There is so much to experience and discover in Berlin, from instagrammable graffiti art to delicious street food.
The capital city may not boast of the best sights in the country, but there is a lot to rave about, from history lessons and cultural highlights to unique nightlife.
What Is This International City Like?
At different points in time, Berlin has been the capital of Prussia, Third Reich, the Weimer Republic and the communists. This history is still reflected in its streets and neighbourhoods.
Having risen like the Sphinx from its turbulent past, Berlin is constantly in the evolve mode. Its modern-edgy avatar comes from its largely youthful and tech-savvy population.
The entertainment centres, shopping spots, and green spaces entice you to stay for just a while longer.
Things To Know Before Your Trip
Language, Weather and Time
Although German is the official language, you can get by with English. Learn some simple German phrases, as this can be useful when you’re sightseeing on your own.
From a Singaporean perspective, summers here are cooler. The average temperature is 18°C, and it can hover between 13-23°C. Berlin is no stranger to the occasional summer rain, so keep an umbrella handy.
As Berlin is 7 hours behind Singapore, friends back home are probably snoozing, while you’re admiring the Charlottenburg Palace.
Money, Food and Dressing
Unlike their Nordic counterparts, German service providers prefer cash. Small restaurants, shops and even cabbies could refuse credit card payments. So remember to exchange enough Euros before you head over there.
While beer flows freely in Berlin, the city is not all sausage and sauerkraut. The migrant population, chiefly Turkish, hip residents and steady horde of international tourists have ensured a varied food scene.
From stalls selling pretzels and the famous Doner Kebab to eateries serving inexpensive Italian, Thai and Korean food, you have options galore.
Don’t forget to sample some fine white wine while dining out. Get a decent, satisfying meal for €8-€10 (about S$14-S$17).
When it comes to dressing up, save it for swanky malls, the opera, or posh restaurants. Casual wear is fine everywhere else.
From Berlin Airport To Your Hotel & Beyond
Berlin Airport to City Centre
Your first Berlin experience begins at Tegel airport, which is a quite close to the city centre (about 12km).
Taxi fare to the city centre is approximately €30 (S$50).
Berlin to Munich
If you’re heading to Munich (from Berlin), fly out from Tegel airport or take an express train from Berlin Hauptbahnhof.
Some Handy Tips For Your Stay
Unlike Singapore, Berlin is not really a walkable city as it’s huge. Hail a taxi on the streets to get around easily, but you’ll be shelling out €10-€15 (about S$17-S$25) for 3-5km each time.
Want to explore the city a lot? Get a 1-day or 7-day train pass, or group ticket. For €10 (about S$17) a day, rent bikes from your hotel or nearest bike shop, and zip around the vicinity.
Most trips abroad are hassle-free affairs, but you never know when you’ll need these:
- Police: 110
- Fire Brigade and Ambulance: 112
- Emergency Doctor Service: +(49 30) 31 00 31
- Tourist Information: +(49 30) 25 00 23 33, online at VisitBerlin.de, or at Tourist Information Centres
Store those numbers on your phone and stay tuned for more tips on the sights and smells of Berlin.