Berlin, the epicenter of Deutschland, has undergone a recent cultural and economic renaissance transforming the landscape into a tourist-friendly hub. The city is rich with experiences for the adventuresome traveler. Before embarking on your trek, it’s wise to read a few tips about transit, find affordable accommodations, food and destinations that will help maximize your budget while minimizing hassles.
Getting Around Town
The city boasts an elaborate public transportation system that includes S-Bahn (above ground railways,) U-Bahn (subways,) buses, trams, metro trams and ferries. You can purchase one-way tickets, short-distance tickets, and weekly, monthly and annual passes inexpensively at numerous Public Transit Stations. A valid ticket or pass grants access to the above transit modes, as long as the ticket is stamped at the yellow or red boxes on the loading platforms. Travel rates vary depending on which of the three tariff zones you are in: AB, BC or ABC.
Hotels in Berlin
Depending on your budget and tastes, Berlin hotels vary from cozy and affordable to spendy and lavish. For example, the Novum Hotel Gates Berlin Charlottenburg and the Hotel Otto are centrally located and offer comfortable lodging at affordable prices. Amenities include free Wi-Fi, flat screen TVs and rooms with one to five beds. The more upscale Ritz-Carlton and the Regent Berlin feature large rooms and suites along with full-service restaurants, fitness centers, saunas and massage services.
Local Dining Fare
Most traditional German cuisine focuses on dishes dominated by the presence of meat. There are vegetarian options, but dining on such may require branching out to international choices at Turkish or Indian restaurants. The service industry in Berlin is generally proficient in English, but learning a few German words won’t hinder your enjoyment. For example, Danke means thank you, Bitte says please and Guten Tag is hello. Five to ten percent gratuity is customary in restaurants and bars, as is hand delivery of payment to the staff, rather than just leaving money on tables or bar tops.
Compelling Stops for Inquisitive Travelers
Berlin’s new-found affluence has not entirely erased the past from the landscape. There are somber destinations for those who reflect on the events during WWII, such as the Topography of Terror and the Murdered Jews Memorial. A more upbeat atmosphere surrounds the Checkpoint Charlie Museum – a one-time crossing point from East to West Berlin that signified the end of the cold war. Art history aficionados should seek out the Alte Nationalgalerie, while biology buffs can have a field day at the Berlin Zoo.
Germany’s affluence and modernization makes the region a favorite for visitors. Between the cheap hotels in Berlin, the affordable modes of travel and the dozens of fascinating tourist attractions, this could be your ideal vacation destination.
This post was posted by Fiona Moriarty on Hipmunk’s Tailwind blog on July 10, 2015