Berlin City Guide
The German city of Berlin is located in the north eastern part of the country and is a popular vacation destination for many tourists. Tourists who travel to Berlin usually have a desire to see the remnants of the Communist era that prevailed over parts of Germany after the Second World War and caused the city and its people to be divided by a huge wall.
The Berlin Wall was erected by the communists in 1961 and divided the city into East and West Berlin. East Berlin served as the capital of the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) while West Berlin was the capital of the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany). The monstrous wall not only divided the city and country, but it kept families apart as well as it was a major source of discontent on both sides. This divisive wall was finally brought down in 1990 during the German unification and today the united city of Berlin is the thriving capital city of Germany.
Modern day Berlin is a vibrant city renowned the world over as a prominent center for arts. The city is home to nearly 175 museums along with three opera houses, seven symphony orchestras and more than 130 theaters, apart from numerous art galleries as well as universities and research institutes. The city offers a fantastic night life scene that caters to all tastes and preferences. Berlin’s event calendar also includes the hosting of several festivals all year round like the Christopher Street Day Gay and Lesbian Parade, the Love Parade, Art Forum Berlin, Jazz Fest and the Christmas Market. These events in fact encourage tourists to book vacations to Berlin throughout the year.
Where to stay in Berlin
Most leisure and business visitors to Berlin elect to stay at hotels located near and around the Kurfürstendamm (Ku'Damm), which is the main boulevard of the city and its epicenter. This area hosts a wide array of hotels that include luxury hotel properties, well priced business hotels along with reasonably priced pensions (bed and breakfast inns) and small discount hotels and other budget accommodation.
Berlin hosts trade fairs, conferences and festivals all throughout the year and at times getting a hotel reservation in this heart of the city can be quite difficult but if you are planning to make your travel bookings with Fare Buzz, you can be sure of securing reservations at your favored hotel at a reasonable price as well.
Eastern Berlin continues to be an object of attraction for tourists who are curious about how life was behind the Iron curtain. This section of Berlin is currently being gentrified and though it doesn’t have much of a tourist structure as yet, it hosts several luxury hotels, which are favored by adventurous tourists on a visit to Berlin.
Grunewald and Charlottenburg
Grunewald is located on the outskirts of Berlin near the Grunewald Forest and Charlottenburg. Both areas offer several grades of hotels that are popular with visitors who enjoy being in natural surroundings and don’t mind commuting into the city for shopping and other attractions during their stay in Berlin.
Near Tegel Airport
Berlin’s Tegel Airport is accessible via a 20 minute taxi ride from the city but very often business travelers, who often have other cities to visit on a work trip, choose to stay at one of the many business hotels located in the area around Berlin’s Tegel Airport.
Places to see in Berlin
The magnificent and imposing Brandenburg gate is today one of Berlin’s most prominent attractions. This sandstone gate was built between 1788 and 1791 features 12 Doric columns and is topped by an awe-inspiring statue of the Goddess of Victory. For years the Brandenburg Gate was closed off to tourists as it lay between no man’s land between East and West Germany, now however the gate has been opened but remains closed to traffic. The Bradenburg gate leads on to the newly reconstructed Pariser Platz that links the gate to the beautiful Unter den Linden Boulevard.
Checkpoint Charlie Museum
Check Point Charlie was the monitoring tower and was used to control the Berlin Wall during the Cold War. Today this infamous border crossing has become a shrine to the communist years and offers a small museum located very close to the actual Checkpoint Charlie on Friedrichstrasse. This museum is crammed with fantastic memorabilia, photos, and accounts of tragic tales of near escapes as well as narrations of successful escape stories from East to West Berlin during the twenty eight years that the city was divided by the wall. The Checkpoint Charlie Museum should be considered a must-do for any visitor with an interest in the events of the Second World War.
Potsdamer Platz was yet another tragedy of the Cold War. This historic square was once the busiest junction in Europe and was cut into two by the divisive Berlin Wall. After the wall was brought down in 1989-1990, Potsdamer Platz came to be resurrected. Today this square is considered to be the heart of Berlin and hosts many restaurants, shopping centers, hotels, a casino, cinemas, theatres and attractions like Debi Haus, the Sony Center and the Potsdamer Platz Arkaden( a shopping mall).
The Allied Museum is yet another World War II attraction in Berlin. This museum that is housed in a movie theater offers displays that highlight the role of the Allied forces during World War II. The permanent collection at the museum features war memorabilia, photos, weapons and other relics like the original Checkpoint Charlie shed. This museum is yet another must-do for history buffs on a vacation in Berlin who have an interest in the Second World War period.
Berlin Wall Eastside Gallery
The remains of the Berlin Wall have now been converted to an open-air art gallery. A section of the wall that extended from Ostbahnof station to Oberbaumbrucke now hosts the artwork of 118 graffiti artists from around the world. This open air gallery is now a landmark attraction in Berlin.
The Berlin Cathedral was constructed between 1895 and 1905 and is an imposing structure that stands on a site that once hosted various other structures. The Berlin cathedral offers several points of interest like its pulpit, organ, stained glass windows and dome adorned with ornate mosaics.
Best time to visit Berlin
Most tourists choose to visit Berlin during the summer months, which extend from June to September. The average temperatures during these months range from 70F (21C) to 74F (23C) and the weather is quite conducive to walking around and taking in the city’s many wondrous sights.
Winters in Berlin on the other hand are bitterly cold and damp. Snowfall is usually plentiful and temperatures during the winter months of December to February usual register numbers that are close to freezing or just below freezing point.
No matter when you decide to visit Berlin, Fare Buzz can procure attractive flight and hotel deals for you as it announces tempting flight deals for Berlin periodically.
If you are in the market for cheap air flights for Berlin, then you would do well to connect with Fare Buzz on various social media platforms so that you can receive advance information about these cheap air tickets to Berlin. This is critical information especially if you are thinking of booking a vacation to Berlin sometime soon.
Getting around in Berlin
Berlin is served by its Berlin-Tegel Airport that is located five miles to the north west of the center of Berlin. This airport welcomes a whole host of low cost and full service carriers from Europe and other parts of the globe that makes getting to Berlin a breeze. The Berlin airport is connected to the city center by public buses.
Berlin like various other German cities has an efficient and extensive public transport network consisting of buses, trams, the U-bahn (underground), the S-Bahn (commuter rail), ferries that connect all corners of the city. The city is equipped with abundant taxis though it is always cheaper to hail one in the street rather than call one. The city also actively promotes’ green travel’ and is well equipped with biking paths and offers facilities to carry bikes on trains.
Most visitors choose to use public transport during their stay in Berlin but if you wish to rent a car for your stay in Berlin it is possible to do so as the city is equipped with the outlets of all the major car rental agencies. Driving in Berlin moreover is quite easy but traffic can be congested and parking is expensive. Also it is advisable to reserve your car rental before you get to Berlin as it cheaper to book your car rental in advance rather than after you arrive at your destination. Fare Buzz offers various affordable car rentals for Berlin which can be booked at the same platforms that you use to make your other travel bookings for Berlin.
Where to shop in Berlin
Berlin is studded with great places to shop. The city’s shopping landscape is in fact quite diverse as it offers myriad mainstream and avant-garde shopping options, which oddly enough seem to co-exist in harmony.
Friedrichstrasse is a prominent upscale shopping district in the city, home to luxe department stores like la Galerie Lafayette and Quartier 206, which are filled with numerous upscale wares. Also located within Friedrichstrasse, is the famed book store Dussmann das Kulturkaufhaus.
Other prominent shopping centers in Berlin include the gargantuan KaDeWe mall, located within the western half of the city and extending over a massive 60,000 sq. meters. KaDeWe offers a whole host of domestic and international brands. A newer shopping mall located close by is the Wilmersdorfer Arcaden, home to more than 125 shops offering apparel, electronics, accessories, gourmet foods and so forth.
Also worth a look-in is the Europa Center (within the Charlottenburg-District), which hosts more than 100 shops, restaurants and a cinema complex. Alexanderplatz located in the eastern half the city offers shopping, options at locales like the Alexanderplatz station, the Alexa mall and the Galeria department store.
Younger shoppers tend to gravitate towards areas of Berlin like Kurfürstendamm and Tauenzienstraße which offer outposts of fashionable brands like Zara, H&M, Benetton and many more.
Aside from stores and malls, Berlin also offers myriad shopping actions at its many animated markets like the Kunstmarkt, the Juni at Tiergarten, the Antik, the Bookmarket at the Bodemuseum and the Winterfeldtmarkt.
A point to keep in mind while planning your shopping expeditions in Berlin, most shops in Germany are closed on Sundays, though on some occasions like during the year-end holiday shopping season, shops do open for business on certain Sundays.
Where to eat in Berlin
Berlin offers an exciting, ever-changing dining landscape that aims to cater to all budgets and tastes. If you are on a budget in Berlin then do try well-priced haunts like Burgermeister, Curry 36 (Curry Wurst) , Mo’s Falafal, Monsieur Voung (Vietnamese) and Witty’s (Sausages). For mid-range fare head to the city’s eateries like Lavenderia Vecchia (Italian), The Bird (American eats), Café Jacques (French) and Good Friends (Cantonese). If money is no issue try Little Otik (American), Sassaya (Japanese), Brochardt (German fare) or Papa e Ciccia (Italian).
Nightlife in Berlin
Berlin is another European city which is renowned for its extremely vibrant nightlife scene. It is often said that Berlin gives NYC a run for its money for it offers countless opportunities to party round the clock. Berlin’s numerous bars, pubs and clubs are scattered throughout its various buzzing nightlife districts like the touristy Mitte, Prenzlauer Berg, Friedrichshain and Kreuzberg. However its worth remembering, that most bars and pubs in the city don’t fill up until 9/10pm and they usually stay open until 3am. As for nightclubs, they really don’t get going until midnight and tend to stay open until 6am though there are a few haunts in Berlin like Trinkteufel, Bei Schlawinchen and Jasmin Bierbar, which stay open round the clock.