Planning A Trip to Berlin: Everything You Should Know
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Are you planning a trip to Berlin? If so, I’ve got some tips for you! I visited Berlin for the first time in my adult life in 2019, and ended up loving the city so much I stayed for almost three weeks! You don’t need that long in the city, though – I was rushing around frantically, trying to ensure that I had enough information to be able to give people Berlin travel advice once I left.
This post covers just that. If you are thinking of going to Berlin but need some tips for planning your visit, I’ve got you covered! Here are some things to consider when you’re booking your Berlin trip.
Shop around for flight prices
Berlin is a transport hub, and you should be able to fly here from most destinations in Europe and many in North America and Asia – as well as some places further afield. However, some flights can be a lot more than others! To ensure that you get the right deal, I recommend using Omio’s flight checker.
Do try to book your flights to Berlin in advance too. I ended up booking mine last minute and having to pay almost double the original price I’d looked at!
Consider overland travel
If you want an adventure, why not try to travel to Berlin overland? There are many ways to do this – you could take a train from elsewhere in Europe or try Flixbus, a European coach company. This is often cheaper than flying and more eco-friendly!
You will need some cash
Despite the fact that it is such a modern city, Berlin surprisingly doesn’t accept cash in many places, especially for transactions. To avoid hassle when you get there, I’d recommend changing some money into Euros before going, and once you’re there, try to break notes down, so you have some change.
If you don’t spend all of this while you’re there, you’ve always got it for next time you visit Germany, Spain, France – or anywhere else that uses Euros!
Plan the attractions you want to see in advance
Berlin is absolutely brimming with world-class attractions. It would take you years to see them all – but there are certainly some highlights that you can enjoy with just limited time. Here are some things that you can’t miss.
- The iconic Brandenburg Gate.
- The equally iconic Berlin Wall – part of it that is still remaining has now been decorated with street art and is now East Side Gallery. You can also visit Checkpoint Charlie, although this area is very touristy.
- The DDR Museum – this was my favourite Museum in Berlin.
- The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe – this is obviously, a very upsetting place to visit. But it is essential to learn about.
- The Stasi Museum – a fascinating museum about spies in East Germany.
- The Tranenplast, which is the ‘house of tears’ and is all about families who lived either side of the Berlin Wall.
- Charlottenburg Palace, which is an old Prussian palace.
- Templehof, a disused airport.
- The Reichstag – this is the parliament building of Berlin and is a great place to learn about German politics, past and present.
- The David Hasselhoff Museum is more a shrine than a museum, but it’s worth visiting for the comedy factor, especially because many Berlin attractions are quite heavy. After visiting the museum, you can go upstairs to the bar to enjoy a stein of beer!
- There are also lots of day trips that you can do from Berlin, including Potsdam and Wannsee.
If you want to see how these attractions fit together, take a look at my 3 days in Berlin itinerary.
Do at least one walking tour!
One of the best ways to learn about Berlin’s diverse history is through a walking tour. There’s so much to see in this city, and a trained guide will show you around the best of it, taking you to hidden places that you wouldn’t have known about otherwise. It’s well worth doing!
I always to European walking tours with SANDEMANS. They do a general walking tour, a communist tour, a Third Reich tour an alternative culture tour – and more!
Consider booking accommodation in the East Side
Most people stay in gentrified areas like Kreuzberg and Mitte when they visit Berlin, but you can get some great deals in hotels a little further out of the centre.
I stayed in The Niu Hide, which was a funky and modern hotel. It takes a little while to get to the city centre from here, but it’s well worth it for the lower prices!
Everybody in the tourist industry will speak English – but it never hurts to brush up on your German!
Germans are exceptionally good at speaking English, and you’ll find that most younger people will be able to converse in English, and definitely if they work in the tourist industry. However, it never hurts to speak a little of the local language, even if the other person can speak perfect English.
Saying “Guten tag” instead of hello or “Danke” instead of thank you shows that you respect their language. You can also say “sprechen sie englisch?” to somebody before talking to them in English. Even if they speak perfect English, it’s polite to ask first!
Make sure that you enjoy Berlin’s multicultural dining scene
Berlin has a fantastic dining scene. This isn’t the place to book a self-catered stay, because you will want to eat at as many restaurants as possible while you’re here! Don’t worry if you’re vegan or vegetarian – it’s one of the best cities for plant-based food in the world.
Some amazing places I dined at were:
- Matreshka, a Russian restaurant with plenty of veggie options – and a free shot of vodka at the end of the meal!
- The Tajikistan Tea Rooms, which had Central Asian dishes like plov and samsas, in a beautiful tea house setting.
- You can’t visit Berlin without trying currywurst! Some places do veggie currywurst if you don’t eat meat.
Expect the unexpected
While there is a lot of history and so many bad things happened in Berlin, it’s also one of the most exciting and dynamic cities in the world. After I visited the David Hasselhoff Museum, I ended up buying tickets to see him in concert the following night! That kind of stuff just happens in Berlin – it’s a city where anything goes.
I hope that this post has helped you plan your trip to Berlin! It’s a city like no other, and I’m sure you’ll love your time there!