Berlin is a fantastic destination for anyone looking to immerse themselves in both a storied history and an energetic modern culture.
The city has been a stage for numerous significant events throughout time, and while its history is respected, it does not define modern Berlin.
Today, visitors are welcomed to a culturally dynamic city where creativity reigns supreme. Berlin is a fun, unpretentious destination with so much to explore.
But before setting off to Berlin, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. In this post, we’ll cover everything you need to know about traveling to Berlin, including:
- What are the costs for travelers?
- Things to know about culture and etiquette
- What are the top attractions?
- How safe is it?
- Local food and drinks
- How good is the WiFi?
- How long can you stay?
Ready? Here are the top 7 things you need to know before visiting Berlin:
Did you know… Berlin is a dream for people who don’t eat meat and is often considered the vegan capital of the world. The city is home to over 100 vegan-friendly restaurants, cafes, supermarkets, ice cream parlors, clothing and shoe stores, and even a vegan butcher shop.
1) Berlin Affordability
As far as European cities go, Berlin is quite affordable. Travelers on a budget can read here for tips on how to save money while visiting Berlin.
The currency in Berlin is the Euro or EUR. The current exchange rate is €1 EUR = $1.08 USD and $1 USD = €0.93.
Here are the average costs for travelers in USD:
- Average hotel price: One night at a 3-star hotel typically costs around $125, or $230 for a 4-star hotel.
- Luxury 5-star hotels: You can find 5-star hotels starting at $260 a night in Berlin, although there are more expensive options if you want to indulge – like the iconic Hotel Adlon Kempinski Berlin, where rooms start at $450, and some suites cost over $8,000 per night.
- If you’re on a budget: Berlin has plenty of great hostels to choose from. A bed in a well-rated hostel in a central area will cost around $30-$45 per night, while private ensuite rooms typically start at about $100.
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- A 3-course meal at a mid-range restaurant for two costs around $65.
- For a cheap meal at an inexpensive restaurant, expect to pay around $13.
- A beer costs about $4.50, while a cappuccino is about $3.50.
- Getting around Berlin on public transportation is a great option. The underground subway, or U-Bahn, and above-ground trains, or S-Bahn whisk travelers safely and efficiently throughout the city. There are also city buses and trams throughout Berlin. Tickets cost around $3 for 90 minutes of use within the city center. Alternatively, tourists can take advantage of the upcoming $52 unlimited travel pass.
- Cycling in Berlin is also a very convenient way to get around, and there are plenty of bike lanes. Bike (and scooter) share companies like Tier, Donkey Republic, and Lime. While prices vary by company, they typically cost about $1 per 30 minutes or $9 for a day rental.
- Taxi fares start at $4 and cost an additional $4 per mile traveled.
2) Culture And Etiquette In Berlin
Check this list before your trip! Here are some of the major Dos and Don’ts in Berlin.
- DON’T be late: Germans value punctuality, so show up on time for reservations, tours or to catch a train.
- DO learn your greetings: When meeting someone, shake hands and use the proper greetings – guten morgen before noon, guten tag in the afternoon, and guten abend after 6pm.
- DON’T stress about clothing: Anything goes in Berlin, so if you’ve ever dreamed of hitting the town in a ridiculous outfit, Berlin is a great place to do it.
- DO wait to walk: If you need to cross the road, wait patiently for the walk signal before crossing, even if there are no cars in sight.
- DON’T joke about Hitler or Nazis: While this is a good rule no matter where you are in the world, it is particularly important while in Germany.
3) Top Attractions in Berlin
Berlin is full of incredible places to explore. Here are a few of the top things to see and do while visiting the city:
- Brandenburg Gate – An impressive neoclassical landmark that was built for the Prussian King in 1791. It was later cordoned off for 28 years when the Berlin Wall was in place but is now a popular attraction and symbol of the city’s reunification.
- East Side Gallery – The longest remaining stretch of the Berlin Wall now serves as an outdoor art gallery with works from over 100 artists.
- Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe – a powerful outdoor memorial made of 2,711 rectangular stones that represent the Jewish people who were killed during the Holocaust.
4) How Safe Is It For Tourists?
As far as big cities go, Berlin is relatively safe. However, there are still some things that travelers should keep in mind to stay safe during their visit:
- Beware of thieves: pickpocketing and petty crime is common in Berlin, especially in busy areas like public transit and tourist attractions. Keep your valuables in your hotel or conceal them well while out.
- Don’t use ATMs on the street: ATMs are sometimes compromised in Berlin. If you need to take out cash, use an ATM inside a bank.
- Research your neighborhood: some neighborhoods in Berlin have a higher rate of crime. In particular, use extra caution if you find yourself in Kottbusser Tor or Görlitzer Park.
- Don’t walk home alone: If you’ve been out having a good time, take a taxi home or travel in a group.
- Know how to call for help: Emergency services can be reached by calling 112.
- DO get travel insurance: Travel insurance can help in health emergencies as well as with covering the costs of any travel mishaps during your Berlin trip. For 5 great options, read more here.
5) Local Eats And Drinks
One of the best parts of travel is checking out the local cuisine, and Berlin is a fantastic place to try new foods. Don’t let yourself leave without trying at least one of the following:
Berlin has a thriving food scene where visitors will find Michelin-starred restaurants, fantastic food trucks, and bustling markets.
- Currywurst – Berlin’s favorite street food – grilled sausage topped with an addictive combination of curry powder, ketchup, and Worcestershire sauce.
- Spätzle – A popular German dish of fresh dough boiled in water and topped with cheese.
- Döner Kebab – The Döner Kebab originated in Turkey, but is a firm favorite in Berlin. Slices of grilled meat served alongside vegetables and sauce atop a fresh pita.
- Pfannkuchen – sweet yeasted donuts popular for breakfast or a coffee break
- Coffee – Berlin has a strong coffee culture. Artisan coffee shops and local roasteries
can be found all over the city.
- Beer – The city also boasts a great local craft beer scene. Bars such as Kaschk by BRLO, Hopfenreich, and Vagabund Brauerei are all great places to sample different beers.
- Fassbrause- A traditional non-alcoholic drink made with herbs, fruits, and malt.
- Diesel – A drink made by mixing beer into cola; alternatively, a Radler is beer mixed with lemon soda, similar to a shandy.
6) How’s the WiFi?
Using Ookla, an internet speed testing service, the average internet speeds in Berlin for February 2023 were 69.07mbps download and 12.98mbps upload.
7) How Long Can I Stay?
Americans traveling to Germany can stay for up to 90 days within a 180-day period without needing a visa. Passports need to have at least three months of validity past the date of your departure. Visitors who wish to stay longer need to apply for a German residency permit.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com