Insider tips: Planning a trip to Berlin
The Crazy Tourist is a travel resource that covers destinations all around the world. In its website, you can find all the information and details you need for planning a trip to Berlin.
What should I do on my first trip to Berlin?
Berlin’s past and present meet on the east side of Tiergarten park. This is along the route of the Berlin Wall and dominated by the Reichstag, which is the historic the seat of the German Federal Parliament, caught between east and west after the war. From here you can head along the stately Unter den Linden boulevard to Museum Island, a UNESCO site loaded with internationally important museums and home to Berlin Cathedral.
What are some hidden gems to see in Berlin?
Berlin’s smallest district is easy to miss, as it’s tucked into the riverbend north of the Tiergarten park. During a search for new social housing concepts in the 1950s the area was chosen for the groundbreaking Interbau development. Some 50 great architects like Oscar Niemeyer, Walter Gropius and Alvar Aalto contributed designs. Now, Hansaviertel is a forgotten treat for any fan of Modernist architecture.
How much time should I spend in Berlin?
A tightly packed long weekend is enough to get a feel for Berlin. In a day or two you'll cover most of the landmarks, memorials and museums around the central Mitte borough. After that your curiosity will draw you away from the center to the bordering neighborhoods. Sometimes scruffy but always fresh and full of surprises, these areas will inspire return trips to Berlin in the future. You could easily devote a day to each of Kreuzberg, Friedrichshain, Prenzlauer Berg and Neukölln.
What food is Berlin known for?
If there’s a dish that just shouts Berlin, it has to be Currywurst. Arriving in the immediate post-war, this comforting streetfood is bratwurst in ketchup seasoned with curry powder and served with fries. One possible inventor was the food kiosk owner Herta Heuwer, said to have gotten hold of the curry powder from British soldiers stationed in West Berlin. Berlin also had a hand in developing the world-famous döner kebab. The recipe for this stuffed pita was perfected by Turkish guest workers in the 1970s and adapted for local tastes.
What is the best way to get around Berlin?
Berlin has excellent public transport, and every part of the city is served by one or more lines of the U-Bahn, S-Bahn, Straßenbahn (tram) or bus network. The Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe (BVG) has an excellent route planner in English to make life even easier. And with no tall hills, hundreds of kilometers of designated bike lanes and an ever-growing cycle infrastructure, Berlin is also made to be seen on two wheels. In fact, one of the best ways to see the Berlin Wall is via the Mauerradweg, a trail following the course of the barrier and its former border control roads for 100 miles.
What are the best months to visit Berlin?
Late April and early May are right in the middle of asparagus season, when many restaurants in the city publish special menus for this coveted local delicacy. There is never a bad time to be in Berlin, but at the height of summer the cafe and restaurant terraces, markets, outdoor events and waterways add a little magic to the cityscape. There’s also something memorable about stepping out of a club or bar blinking after the sun has come up.
What are the best neighborhoods for food?
Open and multicultural, Berlin has a diverse and fast-moving food scene. Some of the humbler parts of town are a gastronomic journey of discovery, and this goes for Neukölln. Around Sonnenallee and Karl-Marx-Straße you can sample every cuisine from Yemenite to Bulgarian. International flavors and innovative ideas abound at the Mediterranean, Southeast Asian and Middle Eastern joints in hip Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg.
What are the best neighborhoods for shopping?
As Berlin has spent so much of the last century divided, there isn't a single central commercial area, but rather a choice of great streets and neighborhoods. The most famous street is Kurfürstendamm, which has international brands, the immense KaDeWe department store and ample high-end boutiques the further west you go. Also upscale is Friedrichstraße, a prominent shopping street before WWII, and has rediscovered that prestige since reunification.
What neighborhood should I stay in when I visit Berlin?
Many of Berlin’s defining landmarks and biggest attractions are in the Mitte borough, literally the middle of the city. Here first-time visitors can take in the big sights and museums, but also understand Berlin as a once divided city. Friedrichstraße is a convenient choice for short stays, as you’ll be perfectly central, with the Reichstag and Brandenburg Gate to the west and the famous institutions of Museum Island to the east.
What is the best family-friendly thing to do in Berlin?
Even the trendiest neighborhoods have Kindercafés, which are child-friendly establishments with dedicated areas and toys for younger kids. Berlin also brims with lush parks, from Tiergarten to the vast reclaimed airport at Tempelhofer Feld, all easily reached by public transport. There are also several swimmable lakes on Berlin’s outskirts, with wide sandy beaches and lots of child-friendly activities.
What is the best thing to do in Berlin for solo travelers?
Traveling solo also means traveling light, and there’s no better way to enjoy Berlin’s many museums and art galleries. Partly thanks to the city’s low rents, Berlin’s art scene is effervescent, and you can check out showcases like the KW Institute for Contemporary Art and Contemporary Fine Arts. Solo travelers can also freely dive into Berlin’s many outdoor and covered markets, and Markthalle IX and Karl-August Platz are great places to start.
What is the best thing to do in Berlin for couples?
Berlin has some exquisite Baroque and Rococo palaces that can be adored in the company of a loved one. Schloss Charlottenburg and Potsdam’s Sanssouci rest in dainty gardens. Few cities have quite as much to see from the water as Berlin, and you can gaze at the Reichstag or Berlin Cathedral on a gentle cruise. If you have the time you can take a leisurely trip downriver as far as the Havel River and Potsdam.
What are the best annual events in Berlin?
Held across ten days in February, the Berlin International Film Festival (Berlinale) is the city’s biggest cultural event. Berlinale has been going since 1951, and puts on public screenings at special venues like Potsdamer Platz and Alexanderplatz, but also a transformed crematorium complex. Newer to the scene is Berlin Art Week in September, when dozens of major institutions take part in an action-packed program of exhibitions, fairs and one-off events.