Berlin Travel Tips
Keep in Mind...
- Don't risk it: Buy a ticket Although you can board public transportation without a ticket -- if you're caught without one -- you'll be fined an amount that's 20 times the ticket price.
- Pack a phrasebook Berlin is a friendly city, but knowing a few choice words will help you exponentially. For example, bitte is "please," and danke schön is "thank you."
- Don't plan your shopping spree for Sunday Many shops are closed on that day.
England takes pleasure in London, the U.S. loves New York, France is slightly narcissistic about Paris, and once again, Germany proudly claims Berlin. More than two decades since the fall of the Berlin Wall, the city is basking in a cultural renaissance that is marking everything from museums to fashion, food and nightclubs. That's not to say that this city has forgotten its dark past; in fact, powerful attractions like the Murdered Jews Memorial, the Topography of Terror and the Checkpoint Charlie Museum are evidence of its steadfast reverence. And yet, Berlin is on the upswing. An afternoon people-watching at a lively café or an all-night dance fest at a hip club will provide you the proof.
How To Save Money in Berlin
- Visit in the winter Bundle up and enjoy this central German city in the winter. You'll most likely find some superb deals on flights and hotels though you'll definitely experience some frigid temps.
- Party in Berlin East You should take advantage of the bumping nightlife, but you don't have to pay a fortune to do so. Nightlife venues to the east of the city are generally more affordable than those in the west.
- Museum hop on Thursday evenings State-owned museums and galleries offer extended hours and free admission every Thursday.
Berlin Culture & Customs
East and West Berlin were historically united after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. Since then Germany has experienced a vast economic and cultural revitalization that has launched it into one of the most powerful countries in Europe and the world.
Although, Germany's official language is German, you'll find that some Berliners are proficient in English, too. Still, you can't go wrong learning a few German words: Guten Tag or Hallo for Hello, Bitte for Please, and Danke for Thank you.
Punctuality and order are two characteristics highly prized by German culture, so be sure to be on time to any business meeting or formal engagement. When in a restaurant, do not leave your money on the table after receiving the check. Hand the money to the waiter and be sure to ask for your change. At typical restaurants in Berlin you should add a five- to 10-percent tip.
Berlin's food options are wide-ranging, with an abundance of traditional German cuisine as well as a thriving ethnic food scene. Meat is the main ingredient in typical meals, but there are also several vegetarian-friendly options, especially in the Indian and Turkish restaurants. A "must-try" in Berlin is the famous currywurst, a bratwurst with ketchup and curry. You can buy them on the street from vendors throughout the city. The Mitte has a wide variety of traditional German restaurants and Kreuzberg is an excellent neighborhood for international cuisine.