5 Minute Guide to Berlin, Germany

Brandenburg Gate

Berlin, Germany

From the airport:

It depends at which airport you arrive, but it’s quite easy to get to the city centre from both of them.  The cost of a one-way ticket from Schönefeld is 3.40 (euros), and from Tegal in the bus it’s 2.80 (euros).

Tegal TXL – take the number TXL bus to Hauptbahnhof or Alexander Platz.  30-45 minutes.

Schönefeld SXF– take the S-bahn S9 to Alexander Platz or Ostbahnhof.  30-45 minutes.

Hotels:

We’ve stayed at Junckers Hotel  about 5 or 6 times.  It’s a nice hotel in a good location.  We haven’t been there for a few years so not sure if it’s still as good as it was.  It’s close to the underground, buses and trams.  There are lots of hotels to choose from in Berlin, of course it depends on which neighbourhood you want to stay in. 

Getting around:

Buses (and trams in some areas) and the underground are the main methods of getting around in Berlin.  You can walk, but it’s quite a big city and some distances are just too far to cover on foot.  Go for the daily metro pass which is good value at about 7 euros (for AB zones) if you want to cover a lot of ground in one day.  There are travel zones with different tariffs, but I think most of your activities will be in zones A and B.  Get the pricing for public transport here.

tower pinterest

Food:

Currywurst of course!   There are some rather famous currywurst places, but in my opinion the most famous ones are over-rated and mass produced for the tourists.  And not worth lining up for 20-30 minutes for a taste.  Try any local currywurst place that you come across, it’s probably going to be good. Make sure you have it with fries.  Otherwise, if it’s too ‘junk foody’ for you, there are so many restaurants, cafes and bars you have a huge choice of any cuisine which you’re craving.  There are also heaps of vegetarian and vegan cafes and restaurants to choose from.

currywurst
Currywurst is sausage with ketchup and curry powder, often eaten with fries
Blutwurst
Traditional German food – Blutwurst, Sauerkraut and potatoes – delicious!

Shopping:

No contest here – KaDeWe.  The Kaufhaus des Westens.  If you’re a shopaholic, this is the one place that you mustn’t leave off your list.  Don’t forget to take a look at the food department – it’s amazing.  It’s the second largest department store in Europe (Harrods in London is bigger).  There are many other shopping locations in Berlin – you can find some of them listed here in this guide.

sausages
The sausage selection in KaDeWe

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Sightseeing:

There are so many wonderful places to visit in Berlin.  My top ones are:

  • Brandenburg Gate
  • Television Tower
  • Reichstag
  • Museum Island
  • The Berlin Wall – at any location where the wall’s still standing. I prefer Potsdamer Place and East Side Gallery, but of course the Checkpoint Charlie crossing is still the main attraction for tourists
  • Grosser Tiergarten and the Victory Column
Brandenburg Gate
Brandenburg Gate
Television Tower
Television Tower
Checkpoint Charlie
Me at Checkpoint Charlie
Berlin Wall
Berlin Wall

And there are lots of museums to choose from.

Quirky:

DDR museum – play with everything in the museum, pretend you live in the former East Berlin.

DDR Museum Kitchen
DDR Museum Kitchen
DDR Museum Living Room
DDR Museum Living Room

Ramones museum – for punk music fans.   You can visit the café and bar for free, pay an entrance fee only if you want to go into the museum.

Ramones Museum
Olivier in the Ramones Museum

Recommended for:

Solo travellers, couples, groups of friends, senior travellers.  Could be tiring for small children.

5-7 days would be enough for Berlin – the first time.  You’ll want to come back again to continue your exploration of this intriguing and very interesting city.

Top tip:

Take the number 100 bus from Alexander Platz to the zoo and you’ll get a lovely ride that takes you past many of the main landmarks and attractions of Berlin.  At the end of the ride, near the zoo, it’s just a short walk to KaDeWe for some shopping.  Using your 7 euro public transport day ticket it’s a cheap alternative to excursions on offer by tour companies – get off and on whenever and where ever you want at no further cost.

And don’t forget, when you’ve bought your public transport ticket, you have to validate your ticket in the yellow or red boxes on the platforms or in the buses and trams before you use it for the first time.

ticket
A daily ticket for zones ABC, and a 7-day ticket for zones AB

Remember to check out my other 5 Minute Guides MoscowParisAmsterdam, Hanoi, Hue, Munich and Vilnius

~ Cheryl

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Author: Cheryl

I'm an Australian woman who is now living in a village in rural Bulgaria. I lived for 12 years in Moscow, Russian Federation, working as an English language teacher. My current loves are my husband and my vegetable garden.

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