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Berlin Travel Guide

Berlin is the capital and largest city of Germany. For a long time I wanted to visit and spending a week there made me explore things at my own pace soaking up the vibrant multicultural scene that is currently Berlin.

The city has history everywhere, beautiful buildings, delicious food spread around all kinds of restaurants and cafes all wrapped in a busy city but easy to go around.

So, without any further revealing here’s my Berlin Travel Guide with everything you need to know prior and during your visit. Hope you love it as much as me!

Berlin Travel Guide

PREPARE YOUR VISIT TO BERLIN

LANGUAGE // German is the main language in Berlin but you can easily find information in English in most places and ticket machines. Staff in public places can speak some level of English.

CURRENCY // Euro

BUDGET // Reasonable cheap. Compared to other big cities like London or Paris, is cheap. You may spend €20-€30 daily on a budget. Meals in a fancier restaurant costing €25. Of course take in consideration tickets money and other extra activities. Always over-budget to be safe in my opinion!

ELECTRIC // Power sockets:  type F – Standard voltage: 230 V – Standard frequency: 50 Hz

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CLIMATE // I visited in August wan it was hot and dry so pack really light clothes! Usually very cold Winters with occasional snow, mild Springs and Autumn and very hot Summers.

BEST TIME OF THE YEAR TO VISIT // All year round. Summer will be better to get to know the city and enjoy the weather sitting down in a cafe but Winter as its attractions too. Oktoberfest, the Christmas Market and the Festival of Lights are some events that I would love to go back for.

HOW MANY DAYS? // It’s up to you. There is a lot to do and it does take some time to get to places but if you’re going just for a weekend you can hit the main attractions and get to know the city just as well as you will understand in this Berlin Travel Guide.

DISCOUNT PASSES // The Berlin PassBerlin Welcome CardBerlin City Tour CardMuseum Pass Berlin

MORE INFORMATION // Berlin’s official tourism websiteGermany’s official tourism website

Berlin Travel Guide

GETTING TO BERLIN

BY PLANE

Berlin has two airports: Tegel International Airport (north-west) and Schönefeld  (south east, where the cheapest companies fly into).  From Tegel you have buses directly to some of the main train/metro stations or you can take a taxi. From Schönefeld you have the S-Bahn trains and regional trains into town and also buses. Plan your trip here.

BY TRAIN

You can travel from most European countries by train to Berlin. Use the InterCity and EuroCity trains from Deutsche Bahn (DB).

BY BUS

The long distance buses that come from all over will arrive at the Central Bus Terminal, the Zentraler Omnibusbahnhof in Charlottenburg.

BY CAR

Berlin has very good accesses by car and roads are overall in good condition.  Would recommend it get there by car but then explore it in another way as the traffic is maniac. Parking is good.

WHERE TO STAY IN BERLIN?

Berlin is a very big city, so I would advise you to get a map, circle all the things you want to see and then look for a location that is suitable for that or is very close to public transports as they work well.

There are 12 districts in Berlin with 5 being the main ones where people tend to stay.

Mitte is the historical centre of Berlin where most of the famous monuments are located. Museum Island and Alexanderplatz are located there. Prenzlauer Berg is an area full of life. Pankow area has lots of restaurants, bars and shops. It is close to major attractions like Prater Garten, the oldest beer garden in Berlin.

Berlin Travel Guide
Alexanderplatz

Friedrichshain is a trendy cool area with lots of artistic vibes. East Side Gallery is located here. Kreuzberg it’s rich in cultural diversity and were some serious hipster’s coffee houses and bars are located. Turkish food can be found everywhere. Charlottenburg’s it’s where the beautiful Tiergarten park and Charlottenburg Palace are located and where lots of other historical buildings are too together with some of the most expensive shops.

Berlin Travel Guide
Friedrichshain

For my time in Berlin I stayed in the Hilton Berlin located in the Mitte district. You can read about it here.

Berlin Travel Guide
Mitte

Also Airbnb is a good option and you can stay in some really cool places within a cheap price, check it here.

GETTING AROUND BERLIN

Berlin is quite easy to go around, coming from someone that gets lost easily! For public transportation the machine tickets have the English option and there are maps everywhere, so if you know the stop you want it will be an easy ride.

Trains // S-Bahn or regional are fast and on time.

Metro // U-Bahn easy to use with maps and stations clearly indicated.

Bus // There are many lines possible but will be a slower transport to get to know the city.

Bike // A great way to explore and there are bicycle paths in most parts of the city.

Berlin is divided in zones so think about where you want to go on the map to get your tickets. There is the option of buying an all-day ticket for all transports or some of the tourist passes included this as well.

A standard ticket costs €2.80 with zones AB and you can travel in one direction for two hours, changes are permitted (in case you get lost, like me!). Always remember to validate the ticket on the yellow machines, it will stamp the time you started your journey.  Credit cards are accepted in the ticket machines. Plan your journeys here.



MAIN ATTRACTIONS IN BERLIN

BRANDENBURG TOR

One of Berlin’s most famous landmarks and also where major historical events took place over more than 200 years of history. Initially built as a royal city gate was damaged and rebuilt in many occasions like in the World War II. During the Cold War was used as a division between the East and West Berlin. It was also where hundreds of thousands of people gathered to celebrate the falling of the Berlin Wall on November 9th 1989. Since then it has grown to be German’s symbol of unity and freedom.

REICHSTAG

The Reichstag is the meeting place for the German Government. You can visit the glass dome for free but you still need tickets that you should book in advance, here.

Berlin Travel Guide

HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL TO THE MURDERED JEWS OF EUROPE

It’s nothing like I have ever seen. The memorial was set up to remember the horrible acts from the Holocaust and to honour the victims. The concrete blocks are arranged in different patterns and none is the same as the previous. There is an information center on the underground.

Berlin Travel Guide
Berlin Travel Guide

MUSEUM ISLAND

This area that is surrounded by the Spree River in Mitte district is where 5 of most important museums in Berlin are located. It’s considered UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Berlin Travel Guide

BERLINER DOM

Located in Museum Island, this cathedral is one of the most beautiful places for me in Berlin. It’s not free to visit but honestly just the views from the cathedral are very inspiring with the Gothic architecture.  There are some restaurants and cafes around to enjoy the views and a really nice garden where you can have a picnic and enjoy the sunshine.

Berlin Travel Guide
Berlin Travel Guide

DDR MUSEUM

This museum shows how life was during the Soviet occupation in East Berlin.

Berlin Travel Guide
Berlin Travel Guide

EAST SIDE GALLERY

When the World War II finished, the allied split Germany into four areas. The eastern part went to the Soviet Union, the Western to the United States, then Great Britain and France. Unfortunately in 1961 the Communist government of the East Germany started to build a concrete wall (more than 140 Kilometres) with the purpose of stopping the “western fascists” from coming to East Germany.

It lasted until 1989 and many people were murdered trying to cross the border. As the Wall was being demolished, a one mile stretch was restored by more than 100 artists that turned into an open air gallery with beautiful messages and paintings celebrating peace. This is now known as the East side gallery and I loved the walk seeing each one of the painting as all of them have messages that still applies nowadays.

Berlin Travel Guide
Berlin Travel Guide
Berlin Travel Guide
Berlin Travel Guide

CHECKPOINT CHARLIE

Checkpoint Charlie was the crossing point between East and West Germany when the Berlin Wall was up. Nowadays, a replica can be seen there and it’s one of the most tourist places I have ever seen, maybe because some action movies have been filmed there like the ‘Octopussy’ from the James Bond movies. If you do want to see the original building it’s possible in the Allied Museum.

Berlin Travel Guide
Berlin Travel Guide
Berlin Travel Guide
Charlie’s Beach

TOPOGRAPHY OF TERROR

It’s probably one of the places I have spent most time and it’s completely free. This sort of open museum located where the Gestapo headquarters (Nazi police) were in the pass, shows people documents and photos of the main perpetrators. It shows the crimes and the ways the Nazis used to cause terror all over Europe. Outside there are large panels that show how life was when Berlin was taken over by the Nazis.

Berlin Travel Guide
Berlin Travel Guide

BERLIN TV TOWER

The tallest structure in Germany with 368 meters has a 360° view of the city. Buy your ticket in advance and it will tell you exactly the time for you to go there so there are no waiting times. The views were good but there were so many people that in some areas people could barely move which made the experience less good and not worth it in my opinion.

AMPELMÄNNCHEN

It’s not so much a place to see or something to do but it’s definitely something to look for.  The little traffic men, that you will see everywhere, was created as a strategy to reduce road accidents and has become a symbol in Berlin with souvenirs of it in most stores.

WHAT TO EAT AND DRINK

One of the first foods I wanted to try in Berlin was the Schnitzel because I just wanted to see how different it is from what I have tried in other countries. It’s excellent! Well recommended.

Berlin Travel Guide

Then I was excited to have a Pretzel something I never actually tried before. There are so much variety, you can have simple ones or with all kinds of fillings. I had a nice picnic by the park while enjoying this and a hot dog (sausages are just everywhere).

Berlin Travel Guide

Everyone told me to try the Currywurst, a hot sausage cut in slices with ketchup and curry powder which is normally something I would not go for because of the curry! I must say it’s delicious and I get it why people are eating this all the time. Try Curry 36 an outdoor snack bar that is very popular in Berlin.

Berlin Travel Guide

Then other recommendations is to try the Eisbein (Pork Knuckle), a Döner Kebab and obviously the German Beer! Even that I’m not a fan of it I do recognise it that it looks good and there are a lot of types for you to try!

My favourite places for meals were the House of Small Wonder because of the delicious food and incredible decoration and the food market Markthalle Neun with affordable and tasty variety of food.

Berlin Travel Guide
House of Small Wonder
Berlin Travel Guide
House of Small Wonder

Berlin is so much more than the main attractions and the awful events that took place in the pass. It’s a vibrant city where people enjoy life and accept the other (at least that’s how I felt). There is so much more to see from this Berlin Travel Guide even after my week there and I hope to come back!

Have you visited Berlin? What are your highlights?

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61 Comments

  1. I have always wanted to visit Berlin during Octoberfest! My friends went over and because of a job I couldn’t, still to this day wish I had! Great tips and a very easy guide to follow!

  2. My husband has been to Berlin a number of times and loves it. I’m hoping one day we’ll be able to go there together. I know we’d love to visit the Reichstag (for him) and the Holocaust memorial (for her). Oh, and drink some German beer along the way! x

    1. It’s a great city with lots of things for couples, restaurants, museums and it’s quite romantic to have a beer enjoying the views there!

  3. I have always wanted to see where the Berlin wall was and so this seems like a great fit. Especially since it is cheaper than most places to visit!

  4. First of all, I must compliment you for the amazing pics you have shared. I have never been to Berlin but my cousin is in Germany and he has invited me so many times but after looking at these pics you have forced me to make a plan!

  5. It’s funny how I have been all around Germany but never in Berlin! And that’s the place what people have recommended me to go and see for years. Hopefully one day soon I’ll have that chance.

  6. I’ve always wanting to visit Berlin, heard it’s a lot of fun! I’ll be sure to come back to this post for reference ; )

  7. Wow, it’s a really thorough post about Berlin, well done. I plan to go on a road trip in Germany, visiting a few cities – including Berlin – so your post came right on time. Also, beautiful pictures, really setting the mood.

    1. Thank you, that will be so cool, there are lots of places I still want to visit in Germany and think a road trip it’s the perfect way to go!

  8. What a perfect travel guide. So informative and so easy to read. I’ve never visited Berlin but you’ve made me want to go. There’s so much to do there.

    Ami xxx

  9. Berlin has seen strife and triumph throughout its tumultuous history. And Yes, I am one of those people who loved it. From hip cafes and urban landmarks are just one of the things that draw thousands of people to visit this place.

  10. You seems to have so much fun there. Great picture for an amazing place. My family and I also dream to go there – but there’s such a lot of things to prepare when travelling in group. Hopefully one day, I can post my picture with one of those landmarks.

  11. My friend just came back from Berlin and all the pictures are making me super jealous! So much good food and, of course, the wall, along with the rest of the history. My dadused to go to Munich a lot for business but for whatever reason he never went to Berlin 🙁

  12. I have been to Berlin about 15 years ago and my memory of specifics is a little hazy.I do remember the artistic quarter and all the great art galleries and street art. In general I thought it was a very cool and young city.

  13. I have wanted to go to Berlin for quite some time because of the beautiful East Side Gallery, as anyone looking at my blog knows how much I like street art. So it is good to know the types of transport I can take in Berlin.

    1. You would be perfect there, so much art and colors and a place that transmits a message! Can almost imagine a photo there with you! XX

  14. The Berliner Dom is massive and beautiful! The memorial for the victims of the Holocaust is unique. Something so beautiful to remind us about an unforgettable event in history. Berlin looks like a must-visit placet. I wish I could do so someday.

  15. Oooh the architecture is simply breathtaking. Special shout out to your gorgeous red hair against the muted landscapes! Simply brilliant!
    Thanks for the info, travel blogs are something special indeed!

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