New to Berlin? Want to get the most out of your trip? Our Berlin travel guide for backpackers has all you need to know about the city.
Berlin in brief; poor but sexy
A multicultral masterpiece, Berlin is on of the most popular destinations in all Europe. Berlin offers culture, history and some of the best nightlife in Europe. And it is cheaper than most European cities.
Most travellers make a point of taking in the WWII related sites, but don't limit youself to museums. Go out an explore this vibrant city in all it's facets (it has many!). If your a first timer, why not get your bearings on one of the many excellent tours which delve into Berlin's past history or modern day culture.
Traveller reviews of Berlin
German (with a good understanding of English)
25 - 50 €
Days to do it justice
Min. 3 days
5 -10% in restaurants, bars and taxis
Tip as your pay, don't leave it on the table
Berlin is largely a cash only city
Many businesses will not accept credit cards
10am to 8pm Monday to Saturday
Most shops are closed on Sundays
What to see and do in Berlin
From Schoenefeld Airport
Train - Take the S-bahn line S9 into the city
Time: 45 mins Cost: 2.60 €
Taxi - Easily hailable in front of the terminal
Time: 40 mins Cost: 45 € (ish)
FROM TEGEL AIRPORT
Bus - Take the TXL to Alexanderplatz
Time: 50 mins Cost: 2.60 €
Taxi - Easily hailable in front of the terminal
Time: 30 mins Cost: 35 euro (ish)
Berlin has a world class public transport system comprising of trains,trams and busses which run day and night, so you will have no troubles getting around.
A single trip ticket costs 2.60 € for the AB (aka most of the city) ticket. All day ticket costs 5.20 €.
The city is also small (and flat) enough to navigate easily by bike.
----------------- Warnings -----------------
The trains are regularly patrolled by both uniformed and plain clothed ticket checkers. If they find you with an unvalidated ticket or ticketless, it will cost you 40 € on the spot.
At stations, people may ask for your ticket as you leave or try to sell you tickets as you arrive. Don't do it.
Where to stay in Berlin
Don't stay in the grey
Deciding between districts
MITTE - Best for the being central
Berlin’s heart is the most expensive area and often over run by tourists. While it is the most central, you will be hard pressed to find decent pricedfood or any actual Berliners.
PRENZLAUERBERG - Best for couples
Known as the young family distrct, Prenzlauerbeg hold a good choice for mid priced bars and restaurnats, but is not a place to party till dawn. Good transport connection with the U2.
KREUZBERG - Best for solo travelers
With some of the best known clubs partying from Thursday till Monday, Friedrichsain-Kreutzberg epitomises Berlin counter culture. Plenty of cheap eats and good connections the center of town.
NEUKOLN - Best for low budget
One of the cheapest districts, Neuköln is also on the edge although in the past years it has settled down due to a student influx with many local bars poping up.
TIERGARTEN - Best for relaxation
Home to one of Berlins largets parks and the zoo, with easy connections to Potsdamerplatz, Tiergarten isideal for those looking for a relaxing break.
What is there to eat?
Berlin is not Bavaria, so don't be fooled by 'traditional' German restaurnats. If you want to eat like a local try these delicacies.
Adding a touch of India to a traditional bratwurst (aka German saussage), currywurst is a local staple when your on the go. Be sure to get it from a real stand, not a street vendor, if you're after quality.
It is little known that the kabab was invented in Berlin by a Turkish immagrent. Both the meat and vegetarian varieties are among the most popular Berlin meals.
Powering the entire Berlin workforce, this caffinated beverage is an taste to be tried. Same kick as a can of Redbull, but no sugar and long lasting effects.
German words that will serve you well
Be smart and travel safe
Berlin is overall a very safe city with low crime rates, metered and (mostly) honest taxi drivers and helpful citizens, but there are a few scams to be aware of before you travel.
If someone insists it is an origional piece of the Berlin Wall, chances are it's spray painted concrete.
1. DO NOT get your passport stamped at the East Side Gallery or Checkpoint Charlie, for many countires this will invalidate your passport.
2. While there are still many segments of the real Berlin Wall and other GDR memorabilia, these are not often sold in area of high tourist traffic. Know that you are probably buying a fake.
3. Beware actors in costumes ‘kindly’ offering to take a photo with you. Often they will charge you for the priveledge. If you want a photo, negotiate the price before hand.
Know before you go
An understanding an appreciation for Berlin's culture and history will greatly enhance your stay.
The Lives of Others
A fictional story, providing insights into the operations of the Satsi in East Berlin.
Exit Through the Gift Shop
Based on a true story, a French man seek out the famous street artist Banksy.