a few steps away from the Monument to the Murdered Jews of Europe, and has become a symbol of unity. It’s a glorious gateway to the green avenues of the Tiergarten.
Visit the Reichstag building
A few steps from the Brandenburg Gate is the Reichstag, the seat of the German Parliament. Ravaged by fire in 1933 and almost completely destroyed in World War II, it remained closed until 1999. You can tour the Parliament and climb the glass dome, the symbol of national reunification, for a 360-degree view.
Explore Museum Island
The river Spree crosses the busy centre of Berlin and in the middle of it we find the spectacular Museum Island, which includes five of the best museums in the world, with such impressive attractions as the Pergamon Altar and the Babylonian Ishtar Gate. The cathedral, a true architectural marvel, is also located on this island.
Feel the history in East Side Gallery
The longest stretch of the Berlin Wall still standing, as a symbol of Cold War oppression and an international benchmark of freedom, is in the East Side Gallery. It is decorated with paintings by international artists, between the two most charismatic districts of the city: Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain.
Have fun in Tempelhofer Feld
It is an airport converted into a recreational park, which is located between Neukölln and Schöneberg, south of Berlin. Closed in 2008 and redesigned as a leisure centre, it allows you to stroll along the runways, picnic on the grass plains or gaze in amazement at the central building of this former airport, all with the iconic views of the Berlin TV tower in the background.
When to visit Berlin
Thanks to its mild climate, Berlin is very crowded during the summer. Its high season is between May and September. Many people come to this city to participate in its cultural events, such as the Berlin Fashion Week (in January and June) or the Berlinale, the Berlin International Film Festival, which takes place in February.
How to get to Berlin
Currently, Berlin has two airports: Schönefeld (SXF) and Tegel (TXL). The first is located about 17 kilometers to the southeast, and is mainly used by charter flights and major airlines such as Aeroflot and TAP Portugal. It is connected to the city by subway, buses and S-Bahn. Tegel’s is just over 11 kilometers from the center of Berlin, which can be reached by taking a TXL Express bus. Around 2020, the opening of the Berlin Brandenburg Willy Brandt (BER), a macro airport that will replace the previous ones, is planned.
Almost all long-distance trains arrive at Berlin Hauptbahnhof, Berlin’s central station, except for the night trains from Moscow and Kiev, which use Lichtenberg station in the northeast of the city. The central station is linked to the S-Bahn trains and the U55 underground line.
The Bundesautobahn 10 or Berliner Ring surrounds the city centre and connects to the main routes in all directions. The lines 11 (north), 24 (northwest), 12 (east) and 13 and 19 (south) are also worth mentioning.
The Zentraler Omnibusbahnhof (ZOB) is located in Charlottenburg and is open all week. Here you will find good connections to the U2 subway line and to the center of Berlin. The most important companies that provide service are DeinBus, FlixBus, Megabus and Eurolines.
Airports near Berlin
Where to stay in Berlin
Berlin provides a selection of first-class accommodation for all budgets, including trusted international brands such as the palatial and splendid Hilton Berlin. There are also luxury hotels such as the Hotel de Rome, located in the former bank building dating from 1889. For a standard room, the price is around EUR 85, and for a 5-star room, it reaches EUR 300.
Berlin also has excellent unique hotels, such as the Soho House, which is Bauhaus style and is located in an 8-storey building that was once the propaganda center of the Communist Party.
Interesting neighborhoods in Berlin
Charlottenburg-Willmersdorf is the most exclusive part of Berlin. Here you will enjoy such elegant restaurants as the Glass Berlin, as well as gardens and historic buildings, including Charlottenburg Palace.
Fiedrichshain is the site of the Berlin Wall Memorial. It is a real haven for hipsters and art lovers, with an optimal atmosphere and trendy clubs. It is home to the East Side Gallery, which you should not miss.
Kreuzberg offers a bohemian atmosphere A neighbourhood full of trendy cafes and restaurants and a great nightlife. Don’t leave without having lunch at the lively Turkish market in Maybachufer, open on Tuesdays and Fridays from 11:00 to 18:30.
Mitte is located in the center of the city and its main attraction is Checkpoint Charlie, the crossroads of the Cold War between the divided Germanies.
How to get around Berlin
Move around easily thanks to the extensive network of buses, trains, trams and subways (S-Bahn and U-Bahn). The basic fare is 3.30 EUR and allows you to use all transport for 2 hours. The Berlin WelcomeCard only costs EUR 19.90 and offers tourists the possibility of unlimited travel for 48 hours for one adult and up to 3 children. It also includes discounts on tourist attractions.
The taxi ride from the centre of Berlin to the airport takes between 20 and 30 minutes and costs about 30 to 40 EUR. You will find taxis easily, as there are many of them, and the fare is 3,90 EUR.
Actually, you don’t need to rent a car in Berlin: it’s almost a luxury, considering the good public transport available. It will cost you, in principle, between 23 and 28 EUR a day.
Cost of living in Berlin
Kurfürstendamm and Friedrichstrasse are two of the best shopping areas in Berlin. Going to KaDeWe, the largest multi-product store in Europe, is an experience you should not miss: it includes more than 370,000 references for sale. If you want to buy clothes, Hackescher Markt is the perfect place, with many shops at reasonable prices.
For everyday purchases, the discount chains Aldi, Lidl and Netto and other more expensive shops such as Rewe and Kaufland are at your disposal. Bread will cost you between 1 and 3 EUR, and half a dozen eggs about 2 EUR. If you are looking for special or imported items, KaDeWe and Galeries Lafayette are your destination.
Where to eat in Berlin
Berlin’s gastronomic scene is multicultural and very varied. It includes great places to eat, such as the Waldorf Astoria in Charlottenburg. There are also affordable cafés such as the Café Einstein Stammhaus, where you can have breakfast or lunch for less than 10 EUR. Street food, pop up restaurants and doner kebabs are attractive possibilities. In general, a kebab costs 3 or 4 EUR and a sausage 2 EUR.
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