City of Berlin in Germany is definitely a city to go for many reasons. This is the city that has a lot of life in it and according to one of the sources, it is attracting about 12 million tourists every year and approximately 55,000 tourists. A decade ago, Berlin’s mayor called Berlin “Berlin ist arm, aber sexy” or in English (Berlin is poor, but sexy). So, what is it about it? Let’s find out what you need to know before you visit this city filled with energy with the review from Student Money Adviser.
Little overview and background: After the fall of Berlin Wall, many people flooded into East Berlin primarily because of many abandoned buildings. Many of these building were very cheap to live in or even free and you know what happens when anything becomes very cheap, people just grab onto it fast. As time passed, Berlin has become popular and as it was cheap once, it no longer is to the same extent, but still relatively affordable and attracts a lot of young crowd to this city packed with some fascinating history.
Getting From/To Airport, Berlin
I arrived and departed from two different airports because I wanted to explore two parts of town. I arrived at Berlin Schonefeld Airport (SXF) and departed from Berlin Tegel Airport (TXL). No matter what airport you choose to arrive or depart from there are few choices you have available. You can choose either to go bus, metro, or a taxi. I chose to go with bus and honestly had no problem, it is pretty simple and you shouldn’t have any problems figuring out how to get to and from airport. Great way to plan it out is to use Google Maps. I would highly recommend if you are from US is to have T-Mobile because of its coverage almost everywhere in the world without any fees.
Things to See and Do
Berlin has a lot to do and see and no wonder it is such a popular destination for many tourists year after year. I highly recommend checking out free walking tours (tip-based) available like Brewer’s Berlin Tour – this tour will cover some of the major things that you need to see. Other alternative would be to check out TripAdvisor where you can buy tours if you want more of in-depth experience and learn about Berlin and its history with professional guides.
- Pergamon Museum – This museum have some of the best collection of artifacts and is one of a major tourist attractions in Berlin. Admission is €12.
- Mitte Neighborhood – Mitte Neighborhood is pretty much the epicenter of the city. “Mitte” stands for “middle” – you can see majority of attractions and popular sights here in “Mitte”, so plan on spending some time here exploring. This area is very busy with tourists and honestly when I visited it was like a zoo in mid-july, but well worth it. You can find a lot here and not just museums and major sights, but also restaurant, clubs, universities, cafes, and much more.
- Explore the Markets (Mauerpark Flohmarkt) – Berliner’s are big fans of “quality markets”. You will find a lot of markets with food and other nice little shops. The Mauerpark Flohmarkt has some history. Every Sunday there are food stands, musical festivals, local crafts, and so many gift ideas that will fascinate you.
- Checkpoint Charlie – This location is really one heck of a tourist trap. Not sure about the big deal, but you will most likely walk by it, so why not. From my observation, the guards are a not professional at all and want tip to take a picture with them, they also seemed a little persuasive with people.
- East Side Gallery – If you are in Berlin, you need to stop by East side gallery. This is open gallery that features different paintings that has been there for a long time. The walls consist of 105 paintings, will keep you occupied for some time. Website
- Mauerpark – This used to be a place between East and West Berlin, so it was not very pretty. It still is not pretty but another great park to just enjoy the sun and watch many tourists that will be passing by.
- Fernsehturm – You will see this weird looking tower from almost anywhere in the Berlin and wonder what it is. This is actually a TV tower that was built in “60s. Because it is the tallest tower in the city, you can get some nice 360-degree view of the city if you get up there. Website. Cost €9.50 – €20.
- Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe – This is a memorial is definitely a must visit. It is made up of 2,711 concrete columns that is weirdly placed like a mazy. Check out picture below.
Places to Stay
I stayed in two hostels, primarily because I wanted to have access to different part of the city. Another reason was because both hostels were high rated and seemed fun, and they were. I highly recommend Circus Hostel and Generator Berlin Mitte for your Berlin hostel needs.
Both hostels are highly rated and I recommend them if you are looking for a fun place to stay if you are into having a blast with activities at night and meeting new people, then these are your top choices with perfect locations with just a few minutes away rom main metro stations and bus stops.
Other Top Hostels in Berlin averaging €13-30 per night
Try AirBnb in Berlin, the prices seem to be very reasonable and you can find some great deals close to centre. Check it out for yourself and you can get credit for $40 off for signing up though my link
Another great option is to of course stay in hotel. There are many available and are pretty affordable even very close to the centre of the city. See it for yourself.
Food and Drinking
Berlin offers a lot of affordable eat outs, there are many restaurants both new and old and you honestly will love the variety. Finding a place to eat shouldn’t be a problem in Berlin. Great place to look at places to eat is of course TripAdvisor and Yelp, at least this is where I orient my eating outs. You can find everything from the budget friendly places to fine dining restaurants.
Another great option is street food, street food is very popular in Berlin and are very affordable.
Since I stayed at Circus Hostel for few nights, I passed by this place called “La Pausa” as it is right around the corner from the hostel. This place was absolutely delicious and prices are very reasonable for the portions you get. Very busy place and no wonder. So, if you need an idea to eat or around, definitely try this place.
I only had one night in Generator and my flight was way too early, so I did not have much time to explore there.
Berlin’s nightlife is one of the best in the world. In fact, many people I’ve met are only going to Berlin for its nightlife… If you are looking fro a party, this is the place to go and honestly you can’t go wrong with it. I was out at night and the city really never sleep. There are also some of the best DJs that are playing at nightclubs.
Getting Around the City
Berlin is huge and even though I average about 15 miles a day of walking, I still wasn’t able to cover everything in a few days. There is transportation amiable like busses, taxi, ride share, trams, subways, and trains.
- Single One-Way Ticket: €2.60
- Short Distance (three stop) Single One-Way Ticket: €1.50
- Day Card: €6.70
- Small Group Ticket (for up to five people — this is the most cost-effective for three people and above): €16.20
- Bike Rental: €10-€12/day
- Bus between Tegel Airport and City Center: €2.40
- Taxi Between Tegel Airport and City Center: €20–€25
Bottom Line Review
If you are looking for a place to have fun and learn a lot of history, Berlin is the place to go. You will find everything you need in this wonderful city and nightlife is really something that I might as well write another post of because it is unforgettable and you really need to experience it for yourself.
Overall to sum it up for you, wonderful city with so much history and activities that you really need to spend some time here to have the real experience.
If you are ready to book, just scroll down on this page to the Booking search box and type in “Berlin” as destination and find best rates available!
Best no-foregin transaction credit card – Capital One Quicksilver.
I would love to hear your stories and places to eat that can help me and others who are planning on going to Berlin, please share tin comments below.