Here’s a list of useful tips I wish I knew before visiting Berlin:
Tip # 1 – Cash is a MUST!
The first (and most important) tip is to make sure you always have cash on you! Unlike many countries in Europe, there are a lot of business that do not take any kind of credit cards. Cash only!
Usually long tours give you some extra time to have lunch, go to bathroom, drink a beer etc. around half way through the tour. In my case, we went to a café located in the middle of the park. Sadly, I couldn’t order anything because I had zero cash. It’s crazy to think that some people don’t believe in credit cards! Haha I never have cash.
Tip # 2 – Book your stay at the Radisson Blu Berlin.
Although somewhat expensive, The Radisson Blu in Berlin is the coolest hotel I’ve ever stayed at. The first thing you see when you enter the beautiful lobby is the giant fish tank in the middle of everything.
Luckily, I found a great deal on Expedia and booked a room in this gorgeous hotel. When I entered my room and opened the curtain to see my view, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. The Berliner Dom right in front of my window! This hotel is centrally located to all main attractions and tourist destinations.
Tip # 3 – Get Skip-The-Line admission tickets ahead of time.
Avoid long lines with Skip-The-Line admission tickets. When doing your research, make sure to see if you can buy your ticket in advance. This saved me from waiting in long times for several hours! I only spent three days in Berlin, so this option was ideal.
Tip # 4 – Bring an Umbrella with you at all times!
Berlin’s weather changes drastically within minutes. When I visited, I would rain really hard for like an hour and then the sky cleared and the sun came out. Two hours later, it poured again. Who understand this weather? Haha
The first day I didn’t bring my umbrella and I had to freeze soaking wet during the entire walking city tour. My hands were frozen, my coat was soaked, I tries to cover my face with my scarf… it was a disaster!
Tip # 5 – Take a city bike tour to get an insight of the city.
Berlin’s main attractions and monuments are spread out throughout the city. I would say that it is walkable, but with a city bike tour you can see all of Berlin’s main tourist attractions in as little as four hours.
Every time I travel I have a list of things to see and do, after my city bike tour I literally crossed 85% of my list in only 4 hours. This included: The Brandenbug Gate, The Holocaust Memorial, Hitler’s Bunker, World War I Memorial, Museum Island, Berliner Dom, The Berlin Wall, Checkpoint Charlie, Soviet War Memorial, Tiergarten Park, Reichstag’s Building, Postdamer Platz, Alexanderplatz, Unter den Linden, Alte Nationalgaleria, Pariser Platz.
If you prefer to take the walking tour instead, you will see the majority of monuments as well but at a slower pace. Nothing like riding a bike in a city you don’t know! I loved it. The cons about the walking tours offered in Berlin is that sometimes they over book it, so there would be times when you have a group of 40 people listening to one guide. Large groups of people can be a pain!
Tip # 6 – If you’re taking a city bike tour, don’t forget to bring a poncho in case it rains and gloves.
Thank goodness it didn’t rain when I was taking the tour! Haha
Tip # 7 – Berlin and its street art. A must go!
You have old Berlin and modern Berlin. For me, old Berlin is all the history before and during World War II. Modern Berlin is the neighborhood where all the walls are covered with great street art.
The art pieces were amazing and you learn a lot about the process artists go through to paint their art in walls they do not own.
Tip # 8 – Schedule 2.5 hours to visit the Topography of Terrors museum.
This is by far the most interesting museum I’ve ever been to. This museum has all the important documentation and photographs of World War II. Unfortunately, they do not offer an audio guide tour in English (Only German). In order to understand the photographs and documents, you’ll have to read the text from the wall. Which, obviously, takes a lot of time.
On a positive note, the Topography of Terrors museum is open every day of the week until around eight or nine pm.
Tip # 9 – The Checkpoint Charlie museum is not worth it.
If you have to prioritize between activities if you’re short in time, do not pick Checkpoint Charlie. It’s interesting to see all the weapons and uniforms the soldiers used during the war, but nothing to go crazy about.
Tip # 10 – When visiting the Berliner Dom, get ready to climb over 300 steps.
You can’t go to the Berliner Dom and not climb the steps to the top of the church. It might be tiring but it is worth it to see the city from above!
Until next trip,
The Fabulous Script