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Berlin, Germany: City Guide

Updated on June 17, 2014

Berlin: A Beautiful City of History and Culture

Berlin is a beautiful and historically fascinating city and has probably changed more than any other European city in recent times. Since the reunification of East and West Berlin and the removal of most of the infamous Berlin Wall, old landmark buildings have been renovated, new ones built, mostly on the site of the wall and some removed completely. It is still possible to follow the path of the wall and in a few places see sections of it that act as a reminder to future generations.


Berlin has many museums and galleries and plenty of shopping opportunities, but it is also famous for its beer-drinking culture, nightlife, all-night nightclubs and bars, cool music scene and some good quality restaurants and hotels at reasonable prices (when compared to the likes of Paris, Rome or London). Beer Gardens (biergarten) are the most traditional German drinking establishments, but there are many road-side cafÈs and more modern trendy establishments too.

Berlin, Germany

Map of Germany - Where is Berlin?

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Berlin, Germany
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Getting to Berlin - Traveling to and from Berlin, Germany

Most scheduled flights use the small, compact and convenient Tegel airport, just 8km (5 miles) from Mitte (the centre of Berlin) A short taxi ride costing less than Euro 20 or an inexpensive bus ride (Euro 2.10) to Zoologischer Garten (Zoo station or Bahnhof Zoo).

There is also Schonefeld Airport, the former East Berlin Airport, 18km (11 miles) from the centre of Berlin often used by British budget airlines.

British Airways flys from London Heathrow Airport, Terminal 5 to Tegel, Berlin, taking less than 2 hours.

Berlin Boat Trips

Berlin Boat Trips
Berlin Boat Trips

Guide Books for Berlin, Germany

Photo: The Last Remaining Watch Tower, Berlin Wall

Photo: The Last Remaining Watch Tower, Berlin Wall
Photo: The Last Remaining Watch Tower, Berlin Wall

Getting Around Berlin

Transport in the city

Transport In and Around Berlin - Trains, Boats and Taxis

The main railway station is Berlin Hauptbahnhof and there is a network of local trains: the U-Bahn and S-Bahn, buses and trams.

Taxis are the easiest way to get around, but can be expensive.

Boat trips and tourist buses are also available in the centre of Berlin.

Driving in Berlin should be easy compared to many European cities, although parking could be a problem.

Photo: The Reichstag

Photo: The Reichstag
Photo: The Reichstag

Where to stay in Berlin?

Where is the Best Place To Stay in Berlin? - The most central location in Berlin for tourists

Mitte is the most central district of Berlin (meaning middle) The roads Unter den Linden and Friedrichstrasse run east-west and north-south through Mitte. Linden is a grand avenue ending at Alexanderplatz (centre of old East Berlin)

A good hotel in Mitte: The Westin Grand, Berlin, Friedrichstrasse 158-164, Berlin 10117 Germany

Phone: (49)(30) 20270 Fax: (49)(30) 20273362

The Westin Grand Hotel is indeed a grand hotel with foyer open right up to an ornate ceiling on the 7th floor. Reasonable sized bright rooms with fairly poor air conditioning. Nicely decorated if a little sombre in some areas. Just Euro 130 per night for a double make it rather less expensive than a similar hotel in Paris, Rome or London, although breakfast is not included in the price and at Euro 29 each it is probably worth venturing out to a good cafe. The buffet breakfast was a slightly superior version of the usual posh hotel fayre, although I'd still rather have a proper breakfast cooked for me, rather than have to fight the hungry bleary-eyed hoards. Eggs cooked to order.

The hotel Westin Grand, also has a good outdoor bar with a small section of the Berlin Wall on display and a more subdued foyer bar with Grand Piano. They serve a pleasant Dunkel Weissenbier my favourite German tipple (cloudy brown wheet beer although prone to inducing borborygmi)

Please See Other European Hotel Recommendations

Map of Berlin - Map of Mitte and Tiergaten, Berlin

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Mitte, Berlin
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B markerTiergaten, Berlin -
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Inside The Westin Grand Hotel, Berlin

Inside The Westin Grand Hotel, Berlin
Inside The Westin Grand Hotel, Berlin

Where to Eat and drink

Where is the Best Place to Eat in Berlin?

There are many good places to eat in Berlin, but here is a small selection:

Restaurant: Aigner Gendarmenmarkt, Franzˆsische Strasse 25, near hotel in Mitte. Very good germanic food. Sat outside. Euro 73 for 2 courses each and 0.5l table wine.

Lutter and Wegner Laggner, a pleasant restaurant with a good wine selection on Charlottenstrasse: hearty german soups and meaty main courses in a restaurant with ambiance: wine bottles floor to ceiling. The service was far too quick though, for such filling food.

The hotel Westin Grand has a good outdoor bar with a small section of the Berlin Wall on display and a more subdued foyer bar with Grand Piano.

There are many "Einstein Cafes" in Mitte which are generally good, but can be crowded. Similar in concept to Starbucks.

Lunch at Gendarmerie, corner of Behrenstrasse and Charlottenstrasse. Good Modern European food. Outside seating is available.

Brandenburger Tor (Brandenburger Gate) Berlin

Brandenburger Tor (Brandenburger Gate) Berlin
Brandenburger Tor (Brandenburger Gate) Berlin

Things to See and Do in Berlin

Photo of Section of The Berlin Wall

Photo of Section of The Berlin Wall
Photo of Section of The Berlin Wall

Attractions in Berlin - Tours, Museums, Galleries, Clubs etc...

The Reunification of Berlin Tour:

Checkpoint Charlie (Kochstrasse & Friedrichstrasse) the famous border crossing for non-Germans is in Mitte and easily walkable from most central parts of Berlin. US Army control hut is a fake for the benefit of tourists, but good info about the Berlin Wall is displayed along the road.

Walk along the path of the Berlin Wall marked with a double row of cobbles and at Niederkirchnerstrasse a 200 metre section of the wall, almost intact and protected by wire fence. Last remaining watch tower at Erna-Berger-Strasse.

Finish the walk at Denkmal fur die ermordeten Juden Europas (Memorial to Murdered Jews of Europe) the Brandenburger Tor the Tiergarten and the Reichstag.

Art Galleries and Museums in Berlin

Many of the main galleries and museums are in or near the central Mitte region of Berlin

Nationalgallerie (The Old National Gallery) which has Germany's largest collection of 19th century art including German artists: Adolph Menzel, Caspar David Friedrich, Max Liebermann and Carl Spitzweg and some early impressionist art

Deutsches Historiches Museum (The Museum of German History) which covers German History from Germanic tribes around 1000 years BC to modern times, including good coverage of the world wars and Berlin's involvementin them.

Other Galleries, Museums and Attractions in Berlin:

Altes Museum: Art Gallery, formerly the Royal Museum

Berliner Dom: The Berlin Cathedral built in Italian Renaissance style

Denkmal fur die ermortdeten Juden Europas: the Murdered Jew of Europe

Pergamonmuseum: Berlin's Archaeoligcal museum.

Other regions in Berlin

Prezlauer Berg, Tiergarten, Charlottenburg, Schoneberg, Kreuzberg, Friedrichshain

Photo: Memorial and Checkpoint Charlie

Photo: Memorial and Checkpoint Charlie
Photo: Memorial and Checkpoint Charlie

Berlin National Gallery

Berlin National Gallery
Berlin National Gallery

Digital Cameras - Ideal cameras for a city sight seeing tour

What's On?

Diary of Events in Berlin

What is on in Berlin? Winter Events.

January:

Tanztage - a 2-week dance event

International Grune Woche - 10 day German food and drink festival

UltraSchall - 10 day music festival

Bread & butter - 3 day fashion event

Lange Nacht der Museen - 200 museums stay open late

February:

Transmediale - digital art and culture

Berlin International Film Festival

What's on in Berlin? Spring Events

March:

MaerzMusik - Festival f¸r aktuelle Musik - contemporary music

International Tourism Fair

Zeitfenster - Music Festival

May:

Qatar Telecom Ladies German Open

Thetertreffen Berlin - theatre competition

Karvenal der Kulturn - mutlicultural parade

Photo: Berlin Wall (close-up)

Photo: Berlin Wall (close-up)
Photo: Berlin Wall (close-up)

Things to do in Berlin: Summer Events

June:

Berlin Philharmonie at the Waldbuhne - candle lie open air classical concert

Fetes de la Musique - summer solstice music event

Schwul-Lesbisches Stassenfest

Christopher Street Day Parade

July:

Classic Open Air Concert

Love Parade

Bread & Butter - fashion fair

Deutsch-Amerikanisches Volksfest - American style family fun

August:

young.euro.classic - classical music

Internationales Berliner Bierfestival -

Berlin Beer Festival

Fantasy Film Festival - Sci Fi, fantasy, horror films

Tanz I'm August - dance festival

Kreuzberger Festliche Tage - family fun and beer

Checkpoint Charlie, Berlin Wall

Checkpoint Charlie, Berlin Wall
Checkpoint Charlie, Berlin Wall

Things to Do in The Autumn and Christmas in Berlin

September:

Popkomm

Musikfest Berlin - classical music with the Berlin Philharmonic

International Literature Festival

Art Forum Berlin Messegelande am Funkturm

Berlin Marathon

October:

Spielzeiteuropa - theatre and dance

Tag der Deutschen Einheit - Day of German Unity

Venus Berlin - Trade Fair

JazzFest Berlin: 4 day jazz event

November:

Christmas Markets

Berliner Marchentage - fairytale festival

Verzaubert: Queer Film Festival

December:

Heilier Abend - Christmas Eve

Weihnachten - Christmas Day

Stephanstag - St Stephen's Day / Boxing Day

Berliner Silvesterlauf - fun-run

Silvester - New Year's Eve

Please Leave Some Feedback

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    • profile image

      Nightlife-Author 5 years ago

      congrats. now, your lens got 20 likes and 100 percent completed. he he he

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Very well done as always. I would love to be able to travel like you do Andy. Thanks for sharing your articles and photos.

    • SayGuddaycom profile image

      SayGuddaycom 5 years ago

      Bueno

    • vincente lm profile image

      vincente lm 5 years ago

      @anonymous: I use the prepaid card from Aldi ( a grocery chain) which has super cheap data rates as well. That's perfect for a week or two. For a longer time I would say to look for an other service.

    • vincente lm profile image

      vincente lm 5 years ago

      Love the lens!!! I'm German .. makes me miss Berlin!!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Great lens! Can you recommend any solution for mobile internet and cellular phone usage in Germany?

    • Holiday Villa Se profile image

      Holiday Villa Se 5 years ago

      Really informative lens! Good work!

    • profile image

      Lindrus 5 years ago

      Thanks for this informative lens! I really enjoy going to Berlin, both a historical and modern city. For a relaxing beach vacation I prefer to go to Sithonia Halkidiki in northern Greece.

    • GETREADY LM profile image

      GETREADY LM 5 years ago

      Hi there,

      we would like to know if it would be possible to rent a link on your lens pointing to our site www.getreadyberlin.com

      please get in touch with us at info@getreadyrentals.com

      Thanks for your time.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Super lens mate. Had a fab time in Berlin last year - a lot of your recommendations match mine! I'll make sure I go back for the Berliner Bierfestival next time though. I absolutely adore their wheat beer.

      One thing not to do - don't stay in a hotel near Berlin airport - for obvious reasons (the noise pollution!)

    • mivvy profile image

      mivvy 6 years ago

      Great Berlin lens, excellent information and a pleasure to read

    • delia-delia profile image

      Delia 7 years ago

      Hey Andy, great lens on my Birth place, it brought back memories of my trip there a few years ago....I'm lensrolling it to my "Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church" lens

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      This lens is awesome. I love it. I am going to tell my editors on my Thai News website to write something about this lens and probably feature it.

      I will comment here again once we do.

      Great Work

    • profile image

      pintofmilk 7 years ago

      Great lens, very useful and informative. Berlin is definitely one of the greatest cities in Europe! Shame about the weather but you can't have it all :)

      I've written a lens on the Real Berlin Marathon - one of the world's greatest marathons. Hope some people will find it of interest.

      http://www.squidoo.com/berlin-hotels-near-marathon...

      Cheers!

      Paul

    • lakshyaa profile image

      lakshyaa 7 years ago

      Wonderful and indepth information about Berlin...5 stars!

    • indigoj profile image

      Indigo Janson 7 years ago from UK

      A very useful guide to a wonderful city - and great photos too!

    • profile image

      julieannbrady 8 years ago

      Andy, I've always thought that I'd like to visit Berlin some day -- something that might not have been possible some years ago. Great guide!

    • ElizabethJeanAl profile image

      ElizabethJeanAl 8 years ago

      Berlin is a fascinating city with a lot of history.

      Great information and pictures.

      Thanks for sharing.

      Lizzy

    • ElizabethJeanAl profile image

      ElizabethJeanAl 8 years ago

      Berlin is on my someday list

    • lollyj lm profile image

      Laurel Johnson 8 years ago from Washington KS

      Loved this lens, Andy. Hubby was airlifted to Berlin with the Big Red One during the Berlin crisis. One of his first duties was as guard at the Brandenburg Gate. He loved Berlin and Germany. 5 from your fellow Squidazzler in the JJJ team.

    • Dianne Loomos profile image

      Dianne Loomos 8 years ago

      Sounds like a very interesting city with a lot of history.