Despite what the graffiti might suggest, Berlin is one of the safest cities in Europe but like anywhere it helps to have a bit of background knowledge before you arrive. So here are my hints and tips, based on personal experience, to help make the most of your stay.
For a four day break, I took 300 euros and returned with 50. As far as city breaks go Berlin is one of the cheapest as many of the tourist attractions are free and you can walk between many of them saving on travel costs.
I took 100 euros in cash, and withdrew cash from the banks in Berlin when I required more however there is a charge with most banks so check the travel charges before you go, and withdraw a lump sum to save on those charges. The banks, like in England, are closed on Sunday so ensure you have enough cash to see you threw as the bank card won’t always work on smaller cash machines.
The food is very similar to the UK, lots of meat and veg with an endless supply of coffee shops. However you will have to try the local delicacy – a currywurst.
For early May the temperature was very mild, however a light jacket was still needed. there would be an occasional downpour so check the weather forecast before you leave and pack accordingly.
Toilets are pretty hard to come by in Berlin, not every establishment has them and some places there is up to a 50 cent charge. If you can find a public toilet, which are dotted around the city, then it may do you well to use it.
English is spoken everywhere, so you’ll have no problems where that is concerned.
These little photo booths are dotted around the city and are such good fun, make sure you track one down! They cost 2 euros for a four photo photo strip in black and white, but be warned once you have slotted in the coins you don’t have any warning when the pictures are taken! It all flash four consecutive times so be sure to have your poses ready! Once the photos have been taken, exit the machine and wait for the photos to be printed on the side of the machine, but they can take up to five minutes to print.
Don’t waste your money on a hop on hop off bus tour, all of the attractions are within walking distance, or if you’re not up to walking the subway stations are very easy to find and are often very close to the attraction itself after exiting the station.
You can buy an all day travel ticket for 7 euros, this will allow use on all modes of transport for that day including the train, the tram, the bus AND the subway. Once you have purchased your ticket, you’ll need to validate it by sticking into one of the funny looking machines to have it stamped with the date and time.
Occasionally there will be ticket inspectors, however they only come round once in a blue moon. Do not take the chance of not buying a ticket, as they can be pretty nasty if you do not have your ticket.
Get a map
You can find a map in most tourist information centres or booths in the travel stations or close to the tourist attractions, this will be your life saver. Try to pick up the map that has both the subway map and a map of Berlin on either side, trust me you’ll need both.
Make an itinerary
Knowing we only had four days in Berlin, we made a list of the attractions we wished to see and made a plan, I would recommend doing the same. Please note if you wish to visit the Reichtag you’ll need to book in advance and I would also recommend making a reservation for breakfast in the TV Tower.
If you have time, Google offer some fantastic walking directions as a back-up in case your map reading skills are a bit rusty! You can find the addresses for the attractions online, and simply use google maps for instructions on how to get from one attraction to the next.