Berlin City Guide
Berlin is the capital city of Germany, and is its largest city. Because the western and eastern parts of Berlin were separated from 1949 until 1989, Berlin is one of the most diverse cities in the European Union. The city is located on the rivers Havel and Spree, and is surrounded by the state of Brandenburg. Berlin has a population of approximately 3 and half million people.
The city is an important part of the expansion of the European Union, and is the cultural and political center of the country. The city of Berlin is well known for its universities, as well as its museums and research facilities. Berlin was founded in the 13th century after Germanic people settled on the land that was once a Slavic area.
Berlin is without a shadow of a doubt the heart of Germany, a city which defines Germany and its culture. As one of popular tourist destinations in Europe, millions of travelers from around the world visits Berlin every year to see what a vibrant city of 21st century has to offer. We provide some guidance to travel around Berlin below.
When it comes to attractions, Berlin is a city which has something for everyone. Those who enjoy going to museums will find many in Berlin. Those who enjoy history will want to visit the Brandenburger Tor, which at one time was the iron boundary between east and west Berlin. It is one of the most photographed areas of Germany.
Often the conflict between Old Berlin and New Berlin overwhelms visitors, so this short introductory guide aims to lay out a few must-see spots within walking distance of each other. Your trip will most likely start at the Berlin Hauptbahnhof – The New Berlin Central Station, which sits near the German Parliament Building – Reichstag.
After the Reichstag, you can walk to the Brandenburger Tor – Symbol of The City and admire the statue on top of the gate and enjoy the renewed beauty of the Pariser Platz. Pariser Platz form the link between the Brandenburg Gate and the Unter den Linden – Berlin’s most beautiful boulevard. There are embassies, noble villas and luxurious Hotel Adlon around the square at the end of Unter den Linden.
On a pleasant day, this is a good place to sit and drink a coffee or eat a quick meal – After a cup of coffee and some snapshots, the next thing to do is walking down Unter den Linden in the direction of the Fernsehturm (TV tower) and Alexanderplatz (Berlin’s most famous square). At the Fernsehturm you can stand in a long line again for the opportunity to go up the 368 meters to see the entire city. Once at the top, however, one can eat at the city’s highest restaurant, which actually revolves 360 degrees approximately every 30 minutes.
There are plenty of quality shops and cafes in the vicinity of Under den Linden, including the large Dussmann Kulturkaufhaus (a book, music, and media store). Unter den Linden intersects with Friedrichstra?e, the 3.5 km long legendary street, that combines the tradition of the “Golden Twenties” with the architecture of the New Berlin.
No trip to Berlin is complete without visiting the historic Museumsinsel (literally: Museum Island – really more of a peninsula), a unique cultural inheritance which unites five museums – Altes Museum, Neues Museum, Alte Nationalgalerie (Old Natioanl Gallery), Bodemuseum and Pergamonmuseum. Since Museumsinsel is formed by the River Spree, a pleasant way to spend the afternoon is on one of the many boat tours.
If you have more time in Berlin and want to explore the city more, you may want to add the following popular spots in your itinerary:
- Botanischer Garten
The 43-ha Botanic Garden with 22,000 plants from all over the world invites you for a trip through four continents.
- Berliner Dom – Church of the Kaisers
The Berlin Cathedral was built in the 18th century during the reign of Kaiser Wilhelm II as the royal and memorial church of Prussia’s royal family, the Hohenzollern.
- Berlin Wall
You can enjoy the arts by the famous spraying artists on East Side Gallery – the east side of the preserved section of the Wall.
Enjoy the charm of Old Berlin at Schlossstraße, a fine boulevard lined with splendid 19th-century villas and several important museums. The street begins at Schloss Charlottenburg (Charlottenburg Palace) leads southwards, and was designed as a view corridor to the palace.
- Tierpark Friedrichsfelde
Located in the historic parklands around Friedrichsfelde Palace, the 160-hectare Zoological garden is home to several rare species.
When it comes to dining, Germany has a fairly simple traditional cuisine. Most German dishes are composed of meats and potatoes. Despite this, you can find many different types of food in Berlin.
Most restaurants and other establishments will charge a service fee, and you can tip them extra if you choose to, though it is not expected. While many large establishments take credit cards, most of Germany is still a cash based society.
Being popular tourist destination, Berlin offers a variety of accommodation types that fit your budget, from luxurious hotels to affordable accommodation options. Some of the most popular hotels in the city can be found in the famous boulevards such as Friedrichstrasse, conveniently near to facilities such as shops and restaurants.
The followings are recommended hotels you can stay in Berlin:
- The Regent Hotel Berlin (5-star hotel)
Address: Charlottenstrasse 49, Berlin, Germany
With its unique location and rich history building, The Regent Berlin combines the city’s traditions with exclusivity, luxury and exceptional service. The classical designed room of the hotel offers a view of the Gendarmenmarkt, one of the most beautiful squares in Berlin, on one side and a cozy Courtyard on the other side.
- The Westin Grand Hotel Berlin ( 5-star hotel)
Address: Friedrichstrasse 158-164, Berlin, Germany
Located in the heart of “reunified” Germany is Berlin’s Mitte District, within easy walking distance of some of the most popular historic sites of the entire city, the Westin Grand Hotel is suitable to both leisure and business travelers.
photo credit: Alina Sofia
- Innside Premium Hotel Berlin (4-star hotel)
Address: Lange Strasse 31, Berlin, Germany
The Innside Premium Hotel Berlin is located near the center of the city, near the Ostbahnhof railway station as well as subway and bus stations. With the O2 Arena, the East Side Gallery and many shopping and dining options within easy walking distance, the Innside Premium Hotel is the convenient hotel to stay for both business and leisure travel.
Germany is a fairly expensive city where it is easy to spend lots of money. If you use a rail pass to get around and prepare your own meals, you may be able to stay in Berlin for 50 euros a day. Those who choose to stay at mid range hotels and use public transport can expect to spend 100 euros per day.
Time to Visit Berlin
Berlin is a great city to visit at all times of the year, but the weather is best between the months of May and September. The city is very busy during the summer, but is a great time for those who love the outdoors.
Getting Around Berlin
Berlin has a great public transportation system – an integrated transport system of city buses, trams, underground metro (U-Bahn), commuter rail system (S-Bahn) and ferries – that let you get around the city easily 24 hours a day. To save money on transport, you can also buy Berlin WelcomeCard that offers a public transport ticket for unlimited travel on 2, 3 or 5 days in Berlin.
For further information (tariff, tickets, line network) : Berlin Public Transportation
Location Map of Berlin
- Berlin Tourismus Marketing GmbH – http://www.visitberlin.de/english/sightseeing/index.php
- Berlin City Segway Tour – http://citysegwaytours.com/berlin
- BVG official site for Berlin underground (U-Bahn), bus, tramway and ferry – http://www.bvg.de/index.php/en/index.html
- Urban Railway (S-Bahn) site – www.s-bahn-berlin.de