Berlin, Germany Travel Guide
- Hip, trendy reputation
- One of the most affordable cities in Europe
- Clean, safe city is easily navigated by a 24-hour train system
- Thriving artist and creative culture is one of the hottest in the world
- One of Europe's nightlife capitals: Many bars never have a last call
- Musical hot spot, especially for electronic acts
- Eclectic culinary scene, from ethnic street food to Michelin-starred restaurants
- World-renowned museums such as the Pergammon
- Diverse and multicultural
- Very accepting of gay culture
- Less "old world" architecture than other European cities
- Sprawling city: Can take a while to cross town
- Cloudy, cold winters
- Many restaurants do not accept credit cards
What It's Like
Since the fall of the wall, post-Communist Berlin has become a thriving creative and cultural center. The art scene here internationally renowned, and there is first-rate shopping for everything from global brands to hip, locally designed lines. There's a legendary nightlife scene, and parties very often continue on through sunrise. And then, of course, there are the city's iconic sights, from the Brandenburg Gate to the Jewish Museum, with its ultra-modern architecture. Berlin is a city where old, shrapnel scarred buildings abut some of the most cutting-edge architecture in the world.
The culinary scene is decidedly good, which is surprising to many first-time visitors. The city has embraced many of the cultural and ethnic foods: Donner kebab, currywurst, and other local favorites are perfect examples of this, all the way up to the Michelin-starred restaurants in Berlin Mitte.
It's still very possible to experience Berlin on a budget: Meals and hotel rates are low compared to other European capitals such as Paris or London. The sheer size of the city also dwarfs most others, but the sprawl is easily managed thanks to the (very clean, efficient, 24-hour) U-Bahn and S-Bahn train systems.
Where to Stay
In a city the size Berlin, choosing where to stay falls mainly on budget and personality type. Many value hotels are located far east and west of the City Center, which can save guests money, but will force them to use the train system to get to any of Berlin's sights. Staying along Kurfurstendamm (ostensibly the city's most vibrant shopping street) is always fun for first time visitors. If you're looking to become more familiar with the locals, Prenzlauer Bergs bohemian chic vibe provides for a great base.