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Berlin is about 9 times bigger than Paris and has more canals than any other city in the world including Venice.
Berlin is on the Central European Time Zone (CET). It’s GMT +1 hour, meaning that it’s 5 hours ahead of New York and 1 hour ahead of London (Not calculating for Day Lights Savings).
If you are a citizen of a country that is a member state of the EU, you do not need a visa to travel to Berlin. All you need is documentation that identifies you, either a valid passport or an ID card.
For non-EU travelers, you will need:
- A passport or travel document. Must have been issued within the last 10 years and valid for at least three more months beyond the date you plan to leave Germany.
- Valid visa. If require.
- Proof of adequate funds for the entire stay in Germany. Travelers must be in possession of at least 45€ per each day they plan on spending in German territory.
- A round-trip ticket to Germany and back. You will present these documents to German border police upon arrival.
In 1985, the government of Germany signed the Schengen Agreement, meaning that it became part of the European border free area.
You must apply for a Schengen Visa if you are:
- Citizens of a third-world country that has not reached a visa liberalization agreement with the EU.
- A citizen of a third-world country that has reached a visa liberalization agreement with the Schengen states, but you were rejected from entering Belgium or any other Schengen country visa-free.
For more detailed info, check out Schengen Visa Info.
The most convenient airport for travelers heading to Berlin is Brandenburg Airport.
Flughafen Berlin Brandenburg Airport (BER): Berlin’s long-awaited airport has finally opened in 2020, it’s the perfect airport if you want to travel straight Germany’s capital.
The easiest way to get around in Berlin is via the U-Bahn underground trains or S-Bahn regional.
- Fares for this underground rail system range from 1.70 to 3.40 EUR (around $1.90 to $3.80).
- The city also offers a variety of bus and tram lines to choose from that can take you to most places in the city, though it is notably slower than the rail system.
- Driving is discouraged in Berlin due to heavy traffic and scarce parking. If you don’t want to use the public transport, there are always bikes nearby for you to rent and you can peddle around the city.
- Taxis are also available around the city.
Berlin is generally a very safe place to travel. There are a few pickpockets, so it is important to guard your stuff especially in the cities at night. Every place you travel you could encounter a local who will try to take advantage of a foreigner but if you trust your gut you should be perfectly fine.
But just in case, the emergency number in Berlin is 112.
Berlin is a year-round destination, the climate is moderately continental, with cold winters and relatively warm summers.
- The ideal time to travel is May through September, the weather is perfect for strolling around a park or sitting outside a café.
The official language in Berlin is German, however you can easily get around using English since Berlin is a tourist destination.
Yes: Ja (yah)
No: Nein (nine)
Hello/Good day: Guten Tag (GOOT-en tahk)
Excuse me: Entschuldigen Sie (ent-SHOOL-degen see)
Thank you: Danke (DAHN-kuh)
I’m sorry: Es Tut mir leid (ehs toot meer lite)
I don’t understand: Ich verstehen nicht (Ish VARE-stahe nisht)
How much does that cost?: Wieviel kostet das? (Vee-veal cost-it Das?)
Where is the restroom?: Wo ist die Toilette (vo ist dee toy-LET-uh)
Do: be polite, say please and thank you, try to be on time as much as possible, use a fork and knife when eating, shake hands when greeting people, be clean and dress well.
Do not: compare people to Nazis, stare at naked people; nudism in Germany is known as Freikoerperkultur (FKK) in essence they are a lot freer with their bodies then other countries so just try to be respectful of it.
Tipping is expected in Berlin, Germany but at a much lower rate than the U.S, the general custom is a nominal tip (Trinkgeld is the German word for tip, it translates to money for a drink).
- Restaurant: 5% to 10% is appreciated while 15% is considered generous.
- Taxis: anywhere between 50 cents and 2 EUR depending on the amount of the fare.
- Hotels: tipping the porter 1-2 EUR per bag is average. Tip the maid/housekeeper around 4 EUR for every night you are staying.
- Spas: you do not need to tip but if you want to 5% is appreciated.
- Tour Guides: 10% is the general rule especially if the tour is free.
In Berlin, the power plugs and sockets are type C and F (two-prong). Both types also work with plug E. You cannot use your electronics in Germany without a voltage converter, because the standard voltage is 230 V — higher than the US standard of 120 V.
Your converter should look like this:
Tap water is very safe to drink in Berlin, it is their most controlled beverage product!
When you are at a restaurant in Berlin however and you ask for water, they will bring you a bottled water, it is considered bad etiquette to request tap water.
Pocket Wi-Fi is considered one of the best Wi-Fi hotspots for travelers in Berlin, especially if you want to avoid data roaming. This portable Wi-Fi solution makes it cheap and easy to access Wi-fi anywhere in Germany. You can even connect up to 10 devices to the same pocket Wi-Fi Egg.
A SIM card costs €9.95 ($11.81) and will give you 2.5GB of data
Taxis tend to be expensive in Berlin and the trams are preferred, the base rate for a taxi starts at 3.70 EUR ($4.20 USD) an additional 1.90 EUR ($2.15 USD) must be paid as well per kilometer. Taxi and Uber are not very popular when it comes to transport. If you do want to order a taxi, the MyTaxi app is a great place to find a taxi near you.
Berlin is considered one of the most tolerant and accepting cities in the world and the gay/lesbian scene is a testament to that.
You will find gay bars, queer cinema programme and even the gay museum when walking the streets of Berlin. In the summer Berlin celebrates pride week with festivals and parties the entire week as well as equal rights demonstrations.
Berlin has an abundance of green space around the city. These green spaces act as a social hub for travelers and natives alike.
- Berlin is home to The Reichstag, the greenest parliament building in the world, biofuel generators in the building’s basement produce 40% of the buildings energy.
- Berlin is an incredibly eco-friendly city with many vegan/vegetarian restaurants and eco-conscious shopping.