Top Questions About Visiting Berlin

Potsdamer Platz
Potsdamer Platz
Kurfuerstendamm (ku'Damm) at night.
Kurfuerstendamm (ku'Damm) at night.

Berlin Travel Necessities

Jack by BB Dakota Women's Topaz Jacket, Tan Beige, Large
Jack by BB Dakota Women's Topaz Jacket, Tan Beige, Large

A jacket, since weather changes very fast.

 
Reebok Women's Zigfuel Running Shoe,White/Glacier Blue/Silver,8 M US
Reebok Women's Zigfuel Running Shoe,White/Glacier Blue/Silver,8 M US

Comfortable Shoes. The older streets can be killer for those not used to it.

 
Going In Style German Phrasebook w/ BagTravel Set
Going In Style German Phrasebook w/ BagTravel Set

Although you will probably not need it, a German phrasebook may make you more comfortable.

 

© Nicole Paschal, All Rights Reserved

Since I’ve moved to Berlin, a number of friends and acquaintances have considered visiting this city. They’ve asked me for recommendations on what to see, to do, where to eat, and social customs. Below are some of my frequently asked questions and my honest responses.

1. What is there to see in Berlin?
Berlin Zoo- Great place for children and noted for the German’s amazing ability to simulate the animal’s natural environment.
Arthaus Tacheles- Former Jewish mall turned Nazi Administration Building. (People say they kept French prisoners on the fifth floor) Now it’s used for rebellious, liberal, free-spirited artist’s musings and exhibitions. There is a restaurant on site.
If you want to see more, check out my article, "10 Things to See in Berlin: An Insider's Guide!"

2. Where are the good restaurants?
Option 1: Get off at the Oranienburger Strasse S-Bahn Station and walk along Oranienburger Strasse. You will see a diverse selection of eateries with canopies and really a diverse selection of gastronomy. There is outside as well as inside seating.
Option 2: Get off at Haeckesher Markt S-Bahn station. The moment you step out of the station, you will a number of restaurants, vendors, bars, and street performers in the summer.

3. What are foods that I must try?
Eisbein- large pig’s leg.
Doener Kebab- You will find this at Turkish food stands alongside businesses lining the sidewalk. I think Germans eat this more than typical traditional food.
Gypsy Schnitzel (zigeunerschnitzel)- my favorite.

4. Should I speak English or German?
Germans always appreciate it when you speak to them in German. However, they will probably understand English quite well since most are bilingual, especially in the tourist areas. The problem is that some Germans seem to have trouble understanding German when the words are not pronounced exactly as they should be. A lot of times it’s either all or nothing- if your accent is foreign to them. Still, I think they appreciate the attempt.

5. Where are the Tourist Traps?
Perhaps they exist, but I don’t know of any. Maybe I just don’t recognize when I’m caught in the trap.

6. Should I tip?
Generally Germans don’t tip. Bartenders and wait staff tend to be paid well. Also, people do not tend to tip cab drivers. However, I don’t think they will be offended if you do tip.

7. Are there any social customs?
There are no social customs that come immediately to mind, but people tend to bump or push into others without saying a word. Or if you are walking too slowly, they will almost walk on your heels for you to hurry up. If you are in their way, they will push pass when they could have just said excuse me. Some parts of Berlin are kinder than others and although they tend to act like this in some areas, they for the most part, are respectful to women walking with children. I am American, out of the midwest and west coast and this bothers me. My husband is German and it is the normal Berlin way to him. My friends from New York tend to feel at home.

8. Are the taxi drivers reliable?
Yes, they are. My husband says he has never heard of any illegal activities with them. They charge a fee per kilometer and are reasonable in my opinion.

9. What is the weather like?
Watch the weather here before you come. Wind can be piercing cold, especially if you are from a warm region. Also, weather tends to be cloudy here, or what we call “Bewoelkt”! Anyone living in Germany for some time should get used to the word. I recall reading once that Berlin, Germany is 26% cloudier than Seattle, Washington. So, if that is a helpful indication of the weather, feel free to consider it. In winter, it is dark at around 4:30pm with light around 7am. We may have sunlight at around 8am. Summers can be very hot and humid, albeit still overcast with some days of sun. Weather is also unpredictable, so wear layers and carry umbrella.

10. How is public transportation in Berlin?
Public transportation is excellent! One has access to buses, the U-Bahn (underground) and S-Bahn (above ground) trains. Also, in the eastern area of Berlin there are trams as well. Only if you're hiking, collecting mushrooms, or doing anything else in the extremely rural areas, would you need to drive.

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Comments 5 comments

LA Elsen profile image

LA Elsen 4 years ago from Chicago, IL

This is awesome and so useful to me. My husband and I are looking into a trip to soon. Nice hub.


Om Paramapoonya profile image

Om Paramapoonya 4 years ago

Ok, so they have good public transportation, reliable taxi drivers, English-speaking people, cool places to visit, nice restaurants, and restaurant staff who don't expect tips??!! That sounds like an awesome place to visit. I think I wouldn't mind pushy pedestrians too much. The only thing I might not enjoy is probably the weather. Great hub!


carrie Lee Night profile image

carrie Lee Night 4 years ago from Northeast United States

Vega Vallari: Very informative hub. Always wanted to visit Berlin.

Parents and brother have been to Germany, they say some German people are very stiff and not friendly. I found that some people need to get to know you first before they open up. Thanks for this article :)


Vega Vallari profile image

Vega Vallari 4 years ago from Saint Petersburg, Florida Author

Thanks for commenting everyone! I hope to have others on Berlin very soon.


Brian 15 months ago

Uhm...yes you do tip taxi drivers, waiters etc. ... 10-20% is usual - if you're not happy with the service you obviously don't tip.

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