Berlin is without any doubt one of the best cities I've ever visited. The history behind the buildings, the urban art, the contrast between neighborhoods if they were in the Soviet part or not, and all shops and restaurants with an affordable price makes Berlin a city that I would not have any problem to visit many times, even live there for a while ( but not in winter please, is really cold and is dark at 5:30 in the afternoon, really depressive for a Spanish guy like me).
This is a city full of nightclubs, but they're so secret though -- you've got to find them.
If you go to East Berlin, you have to consider that the East (and West also) had been isolated for fifty years and old people still have the cold war inside their brains. Go to district of Kreuzberg and Neukölln -- Germans are the minority there, or go to Vienna.
It is the most unfriendly place in Europe. We went to a bar where locals go, right next to our hostel. As Brazilians, my friends and I have little dark skin. When we sat down, we noticed that people were staring at us. We tried to talked to a German girl but she did not even look at me and went away. We ordered some beer but it took half an hour to come. The bartender told us that they did not like foreigners and it would be better for us to just go a place where there are more international people.
Berlin is the ideal city for going out and party, because it's full of attractive pubs and discos. It's not a beautiful city but it has a lot of history, lots of museums, and lots of things to do and see. Berlin is very cheap too (at least comparing with other European cities) so you can get cheap and good accommodations, cheap meals and drinks. Museums are cheap too, especially if you have your student card. I'd recommend visiting the Cinema Museum, next to Potsdammer platz.
The Alternative Berlin tour is excellent (if a little slow at time). It is free, you just tip at the end. It takes you to some crazy but great sites you wouldn't know about yourself -- these places don't appear in guidebooks. They meet at Starbucks in Alexanderplatz at 11 a.m. each morning.
I suggest also going to the DDR Museum -- it's very different than all the other museums, with the exhibits being largely hands on and showing what life was like growing up in the DDR. It's by the river on the Alexanderplatz side of the Berliner Dom.
We found Berlin a very safe place, much more than Paris or London. For those like us wh like history there's plenty of things to see and do. Even think to plan a week to spend there. We recommend Deustches Historiches Museum (one full day from opening until closure). Topographie des Terrors. German Resistance Memorial (Stauffenbergstrasse). Deutsch-Russische Museum in Beriln Karlshorst. Sowjetisches Ehrenmal in Treptower Park. Sowjetisches Ehrenmal in Strasse 17 Juni. Reichstag. Checkpoint Charlie. Sachsenhausen concentration camp. Berlin boasts many other interesting places not so directly connected with recent history, a very interesting place.
Davide & Michela, Chiavari (GE), Italy
Berlin -- probably my favorite city in the world! So much to do and see, and positively steeped in history! The food is excellent, the people are friendly, and the beer is world-class! Don't forget to take a walking tour, only 9 Euro with an ISIC card and well worth the money! After one day (and one night) here, you will never want to leave!
The Schönes-Wochenende-Ticket is now thirty euro, and is only good for one day (on either Saturday or Sunday). It is still good for up to five people and still only for local transport. Döner kebab and curry-wurst were both invented in Berlin, so try them both!
Watch out for the crazy American students (and the British ones too --they are worse -- I was one) in the doner kebab shops at about 3 a.m. Also when you order your doner ask for all the sauce alles bitte.
Visit one of the spas as mentioned in Frommers. Ten different saunas to choose from, swimming pool, cold plunge. Don't bring a bathing suit because they're coed and nude!
If you do nothing else in Berlin, make sure you book onto a walking tour. They cost about $12 and in just four hours you have a guide take you to all the main sites around the city. Well worth the money!
Forget the doner kebab, try the curry wurst!! We ate it for four days in a row and finally had our stomachs pumped, but we would be lying if we said we didn't enjoy it. Berlin is affordable for back packers. It's different! Enjoy it!
Doner kebab... if you don't know what it is, you will after you visit Germany. It's best after midnight, preferably while intoxicated.
The Schöens Wochenende (Happy Weekend) train ticket is an amazing deal if you have more time than money. For only €28 up to five people can travel all weekend on local trains (that's €28 total for up to 5 people!). If you wanted to, you can travel all the way from Berlin to Switzerland on nothing but local trains (but it takes about 10 train transfers and 10 hours to do it). Buy a pass at any German train station.
Berlin is the capital of Germany and its motto is “poor but sexy”. Even though “poor” is not what it looks like at all, the second part is definitely true for nightlife and clubbing. Berlin is divided into twelve suburbs. If you are looking for a hostel in Berlin, you should try to stay in a central location since the city is very widespread and travelling times are significant. Some of the best suburbs to find a Berlin hostel in are Mitte (this is where most of the historic sights are), Charlottenburg, or Pankow.
Berlin is served by two airports, Tegel and Schönefeld. Both can easily be accessed by train and bus services. Getting around or to and from your Berlin hostel is no problem since there is a comprehensive public transport system in place. It can be a bit puzzling so take your time to familiarize yourself with it. Be aware that it might take a significant amount of time to get around.
While you are there, you can experience the fusion of past and present German history with lots of historic sights and the Reichstag to visit. Discover countless museums (do not miss the Museumsinsel). You can also gaze at the iconic Brandenburger Tor, watch an opera at the German state opera, or try to find a remaining part of the Berlin Wall (the East Side Gallery is the best bit still remaining). According to the motto of Berlin, have some fun and discover the vibrant nightlife or buy some cutting-edge clothes by an up-and-coming German designer.
Book your Berlin hostel bed well in advance, especially if you are visiting in summer. There are many hostels in the city, but Berlin is a popular destination so they can fill up fast.
Hi, I'm Mona,
the Hostelz.com local expert for Berlin hostels. Welcome.