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City map Berlin

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    Berlin – a brief overview

    Unquestionably one of Europe’s most dynamic cities, Berlin is a place of creative upheaval. Artists flock here from across the globe to feed off the inspiration which pervades the eastern reaches of this huge town. This is a place of contrasts. Stunning baroque architecture rubs up against the crumbling

    relics of the Berlin Wall, a sobering reminder of divisions which only ended 25 years ago. Optimism, however, is everywhere. Marvel at the stunning Reichstag building, have a late night beer in Prenzlauer Berg or stroll through the picturesque Tiergarten and you’ll find a town buzzing with vitality.

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    Top 10 sights in Berlin

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    Trabbi, Graffiti, Eastside-Gallery, Berlin, Lufthansa, Travel Guide

    Reichstag

    Platz der Republik 1
    11011 Berlin
    Germany
    Tel: (030) 2273 2152
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    Opening times:
    Daily 0800-midnight

    Germany’s parliament building is a magical blend of old and new. The original 1894 facade contrasts with the rooftop terrace’s stunning glass dome. Visitors must register in advance to clamber to the top of Berlin’s prime architectural attraction.

    East Side Gallery

    Mühlenstraße
    10243 Berlin
    Germany

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    One of the few surviving sections of the Berlin Wall, this kilometre-long stretch just outside the city centre is covered in colourful murals depicting scenes from the city’s 40-year-long division.

    Jewish Museum

    Lindenstraße 9-14
    10969 Berlin
    Germany
    Tel: (030) 2599 3300
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Mon 1000-2200
    Tues-Sun 1000-2000

    This Daniel Libeskind-designed museum covers 2,000 years of history of the Jewish people in Germany, from medieval struggles through to the horrors of the Holocaust and beyond.

    Checkpoint Charlie

    Friedrichstraße 43-45
    10969 Berlin
    Germany
    Tel: (030) 253 7250 (museum)
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    Opening times:
    Daily 0900-2200 (museum)

    The most well-known crossing point between East and West Berlin during the Cold War, where Russian and US tanks faced off in 1961. An essential stop-off for history buffs.

    Brandenburg Gate

    Pariser Platz
    10117 Berlin
    Germany

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    A one time city gate, this majestic, neo-classical marvel is arguably the site everyone thinks of when they hear the word Berlin. It was from here that John F Kennedy made his famous ‘Ich Bin Ein Berliner’ speech.

    Neues Museum

    Bodestraße 1-3
    10178 Berlin
    Germany
    Tel: (030) 2664 24242
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    Opening times:
    Fri-Wed 1000-1800
    Thurs 1000-2000

    One of Berlin’s ‘Museum Island’ masterpieces, the Neues Museum houses some of the finest Egyptian artefacts in the world, as well as other key ancient historical pieces.

    Schloss Charlottenburg

    Spandauer Damm 10-22
    14059 Berlin
    Germany
    Tel: (030) 320 910
    Show on map

    Opening times:
    Tues-Sun 1000-1800 (Apr-Oct)
    Tues-Sun 1000-1700 (Nov-Mar)

    An opulent 17th-century pile, Schloss Charlottenberg is the oldest surviving palace in Berlin. Its beautiful rooms and lush gardens are well worth exploring. Just make sure you set aside a whole day for the task.

    Gedenkstatte Berliner Mauer

    Bernauer Straße 119
    13355 Berlin
    Germany
    Tel: (030) 4679 86666
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    Opening times:
    Daily 0800-2200

    The at times harrowing Berlin Wall memorial is the only remaining stretch of the barrier to maintain the original preserved grounds and watchtowers. The excellent visitors’ centre explains the history of the division and the reconciliation which followed.

    Volkspark Friedrichshain

    Am Friedrichshain 1
    10407 Berlin
    Germany

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    Bordering Prenzlauer Berg and Friedrichshain, this landscaped park is a great place to catch your breath after a day’s sightseeing. Excellent public art and pretty lakes add plenty of interest.

    Mauerpark

    Gleimstraße 55
    10437 Berlin
    Germany

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    Another Berlin Wall relic, Mauerpark is ideal for kicking back after a big night out in East Berlin. Its Sunday flea market (0800-1800) is legendary and great for unique knick-knacks.

    Good to know

    Country Information

    Country overview

    Still misunderstood by many, Germany stands as one of the most endlessly engaging countries on the continent. Anyone expecting a homogenous nation conforming to rigid Teutonic stereotypes is in for a shock. As a travel destination it’s somewhere with huge personality, notable for a clutch of truly lovable cities, culture served up in hefty portions and rural scenery so heart-melting you’ll be left bemused why some people still think of the place as lacking allure.

    It’s the country’s urban highlights that tend to draw the attention first. Berlin is the very definition of a dynamic city, having forged a goodtime reputation for ground-breaking creativity while still keeping sight of it’s past. Elsewhere, the likes of Cologne, Munich and Hamburg are rich in historical buildings, eyes-to-the-future nightlife and excellent gastronomy.

    Geography

    Germany borders Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Poland and Switzerland. The northwest has a coastline on the North Sea while the Baltic coastline in the northeast stretches from the Danish to the Polish border.

    The country is divided into 16 states (Bundesländer) and has an exceedingly varied landscape. In what was once known as West Germany, the Rhine, Bavaria and the Black Forest stand as the three most famous features, while in the east, the country is lake-studded with undulating lowlands.

    River basins extend over a large percentage of the region, and some of Europe’s most prominent rivers flow through the country. These include the Elbe, the Danube and the Rhine.

    The highest point in the country is the 2,962m (9,718ft) peak of Zugspitze Mountain in the Bavarian Alps. Cable cars run to the summit – it can also be climbed.

    General Information

    Key facts

    Population: 81147265

    Population Density (per sq km): 227

    Capital: Berlin.

    Language

    German is the official language. Regional dialects often differ markedly from standard German. Minority languages include Danish and Sorbic, while some English and French is also spoken.

    Currency

    Euro (EUR; symbol €) = 100 cents. Notes are in denominations of €500, 200, 100, 50, 20, 10 and 5. Coins are in denominations of €2 and 1, and 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 cents.

    Electricity

    230 volts AC, 50Hz. European-style round two-pin plugs are in use.

    General business opening hours

    Mon-Fri 0800-1600 (many close earlier on Fridays).

    Public holidays

    Below are listed Public Holidays for the January 2015-December 2015 period.

    Note: Regional observation only.

    New Year’s Day: 01. January 2015
    Epiphany: 06. January 2015
    Good Friday: 03. April 2015
    Easter Monday: 06. April 2015
    Labour Day: 01. May 2015
    Ascension Day: 14. May 2015

    Whit Monday: 25. May 2015
    Corpus Christi: 04. June 2015
    Assumption: 15. August 2015
    Day of German Unity: 03. October 2015
    Day of Reformation: 31. October 2015
    All Saints’ Day: 01. November 2015
    Repentance Day: 18. November 2015
    Christmas Day: 25. December 2015

    Good to know

    Getting around

    Public Transport

    Berlin is brilliantly served by an extensive train and subway network, plus the biggest tramway system in Germany. These, and the far-reaching bus service, are run by the Berlin Transport Corporation (http://bvg.de). Visitors should definitely snap up a ‘Berlin WelcomeCard’ which offers discount travel on all modes of transport, as well as money off at key sights.

    Taxis

    Over 7,000 taxis patrol the streets of Berlin, with all rides covered by a meter within the city limits. That means no price-setting before you start your journey. You can easily hail a cab or order one by phone (TaxiFunk Berlin, tel: (030) 443 322).

    Enjoy

    Nightlife in Berlin

    ListMap

    Berlin has built itself a reputation as one of the world’s ultimate party cities, and with good reason.

    Clubs pulse day and night to the sound of cutting-edge dance tunes, while dimly lit bars do their best to never shut their doors.

    Berghain/Panorama Bar

    Am Wriezener Bahnhof
    10243 Berlin
    Germany
    Show on map

    Known as the ‘Church of Techno’ this is Berlin’s best-known club. Things start late and never stop.

    Das Gift

    Donaustraße 119
    12043 Berlin
    Germany
    Show on map

    Scottish-owned, this bar serves up Austrian vodka, local beers and hosts after parties too.

    Chalet

    Vor dem Schlesischen Tor 3
    10997 Berlin
    Germany
    Show on map

    Housed in a 150-year-old mansion, this is one of Berlin’s hippest nightspots.

    Stattbad

    Gerichtstraße 65
    13347 Berlin
    Germany
    Show on map

    A former state baths, one of its dancefloors is actually an old pool. A truly unique experience.

    Watergate

    Falckensteinstraße 49
    10997 Berlin
    Germany
    Show on map

    World-class DJs are always passing through this cavernous space, playing the best house and break beats.

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    Glamour and Currywurst

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    They live, love and work in Berlin – and with great success. Art collectors and actors, chefs and authors, comedians and fashion designers, all have been shaped by the German capital and in turn, they too have changed the face of the metropolis. Five women and five men show us Berlin from its most appealing side.

     

    You don’t have to be perfect to feel at home here.” – Martina Gedeck, actress

    Martina Gedeck is one of Germany‘s best- known movie actors. She was raised in Berlin and never wants to leave.

    You came to Berlin with your parents as a child. Given the choice, would you move here again?
    Absolutely. Cities like Rome, Paris and Vienna with their ancient centers create the impression that things stay the same. But that‘s not how it is. The only thing we can say with any certainty about life is that it changes constantly. And that is exactly what Berlin represents. Of course there have been architectural blunders, but that’s what makes the city so special. You don’t have to be perfect to feel at home here.

    How has Berlin shaped you?
    The city always looks outward, never feels quite enough in itself. That has a lot to do with the past, with West Berlin’s isolation as an island within East Germany completely cut off from the West.

    In which spots around Berlin would you especially like to film?
    On Devil’s Hill – it‘s a fascinating place. Buried in the ground there is the unfinished building of the Wehrtechnische Fakultät, a Nazi military training school planned as part of the “World Capital City of Germania.”

    At the end of World War II, its ruins were covered over with rubble from bombed-out buildings. Sometimes you will still come across tiles and shards just beneath the grass. There’s a new ruin on top of the hill today, though, a former US American radar listening station. But it’s not just the historical locations that make Berlin what it is. The city is so extraordinary and diverse, it would make a great setting for any film!

    Are there any set locations in Berlin you have particularly good memories of?
    Bismarckallee reminds me of the movie The Baader Meinhof Complex because that’s where we shot the demonstration about the Shah’s visit during which Benno Ohnesorg was shot dead. The entire sixlane street was closed off and all the traffic signs, traffic lights and buses given a 1967 makeover. When I stand outside the Volksbühne theater on Rosa Luxemburg Square, I have to think of The Lives of Others. That’s where we filmed the theater scenes – and the wonderful dance scene at the start of the film.

    Culturally speaking, you can get to know practically the whole world here.” – Murat Topal, Comedian

    Before switching to comedy, Murat Topal, 38, was a policeman. Today, he regularly appears at the Ufafabrik culture center and in the “Quatsch Comedy Club” show at Friedrichstadt-Palast theater.

    “I discovered my talent for comedy while working as a policeman in the Kreuzberg district of Berlin. I always tried to defuse tricky situations with conedy. The way I see it, police work and comedy are basically all about the same thing, and that‘s adjusting to people and situations, and holding up a mirror to others so that they can see their life‘s realities.

    On the one hand, Berlin is a tough scene for comedians because the competition here is huge; but on the other, there are plenty of small venues where newcomers can try out. Berlin is generally incredibly diverse. Culturally spea- king, you can get to know the whole world without traveling far. Alone Neukölln, where I was raised, is home to people from 160 countries. To get a sense of the range of Turkish life, I recommend a visit to the beautiful Sehitik Mosque on Columbiadamm and the oriental gay/lesbian party Gayhane at the SO36 on Heinrichplatz.”

    In this city, what you want is a wearable street look.” – Leyla Piedayesh, fasion designer

    Lala Berlin (lalaberlin.com), the fashion label of Leyla Piedayesh, 43, stands for Berlin city style – and is the only German brand to regularly make the pages of UK’s Vogue magazine.

    “The cobblestones all over Berlin make it impossible for women here to wear high heels,” says Leyla Piedayesh, “in this city, what you want is a wearable street look, and that‘s what I deliver.” It’s useful, then, that the Iran native has always preferred to wear practical boys’ gear: baggy pants, fine-rib T-shirts, vests and chunky penny loafers. “Before I start designing something, I first go through my early things in my mind‘s eye,” says Piedayesh.

    She then combines her clothes with elements that catch her eye in day-to-day life. That might be a leather jacket in a second-hand shop in the Prenzlauer Berg district of Berlin, where she has her studio, or some graffitti she’s spots in the subway on her way home to Wedding – or her little daughter’s pink outfits. Piedayesh also finds inspiration in Berlin‘s past, hence the color schemes based on 1980s’ graffitti and tags featured in her next winter collection. The fashion designer still pays the occasional visit to the Mauerpark flea market, where ten years ago she found the inspiration for her first collection of knit wrist warmers. She couldn’t imagine designing fashion in any city but Berlin. Nowhere else in Germany will you find so many creative people,” she says.

    “These days you start up a business if you want to impress a girl.” – Christoph Fahle, entrepreneur

    Christoph Fahle, 34, cofounded Betahaus (betahaus.de), Germany’s best-know coworking space; he is one of the famous projects’ three managing directors.

    Work in an ordinary office or all on his ownsome as a freelancer at home? Neither was an option for Christoph Fahle, which is why in April 2009, he and some friends set up Betahaus – a 2000-squaremeter space for flexible, mobile coworking. Housed in a former flannel factory on Berlin‘s Moritzplatz, Betahaus now has 350 workplaces alongside a café and a studio. Desks can be booked here on a permanent or daily basis along with added extras, such as a coffee flatrate and a locker. “In the ’1970s, you formed a band to impress a girl – today you start up a business,” says Fahle.

    But it’s not just young entrepreneurs that Betahaus attracts; its tenants also include journalists, programmers, architects, carpenters and graphic artists. Fahle hails from Essen and moved to Berlin to study politics. At Betahaus, he is in charge of the workshops, the Makers Room with its 3D printers and the studio. A holding company is soon to be formed; Cologne, Hamburg, Sofia and Barcelona already have their own Betahaus, and others are in the pipeline. Interest is so great, in fact, that these days potential tenants have to make an appointment for a tour of the premises. Nearly everyone recognizes Fahle as he moves through the place – and he, in turn, knows what most of them are currently working on. Ironically, when he wants to concentrate on something, there’s sometimes only one option open to him: to stay home.

    In Berlin, there’s plenty of scope for artistic talents.” – Christian Boros, art collector

    Christian Boros, 49, owns the largest private collection of contemporary art in Berlin. He shows a part of his collection in a former bunker (sammlung-boros.de).

    “Creative people shaped Berlin, not its monarchs, its bankers or its middle classes. Many things in the city don’t work properly, often making improvization, and that appeals to creatives. In Berlin, there’s plenty of scope for their artistic talents. That‘s why there are about 7000 artists from all over the world living here. Most of the pieces in my collection also originated in the city. I acquired the first – an Ólafur Elíasson ventilator – at the first Berlin Biennale in 1998, by the way. Elíasson had just moved his studio from Copenhagen to Berlin at the time.

    In my opinion, there‘s no such thing as a typical Berlin style. It’s more of an attitude that the artists who work here share. They question many things, take nothing as read. This also has something to do with the fact that most of them live in the city by choice, they were not actually raised here. In 2003, I bought the former railroad bunker near Friedrichstrasse to use it as an exhibition space – a fascinating building. It symbolizes the changes in the city’s fortunes, its continuous new beginnings. In the Nazi era, the bunker was a place of refuge, in the days of the GDR, it was used to store exotic fruits, and after the fall of the Berlin Wall, it housed a techn club. Berlin is still constantly in flux and I regularly find something new to explore, like the many galleries opening on Potsdamer Strasse and the studios coming to Lichtenberg and Neukölln.“

    “Because the city is still a cheap place to live, people here are very free.” – Judith Holofernes, singer

    Until two years ago, Judith Holofernes, 37, was the lead vocal- ist and guitarist of Wir sind Helden. No longer with the band, she has now recorded her second solo album “Ein leichtes Schwert” in Berlin (judithholofernes.com).

    Is Berlin a good city to make music in?
    Definitely. In Berlin, you can let unusual ideas develop at their own pace and keep your head above water with part-time bar work. Because the city is still a cheap place to live, people here are very free. They can afford to take time out – and that is essential to artistic productivity. That’s why so much interesting art comes out of Berlin. I feel that is something very precious which really needs to be preserved.

    What inspires you most?
    Music. There are probably more concerts going on in Berlin than most other places, so you just have to open your beak like a baby cuckoo and everything will just fall into it: world stars, as well as more offbeat acts like Tinariwen, a band of Tuareg musicians.

    Which Berlin venue do you like best?
    My favorite place to perform is the Lido at Schlesisches Tor; it’s a lovely, cozy club. But one of my best gigs was at the outdoor Freilichtbühne venue in the middle of the woods in Wuhlheide. When the rays of the evening sun fall on it, it’s an enchanted place. If I were still doing street music, I would probably say Admiral Bridge in Kreuzberg – a fantastic place, and the people sitting on the bridge have time to listen. Last summer, I often saw some really good bands play there. But I would also love to ride through the streets on a delivery cycle with an amplifier strapped to the front, and spontaneously stop in the nicest places and start singing.

    “I also owe my success to Berlin.” – Robert Harting, Discus thrower

    Robert Harting, 29, the reigning World and European Discus Throw Champion, came to Berlin as a teenager. It was here that he began to believe in himself.

    You were born in Cottbus. Why did you move to Berlin?
    I got a place at sports boarding school when I was 15 and left everything behind for that. I was already 6 foot 7 at the time and weighed over a hundred kilos; my name, Robert, didn’t quite cover it. After just a couple of weeks, I had a nickname, Shaggy – and it stuck. I also owe my success to Berlin because I quickly had to stand on my own two feet here. I also got to know the nightlife, of course – I love every second in this city. You have been studying social and business communications since 2009.

    How do you combine study and sport?
    I move in two different worlds. But I have now found an interface: I am setting up a sport lottery to provide athletes with financial support.

    It also involves brands and strategies. You can throw discus until you’re about 36, after that, there’s no point. I also paint, but so far I’ve been keeping that on a back burner.

    When you think of Berlin, what picture do you have in your mind?
    It’s more a smell, actually, the smell of subway stations, the lukewarm air, the tar, the gravel. When I rode the subway for the first time at 15, it was like being on another planet. I opened my eyes wide and took everything in. These days, I usually take the car instead because I’m just too familiar a face in Berlin. But sometimes people recognize me in places I don’t expect it, in the Dominican Republic, for instance.

    „If you ask me, Berlin is the culinary capital of Germany.” – Tim Raue, Chef

    Tim Raue, 39, was a member of the Kreuzberg gang 36 Boys. Today a Michelin star chef, he heads up three restaurants in Berlin, including La Soupe Populaire (lasoupepopulaire.de).

    “Berlin is my home town. I was 24 when I started in my job as a chef at the Kaiserstube restaurant near the Pergamon Museum. The menu there lists Berlin classics, like Königsberg meatballs in caper sauce and poussin fricassee. I prefer cooking Asian food today – I aim to give my guests a rollercoaster ride of flavors and you can do that best with Asian spices. Recently, though, I’ve been returning to my roots more and more, latterly at La Soupe Populaire in Prenzlauer Berg, where I also serve Königsberg meatballs.

    Right now, I am also busy working on the perfect curry sausage – one of my favorite foods when I was a child. If you ask me, Berlin is the culinary capital of Germany. Nowhere else is there such a fantastic selection of good restaurants. In Kreuzberg and Neukölln, you can get authentic Turkish food, in the old West, Georgian and Russian, and in the ex-Eastern sector, you will find the best Vietnamese restaurants because in the days of the GDR, many immigrants from Vietnam moved there. My wife and I don‘t cook at home, we alway go out to eat. Our favorite Hong Kong Chinese restaurant is the Good Friends, our favorite Thai, the Moon Thai, and both are located near Savignyplatz. My latest discovery is the Cordobar in Mitte, where two Austrians serve some really good wines and delicious snacks.”

    “There are so many opportunities to play here.” – Indira Koch, Violinist

    Indira Koch, 41, has been associate concertmaster at Berlin’s German Opera House (deutscheoperberlin.de) for 15 years and lives with her husband and four children in Zehlendorf.

    Berlin began by shocking violinist Indira Koch. At one of her first performances – the premiere of a controversial staging of Giuseppe Verdi’s Nabucco – many audience members booed long and loud, while others cheered with equal volume and staying power. Dismayed, Koch looked around at her fellow musicians in the orchestra pit, but saw only casual shrugs. “In Switzerland, where I was raised, and in the United States, where I studied, such a frank reaction to a performance would be unthinkable,” she says. In the meantime, she has come to appreciate the Berlin audiences precisely for their honesty and spontaneity.

    “A premiere is always exciting.” For Koch, today’s Berlin is “a dream for international musicians.” Many of her musician friends have moved here – former fellow students from Philadelphia, colleague friends from Israel, Iceland and Switzerland. “There are so many opportunities to play here and there’s so much culture around; when it comes to professional orchestras, the city has as many as seven.” Koch, too, has played in a variety of venues around town – at the Gedächtniskirche memorial church and also at the Tischlerei, a new auditorium at the German Opera House. She’s presently on the lookout for further stages on which to play, as in 2010, she and her husband, the cellist Wolfgang Emanuel Schmidt, founded the chamber orchestra Metamorphosen Berlin, which plays mainly works by the Romantic composers. They are now organizing their first concert series in Berlin.

    “It’s a bit like a jungle in which there’s always something new to discover.” – Stefanie de Velasco, Writer

    Stefanie de Velasco, 35, has been living in Berlin for the past ten years and in her novel Tigermilch, she tells the story of a teenage friendship in the city.

    “It was a conscious decision to set my novel Tigermilch in Berlin. Right from the get-go, I felt the city would make the perfect backdrop for my story about the two young protagonists, Nini and Jameelah, because social control features far less in a big city like Berlin than in a small town. The novel unfolds between the farthest western tip of Kreuzberg and Stuttgarter Platz in deepest Charlottenburg. I didn’t want to center it in Neukölln or one of the other supposedly problem areas because, you know, poverty and intercultural conflicts exist all over Berlin.

    For writers, Berlin is the perfect city. Homes are still affordable here, and because the city is so big, it’s a bit like a jungle in which there’s always something new to discover. I lived in Neukölln for a long time, but sadly gentrification has changed it, and what that means is domesticization to the point of monotony; ultimately, you get to a stage where there’s nothing left to develop – for me as an author that’s a frustrating state of affairs. I now live in Schöneberg and feel very much at home there. It’s a district largely ignored by the media, but at the same time it has everything I feel makes the city such a great place to live in: a lively Turkish community, students, a gay-lesbian scene and in the midst of all that, some real old Berlin characters. I would certainly not have started writing in earnest in any other city, not least because the rhythm of the city grabs you. How did Robert Walser put it again? ‘Berlin always calls the tune.’ I fully agree with that.”

    Enjoy

    Restaurants in Berlin

    ListMap

    Berlin’s food scene is a heady mix of traditional German staples (think excellent sausages and strong beer) and superb Turkish, Arabic and Vietnamese food.

    Grab a doner on the go or take your pick from one of the city’s growing number of Michelin-starred spots.

    Les Solistes

    Hardenbergstraße 28
    10623 Berlin
    Germany
    Show on map

    Price: Expensive

    Chef Pierre Gagnaire’s Waldorf Astoria outpost is a must for fine-dining fanatics.

    Hugos

    Budapester Straße 2
    10787 Berlin
    Germany
    Show on map

    Price: Expensive

    Award-winning haute cuisine, this Tiergarten-based spot will leave you wowed.

    Mogg and Melzer

    Auguststraße 11-13
    10117 Berlin
    Germany
    Show on map

    Price: Moderate

    A superb Mitte deli, this joint specialises in salt beef sandwiches and excellent coffee. Great for lunch.

    Kreuzburger

    Oranienstraße 190
    10999 Berlin
    Germany
    Show on map

    Price: Cheap

    A superb burger joint found in one of the city’s coolest neighbourhoods. Great for veggies too.

    Aroma

    Kantstraße 35
    10625 Berlin
    Germany
    Show on map

    Price: Cheap

    Arguably the best place to grab a bite in Berlin’s Chinatown. Excellent dim sum guaranteed.

    Discover

    Calendar of events

    Karneval der Kulturen (Carnival of Cultures)

    22 – 25 May 2015
    Website

    Venue: The street festival takes place on and around Bluecherplatz in the district of Kreuzberg

    The vibrant district of Kreuzberg is perhaps the most ethnically diverse in all of Berlin and the annual Carnival of Cultures provides an opportunity to celebrate this melting pot of cultures. Residents and visitors come together to enjoy live music, food and a parade. Often compared to the Notting Hill Carnival, this is a must if you happen to be in Berlin during May.

    Berlin Pride Festival

    27 June 2015
    Website

    Venue: Various venues

    If you can take any positives from the repressive regimes that once prevailed in Berlin, it would be the way in which the city has now found comfort in liberalism. And the Berlin Pride Festival, which attracts over 700,000 revellers every year, is testament to that. Taking place every June, this month-long event has become more than just an opportunity to march for the rights of gay and lesbian people; it has become a symbol for diversity. Expect a heady mixture of live music, flamboyant fancy dress and debauchery with undertones of political activism.

    Classic Open Air

    2 – 6 July 2015
    Website

    Venue: Gendarmenmarkt

    The picturesque Gerdarmenmarkt Square provides a dramatic backdrop for this legendary music festival, which is now entering its third decade. Held over five days in July, the festival is comprised of a series of concerts, which attract over 600,000 visitors every year. Music fans can expect an eclectic mixture of live music including jazz, soul, swing and even pop.

    Berlin Beer Festival

    7 – 9 August 2015
    Website

    Venue: Various venues

    Proud German drinkers will tell you their beer is best in the world. Of course, they’re wrong; that accolade belongs to neighbouring Belgium, but you can’t deny their ability to brew a top-notch lager. And if you fancy immersing yourself in Germany’s fine range of beers (over 300 lagers and pilsners) and experiencing some lesser-known brands, then head along to the Berlin Beer Festival. It’s smaller than Munich’s legendary version but you won’t have to book weeks in advance or pay through the nose for a bevvy.

    Lange Nacht der Museen (Long Night of the Museum)

    29 August 2015
    Website

    Venue: Museums throughout the city

    A Night at the Museum isn’t just an average Ben Stiller film, it’s also a sporadic event in Berlin’s cultural calendar when the city’s museums stay open until the small hours of the morning. Officially called Long Night of the Museum, there are several opportunities to wander around 100 of Berlin’s top attractions by night, but the dates vary so you’ll have to check the website.

    Musikfest Berlin

    2 – 20 September 2015
    Website

    Venue: Berliner Philharmonie

    Musikfest is Berlin’s foremost symphonic and chamber music festival, in which the city invites outstanding orchestras, ensembles and soloists to perform at the Berlin Philharmonia. Hosted by the Berlin Festspiele, the festival aims to open up a new perspective on developments and artistic innovations in the international world of classical music. Prestigious and filled with magnificent sounds, the festival maintains an unswerving focus on the orchestra and the full ensemble. Musikfest Berlin embraces the usual repertoire and tour programmes but also focuses on unusual works and historical performance practices, as well as looking at the relationship between contemporary and ancient music, and the crossing of musical borders.

    JazzFest Berlin

    5 – 8 November 2015
    Website

    Venue: Various venues

    Berlin’s premier jazz festival attracts a heady mixture of artists from home and abroad, who perform over four glorious days in November. From traditional jazz bands to progressive ensembles, the packed programme of concerts takes place at the city’s eclectic live music venues.

    Silvester in Berlin

    31 December 2015 – 1 January 2016
    Website

    Venue: Brandenburg Gate

    Berlin throws one of the biggest New Year’s Eve celebrations in the world, a lively shindig that takes place at the city’s iconic Brandenburg Gate. As the countdown to midnight begins there are live bands, DJs and some fantastic laser shows to entertain the million plus revellers until the epic fireworks display to mark the start of a new year. If there was something to rival Edinburgh’s Hogmanay celebrations, it would be Berlin’s Silvester.

    Berlinale International Film Festival

    11 – 21 February 2016
    Website

    Venue: Various venues

    Attracting in excess of 400,000 visitors every year, the Berlinale is one of the film industry’s most popular events. Over the course of 10 days, hundreds of genre-crossing films from Germany and abroad are screened to a diverse, international audience. The event also features a host of parties, workshops and panel discussions for the truly dedicated.

    All information subject to change. Please check the dates on the relevant event organizer’s website.

    Enjoy

    Hotels in Berlin

    ListMap

    Berlin’s sheer size and its diverse neighbourhoods mean tracking down high-quality budget accommodation is much easier than in similar-sized cities.

    Affordable business hotels abound, while there are also a growing number of excellent, top-end options.

    Grand Hyatt Berlin

    Marlene-Dietrich-Platz 2
    10785 Berlin
    Germany
    Show on map

    Category: Expensive

    This Hyatt outpost, just off of Potsdamer Platz, is a byword for luxury. Rooftop pool, beautiful rooms and a well-stocked whiskey bar.

    Regent Berlin

    Charlottenstraße 49
    10117 Berlin
    Germany
    Show on map

    Category: Expensive

    Gorgeous, old-style rooms and sensational facilities make this one of Berlin’s very best.

    HSH Hotel Apartments Mitte

    Invalidenstraße 32-33
    10115 Berlin
    Germany
    Show on map

    Category: Moderate

    Centrally located, these self-catering hotel rooms offer great value.

    Zarenhof Prenzlauer Berg

    Schönhauser Allee 140
    10437 Berlin
    Germany
    Show on map

    Category: Moderate

    Cosy rooms in an achingly hip part of East Berlin.

    Michele Pension

    Winterfeldtstraße 42
    10781 Berlin
    Germany
    Show on map

    Category: Cheap

    This neat hotel in a pretty historical building is great for those on a budget.

    Good to know

    Best time to visit

    Today: Friday, 29.05.2015 16:00 UTC

    cloudy

    temperature


    20°C


    68°F

    wind direction

    north

    wind speed

    6.875 mph

    humidity

    unknown%

    7 days forecast

    Saturday

    30.05.2015

    16°C / 9°C

    61°F / 48°F

    Sunday

    31.05.2015

    20°C / 9°C

    68°F / 48°F

    Monday

    01.06.2015

    21°C / 14°C

    70°F / 57°F

    Tuesday

    02.06.2015

    27°C / 15°C

    81°F / 59°F

    Wednesday

    03.06.2015

    22°C / 13°C

    72°F / 55°F

    Thursday

    04.06.2015

    22°C / 10°C

    72°F / 50°F

    Friday

    05.06.2015

    26°C / 10°C

    79°F / 50°F

    Climate and best time to visit Berlin

    Like most of Eastern Europe, temperatures drop well below freezing in the depths of winter in Berlin. But there’s a charm to seeing the city’s numerous parks and wide boulevards covered in snow. Head over in summer and you’ll find a series of superb ‘urban beaches’ in Mitte and along the River Spree, with plenty of outdoor eating and drinking options and the chance to take on the locals at volleyball. Spring and autumn bring their own charms, just be sure to pack an umbrella and waterproofs as the weather is always changeable, no matter the time of year.

    Climate & best time to visit Germany

    As with most European countries, Germany is a year-round destination but not especially dependable weather-wise. In general terms though, it’s temperate throughout the country with warm summers and cold winters – prolonged periods of frost or snow are rare. Rain falls throughout the year, with much of Germany experiencing its maximum rainfall over the high summer months. Unpredictability, then, is a major factor. The average January daytime temperature is 3°C (38°F) and in July is 22°C (72°F). Extremes commonly reach -10°C (5°F) in winter and 35°C (95°F) in the summer months.

    While Munich might be considerably further south than Berlin, the fact that the Bavarian capital sits at a much higher altitude means the two cities have broadly comparable summers. The highest annual temperatures tend to be in the southwest, where there’s almost a Mediterranean feel to the landscape at times. Unsurprisingly, this is where much of Germany’s wine is grown.

    May through to September are the most popular months in terms of tourist numbers, and certainly hold the most appeal for visitors aiming to spend significant periods of time outdoors. However, the spring and autumn shoulder seasons also hold real attraction for those who want the promise of decent(ish) weather without the tourist levels. The winter holidays are also a big draw in their way, due in no small part to their attendant Christmas markets. Peak season for ski areas is from December through to the end of March.

    Away from the mountains, January through to April will appeal to those who enjoy the benefits of uncrowded attractions, although be aware that cities like Berlin rarely witness "slow" periods at any time of year. Prices tend to be slightly higher over the summer months. One other thing to bear in mind is that hotel rates can increase when large trade shows are in town (potentially a problem in Frankfurt, for example).

    JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec

    15 °C

    59 °F

    -21 °C

    -5.8 °F

    18 °C

    64.4 °F

    -26 °C

    -14.8 °F

    25 °C

    77 °F

    -16 °C

    3.2 °F

    30 °C

    86 °F

    -6 °C

    21.2 °F

    33 °C

    91.4 °F

    -2 °C

    28.4 °F

    35 °C

    95 °F

    0 °C

    32 °F

    37 °C

    98.6 °F

    5 °C

    41 °F

    37 °C

    98.6 °F

    4 °C

    39.2 °F

    34 °C

    93.2 °F

    0 °C

    32 °F

    27 °C

    80.6 °F

    -9 °C

    15.8 °F

    19 °C

    66.2 °F

    -16 °C

    3.2 °F

    15 °C

    59 °F

    -20 °C

    -4 °F

    JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec

    43 mm

    37 mm

    38 mm

    42 mm

    55 mm

    71 mm

    53 mm

    65 mm

    46 mm

    36 mm

    50 mm

    55 mm

    JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec

    1 h

    2 h

    3 h

    5 h

    7 h

    7 h

    7 h

    6 h

    5 h

    3 h

    1 h

    1 h

    JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec

    85 %

    81 %

    75 %

    70 %

    67 %

    69 %

    70 %

    73 %

    80 %

    83 %

    85 %

    86 %

    absolute maxabsolute minØ absolute minØ absolute minrelative humidityØ depositdays with deposit > 1mmsunshine duration
    Jan15 °C-21 °C1 °C-2 °C85 %43 mm101.5 h
    Feb18 °C-26 °C3 °C-2 °C81 %37 mm92.6 h
    Mar25 °C-16 °C7 °C0 °C75 %38 mm83.9 h
    Apr30 °C-6 °C13 °C3 °C70 %42 mm95.2 h
    May33 °C-2 °C18 °C8 °C67 %55 mm107.1 h
    Jun35 °C0 °C21 °C11 °C69 %71 mm107.4 h
    Jul37 °C5 °C23 °C12 °C70 %53 mm97.0 h
    Aug37 °C4 °C22 °C12 °C73 %65 mm106.8 h
    Sep34 °C0 °C18 °C9 °C80 %46 mm95.2 h
    Oct27 °C-9 °C13 °C5 °C83 %36 mm83.6 h
    Nov19 °C-16 °C7 °C2 °C85 %50 mm101.7 h
    Dec15 °C-20 °C3 °C-1 °C86 %55 mm111.2 h
    year37 °C-26 °C12 °C5 °C77 %589 mm1124.4 h
    Good to know

    Phone calls & Internet

    Telephone/Mobile Telephone

    Dialing Code: +49

    Telephone

    Local and international calls can be made from phone boxes in towns and cities. These usually accept both coins and pre-paid cards (available at post offices and other outlets). In larger cities, you’ll often be able to make international calls from internet cafes too.

    Mobile Telephone

    Roaming agreements exist with many international mobile phone companies. Coverage is good. It is illegal to use a hand-held mobile telephone while driving. If you’re going to be in Germany for a long period of time, consider obtaining a local SIM card.

    Internet

    Internet is readily available; there are many Internet cafes all over the country. Large Internet access centres exist in most main cities. Most hotels also provide facilities, either included in the room rate or charged separately.

    Enjoy

    Shopping in Berlin

    Stadtführer, Lufthansa, Travelguide, Shopping, Einkaufen

    Key Areas

    Berlin’s huge geographical spread and differing neighbourhoods makes for a diverse shopping experience. You’ll find great vintage fashion in Kreuzberg, big-name brands on Kurfürstendamm and designer clobber on the pleasant streets of Mitte. Whatever your budget, Berlin will undoubtedly have what you’re after.

    Markets

    Mauerpark’s Sunday flea market is a must for bargain hunters, as well as those after foodie treats. Markthalle IX in Kreuzberg, one of Berlin’s beautiful 19th-century covered

    markets, is a great place for produce and excellent craft beer. The Winterfeldt farmers market in Schöneberg has a good reputation and is perfect if you’re self-catering.

    Shopping Centres

    The main Kurfürstendamm strip is awash with the biggest brands in the world, from Apple to Uniqlo. Fans of big and bold department stores should definitely head to KaDaWe. Over 100 years old, it’s a Berlin institution and worth a look even if you’re not planning on loosening the purse strings.

    Good to know

    Traveller etiquette

    Handshaking is customary, and it is considered rude to address people by their first name unless invited to do so. Normal courtesies should be observed. Before eating, it is normal to say “guten Appetit” to the other people at the table to which the correct reply is “danke, gleichfalls” (“Thank you, the same to you”). If you’ve been invited to eat at a German house, it is customary to present the hostess with unwrapped flowers (according to tradition, you should always give an uneven number, and it is worth noting that red roses are exclusively a lover’s gift).

    In shops and other businesses, courtesy dictates that visitors should utter a greeting such as “guten tag”

    (or “grüss gott” in Bavaria) before saying what it is that they want; to leave without saying “auf wiedersehen” or “tschüss” can also cause offence.

    Similarly, when making a telephone call, asking for the person you want to speak to without stating first who you are is impolite. Casual wear is widely acceptable, but more formal dress is required for some restaurants, the opera, theatre, casinos and important social functions. Smoking is prohibited where notified and on public transport and in most public buildings.

    Good to know

    Health

    Main emergency number: 112

    Food & Drink

    There’s nothing to mark out German produce as particularly risky to general health (although it has a partly founded reputation for being fatty). Tap water is safe to drink.

    Other Risks

    Tick-borne encephalitis is present in forested areas of southern Germany; vaccination is advisable. Rabies is present; look out for ‘Tollwut’ signs. For those at high risk, vaccination before arrival should be considered.

    During the summer months, sunburn can be a problem. The southwest generally draws the highest temperatures. The usual precautions apply: use a generous amount of sunscreen and be sensible about how long you spend in direct sunlight. Be aware that a breezy day can sometimes mask high temperatures.

    If walking over a long distance in warm weather, it’s advisable to drink – and carry – plenty of water and wear appropriate clothing, including a sun hat. Blisters can be another problem for hikers. These can often occur if new walking shoes are being worn across a long distance. Ideally footwear should be worn in before the trip.

    As a counterpoint to the balminess of the summer, German winters can be fairly severe. This is generally truer the further east you travel. If you’re arriving during the coldest months of the year, ensure you have adequate clothing. At any time of year, in fact, temperatures can be unpredictable – even in July and August, it makes sense to have a sweater (and maybe a brolly too) to hand.

    Other health problems that inexperienced travellers might reasonably encounter are the various knock-on effects of too much alcohol consumption. The risk, unsurprisingly, is particularly prevalent among those attending Munich’s Oktoberfest. Be aware that some beer’s ABV levels can be 6 or 7%, so should be treated with respect.

    Contractual physician of Lufthansa

    Dr. Wirth, Matthias , Matthias
    Arbeitsmedizinisches Zentrum
    Flughafen Schönefeld
    D-12521 Berlin
    Germany
    Tel. +49-3088754280
    Tel. +49-3060913830

    Please note that Lufthansa accepts no responsibility for the treatment nor will it bear the cost of any treatment.

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