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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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    Platz der Republik 1
    11011 Berlin
    Tel: (030) 2273 2152
    Show on map

    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

    10243 Berlin

    Show on map

    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
    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
    Tel: (030) 253 7250 (museum)
    Show on map

    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

    Show on map

    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
    Tel: (030) 2664 24242
    Show on map

    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
    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
    Tel: (030) 4679 86666
    Show on map

    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

    Show on map

    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.


    Gleimstraße 55
    10437 Berlin

    Show on map

    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.


    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.


    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.


    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.


    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.


    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).


    Nightlife in Berlin


    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
    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
    Show on map

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


    Vor dem Schlesischen Tor 3
    10997 Berlin
    Show on map

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


    Gerichtstraße 65
    13347 Berlin
    Show on map

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


    Falckensteinstraße 49
    10997 Berlin
    Show on map

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


    Restaurants in Berlin


    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
    Show on map

    Price: Expensive

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


    Budapester Straße 2
    10787 Berlin
    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
    Show on map

    Price: Moderate

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


    Oranienstraße 190
    10999 Berlin
    Show on map

    Price: Cheap

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


    Kantstraße 35
    10625 Berlin
    Show on map

    Price: Cheap

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


    Calendar of events

    Classic Open Air

    2 – 7 July 2015

    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.

    Musikfest Berlin

    2 – 22 September 2014

    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

    30 October – 2 November 2014

    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 2014 – 1 January 2015

    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

    5 – 15 February 2015

    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.

    Lange Nacht der Museen (Long Night of the Museum)

    15 May 2015

    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.

    Karneval der Kulturen (Carnival of Cultures)

    25 – 28 May 2015

    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

    21 June 2015

    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.

    Berlin Beer Festival

    1 – 3 August 2015

    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.

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


    Hotels in Berlin


    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
    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
    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
    Show on map

    Category: Moderate

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

    Zarenhof Prenzlauer Berg

    Schönhauser Allee 140
    10437 Berlin
    Show on map

    Category: Moderate

    Cosy rooms in an achingly hip part of East Berlin.

    Michele Pension

    Winterfeldtstraße 42
    10781 Berlin
    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, 27.03.2015 11:00





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    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).


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    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


    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 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.


    Shopping in Berlin

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    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.


    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


    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
    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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