Your Berlin holiday
The city of Berlin began as a small fishing community called Colln. Located on the Spree River, this community eventually merged with the nobles from a neighbouring community in 1244. The nobles were ruthless rulers over the town people and in the 15th century the people sought the protection of the Roman Emperor and leader Fredrich von Hohenzollern. The family was in control of Berlin for many centuries up until the foundation of the German Reich in 1871. With the onset of the Industrial Revolution, more people moved to Berlin to work from the surrounding countryside, spurring a major population increase to around four million people by beginning of the 20th century. Towards the end of the 19th century, Otto von Bismarck connected France, Prussia, Austria and other parts of Germany together. However, the empire faced a serious problem following First World War, and riots took out the imperial political system and replaced it with a democratic constitution. Devastating economic problems and the fallout from the First World War created the desperation in Germany that allowed Hitler to rise to power, marching into Berlin and taking control of the country in 1933. Hitler invaded Austria and Czechoslovakia and ordered the ghettoisation, repression, and execution of Jewish populations in Berlin and across the country. The result was the Holocaust and the Second World War. Following the War, the United States controlled the West and Soviet Union the East of the city. However, the United States airlifted food to Berlin, until the wall dividing the city fell in 1989.
Best time to take a vacation to Berlin
The weather in Berlin can change quickly, and visitors should bring rain or snow gear when travelling to the city. Temperatures normally fall between summer highs of 23Â°C and winter lows that regularly reach -3Â°C. Tourists typically come to the city during the more temperate months of April through October, though tours of the beautiful snowfalls of winter on the historic buildings of Berlin have their own appeal for more romantically inclined visitors. The FÃªte de la Musique and OberbaumbrÃ¼cke Festival, both featuring music and dance, occur during Berlin's more temperate months.
Insider tips for Berlin travel
Germany's parliamentary building provides one of the best observation decks from which to take in a view of the whole city.
This flea market lies outside of most tourist venues and is an excellent place to find hand-crafted regional goods and foods.
This small market sells locally grown fruits and vegetables alongside arts and crafts. The freshly baked bread on Saturdays is a real treat.
City Guesthouse Pension Berlin
The City Guesthouse has one of the best breakfast buffets available in Berlin.
This local coffee chain specializes in traditional blends and avoids more commercialized coffees.
Stroll though Tiergarten
Relax and enjoy natural scenery at the Tiergarten. The largest park in Berlin is also the oldest. It was once hunting terrain, but has been changed to become the best spot for people to jog, walk, and simply take in the surrounding natural beauty. The park has monument memorials from the war, statues, and old estates, as well as a great Philharmonie where Berlin’s Philharmonic Orchestra plays. It is also home to the Bauhaus Archiv-Museum, a famous design school.
Visit the Alexanderplatz Square
Step back into political history at this constantly transforming square. An old train track cuts the square area in half, with the Platz part to one side, and a Marx-Engels Forum and Television Tower on the opposite. The historic television tower has a remarkable café on the highest floor. The tower spins every half hour, providing unforgettable views of the city.
Get a City Wide Perspective
See all the best that Berlin has to offer with City Guide Berlin company tour services. This one-day tour will delight visitors who are interested in history and architectural marvels, and comes with backstage passes to the theatre and performance circuit. The excursion is great for budget travellers who are short on time.
Step into the Wild at the Zoologischer Garten Berlin
Check out elephants, panda bears, or insects are housed in this world-renowned zoo, which has more variation of species than all other zoos in the world. An accompanying aquarium features a large collection of sea animals Coordinate your visit with the Animal Park Festival, when the zoo welcomes music, art, and dance to add to the animal sights. Be sure to go with plenty of time to spare, because once visitors enter they find themselves staying an entire day.
Top Berlin attractions
Berlin Wall Memorial
The wall that once separated East and West Berlin provides many local tourist and cultural attractions. The memorial focuses on daily life in the city during the period.
This historic location often signifies the separation of East and West Berlin in films and movies based on the city's past.
Stop for photographs at one of the most famous points along the wall's former location.
Topography of Terror
Like the Memorial, the Topography avoids tourist clichÃ©s and sticks to the details of life in East and West Berlin. The location was formerly a series of prison cells under the wall.
The airport was a major part of the Berlin Airlift that provided important goods to those suffering in East Berlin.
The Berlin Zoo offers the widest collection of animals found in any single location throughout the world. Many visitors enjoy taking photos at the Elephant Gate.
The exquisite castle dates back to 1695.
This 18th century cathedral holds the remains of some of the most famous Prussian leaders.
The famous Olympic Stadium was built for the historic 1936 Olympic Games.
This historic market has stood since 1891, providing one of the best locations to buy goods in the city.
The Museum of Decorative Arts
One of the oldest and most complete art museums in the world, this museum has a collection of artwork from craftsmanship from all of the styles and ages.
View artworks such as tapestries, furniture, glass and porcelain adornments and copper, silver, and gold objects that embellish a 7,000 square metre exposition room.
The bottom floor also has a newer collection of arts from the 20th century, mostly industrial-made products.
This historic opera hall was constructed in 1742 and served as the Royal Court Opera for Frederick the Great. The opera hall was badly damaged after the Second World War, but has since been renovated to portray the original structure.
The venue is perfect for the classical music lover, as all the best ballets, operas, and musical performances are staged here. The beautiful interior and show atmosphere makes for the perfect environment.
Schloss Sanssouci and Park Sanssouci
This architectural marvel is a favourite for visitors amazed by the design of Frederick the Great.
The palace has a distinctive half-circle shape and sits atop a terraced hill surrounded by 750 acres of gardens, including fountains, a Chinese teahouse, and other monuments.
Inside is an incredible circle-shaped library, artwork by Caravaggio, and intricate ceiling murals. The palace was at one time home to Voltaire.
Designed by Daniel Libeskind, this museum’s permanent exhibits show the perspective of Germany’s Jewish community throughout the nation’s history.
Artwork such as sculptures and paintings were culled from private collections, giving an in-depth look at the Jewish community’s history in Germany for over 2,000 years. Do not miss Libeskind’s elaborate Star of David angels.
Tip * Booking your Tours, Transfers & Airport Parking before you go will save your money & time and ensure a stress free start to your holiday
Where to stay in Berlin
Located in the heart of the Mitte district in Berlin, the Park Plaza Wallstreet hotel is the perfect spot for tourists looking for luxury and a great location. The hotel itself is only a few blocks from the Alexanderplatz Square and Potsdamer Platz. The hotel gets its name from the 170-room design, which was created to replicate the atmosphere of the New York’s Stock Exchange. The hotel has a restaurant and private cinema.
For guests looking to stay in the best of the best, the Kempinski Hotel Bristol offers visitors a taste of some of the finest lodging that Berlin has to offer. The hotel is located on Kurfrstendamm Boulevard, and is quite hard to miss with its half-circle architectural design. The hotel has also recently finished renovating their pool and wellness area, which allows guests to enjoy all the five star services.
For those looking for something beyond a big hotel chain, the Domicil hotel is a great option. This hotel’s restaurant has spectacular views of Berlin, and has a rooftop garden and terrace that are spectacular during the summer months. As a private hotel, the environment is more tranquil and intimate, and all rooms and apartments have original artwork and sound dimming windows.
Another traveller’s favourite in Berlin is the Novotel Am Tiergarten hotel. A standard hotel with 274 renovated rooms is a good choice for business and tourist travellers alike. A great terrace and 24-hour health spa and fitness club offer nice viewpoints of the city.
For more choices, consult our selection of Berlin hotels.
How to move around in Berlin
Common Forms of Transportation
Berlin has good and reliable public transportation systems made up of buses, metro, or U-Bahn, and commuter train rail lines or the S-Bahn. Visitors should consider getting a seven-day transit pass so that they can hit up all of the biggest tourist destinations with ease.
Berlin Tegel Airport has efficient transportation options for visitor flying into the international airport. The airport is 8 km to the northwest of Berlin, which makes for an easy taxi ride and can easily access the Jet Express Bus by way of the Alexanderplatz. Taxis are available for pick up outside of the terminal. You may also want to consider car hire in Berlin.
BVG Buses and Trains
Berlin has 150 buses with distinct daytime routes and 54 lines during the night hours. After 8 p.m. riders can ask the bus driver about letting off passengers in between stops. The urban S-Bahn rail connects to many of the bus and underground stations, and trams cover 187.7 km every day with 789 stops and lines that run at ten-minute intervals 20 hours per day.
The most extensive underground system in Germany exists in Berlin. It is also one of the most modern in all of Europe. Nine lines cover 151.7 km and have 170 stations. Trains run at five-minute intervals during rush hour, and underground trains travel at 30 km per hour. The system services half of the transportation volume within the city. Best of all, the system has high environmental responsibility.
The Turkish presence in Germany has grown over the years, which is reflected in the increasing number of delicious Turkish restaurants in Berlin. One notable hotspot is Hitit (Knobelsdorffstraße, 35), which has over 150 typical Turkish plates at a very economic price. The dining area has attractive marble fountains and walls covered with old murals from Hittite culture. The relaxed atmosphere along with friendly and good wait service makes it a must see.
Taste standard German grub at Lutter und Wegner (Charlottenstraße, 56). It is good to know that this can be an expensive outing, yet the quality is worth the price. Lutter and Wegner were the first wine sellers in Berlin and subsequently the wine list is impressive. The menu also includes classic German dishes like Wiener schnitzel and lamb medallions.
For music and theatre aficionados planning on visiting Potsdamer Platz, the Tizian Lounge & Restaurant (Marlene-Dietrich-Platz, 2) is the perfect before or after show spot. The name Tizian comes from the master chef Titian and his use of many different tastes. This über luxurious restaurant has the laidback environment that is just perfect for those hoping to have a top quality, and quiet dinner.
Try international flavours at Balthazar, a chic new restaurant located on the hopping Kurfürstendamm Boulevard (160). The restaurant decor has a simple but traditional charm. Chef Holger Zurbruggen is in charge as he serves classic European plates with exotic international zest. The building itself is within a five star hotel.
Health & Safety
Vaccinations and Hygiene
There are no vaccinations necessary to go to Berlin. Water is potable.
Accidents or Health Problems
The health infrastructure is excellent and visitors should contact local Social Security centres for necessary European Health Insurance Card.
Good public health clinics include Charite, Schumannstr at (30) 45 05 70 075, or DRK Kliniken Kopenick on Salvador Allende Str.2 at (30) 30 35 30 00. Dial (30) 197 27 in case of emergencies to reach police and ambulance.
Petty crime has increased in recent years, but attacks are still rare. However, tourists are advised not to walk alone at night in poorly-lit or unfamiliar areas.
Do not carry jewellery or other expensive or flashy items that might attract the attention of robbers.
Do not walk around with large amounts of cash or valuable items.
Racially motivated assaults have been reported in towns in the former parts of East Germany.
All visitors should make and bring photocopies of all travel documents, such as passports, credit cards, and health insurance cards, in the case that the originals are lost, stolen, or misplaced.
Also, a mobile phone can come in handy in the case of an emergency.
Public transportation is safe for tourists, and the roadways are in good condition.
Visitors should note that the possession and consumption of drugs are illegal, and prostitution is prohibited in Germany.
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Berlin Holiday Packages
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