Every person has his or her own reasons, when it comes to visiting cities or countries. For me, that was an opportunity to discover another European capital (as part of my goal to visit all capitals in Europe before I turn 30 years old). This time, I went to visit Germany. I wanted to see what makes Germany so advanced in technological, cultural and scientific aspect, what makes this country so democratic and open-minded among other countries. The journey was very memorable indeed! In this post, I’m going to share with you some Berlin travel tips and hints to make your trip cheaper and fun at the same time!
Why to go to Berlin?
Before my visit in Berlin, I’ve been with my family to Munich and with friends to Dresden. I was lucky to observe the amazing architecture in these cities. Germany has perfectly kept the Gothic and Baroque style of its buildings. For example, did you know that the Old Town of Dresden is actually “younger” than the New Town? After the World War II, the old part of the city was leveled to the ground, but the government decided to restore and renovate all the building the same as they looked before. Fascinating. If you are a fan of architecture and great, big landmarks, Berlin won’t disappoint you!
What transport should I use?
Before making any reservations, make sure you have checked all the available ways to get there. Unlike in Bulgaria, taking train in Central and Western Europe is more expensive than taking bus. And besides, I love travelling with RegioJet | Student agency buses – comfortable seats, screens on every seat with more than 20 movies and TV series (Friends and Big Bang Theory), hot drinks, newspapers and magazines ALL FOR FREE! Literally, I can travel 10hrs and won’t get bored at all. You feel like you are on an airplane first class and the prices are very cheap! Prague – Berlin for only 19€! For me, it’s the best way to get to the German capital!
HINT: They’re available in almost every European country. The prices are cheaper during weekday. Just check their website.
Where should I sleep?
For cities like Berlin, where the public transport is developed at the highest level, you don’t need to book a hotel/hostel right next to the Brandenburg Gate. Most of the landmarks are situated near the center, and with so many trams and buses, you can get there in no time. If you are a solo traveler, or even if you have your boyfriend/girlfriend/friend in your company, I recommend Pfefferbett Hostel or Generator Berlin Prenzlauer Berg. Both have options for twin room, or a cheap bed in a shared room for low prices starting at ~13€. Free Wi-Fi, great location, nice facilities and enough lobby space if you are a digital nomad and need to work on your laptop.
HINT: Book your room during weekdays. Some websites such as www.hostelworld.com offers special prices, you just need to follow them time-to-time.
Where to eat in Berlin?
ICH BIN HUNGRIG! My suggestion is when you book your room, make sure the breakfast is included. We all know that it is the most important meal of the day, so fill your stomach and body with enough energy, because you will have a long walk during the day! For lunch, my favorite German food is die Currywurst. A fried pork sausage seasoned with curry ketchup, topped with curry powder. In addition, order Pommes or Boulette (Pretzel is delicious too), and don’t miss to taste some traditional Berliner beer. You are in Germany after all J Also, Germans love to add potato salad or pickled cucumbers.
What to visit in Berlin?
You’ve been all waiting for this, haven’t you? J Yes, the capital of Germany is a big city! And yes, you need at LEAST two days there. I told you earlier, that most of the landmarks are near the center in a radius of 4kms, but if you want to visit the Berlin Zoological Garden, the Charlottenburg Palace or the Berlin Memorial wall, definitely you will need time. In my trip, I excluded the Zoo, because for me there were way more interesting places to go and I didn’t want to waste one whole day.
Charlottenburg Palace – A quick walk through the baroque period
The summer residence of Sophie Charlotte and Frederick III is the perfect first place to visit. The royalties ruled Prussia during the 17th century and alongside with one of the best architectures by that time designed a piece of art. King Frederick I was a huge fan of his French colleague Louis XIV “The Sun king” and wanted to make sure his palace will be remembered for ages.
HINTS: Don’t take more than 2hrs. Visit the palace during the summer, because during the winter there might be some renovation. It is 20mins from the Central Bus station (Berlin ZOB, Messedamm). Take bus M49 from ZOB Berlin -> Kaiser-Friedrich-Str./Kantstr. Then, take bus 109 and get off at Luisenplatz.
Adress: Spandauer Damm 20-24, 14059 Berlin
The Berlin wall – A memorial of Freedom
Many of you probably know why this wall was built – to divide two regimes of control. After 1945, the West part of Berlin was more attractive than the East. It was financially helped through the Marshallplan from the USA and the standard of living was higher. Many wanted to escape from the Communist East Berlin. So, on 13th August 1961 the Wall was erected and the administration didn’t allow people to cross the border. The soldiers were instructed if someone tried to escape, the person would be shot. On 9th November 1989, the Soviet regime fell down and announced that citizens from East Berlin could finally go to the West part. It is a significant monument of Germany and is surely a must visit place. The graffiti arts make the wall even more special!
HINT: Do it during the day. You can take lots of pictures posing near the wall. Take a 30mins stroll would be enough. There are 3 U-Bahn (Metro) stations near the wall such as Bernauer Strasse, Schwartzkopffstrasse and Naturkundemuseum, plus several bus and tram stops.
The Reichstag – To the German People
The building showcases the power of the German Federal Republic and is the 2nd most visited place in the country. It was reconstructed many times after the wars. From 1999, it is the place where the German government takes decisions. A marvelous construction, where at the top, you can enjoy a 360° view of Berlin (The Reichstag Dome). You don’t wanna miss it!
HINT: Do it during the night. Check here to find out more about how to enter and information about the Reichstag.
Final thoughts from Chloe
When I visited Germany a few years back, it was the first time that I traveled to a European country. The people, the architecture, the culture… Basically everything was an eye opening experience for me! Stefan’s sharing just reminded me how much fun I had over there! Have you been to Berlin before? Share with us your journey and let me know why do you like about this place!
If you want to find out more about Stefan and his travel, visit his biography here. 🙂