Berlin: the capital of Germany
If you are planning a trip to Germany (👉GERMANY GUIDE), you need to know that it is a country characterized by its museums, nature, Christmas markets, its controversial past and its impressive architecture.
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Its capital, Berlin (👉BERLIN GUIDE), is a multicultural city that stands out from the rest European cities thanks to their own style, as you can see in their underground bars and clubs.
Although it also offers a great variety of activities. If you want to learn more about its history, I recommend you visit the Sachsenhausen camp and take a tour of the Nacism in Berlin.
Another option is to get on the tourist bus, or sail along the River Spree and enjoy the iconic landmarks on this Berlin boat tour.
The carnival of cultures in Berlin
Street festivals are very popular in Berlin and one of its hot spots. It is a good time to leave home and feel transported to another world, the diversity of people living in this city is such that every festival is a new adventure.
One of the most popular is the Carnival of Cultures (Karneval der Kulturen) celebrated around the weekend of Pentecost in late May or early June and lasts 4 days.
It is a multicultural festival held since 1996 in the district of Kreuzberg with the aim of celebrating peace, tolerance and cultural diversity. Throughout the neighborhood different stages are built, which offer concerts of all music styles and small stands where to eat and drink.
There is a parade on Sunday, the floats are decorated with different motifs: Brazil, rock / metal, unprompted, reggae, techno and I must say that there are some floats that are a bit difficult to guess what they represent.
The picture above is from the rock/metal/heavy float, there’s a list for the people who are aiming to follow them during the parade, and the organizers give them the opportunity to come on stage to play and sing live, they have all the necessary instruments: guitars , bass, drums…
Along the way you can also find groups that defend some kind of culture, trend or philosophy of life, like these girls who defend hedonism. They decorated two carts towed by bikes with flowers, plants, mushrooms and banners.
Officially the party lasts until midnight, but if you stay you can enjoy small improvisations organized in the street with percussion instruments (batucada style), or loudspeakers and electro,… there are usually several within a few distance of each other, so you can move among them if you get bored.
You can find more info about the Carnival of Cultures in this link and more festivals here.
How to get from the airport to the center of Berlin
Berlin-Brandenburg Airport (BER) is located less than 25 km from the center of Berlin.
There are 4 different ways to get to the city center. The most comfortable option is to hire a TRANSFER (👉PRICES); although you can also take a taxi or go by public transport, that is, by S-bahn (something like the subway) or by regional train.
The two S-bahn lines to get to the center of Berlin from the airport terminals 1, 2 and 5 are lines S9 and S45. In both cases there are trains leaving every 20 minutes.
To get to the center of Berlin by train, you must take the Airport Express (FEX) or the regional trains RE7 and RB14. All of them stop at Terminal 1 and 2 of the airport. The regional trains stop is just below Terminal 1, and there are 4 scheduled departures every hour.
If your flight departs from Terminal 5, you will have to transfer at the same station to take the S9 or S45 to your terminal (the trip takes about 8 minutes).
You will find more detailed information in this article on how to get from the AIRPORT to the center of BERLIN
Useful stuff for your trip to Germany
Below, you will find some products that will be very useful during your trip to Germany.
In addition, the options that I recommend are committed to the environment/social causes and are vegan.
Carrying a waterproof windbreaker in your suitcase is essential in case temperatures drop, it rains unexpectedly, or to go hiking.
When traveling, it’s important to choose a jacket that is lightweight, takes up little space and that you can use in different situations; that is to say, that transpires, is waterproof and has a hood to protect you properly from bad weather.
👉 Price windbreaker for MAN and windbreaker for WOMAN
3-in-1 hiking shoes
These La Sportiva shoes are designed to run in the mountains, thanks to this you can use them for hiking, go out to run and do tourism ; saving space in your suitcase.
They are made with goretex, which means they protect you from the inclement weather weather (such as rain, ice or cold) and are adherent to the ground. This makes them ideal for traveling due to their versatility.
👉 Price shoes for MAN and for shoes for WOMAN
10l backpack for day trips and trekking
This 10 L backpack 10 is ideal for visitng cities or going hikimg. It has two compartments to organize your stuff properly and internal space for a hydration bag, as well as a side pocket to carry a bottle.
The size is suitable for 1 day trips and to go running, since it allows you to take everything you need with ease. In addition, it covers less of the back and thus avoids being overheated.
Save Money with the Berlin welcome card
To get around Berlin easily, you can opt for the Berlin WelcomeCard (you can buy it at this link) which will allow you unlimited use of public transport (flat rate) and offers discounts of up to 50% in more than 190 museums and Berlin attractions.
If you have small children, you will be happy to know that the card is free for children under 6 years of age. Prices for adults are as follows:
|48h||72h||72h + museum isl.||4 days||5 days||6 days|
|23 €||33 €||55 €||40 €||46 €||49 €|
Tours & activities in Berlin
In Berlin there are many places and activities to enjoy during your stay in the German capital.
I leave you a list with the activities and tours you can do around Berlin, to get to know this city in more depth.
Options also include free tours to help keep your travel budget from skyrocketing.
Where to stay in Berlin
The city of Berlin changes quite a bit depending on the area you visit. I would separate it into two zones depending on your preferences and the type of tourism you like.
EXPENSIVE ZONE AND LESS ALTERNATIVE
Broadly speaking, the area of Stadtmitte, Kurfürstendamm and Charlottenburg is more arranged and expensive (American part during the GDR). Here you can do a quieter and more usual type of tourism, focusing on the monuments, the opera, museums, shopping, etc…
YOUNG people + UNDERGROUND
If you are more into the alternative style and focused on young people, I recommend the neighborhoods of Friedrichshain, Kreuzberg, Prenzlauer Berg and Neukölln. Here there are many curious and more alternative bars, concerts in basements, parks to have a barbecue, nightclubs that are open 3 days 24 hours, festivals, etc…
Is Germany safe for travelers?
Germany is a safe country to travel, and there are no risk areas where tourists are not recommended to go. If you are a victim of robbery or accident, you should call the police at 110.
Although it is a safe country, crimes also occur; so remember to follow these recommendations and hire a travel insurance
- If you’re being robbed, don’t try to fight back physically.
- Ve con cuidado al salir de noche, y mantente en lugares donde haya gente.
- It’s best to be cautious at night, so stick to well-populated areas.
- Keep your valuables close to your body and out of sight to avoid being a target for thieves (your camera, phone,..).
- And finally, don’t carry your backpack on your back where it’s easy for someone to snatch it; carry it in front of you or use a belt bag or cross-body bag instead.
Eating vegan in Germany
Traditional German food is not exactly characterized by the scarcity of products of animal origin. Luckily, in this country you will find restaurants restaurants that offer many different cuisines and you will not be short of options when you go out to eat.
In general, it will not be difficult for you to find vegan food since most restaurants have vegan and vegetarian dishes on their menus and, in addition, there are also many restaurants that are entirely vegan.
If you want to cook to save a little, organic supermarkets are where you will find more options that fit your needs. And there are even german cities where you will find 100% vegan supermarkets!
Two practical tips for your stay:
- Before going on a tour that includes a meal, always mention that you are vegan or vegetarian, so that they can adapt the food.
- The quality of fruit and vegetables in German supermarkets is not the best. If you have a Turkish market or supermarket nearby, it’s better that you buy there the fruits and vegetables, nuts, hummus, muhammara, etc…
What to visit in Berlin
Besides the museums and the East Side Gallery, there are more great places to visit in Berlin. Below you will find a list of the touristic landmarks, but also some places that are out of the ordinary, so you can enjoy a mix between the popular and alternative side of Berlin.
Carnival of SUBCULTURES (PUNKS IN BERLIN)
The Carnival of Subcultures is a very cool street party that I highly recommend. Every year the inhabitants of a squatted building in the center of Berlin called Köpi organize the underground version of the main carnival.
The vibe is punk and they also organize concerts and, in addition, there’s a war of tuned bicycles (some even spit fire). Later, the party continues inside the building, which becomes a club.
La Fête de la Musique
On June 21, la Fête de la Musique takes place. Street concerts are organized throughout the city and anyone who wants to play is allowed to improvise on the street or in the parks.
The festival takes place during the day but there’s also a lot going on at night. It is a great time to go out dancing, or enjoy and learn about music from other countries, since Berlin is a multicultural city where people of different origins live.
Madame Claude’s Bar
Madame Claude opened its doors in a former brothel in the neighborhood of Kreuzberg. It is a very peculiar bar due to the distribution of its furniture: it is both hanging from the ceiling and on the floor.
It is a very nice place to go for a drink and then continue the party in a nearby nightclub or bar, as it is located in one of the liveliest neighborhoods in Berlin. In addition, they also offer alternative music concerts in the basement.