Visiting Berlin: A Guide

Getting to Berlin has never been easier. The simplest route is to fly into Berlin. From the UK there are a number of airlines that fly into Berlin where there are two airports: Schönefeld and Tegel. Details of flights into both of these can be found at:

Berliner Flughafen

There are also flights from other European and World-Wide destinations into both airports, so the choice in terms of departure point and air carrier is immense. From 2012 onwards these two airports will close and the main Berlin airport will be Berlin-Brandenburg Airport. Building work for this is still on-going.

Arrival by car from other parts of Europe is obviously possible via the excellent German Motorway (Autobahn) system. Another alternative is to use the superb German Railway System. Deutsche Bahn operate trains from all over the European rail network and offer some good deals, especially for families. Their superfast ‘ICE’ Trains run into the very heart of Berlin at both the Hauptbahnhof and Alexanderplatz, among others, enabling you to immediately change onto Berlin’s own integrated transport network.

In Berlin itself transport couldn’t be easier. There are three transport zones – A, B & C. Most of the city is covered by A and B, with C being outlying areas like Schonefeld and Potsdam. In the city are four modes of public transport: Deutsche Bahn trains (mainline), S Bahn, U Bahn and Bus. It would be rare to use the mainline in the city, but the S and U Bahn are fully integrated, and when there is no suitable S or U Bahn station near where you want to visit, you can use the bus or tram. Daily tickets allowing access to all forms of these transport modes are available, making it cheap and easy to use. After purchasing your ticket (there are machines at every station) you just have to validate it in a nearby ticket-stamp machine and off you go. There are no turn-styles or people to show your pass to, but don’t be tempted to try and ride for free as undercover inspectors are all over the network and it is rare not to be asked to show your ticket mid-journey at some point in the day. A good map of the network in Berlin is here:

Berlin has a profusion of Hotels and it is pointless to recommend any specific hotels here, but a good place to start is with Tripadvisor’s Berlin Pages or the Visit Berlin site.

What to do when you are there? This Blog will help and there are some good online Berlin Guides. Among those I would recommend are:

  1. Visit Berlin: www.visitberlin.de/en
  2. Penguin’s Berlin Guide: www.berlin.barwick.de/index.html
  3. Berlin Pass: www.berlinpass.com
  4. Wiki Travel Guide: http://wikitravel.org/en/Berlin
  5. Berlin City Tours: www.berlincitytours.com
  6. Berlin Travel: www.justberlin.org
  7. Berlin Tourism: www.berlintourism.org
  8. Berlin Museums: www.berlin.de
  9. Slow Travel Berlin: www.slowtravelberlin.com

9 Responses to “Visiting Berlin: A Guide”

  1. Hi Paul,

    look forward to reading all of this great new blog..for info the ICE will start running through the Channel tunnel in late 2012 (to Frankfurt) which will obviously make a rail journey to Berlin even easier …

    cheers

    Neil

  2. I think your readers may well also be interested in the Berlin Underground tours, details of which can be found at http://berliner-unterwelten.de/home.1.1.html

    I have no commercial interest in this group. I just went on one of their tours last year and found it fascinating.

  3. Thanks Nick – a link to them is actually on the links section which appears on all the pages.

  4. Oops! In my own defence, I posted via my iPod, and couldn’t see a Links page reference via that. Sorry to double up. Loving the blog so far, by the way. Fascinating stuff.

  5. I’ll follow this with interest as we’re planning a return visit in the spring. If time permits, travelling by Eurostar, Thalys & ICE (via Brussels & Köln) has a super feel to it: strolling down the train for a lovely meal in the restaurant car while Germany whizzes past, drinks in the bar, and … lots of time for reading while the in-carriage speedometer registers eye-watering numbers. Then passing stations whose names you suddenly recognise from elsewhere (like U2’s Zoo Station), gradually the endless train slows, curves round the final draw into the fabulous multi-layered Hauptbahnhof and you realise you’ve arrived somewhere wonderful where the potential starts now.

    • I haven’t been to Berlin by train since 1987 and that was a very different sort of journey. DB are meant to be opening services to Germany direct from the UK in late 2012, which I can’t wait for!

      • Oh, good news! Until then, the D-B people are very helpful and tolerate all sorts of anxious questions from those of us whose German is limited. Going by sleeper isn’t very expensive and may try that this time.

  6. Er… WordPress is saying I don’t exist!

  7. They are showing you ok on my screen!

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