For other places with the same name, see Berlin (disambiguation).
Brandenburg Gate - (Brandenburger Tor)

Berlin is the capital city of Germany and one of the 16 states (Länder) of the Federal Republic of Germany. Berlin is the largest city in Germany and has a population of 4.5 million within its metropolitan area and 3.5 million from over 190 countries within the city limits.

Berlin is best known for its historical associations as the German capital, internationalism and tolerance, lively nightlife, its many cafés, clubs, and bars, street art, and numerous museums, palaces, and other sites of historic interest. Berlin's architecture is quite varied. Although badly damaged in the final years of World War II and broken apart during the Cold War, Berlin has reconstructed itself greatly, especially with the reunification push after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.

It is now possible to see representatives of many different historic periods in a short time within the city centre, from a few surviving medieval buildings near Alexanderplatz, to the ultra modern glass and steel structures at Potsdamer Platz. Because of its tumultuous history, Berlin remains a city with many distinctive neighbourhoods. And due to its long history as a cosmopolitan capital (first of Prussia later of Germany) it had attracted immigrants from all over the world for more than three hundred years now and many of them have left and continue to leave a distinctive mark on the city.


Berlin can be seen as a cluster of centres. Berlin has many boroughs (Bezirke), and each borough is composed of several localities (Kiez or Viertel) each of these boroughs and localities have their unique style. Some boroughs of Berlin are more worthy of a visitor's attention than others. Originally, Berlin was officially divided into 23 boroughs, and these boroughs are still used in Wikivoyage as they remain foremost in popular conceptions of the city and are generally of a good practical size and cultural division for visitors as well. Since January 2001, the boroughs have officially been reduced from 23 to 12 for administrative reasons only. The boroughs can roughly be grouped into six districts:

Districts of Berlin
Mitte (Mitte)
The historical centre of Berlin, the nucleus of the former East Berlin, and the emerging city centre. Cafés, restaurants, museums, galleries, and clubs are abundant throughout the district, along with many sites of historic interest.
City West (Charlottenburg, Wilmersdorf, Schöneberg, Tiergarten)
Ku'Damm (short for Kurfürstendamm) is, along with Tauentzienstraße, one of the main shopping streets in former West Berlin, especially for luxury goods. Many great restaurants and hotels are here and also on the side roads. The district also contains the Schloss Charlottenburg, Tiergarten and the Olympic Stadium. Schöneberg is generally a cosy area for ageing hippies, young families, and LGBT people.
East Central (Friedrichshain, Kreuzberg, Prenzlauer Berg)
Associated with the left wing youth culture, artists, and Turkish immigrants, this district is somewhat noisier than most, packed with lots of cafés, bars, clubs, and trendy shops, but also with some museums in Kreuzberg near the border to Mitte. These districts are undergoing gentrification as they are popular with students, artists and media professionals alike.
North (Spandau, Reinickendorf, Weißensee, Pankow, Wedding)
Spandau and Reinickendorf are beautiful old towns, which feel much more spacious than the inner city. Pankow was once synonymous with the East German government, and the villas the East German "socialist" leaders inhabited still exist.
East (Lichtenberg, Hohenschönhausen, Marzahn, Hellersdorf)
The museum at the site of the 1945 surrender to the Soviet army is of interest, as well as the former Stasi prison, an essential visit for anyone interested in East German history. Marzahn-Hellersdorf has an undeserved reputation for being a vast collection of dull high-rise apartment blocks, as it also contains the "Gardens of the World", a large park where various ethnic styles of garden design are explored.
South (Steglitz, Zehlendorf, Tempelhof, Neukölln, Treptow, Köpenick)
The South is a mixed bag of different boroughs. Zehlendorf is one of the greenest and wealthiest boroughs in Berlin, while Neukölln is one of the city's poorest. However at least the Northern part of Neukölln (sometimes labeled "Kreuzkölln") is becoming more and more gentrified. Köpenick's swaths of forest around Berlin's largest lake, Müggelsee, and the nice old town of Köpenick itself beg to be discovered on bikes and using the S-Bahn.



The foundation of Berlin was very multicultural. The surrounding area was populated by Germanic Swabian and Burgundian tribes, as well as Slavic Wends in pre-Christian times, and the Wends have stuck around. Their modern descendants are the Sorbian Slavic-language minority, who live in villages southeast of Berlin near the Spree River.

In the beginning of the 13th century, two towns (Berlin and Cölln) developed on each side of the river Spree (today the Nikolaiviertel and the quarter next to it beyond the river). As the population grew, the towns merged and Berlin became a center for commerce and agriculture. This area stayed small (about 10,000 inhabitants) up to the late 17th century, because of the Thirty Years' War in the beginning of the 17th century, which led to death of about half of the population.

Since the late 17th century, when large numbers of French Huguenots fled religious persecution, Berlin has welcomed religious, economic and other asylum seekers. In 1701, Berlin became the capital of Prussia, and in 1710, Berlin and surrounding former autonomous cities were merged to a bigger Berlin.

In 1871, Berlin became the capital of the new founded German Reich, and a few years later, it became a city with more than one million inhabitants because of the immensely growing industry.

Shortly after the First World War, in 1920, the last of the annexations of surrounding cities of Berlin led to the foundation of the Berlin as we know it now. After the coming into power of the National Socialists, Berlin became the capital of the so-called Third Reich and the domicile and office of Hitler. (The triumph of Hitler and his companions started in the south of Germany, though.)

Berlin panorama from the Siegessäule: Reichstag building with cupola (left), TV Tower and Dome (centre), Brandenburg Gate (right)

World War II led to destruction of most of central Berlin. Thus, many of the buildings which we see nowadays were reconstructed or planned and built after the war, leading to a very fragmented cityscape in most parts of the inner town. Berlin was divided into four sectors (West Berlin into the French, American and British sectors, while East Berlin belonged to the USSR). In 1949 the GDR was founded with East Berlin as its capital - West Berlin belonged to West Germany (with Bonn as the capital) and was an exclave (political island) in East Germany. Because of the growing tensions between West Germany and the GDR, the latter built a wall between the countries and around West Berlin, so the division was complete.

In 1989 the German revolution took place – subsequently leading to the fall of the Berlin Wall – and in 1990 West and East Germany were merged officially together with Berlin becoming the capital of reunified Germany.

After World War II and the building of the wall, large numbers of immigrants from Turkey were invited to West Berlin to work in the growing industry sector; in East Berlin the jobs were done mostly by Vietnamese immigrants. In addition, people from other communist countries, including the former Yugoslavia, not to mention Soviet soldiers who refused to return home, have helped to make Berlin more multicultural than ever.

Berlin is also a youth-oriented city. Before German unification, West Berliners were exempt from the West German civil/military service requirement. Social activists, pacifists and anarchists of all stripes moved to Berlin for that reason alone. Musicians and artists were given state subsidies. It was easy to stay out all night thanks to liberal bar licensing laws, and staying at university for years without ever getting a degree was a great way to kill time. In contrast with most of Germany, Prenzlauer Berg is said to have the highest per-capita birth rate in Europe (though in fact it just seems so because of the high percentage of young women in the district).

After the fall of the wall, Berlin - especially the former East - has evolved into a cultural mecca. Artists and other creative souls flocked to the city in swarms after reunification, primarily due to the extremely low cost of living in the East. Despite the increased prices and gentrification that has resulted, Berlin has become a center for art, design, multimedia, electronic music, and fashion among other things. The particularly high number of students and young people in the city has only helped this cause. Just stroll down a street in Prenzlauer Berg, Friedrichshain, or Mitte to get a glimpse of the new East Berlin.

The old and new of Berlin - Marienkirche & TV Tower

Some famous artists of the region and their best-known works include Lucas Cranach the Elder, Lucas Cranach the Younger, Johann Gottfried Schadow, Marlene Dietrich (The Blue Angel), Leni Riefenstahl (Triumph of the Will), Bertolt Brecht (Threepenny Opera), Käthe Kollwitz, Kurt Tucholsky, Thomas and Heinrich Mann, Walter Gropius, Paul Klee, Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau (Nosferatu), Fritz Lang (Metropolis), Volker Schlöndorff, Wim Wenders (Wings of Desire (German: Der Himmel über Berlin)), Blixa Bargeld/Einstürzende Neubauten, Christopher Isherwood, Gunter Grass (The Tin Drum), members of the Bauhaus architectural movement and many more.


 Climate Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Daily highs (°C) 2 3 8 14 19 22 24 24 21 14 8 3
Nightly lows (°C) -2 -2 1 4 9 12 15 14 11 6 2 0
Precipitation (mm) 42 33 41 37 54 69 56 58 45 37 44 55

Berlin has a temperate oceanic climate, meaning warm summers and cold winters. Nighttime temperatures typically fall below freezing in the winter, and snowfall is a regular occurrence, though the snow rarely accumulates for more than a few days. Summers are typically pleasant, with daytime temperatures typically in the low 20's, and nighttime temperatures staying above 10°C. Berlin is a rather windy city compared to much of Southern Germany, though by no means as windy as coastal cities like Hamburg or Lübeck. A wind stopping jacket comes highly recommended, especially during the shoulder seasons.


Berlin is a relatively young city by European standards, dating to the thirteenth century, and it has always had a reputation as a place filled with people from elsewhere. It may seem tough to find someone born and raised here! This is part of Berlin's charm: it never gets stuck in a rut.

A certain uneasy détente still exists between some former residents of East and West Berlin (and Germany). Wessi evolved as a derogatory nickname for a West German; its corollary is Ossi. The implication here is that after reunification, the West Germans automatically assumed the way they do things is the right way, and the way the Easterners should start doing it, too. Westerners got a reputation for being arrogant. They saw the Easterners as stubborn Communist holdouts interested only in a handout from the "rich West." Consider a shirt for sale in a shop inside the Alexanderplatz Deutsche Bahn station: Gott, schütze mich vor Sturm und Wind/und Wessies die im Osten sind ("God, protect me from the storm and wind, and Wessies who are in the East"). Another such stereotype is reflected by the short poem: Der Ossi ist schlau und stellt sich dumm, beim Wessi ist es andersrum ("The Ossi is sly and pretends to be simple-minded, and with the Wessi, it's the other way around"). However, most of the younger generation do not share such biases. Nowadays the conflicts between Easterners and Westerners are often replaced by jokes about Swabians, who have reputation for thriftiness, uptightness and an audible dialect. In recent years many Swabians have flocked to neighborhoods like Prenzlauer Berg and the welcome hasn't always been warm.


German is the main language in Berlin but you can easily find tourist information in English and sometimes in French. Due to the football World Cup in 2006 all public transportation staff got language training and, at least in theory, should be able to help you in English (although possibly with a strong German accent). If you seem to be lost or hesitating in a public transport station a member of staff could come to your assistance but don't count on that. You can easily approach a group of (preferably young) bystanders and ask for advice in English.

Most people under 40 in Berlin are able to speak English with varying degrees of fluency, but it might not be as widely spoken as you might expect, so a few key German phrases are worth having, especially in the suburbs and less touristy places. Basic French and Russian are also spoken by some Berliners, because French in West Berlin and Russian in East Berlin were taught in schools.

There are also 400,000 people of Turkish origin living in Berlin, mainly in the Western districts. Many of them arrived in early 1960's from remote villages in Anatolia as guest workers but stayed on.

Since the early to mid 2000s Berlin has been attracting more and more foreign students from all over Europe. Due to the economic crisis in Southern Europe there are a lot of Spanish Greek and Italian students in Berlin. Whether this trend will continue after the crisis ends is yet to be seen. As many students in Berlin are either Erasmus students or have been abroad elsewhere you can reasonably expect students to speak at least passable English and often even another European language in addition to that.

There are some words in Berlin that differ from regular German, especially in the former East Berlin. Here, the language has preserved a certain level of dialect.

Some words used in the Berlin dialect:


View over Potsdamer Platz, headquarters of Deutsche Bahn and Daimler

Before the second world war Berlin was a center for major German industrial companies as well as administrative headquarters of many companies in all fields. However soon after the war ended many of these companies moved south or west, went bust or were nationalized in the GDR. Therefore one of the most important "products" produced in Berlin today by both academic and company-sponsored institutes is research. That research is exported around the world. German labor is highly efficient but comes at a high cost. Strong trade unions, the end of West Berlin's pre-reunification subsidies and Germany's dense regulatory environment forced industry to concentrate on high quality and expensive products. Despite the economic boost resulting from the country's capital moving back to the city, Berlin's unemployment rate has been soaring over 10% in recent years. However Berlin is also notorious in Germany for being a center of creative branches such as design and arts of all kinds and you will see a lot of people working (or not depending on your definition of the term) with Apple products in certain coffee-places.


Berlin is — at least in many parts — a beautiful city, so allow enough time to get to see the sights. A good map is highly recommended. While the public transport system is superb, it can be confusing to visitors, due to a lack of directional signs in some of the larger stations, so a good transit map is also essential. Be sure to note the final station/stop of the S-bahn or U-bahn, since that is usually the way direction of travel is indicated. Roads into Berlin can also be confusing, so study your route and drive carefully. Signs point to city boroughs or districts rather than indicating compass directions, so it's a good idea to get to know where the various boroughs or districts lie in relation to each other. This also applies to cyclists.

Berlin's Tourist Information Office is an excellent resource for finding out more about Berlin, providing a wealth of practical information and useful hyperlinks.

Get in

As the city was divided into two during the Cold War, many major parts of Berlin's infrastructure such as airports were built on both sides. The challenge today is to merge these formerly independent systems into one that serves all the people in the Metropolitan Berlin area.

By plane

Tegel airport

Berlin has inherited airports from both sides of the former Berlin Wall. West Berlin, for which air transportation was crucial, had two at the moment of reunification: Tegel Airport (IATA: TXL), which remains the major airport for Berlin as of 2015, and Tempelhof Airport, which was closed and turned into a public park and fairgrounds. East Germany was using the Schönefeld Airport (IATA: SXF) right outside the southeastern border of the city proper, which also remains operational as of 2015.

There is a grand plan to merge all airport operations in the still-under-construction Berlin-Brandenburg Airport (IATA: BER), which is being built on the extended grounds of Schönefeld. At its opening, both Tegel and the former Schönefeld airports will close. The opening itself had been originally scheduled for 2011 and has since been postponed many times due to construction and safety issues. Every few months a new date is announced and, therefore, much of the tourist information has been published in recent years with the "impending" opening of BER and closure of TXL and SXF in mind. Do bear in mind that until the BER airport is actually opened, those remain incorrect and there is no passenger traffic to and from BER and much of the infrastructure there is still not functional. The airport is currently scheduled to open in late 2017, but given its track record, many Berliners (scratch that, most Germans) are skeptical.

On the other hand, because both TXL and SXF were scheduled to close, they have not been updated for the past years, while both are in dire need of both update and expansion given the current traffic volumes and advances in air travel. In particular TXL found itself handling far more traffic than it was designed for. In comparison with other, usually very well-planned and cutting-edge German Airports, experiencing the airports of Berlin can be a disappointment until BER opens.

Carriers frequently switched between TXL and SXF in recent years and, although one carrier tends to serve one airport only, there is a very mixed bundle of connections from every airport. Make sure you know which airport you are arriving at, especially if you have a connection to meet, and if you've been sold a ticket to "BER" before it actually becomes operational.


Plan of Tegel Airport (TXL)

Tegel International Airport (IATA: TXL) is in the north-west of the city. It was the airport for West Berlin during the Cold War and today is the main airport for major flag carriers such as Air France, British Airways, KLM, Lufthansa and United. The original airport was designed as a hexagon but today two other terminals try to handle the flights of Air Berlin (most flights in Terminal C) and other budget carriers (mostly in terminal D). All flag carrier flights leave from the main terminal building A (Terminal B contains only the bus gates of Terminal A for Non-Schengen flights), and is also where all airlines lounges are. According to the original plan this airport will close after the new BER airport starts operations.

Tegel has an unusually efficient structure because it was built as an origin-and-destination airport only, which resulted in very short walking distances between the taxi ranks and bus stops to the actual gates. The hexagonal structure of the main terminal allows individual gates to have their own check-in/luggage drop-off desks, security control and separate waiting areas. This makes flying out of the main terminal building a very swift and comfortable experience.

That said, connecting via Tegel may not be as comfortable, because you will probably need to go through security anyway, and there is quite a walk (outside!) between terminals, particularly Terminal C. Except for Terminal A, no gates have jetways and you will need to either be ferried by bus or actually walk from the plane to the terminal. The waiting space and shopping within Tegel is also limited and not really top-notch, although Air Berlin offers their frequent fliers separate "exclusive waiting areas" (not available to other oneworld frequent fliers!). The luggage handling capacities of Tegel have long been exhausted, which sometimes leads to well-publicized massive "luggage lost" incidents on Air Berlin connecting flights.

Tegel Airport offers 60 minutes at a time (renewable) of free wireless Internet access, although the access is limited to Web access and doesn't support non-Web email clients, VPN, or SSH.

Airlines and connections

The airport is the home base for Germany's number 2 carrier, Air Berlin, who operate direct short-haul flights to a wide selection of German and European cities and holiday destinations out of Tegel, as well as intercontinental flights to Chicago O'Hare and New York JFK. As Air Berlin is part-owned by the Emirati carrier Etihad, you can connect to the many global destinations in its network via Abu Dhabi, to which there are frequent flights from TXL. In a code-share with Hainan Airlines, Air Berlin also offers direct flights between Tegel and Beijing-Capital.

Air Berlin is also a member of oneworld, which means TXL is integrated in the connection networks of in. al. British Airways, Iberia, Finnair and Qatar Airways, all of which operate direct flights out of their hubs.

Meanwhile, Lufthansa is backing out of Tegel and leaving behind its low-cost sister carrier Germanwings, which is in the process of taking over the extensive network of TXL connections through 2013 and 2014, except for feeder services to Lufthansa's hubs in Duesseldorf, Frankfurt and Munich. There are no long-haul flights out of TXL on Lufthansa, but Star Alliance partner United Airlines continues to operate a direct connection to Newark.

Most European, North African and Middle Eastern Star Alliance airlines, as well as SkyTeam members, have direct flights out of their main hubs to TXL.

Travelling between Tegel Airport and Berlin
X9 and 109 will take you right to the heart of West Berlin

The only means of public transportation operating directly from the airport are buses. There are four bus lines, all operated by BVG and thus included in the same ticket scheme as the rest of Berlin. Tegel is in ticketing zone B, so it is covered by both "zone AB", "zone BC" and "zone ABC" tickets. The four lines are:

All buses, both express and regular, require the same regular tickets and operate every 10 minutes (every 20 minutes in nighttime). All buses stop on the main (upper) deck of the Tegel ringroad - TXL and 128 stop in front of the main entrance of terminal A, while X9 and 109 around the corner, in front of the so-called Terminal B. There are automatic ticket machines at all bus stops selling all kinds of tickets and accepting cash (Euros) or credit cards. Berlin WelcomeCards can be bought at the tourist information kiosks in the airport terminal and sometimes from the BVG employees on duty at the bus stops (during peak travel times).

Tegel International Airport does not have any railway station. Do not take any train to the "Tegel railway (S-Bahn) station", which is not connected to the airport, but rather to the suburban village called Tegel. It is not possible to walk or to otherwise get easily to the airport from that station. Any indication to a Tegel railway station refers to the remote S-Bahn station, even if railway staff at stations in other cities might tell you otherwise. The nearest train stations are:

If you want to connect to mainline (long-distance) railway, you need to travel to Hauptbahnhof or Zoologischer Garten on either of the buses.


Plan of Schoenefeld and future Berlin-Brandenburg airports

Schönefeld (IATA: SXF) southeast of Berlin, formerly serving East-Berlin, is the base for most low-cost airlines (including easyJet, Ryanair and Norwegian) and charter flights. Many carriers from Russia, former Soviet States and Eastern Europe continue to use SXF as their Berlin airport as they did in the days of East Germany, although a similar number of those have switched to TXL. There are also many charter and scheduled connections to Bulgaria and Israel.

The airport will close if and when BER airport starts full operations.

By train from Schönefeld Airport to Berlin

The airport is served by the S-Bahn and regional trains. The station is a short walk, under a covered, well-lit walkway opposite terminal A/B. There are two types of trains operating from that station - the slower but more frequent S-Bahn and the faster regional trains (Regionalbahn / Regional Express).

The Schoenefeld Airport railway station is in Zone C of the BVG network, so you need a ticket covering all three zones (ABC), or a BC ticket if you do not intend to travel directly into the city centre. The same tickets are valid in both S-Bahn and regional trains if you travel from Schoenefeld Airport into Berlin. A single ABC ticket that will get you anywhere in Berlin costs €3.20 (regular fare ‘ABC’ single journey ticket - Einzelfahrschein). Stamp the ticket to validate it before boarding.

Check out timetables, platform numbers and fare prices on the BVG website.

By train

The new central station (Hauptbahnhof)
Hauptbahnhof with Regional- and S-Bahn train

Berlin is served by ICE, InterCity and EuroCity trains operated by the national German railway corporation Deutsche Bahn (DB) which offers connections between Berlin and other German and major European cities.

Night trains from Amsterdam, Paris, Zurich, Vienna and Budapest run every day. Booked in advance they can be as cheap as €29. Popular with backpackers so reservations are strongly recommended.

Long-haul trains from Eastern European cities, Kaliningrad, Minsk, Moscow, Saint Petersburg and Warsaw among others, stop both at Hauptbahnhof and Ostbahnhof. Make sure you have a reservation because these lines are also very popular. Also, it's possible to travel on the once-weekly Sibirjak train from cities far away as Chelyabinsk, Novosibirsk, and Yekaterinburg.

Domestic trains to Berlin include an ICE to Hamburg, an ICE to Munich (via Leipzig, expect travel times to go down once the new line is finished in 2015/17), an IC/EC to Dresden and several "regional" trains among which the IRE to Hamburg (longer travel time than ICE, more intermediate stops) might be of interest due to its cheap fixed price.


During the times of its division, Berlin had two main train stations: Zoologischer Garten (colloquial name Bahnhof Zoo) in the West, and Ostbahnhof in the East. The new 'Hauptbahnhof' may be titled 'Lehrter Bahnhof' on older maps and is situated between the S-Bahn stations Friedrichstraße and Bellevue. Since the opening of the Hauptbahnhof, most ICE and international lines now bypass Zoologischer Garten, although it is still in operation for regional DB services and as an S+U-Bahn station.

The new building for the central station   Hauptbahnhof was opened in May 2006 and together with   Südkreuz (southern cross) and   Ostbahnhof (eastern station)—plus minor   Gesundbrunnen in the north and   Spandau in the west—form the backbone of all connections. All are connected to S- or U-Bahn. All trains travel through Hauptbahnhof and a second major hub (depending on the destination you travel to or arrive from). Trains in the regional area (Berlin and Brandenburg) mostly use these stations. Regional trains stop at several stations within Berlin.

By bus

Long distance buses arrive at   Zentraler Omnibusbahnhof (Central Bus Terminal) in Charlottenburg, Masurenallee. There are numerous buses to all directions or do a 5-minute-walk to the U-Bahn (Theodor-Heuss-Platz or Kaiserdamm or to the S-Bahn (Messe Nord/ICC). Follow signposting. Some bus lines have a second stop on several locations spread around Berlin. The bus station is not really close to anything and the limited services it offers are comparable in price to gas stations.

By car

Berlin is encircled by a motorway ring, the A10 Berliner Ring, which extends up to 30 km outside the city limits. These motorways (enumerated in a clockwise direction) connect with the ring:

From the ring, these are the motorways heading towards the city:

There are also dual carriageways:

Inside Berlin there is a heavily congested inner ring motorway (A100), which encircles the north, west and south with the northeastern section missing. Berlin driving is not for the faint-hearted, but manageable as there are wide streets and reasonably good parking conditions - at least in most parts of the city. Orientation is easier than in most of the central European cities, once you get the hang of things: there are a couple of ring roads (like an onion) and several radiating trunk roads.

Berlin does have a low emission zone (Umweltzone), which contains all areas within the S-Bahn ring. All vehicles moving inside this zone (including foreign vehicles) are required to bear a green emissions sticker (Feinstaubplakette). There are exceptions e.g. for historic cars, but not for foreign number plates. Information on obtaining a sticker (which must be done at least several days in advance) is available here. The sticker can also be ordered on-line.

By ship

Being 200 kilometres inland, Berlin does not have a seaport. The nearest seaport is Rostock-Warnemünde, which is between two and a half and three hours away by train, though still sold by many cruise ship operators as "Berlin", so don't be surprised. There are similar distances to the seaports of Hamburg and Szczecin.

Some river cruises start or end at Berlin, using Havel, Spree and some canals for cruises to Prague or the Baltic Sea.

Get around

Berlin is a huge city. You can make use of the excellent bus, tram, train and underground services to get around. Taxi services are also easy to use and a bit less expensive than in many other big Central European cities. You can hail a cab (the yellow light on the top shows the cab is available), or find a taxi rank (Taxistand). Taxi drivers are in general able to speak English. If you ask for a short trip (Kurzstrecke), as long as it's under 2 km and before the taxi driver starts the meter running, the trip normally is cheaper, €4. This only applies if you flag the taxi down on the street, not if you get in at a taxi rank.

Consult the on-line Berlin route planner (in English) to get excellent maps and schedules for the U-Bahn, buses, S-Bahn and trams, or to print your personal journey planner. The route planer can also calculate the fastest door-to-door connection for you destination for any given day and hour. The Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe (BVG) have a detailed fare list on their web site.

If you don't know how to get somewhere, or how to get home at night, call ☎ +49 30 19449, the Customer Service of the BVG. There are also facilities in most U-Bahn and some S-Bahn stations to contact Customer Service directly. The BVG has Metro lines (buses and tram) that run 24hr a day, seven days a week. All lines are marked with a big orange plate and a white M.

It's also worth noting that the house numbers do not necessarily run in one direction (up or down). On a lot of streets, the numbers ascend on one side and descend on the other. Especially on long streets, check the numbering scheme first: you can find the name of the street and the numbers on that block at nearly every street corner.

Different from what is usual in some English-speaking countries, Germans usually add the word for "street", "square", "park", etc. when they mention the name of a locality. Thus, they would not simply refer to "Kurfürsten" when talking about Kurfürstenstraße (Kurfürsten Street), as this could also mean "Kurfürstendamm", which is a different road at a different place. "Schloss", which simply means "palace", could refer to any of the palaces in Berlin, as well as to one of the two roads called "Schloßstraße" in Charlottenburg (Charlottenburger Schloss) and Steglitz, a shopping centre called "Das Schloss", or the "Schloßplatz" in the Mitte district.

Public transport ticketing

Berlin uses a zone system, but you are unlikely to need to go beyond zone A and B, except on trips to Potsdam or to the Schönefeld Airport (SXF). This is a very large area. The public transport system (U-, S-Bahn, bus, tram, regional rail) uses a common ticket.

Standard tickets (€2.70 for A and B) are valid for any travel within two hours of validation, in a single direction, within the appropriate fare zones. There is no limit to transfers. For a single journey you can buy a cheap Kurzstrecke for €1.70, but this is only valid for 3 stops on the U-Bahn or S-Bahn (transfers permitted) or 6 stops on buses or trams (no transfers). Reduced fares apply for children 6 to 14. Under 6 y/o ride free. The border between zones A and B is the S-Bahn Ring (see below)

Several options are available for unlimited travel. Prices listed here are only for zones A and B: prices for A, B, and C cost marginally more. Check the machines for the current prices (January 2016):

Purchasing tickets

All tickets are available at vending machines at U- and S-Bahn platforms. English and other European languages are available. Payment is mostly by local bank cards and coins, and banknotes. If you need assistance most larger stations have staffed ticket counters where you can ask questions and buy tickets. Buses will accept cash, and make change for tickets. Hotels may sell tickets as well.

In some places like Zoologischer Garten and Eberswalder Straße, people will try to sell used tickets to you. Be aware that you can go only one direction with a single-journey ticket (check the validation stamp and be careful as this could also be a pickpocket trick). Don't pay more than half the price.

Validating tickets

You need to validate your ticket using the machines on the U- and S-bahn platforms or in the bus. The machines are yellow/white in the U-Bahn and the bus, and red on S-Bahn platforms. Validation simply means the machine prints a time stamp onto the ticket. Once validated, a ticket which is still valid will not have to be re-validated before each single trip. Whilst it might be tempting to try to avoid buying a ticket, be advised that plain-clothed inspectors do patrol the trains. There is a €60 fine if you are caught with an unvalidated ticket. Fare inspections are rather common and arguably more common than in other cities. The inspectors are very no-nonsense and will catch you if you try to outrun them.

By train

If you need to get around the city quickly, take the S-Bahn.

S- and Regionalbahn station Alexanderplatz

The Ringbahn that goes all around Berlin in a circle lets you get to other parts of the city really fast. If you're looking for the way, use, that site includes Buses, U-Bahn, S-Bahn, Tram and even ferries. You can simply enter departure address and arrival address to see the optimum connection, it's an excellent service. An option to reach Schönefeld airport is to use U-Bahn line U7 until the terminal station Rudow and then take the bus.

In the centre, most S-Bahn lines S5, S7, S75 run on an east-west route between Ostkreuz and Westkreuz via the stops Warschauer Straße, Ostbahnhof, Jannowitzbrücke, Alexanderplatz, Hackescher Markt, Friedrichstraße, Hauptbahnhof, Bellevue, Tiergarten, Zoologischer Garten, Savignyplatz and Charlottenburg. Other lines run along a circle track around the city, most notably the S8 and the S41, S42, S45, S46 lines, and there's also a north-south connection S1, S2, S25 from Gesundbrunnen through Friedrichstraße and Potsdamer Platz to Südkreuz or Schöneberg.

Regional trains (RB, RE) run along the same central east-west connection, but stopping only at Lichtenberg or Karlshorst, Ostbahnhof, Alexanderplatz, Friedrichstraße, Hauptbahnhof, Zoologischer Garten, Charlottenburg and Spandau or Wannsee, as well as other lines connecting north-south from Jungfernheide or Gesundbrunnen through Hauptbahnhof, Potsdamer Platz and Südkreuz to Lichterfelde-Ost. Long distance trains mostly run to Hauptbahnhof, often with one or two extra stops at other stations.

By underground

U-Bahn route map
Subway U3 station: Heidelberger Platz

The Berlin U-Bahn (short for Untergrundbahn - "underground railway") is a network of ten light rail lines across the city. They are numbered from 1 to 9 with the prefix "U", with the additional line U55 in operation until its route gets connected to the U5 sometime before 2020. You may find the U-Bahn network slightly less logical and convenient to use than in other European capitals, as Berlin's troubled history made its mark on it and many key locations remain unconnected, which is why using buses, trams and S-Bahn to complement the U-Bahn is probably necessary for efficient travel throughout Berlin. However as those systems are fully integrated (see above), you can do so with only one ticket or type of ticket. Generally speaking in the east trams are more widespread while the west relies more heavily on U-Bahn, but both of that has been slowly changing since 1990.

Do also note that the "underground" is only a nominal designator, as the trains runs normally underground. Some of the network are actually overground stretches running over the characteristic viaducts that can be found throughout the city and add a certain flavour to Berlin's cityscape (this arrangement is similar to light rail systems existing in some North American cities or the M6 line in Paris).

Detailed maps can be found in every U-Bahn station and on the trains. U-Bahn stations can be seen from far by their big, friendly blue U signs. Together with the S-Bahn (which is administered by Deutsche Bahn and mostly runs aboveground), the U-Bahn provides a transportation network throughout greater Berlin that is extremely efficient and fast. On weekend (Friday to Sunday), as well as during the Christmas and New Year holidays, all U-Bahn and S-Bahn lines (except line U4) run all night, so returning from late night outings is easy, especially given the average start time of most 'parties' in Berlin (11PM to 1AM). During the week there is no U-Bahn or S-Bahn service from c. 01:00-04:30, but metro trams/buses and special Night Buses (parallel to the U-Bahn line) run every half an hour 12:30-04:30.

There are no turnstiles to limit access to U-Bahn stations, so it is technically possible to ride without a ticket, but if caught by a ticket checker you will be fined €60 (see "Validating tickets" above) so it is not only illegal but probably not worth the risk to ride without validating your ticket. Nearly all U- and S-Bahn Stations now have electronic signs that give the time of the next train, and its direction based on sensors along the lines.

By tram (streetcar)

The trams (Straßenbahn) are mostly found in East Berlin, as the West Berlin tram network was shut down in the 1960s in an effort to make the city more car friendly. If you don't have a ticket already, you can buy one inside the tram. Since reunification there has been a gradual "reconquista" of areas once served by trams in West-Berlin and in some parts of downtown it is hard to tell from trams alone where the wall used to be. That said in outlying districts of West Berlin trams are still nowhere to be found - in stark contrast to the East, where they provide much needed access to planned bedroom communities from GDR times.

There are two types of tram. Metrotrams usually have a 24/7 schedule as well as higher frequencies during daytimes. Metrotrams are marked by an "M" in front of their line number (e.g. M10) "Regular" trams stop more frequently and may even include picturesque single-track rides through forested areas far east of the Mitte district.

By bus

Berlin's buses are a very important form of public transportation, as they complement the light rail systems wherever they were removed (trams in the West) or remain incomplete. Due to the heavy loads and demands of narrow streets, Berlin is one of the few cities in Europe to use double-decker buses extensively - over 400 out of the 1400 buses in operation in Berlin are double-deckers. A ride in a Berlin double-decker should be on the to-do list of every first-time visitor to Berlin. Note that in contrast to other world cities, you should not flag down buses at stops in Berlin, even if there are multiple routes serving the stop. Some drivers may consider it an insult to their professionalism.

There are various types of buses in Berlin, each indicated separately on public transit maps:

There is no difference in fares between different types of buses - even the MetroBuses, the 100 and 200 demand the same fares as regular buses. Therefore, riding the city buses is a very cost-effective way of exploring the city compared to the many privately-operated "hop-on/hop-off sightseeing bus tours".

By bike

See also: Cycling#Germany

Berlin has no steep hills and offers many bicycle paths (Radwege) throughout the city (although not all are very smooth). These include "860 km of completely separate bike paths, 60 km of bike lanes on streets, 50 km of bike lanes on pavements or sidewalks, 100 km of mixed-use pedestrian-bike paths, and 70 km of combined bus-bike lanes on streets. Bicycles are a very popular method of transportation among Berlin residents, and there is almost always a certain level of bicycle traffic. Seeing Berlin by bicycle is unquestionably a great way to acquaint the traveller with the big tourist sites, and the little sprees and side streets as well. Although it's good to carry your own map, you can also always check your location at any U-Bahn station and many bus stations. You can create your own bicycling maps on-line, optimised by less busy routes or fewer traffic lights or your favourite paving. If you are not familiar with searching your own way through the city or you want more explanation of the sights you visit, you can get guided bike tours (with bike included) on Baja Bikes or Berlin Bike.

Tours and rentals

Traditional rental places are widespread, especially in areas frequented by tourists. Have a look around or ask at your accommodation. Most places have a rental charge of between €8 and €12 per day – they are excellent value and give you the freedom to explore the big city.

Call-a-Bikes at a rental station

If you won't be biking much or if you're planning to stay longer than a few days, you may consider Berlin's bike sharing programme, Call a Bike. Rental stations are scattered throughout the city and are easily spotted by the bright-red and silver bikes and terminals. Bikes are usually in good condition, just check the brakes. After you've registered at one of the self-service kiosks (English available), you can take out a bike by following the on-screen instructions or using your phone (either through an app or by calling the number printed on each bike). Lift the metal flap on the device to the left of the back wheel, tap the display and follow the instructions to unlock the bike. To return, lock the bike at one of the stations and wait for the display to confirm your return. Rentals cost, basic annual fee of €3, then €1 for each 30 minute up to a maximum of €15 a day. You may however prefer to pay the monthly fee of €9 or a yearly fee of €49 and get the first 30 minutes of each rental for free, even right after returning your previous bike.



Bode-Museum is part of the Museum Island, a UNESCO World Heritage

Berlin has a vast array of museums. By far most of them are covered in the Mitte district guide, which, among others, covers the Museumsinsel (an island on the Spree covered with historic museums) and the Kulturforum (a collection of contemporary cultural institutions). You will also find a good deal of museums in the West and South of the city, but it is fair to say there are larger or smaller museums in almost every district. There are museums covering everything, from art through Berlin's and Germany's history to various branches of technology and science.

Most museums charge admission for people 18 years of age or older - usually €6 to €14. Discounts (usually 50%) are available for students and disabled people with identification. Children and young people can often come in free, but do check the age restrictions in particular museums. A nice offer for museum addicts is the three day Museums Pass for €24 (concessions: €12), which grants entrance to all the regular exhibitions of the approximately 55 state-run museums and public foundations.

Most museums are closed on Mondays - notable exceptions include the Pergamon Museum, the Neues Museum and the Deutsches Historisches Museum, which are open daily. Museumsportal Berlin, a collective web initiative, offers easy access to information on all museums, memorials, castles and collections and on current and upcoming exhibitions.

Remains of the Berlin Wall

A remaining section of the Berlin Wall
Berlin Wall Memorial in the Bernauer Straße

While the Berlin Wall has long been dismantled and much of the grounds it occupied completely redeveloped, you can still find parts of the wall preserved around Berlin. This does not refer to very small pieces of the Wall sold by the East German government immediately after its dismantling, which can be found in various cafes, restaurants and hotels not only in Berlin, but to actual preserved fragments of the Wall still standing in their original locations.

The most often visited is the   Checkpoint Charlie. at the southern border of Mitte and Kreuzberg, which is a recreated legendary border crossing within the Friedrichstraße. You cannot see the actual wall there, but this iconic (and extremely touristy) point is on almost every visitor's list. Further east from there, you can find a piece of the wall lining up the Niederkirchnerstraße next to the   Topography of Terror. museum in Mitte. Another popular site is the   East Side Gallery. along the Spree in Friedrichshain, a very long stretch of preserved Wall with colorful graffiti. All of the aforementioned fragments were altered and are now tourist attractions rather than actual historic monuments - if you want a truly preserved section of the Wall, head over to the northern border of Mitte and Gesundbrunnen in the street Bernauer Straße and visit the   Berlin Wall Memorial. , with a complete section of the wall in all its gloom.

Private art galleries

As Berlin is a city of art, it is quite easy to find an art gallery on your way. They provide a nice opportunity to have a look at modern artists' work in a not-so-crowded environment for free. Some gallery streets with more than about a dozen galleries are Auguststraße, Linienstraße, Torstraße, Brunnenstraße (all Mitte, north of S-Bahn station Oranienburger Straße), Zimmerstraße (Kreuzberg, U-Bahn station Kochstraße) and Fasanenstraße (Charlottenburg). You can find a list of all the exhibitions and gallery openings as well as a map on Berlin Art Grid. A directory listing of all Berlin's art galleries can be found on The Art of Berlin: Complete Berlin Art Gallery Directory.

Landmarks with observation decks

The Victory Column

Berlin has its fair share of tall buildings and, as the city is quite expansive and does not have one single centre where all tall buildings are located, you can enjoy a nice view from most of them, even ones that are not exceedingly tall by global standards.

Below is an overview of some of the most popular openly-accessible observation decks.


Berlin has two zoos and an aquarium. The Berlin Zoo in the west is the historic zoo that has been a listed company since its foundation. It's an oasis in the city and very popular with families and schools.



Public bus line 100 with double decker bus
"Molecule Men" statue at Berlin Osthafen

Go on a Tour of Berlin - the Mitte and surrounding districts are sufficiently compact to allow a number of excellent walking tours through its history-filled streets. You'll see amazing things you would otherwise miss. Details are usually available from the reception desks of hostels and hotels.


Pick up a copy of Exberliner, , the monthly English-language paper for Berlin to find out what's on, when and where. It provides high quality journalism and up-to-date listings. If you understand German, the activity planners for the city, zitty and tip , are available at every kiosk. Be prepared to choose among a huge amount of options.


Berlin has many great parks which are very popular in the summer. Green Berlin operates some of them.

Lakes and Beaches


French Dome at the festival of lights


Theatre, opera, concerts, cinema

Konzerthaus Berlin on the Gendarmenmarkt

Berlin is arguably the live cultural centre of Germany:


Maxim Gorki Theater
Theater des Westens

Musicals and shows

Friedrichstadt-Palast (show palace)


Concert houses

Berliner Philharmonie
Chamber Music Hall, behind Philharmonie and Sony-Center


There are about a hundred cinemas in Berlin, although most of them only show movies dubbed in German, without subtitles. Listed below are some of the more important cinemas also showing movies in the original language (look for the OmU - "original with subtitles" - notation). Most movies which are dubbed into German are released a bit later in Germany. Tickets are normally €5-7. Monday to Wednesday are special cinema days with reduced admission.


In Berlin, nearly all sports are on offer:

Not to be missed is the Olympic Stadium, which hosted the 2006 world cup final. Hertha BSC Berlin , Berlin´s highest professional football team, plays there during the Bundesliga season in spring, fall and winter.
With fans crazier than most in the NBA, Albatross games at the o2 World arena are an exciting way to take in one of the world's greatest sports.



Universities in Berlin

Berlin has three major universities, and one art university. Freie Universität was founded after World War II in West Berlin and today the city's largest university by number of students. Humboldt Universität is the oldest university in Berlin with an impressive record of alumni and professors Albert Einstein, G.W.F. Hegel, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, to name but a few. During the Cold War it was the main university in East Berlin and after reunification there have been efforts to reinstate its former glory. The Technische Universität was founded in 1879 as Technische Hochschule Berlin with a good reputation for its research. The Universität der Künste Berlin is one of the largest institutions of music and arts in the world. This institution was for the most time of its existence called Hochschule der Künste, and you can still find the abbreviation HDK in the logo on some buildings.


The current economic climate is stable but to find work in Berlin is not easy. A sound level of German improves your chance as only few multinational companies are present in Berlin. Any kind of skills (especially language) that separates you from the masses will definitely improve your chances for a job.

If you have an academic background then teaching English (Spanish, French & Latin are good, too) or private tutoring (e.g. math) for pupils is always a possibility as Berlin is a young city and education is in strong demand. Otherwise working in a bar might be an option but it'll be tough, because wages are low and big tips are uncommon. Chances are much better when big trade fairs (e.g. "Grüne Woche", bread & butter or ITB) or conventions take place so apply at temp & trade fair agencies. The hospitality industry and call centers are constantly hiring but wages are very low unless you can offer special skills (such as exotic languages) or background.

Berlin has a growing media, modeling and TV/movie industry. For daily soaps, telenovelas and movies most companies look for people with something specific. Apply at the bigger casting and acting agencies.

For English-language jobs, if might be worth checking out the classified ads of this monthly magazine for English-speakers, Exberliner.


Breitscheidplatz (between Ku'damm and Tauentzienstraße) in wintertime
The famous Ku'Damm
Galeries Lafayette, Friedrichstraße

Due to federal liberalisation, shopping hours are theoretically unlimited on weekdays. Nevertheless, many of the smaller shops still close at 20:00. Most of the bigger stores and nearly all of the malls are open additionally until 9 or 10PM from Thursday to Saturday. Sunday opening is still limited to about a dozen weekends per year, although some supermarkets located at train stations (Hauptbahnhof, Bahnhof Zoologischer Garten (under the S-Bahn bridge), Friedrichstraße, Innsbrucker Platz (U4 in the underground) and Ostbahnhof) are open also on Sundays. Many bakeries and small food stores (called Spätkauf) are open late at night and on Sundays in busier neighborhoods (especially Prenzlauer Berg, Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain). Stores inside the Hauptbahnhof central station have long working hours (usually until about 22:00-23:00, also on Sundays.

The main shopping areas are:

The new great shopping center "Leipziger Platz 12 Mall of Berlin" is opening at September 2014 located 300 meters between Friedrichstraße and Leipziger Platz (U2 Potsdamer Platz or Mohrenstraße).

The renovated Galeria Kaufhof department store at Alexanderplatz is also worth a visit. The main shopping area for the alternative, but still wealthy crowd is north of Hackescher Markt, especially around the Hackesche Höfe. For some more affordable but still very fashionable shopping there is Prenzlauer Berg, Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain with a lot of young designers opening shops, but also lots of record stores and design shops. Constant change makes it hard to recommend a place, but the area around station Eberswalder Straße in Prenzlauer Berg, around Bergmannstraße and Oranienstraße in Kreuzberg and around Boxhagener Platz in Friedrichshain are always great when it comes to shopping.

For nice and trendy second-hand clothing and accessories visit Elementarteilchen - Second Hand für Frauen in the upcoming district Berlin-Wedding (Di-Sa 12-16, Amsterdamer Str. 4, Seestr. U6).

For cheap books, a nice choice is Jokers Restseller in Friedrichstraße 148, ☎+49 30 20 45 84 23) where there is a wide variety of secondhand books.

For souvenirs, have a look just in front of the Kaiser Wilhelm Gedächtniskirche; these shops sell almost the same items as others, but are cheaper, but not all the staff speaks English. You can also get cheap postcards there (from €0.30 while the average price for normal postcard is €0.50-0.80).

For collectible stamps go to Goethe Straße 2 (Ernst Reuter Platz, U2), where you can find a Philatelic Post Office from the Deutsche Post. They generally speak English.

For alternative souvenirs (design, fashion and small stuff from Berlin designers and artists), go to ausberlin near Alexanderplatz; it's a bit hidden at the other side of Kaufhof at the Karl-Liebknecht-Straße.

Flea markets

You can find dozens of flea markets with different themes in Berlin (mostly on weekends), but worth checking out is the big one at Straße des 17. Juni:

Credit cards

Credit cards are becoming more common, but Germans still largely prefer cash, as well EC/Maestro cards. Most places in tourist zones will accept credit cards, but it is still a good idea to ask in advance if you intend to pay with one. Many restaurants require a minimum check amount, sometimes in excess of €30.

For Americans, Germany uses the chip-and-pin system so you may have trouble at places like unattended gas stations and automated ticket machines. Often, a cashier will be able to swipe the magnetic strip, but don't be surprised if someone refuses your credit card because it doesn't have a chip.


Ich bin ein Berliner

in some parts of Germany - but not Berlin, jelly doughnuts are known as Berliner, but in Berlin, they're called Pfannkuchen. This in turn means "pancake" almost everywhere else, so if you want a pancake in Berlin, you have to ask for Eierkuchen. Confused yet?

Lovers of street food rejoice! Berlin has an incredibly wide variety of different styles and tastes at very affordable prices (for European wallets, that is). You can find superb food in a small stall tucked away under the tracks of elevated U-Bahn stretches for well under five euros.

A staple in Berlin is currywurst. It's a bratwurst covered in ketchup and curry powder. You can find them all over Berlin by street vendors. It's a must try when in Berlin. Two renowned Currywurst stands are "Konnopke's Imbiss" below Eberswalder Strasse U-Bahn station on line 2 and "Curry 36" opposite the Mehringdamm U-Bahn station in Kreuzberg (only two stops south of Checkpoint Charlie). Both of these offer far friendlier service than many of Berlin's more upmarket eateries.

Another famous thing to eat in Berlin is Döner, a flat bread filled with lamb or chicken meat and vegetables, available at many Turkish stands.

Eating out in Berlin is incredibly inexpensive compared to any other Western European capital or other German cities. The city is multicultural and many cultures' cuisine is represented here somewhere, although it is often modified to suit German tastes.

Berlin may seem like carnivore Heaven, but vegetarians and vegans can eat quite well. Berliners are generally environmentally conscious, and that extends to their food; most of the inner neighborhoods have a handful of good healthy vegetarian or vegan restaurants using local ingredients, though they tend to be more expensive than the ubiquitous kebab and sausage stands. If you're a vegetarian on a limited budget, many kebab restaurants have a good selection of roasted vegetables and salads, and you can usually get falafels (fried chickpea balls, suitable for vegans) and halloumi (a type of dense cheese) in place of meat.

All prices must include VAT by law. Only upmarket restaurants may ask for a further service surcharge. Note that it is best to ask if credit cards are accepted before you sit down—it's not that common to accept credit cards and cash is preferred. Most likely to be accepted are Visa and MasterCard; all other cards will only be accepted in some upmarket restaurants. Please note that lately European debit cards are not always accepted because due to debit card fraud, some processing companies stopped intra-European cards from specific countries. This does not apply to debit cards that are from German banks. Better have cash or ask the restaurant staff.

One of the main tourist areas for eating out is Hackescher Markt / Oranienburger Straße. This area has dramatically changed during the years: once full of squats and not-entirely-legal bars and restaurants, it had some real character. It is rapidly being developed and corporatized, and even the most famous squat - the former Jewish-owned proto-shopping mall "Tacheles" - has had a bit of a facelift. There are still some gems in the side streets, though, The "Assel" (Woodlouse) on Oranienburger Straße, furnished with DDR-era furniture, is still relatively authentic and worth a visit, especially on a warm summer night. Oranienburger Straße is also an area where prostitutes line up at night, but don't be put off by this. The area is actually very safe since several administrative and religious buildings are located here.

For cheap and good food (especially from Turkey and the Middle East) you should try Kreuzberg and Neukölln with their abundance of Indian, pizza and Döner Kebap restaurants. Prices start from €2 for a kebab or Turkish pizza (different from the original Italian recipe and ingredients). If you are looking for a quick meal you could try getting off at Görlitzer Bahnhof or Schlesisches Tor on the U1 line - the area is filled with inexpensive, quality restaurants.

Kastanienallee is a good choice too - but again not what it used to be since the developers moved in (much less exploited than Hackescher Markt, though). It's a popular area with artists and students and has a certain Bohemian charm. Try Imbiss W, at the corner of Zionskirchstraße and Kastanienallee, where they serve superb Indian fusion food, mostly vegetarian, at the hands of artist-chef Gordon W. Further. Up the street is the Prater Garten, Berlin's oldest beer garden and an excellent place in the summer.

Waiters and tipping

Except at very high-end restaurants, nobody will seat you. If you see an open table, just sit down. You may need to go get a menu yourself from another table or a pile near the cash register. If you sit outside, expect slightly slower service.

As in most European countries, you need to tell the waiter when you want to pay and leave. The waiter will come to you usually with a money purse, and the custom in Germany is to tell the waiter how much you’re paying (including the tip) when you receive the bill — don’t leave the money on the table. If there is confusion with the tip, remember to ask for your change, Wechselgeld (money back).

Add a 5-10% tip (or round up to the next Euro) to the bill if you are satisfied with the service. If you received shoddy service or are otherwise unsatisfied it is perfectly acceptable to not tip at all - waiters and waitresses have the same 8.50€ an hour minimum wage any other job has, so they don't depend on tips as the biggest part of their salary like in the US


Restaurants between Nollendorfplatz and Winterfeldplatz in Schöneberg

All restaurant information is in the corresponding borough articles of


It is very common to go out for breakfast or brunch (long breakfast and lunch, all you can eat buffet, usually from 10:00-16:00, for €4 to €12 - sometimes including coffee, tea or juice). See the district pages of Berlin/City West#Breakfast & Berlin/East Central#Eat.



For more clubs, have a look at the district pages.

The club scene in Berlin is one of the biggest and most progressive in Europe. Even though there are some 200 clubs in the city, it's sometimes difficult to find the right club for you since the best ones are a bit off the beaten track and most bouncers will keep bigger tourist groups (especially males) out. Entrance is cheap compared to other big European cities, normally from 5 to €10 (usually no drink included).

The main clubbing districts are in the east: Mitte (especially north of Hackescher Markt and - a bit hidden - around Alexanderplatz), Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg (around Schlesisches Tor) and Prenzlauer Berg (around station Eberswalder Str.). Some mainstream clubs are located in Charlottenburg and at Potsdamer Platz. Electro and techno are still the biggest in Berlin, with lots of progressive DJs and live acts around. But there are also many clubs playing '60s beat, alternative rock and of course mainstream music. Clubbing days are Thursday, Friday and especially Saturday, but some clubs are open every day of the week. Partying in Berlin starts around midnight (weekends) and peaks around 2AM or 3AM in the normal clubs, a bit later in many electro/techno clubs. Berlin is famous for its long and decadent after hours, going on until Monday evening.

A good overview about what's going on close to the place you are staying is brought to you by This website shows you parties directly on a map. Be sure to check Resident Advisor for the best parties before you go out.


Berliners love to drink cocktails, and it's a main socializing point for young people. Many people like to meet their friends in a cocktail bar before clubbing. Prenzlauer Berg (Around U-Bahnhof Eberswalder Str., Helmholtzplatz, Oderberger Straße & Kastanienallee), Kreuzberg (Bergmannstraße, Oranienstraße and the area around Görlitzer Park and U-Bahnhof Schlesisches Tor), Schöneberg (Goltzstraße, Nollendorfplatz, Motzstraße for gays), and Friedrichshain (Simon-Dach-Straße and around Boxhagener Platz) are the main areas.

At Warschauer Straße (which you can reach via S-Bahn and U-Bahn station Warschauer Straße) and more specifically Simon-Dach-Straße and around Boxhagener Platz you can find a wide variety of bars. It is common for locals to meet at Warschauer to go to a bar there. Also Ostkreuz (Eastcross) and Frankfurter Allee are very famous meeting points. Especially to visit the alternative ("underground-/left-szene") locations in houseprojects (so called squats), like the Supamolly at Jessnerstreet (Traveplatz), the Scharni38 (Scharnweberstreet) and so on, or famous alternative clubs on the Revaler Straße, like the R.A.W. or the Lovelite on Simplonstraße.

There are lots of Irish bars all over the city, as there are in all European cities. If you like off-the-shelf Irish bars or watching football in English then you won't be disappointed, but in a city with new cool bars opening pretty much daily and a huge range from which to choose, you'll find that these cater mostly to the Irish construction workers and Germans attracted by Irish music, which is often played in them. The Irish pub in the Europa Center at Tauentzienstraße is famous. Located in the basement of a skyscraper, you will find a big Irish pub and a rowdy crowd on the weekend. It also claims to have the longest bar in all of Berlin!

There aren't as many illegal bars as there were in the '90s but bars open and close faster than you can keep up - check out the bar and cocktail guides in the bi-weekly magazines Tip or Zitty. For recommended bars, have a look at the district pages.


Brauhaus (breweries) brew and sell their own beer on the premises. There is usually a public viewing area onto the brewery. Try Gaffel Haus, Brauhaus Georgbraeu, Brauhaus Mitte, Brauhaus Spandau and Brauhaus Lemke.


Cafe Einstein is one particular example of a home grown coffee chain which has nice staff, great coffee and is fairly priced. In particular, the Einstein on Unter den Linden is as far from "junk coffee" as it's possible to be.

If you want to get some tap water, ask for "Leitungswasser" (if you just say "water" (Wasser), you will receive mineral water.) This is common if you drink coffee. They should not charge you for it but you should order another drink as well.


Berlin is still witnessing a construction boom of hotels and offices since the end of the Cold War. The boom leads to a significant oversupply of hotels which results in comparatively cheap prices even in the 5 star category (off-season prices of €110 per night are not unusual). Especially for a short visit, it may be best to stay at a place in Berlin-Mitte (around Friedrichstraße), as most of the main sights are located there. Due to its history most hotels in Berlin are still located in the City West (i.e. Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf), especially close to Zoo station. Alexanderplatz and Anhalter Bahnhof have clusters of 2-3 star budget hotels (i.e. Ibis, Motel One). You'll find currently only budget hotels (Motel One and Meininger) located directly at the new main train station but some large constructions are in progress. The (oddly named) budget hotel chain 'Motel-One' operates various 2-star hotels in the city centre. There are also many 3-4 star 'NH Hotels' offering good value. All major hotel chains are present in Berlin. A good idea to check that the hotel is close to public transport (U-Bahn or S-Bahn) to avoid too long walks.

Cheapest are youth hostels (called Jugendherbergen, only for members) and hostels (similar to youth hostels, but for everyone, mostly backpackers stay here, usually in one to 32-bed rooms). You will also find bed and breakfast offers (often private) and boarding houses (Pension, more familiar and smaller than hotels). Be aware that the majority of private flats on platforms like AirBnB are offered illegaly in Berlin and contribute to the ongoing housing crisis. Try to choose your accommodation responsibly!

Check the district pages for individual accommodation listings. Popular hotel districts include:

You may find accommodation at reasonable prices in almost any district of Berlin, but be mindful of the time it may take to get from that place to where you want to visit, as Berlin is a very large city.


You can find internet cafes and telephone shops all around Berlin. Do a bit of research with the telephone shops because most have a focus region in the world. Many bars, restaurants and cafes offer free wi-fi for their guests. The ubiquitous Einstein Coffee offers 30 minutes of free wifi for all patrons.

The mobile network (3G/GPRS/GSM) covers the whole city. If you are coming from a non-GSM standard country (e.g. the United States) check your mobile phone for GSM compatibility. Note: The GSM iPhone, which works with AT&T and T-Mobile in the U.S., works perfectly in Berlin.

A free wireless network covers parts of Berlin, but requires special software on your computer. More information including maps of Berlin with coverage is available online.

Stay safe

Berlin is a safe place but it has some not-so-well maintained areas, too. No specific rules apply with the exception of public transportation and tourist areas where pickpockets are a problem. Watch your bags during rush hours and at larger train stations.

The police in Berlin are competent, not corrupt; therefore, if you try to bribe them you are likely to spend at least a night behind bars to check your background. They are generally helpful to tourists. Most of the officers are able to speak English, so don't hesitate to approach them if you are frightened or lost. The nationwide emergency number is ☎ 112 for medical emergencies and fires, while the police emergency number is ☎ 110.

Since the 1980s, there have been localized riots on Labour Day (May 1). In general they take place in Kreuzberg around Oranienstraße/Mariannenplatz. Nowadays they usually start the night before May 1, especially in the Mauerpark (Prenzlauer Berg), at Boxhagener Platz and in Rigaer Str. (Friedrichshain) and start again in the evening of May 1 in Kreuzberg and in the mentioned areas. The violent riots have become rather small since 2005 due to the engagement of the citizens who celebrate the Labour Day with a nice "myfest" in Kreuzberg and well-planned police efforts. It is still better to stay out of these areas from 20:00 until sunrise. Vehicles should not be parked in these area as this is asking for damage!

Racially-motivated violence is rare but the risk is higher on the outskirts of East Berlin. It is recommended for non-Caucasian tourists to be attentive in areas such as Lichtenberg, Hellersdorf, Marzahn, Treptow and Köpenick in the evening/night especially if alone.

In the bordering neighbourhood of the districts Neukölln and Kreuzberg (between Hermannplatz, Schönleinstrasse to Kottbusser Tor) and Wedding (Moabit and Gesundbrunnen) the risk of falling victim to robberies and assaults is slightly higher. Tourists should visit these areas with some caution during the night as a mixture of drunken party people and poor neighbourhoods might lead to trouble.

Although harmless, panhandlers have recently started to beg at local tourist spots such as Pariser Platz next to the Brandenburg Gate, Alexanderplatz and the Museuminsel. They are usually women accompanied by their daughters who ask if you speak English and say that they are from the new EU countries and trying to raise money to fly home. The story is false, so don't give them money, which would encourage further exploitation of the women and their kids. They also have a new tactic where they hand you a card telling their "story" and asking for money; beware that the children that they carry in their arms will search through your bags while you are reading the card. The best way to avoid this is simply to ignore them and not to respond when they ask you "Speak English?" If you feel scared, don't hesitate to contact the police, as they will help.


Prostitution is a legal business in Germany. Berlin has no major red-light district though some big brothels were built. Berlin has no "Sperrbezirk" (restricted areas for prostitutes) so the "apartments" or brothels are spread throughout the whole city. The Oranienburger Straße in Mitte is infamous for its prostitutes at night. These women are a tourist attraction and the ladies focus only on tourists to request exorbitant prices.

The proximity to Eastern Europe, relaxed visa rules, and the illegal migrant community increases the number of prostitutes. Advertisements are in the tabloids and online. Human trafficking and illegal immigration is a problem; therefore, police raids do take place and close down illegal places. Brothels and prostitutes must register like normal businesses, or they will be prosecuted for tax evasion. In general, the police officers are not interested in the clients (especially if you stay calm and don't try to argue) but you must have a photo ID (passport copy is fine) with you. Otherwise, you might spend a night at the police station while your background gets checked.



  • Ireland, Jägerstraße 51 10117 Berlin,  +49 30 220 720, fax: +49 30 2207 2299. M-F 09:30-12:30 & 14:30-16:30.
  • Zimbabwe, Axel-Springer-Straße 54a/Kommundantenstr. 80,  +49 30 206 2263. M-F 09:00-13:00, 14:00-16:00.

Go next

Some people from Berlin would ask you why you would ever want to leave, but there are a couple of nice places in close proximity - some even within reach of the Berlin S-Bahn. Brandenburg is mostly rural so a short drive will get you "away from it all" and right into picturesque nature.

The motorway Raststätte Grunewald at the S-Bahn station Nikolassee is a good spot for hitching if you're heading south or west.

The Polish border is just some 90 km to the east of Berlin, therefore it might be interesting to do a trip to Szczecin (Stettin) which is about two and a half hours by train or Poznań (Posen) which is three hours by train or Wroclaw (Breslau) which is only 3-4 hours by car, depending on direction.

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Friday, April 01, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.