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The Berliner FlagThe Berliner Flag
The Berliner Flag
Brandenburg Gate and Pariser PlatzBrandenburg Gate and Pariser Platz
Brandenburg Gate and Pariser Platz

Berlin is the capital city of Germany and one of the constituent states (Lander) of the Federal Republic, with a population of approximately 4.2 million within its metropolitan area. Berlin is best known for its historical associations as German capital, for its lively nightlife, for its many cafes, clubs, and bars, and for its numerous museums, palaces, and other sites of historic interest. Berlin's architecture is quite varied: though badly damaged in the final years of World War II (in which Berlin formed the backdrop to Nazi Germany's downfall), Berlin has reconstructed itself greatly and it is now possible to see representatives of many different historic periods in a short time within the compact city center, from a few surviving Medieval buildings near Alexanderplatz, to the ultramodern glass and steel structures in Potsdamer Platz.

berlin Travel Guide :



Districts of BerlinDistricts of Berlin
Districts of Berlin

Since Berlin was a divided city for such a long time, there is not really one city center. Berlin has many districts, called Bezirk, and each district has its unique style. Each Bezirk is composed of several Kiez - a Berlin term referring to "neighbourhood", with their unique style. Some districts of Berlin are more worthy of the traveller's attention than others. Following are the districts of greatest interest:

  • Mitte - the historical center of Berlin and the nucleus of the former East Berlin. Many cafes, restaurants, museums, galleries and clubs throughout the district, along with many sites of historic interest..
    • Unter den Linden - The royal showpiece street in central Berlin, it leads from Alexanderplatz to the Brandenburg Gate. Many historic buildings line the street, such as Humboldt University, the german Opera ( .
    • Museuminsel ("Museum Island") - several large art museums.
    • Alexanderplatz - home to the Fernsehturm (TV Tower), an icon of Berlin and the second largest structure in Europe (after Moscow's TV Tower), which is easily visible throughout the city's central districts. Visitors can ride to the top of the tower in an elevator for amazing views of the city. Also home to the Galeria Kaufhof, a large shopping center.
    • Scheunenviertel
  • Ku'Damm - the lively Kurfürstendamm district, the nucleus of the old West Berlin, has many shops.
  • Potsdamer Platz - divided in two by the Berlin Wall, this area has been newly developed since reunification in a modern style. It has a large shopping center and movie theatre complex.

  • Tiergarten - a district of parks and monuments, sandwiched between the two main centers of the city
  • Charlottenburg - centered around the Schloss Charlottenburg
  • Schoneberg
  • Kreuzberg - associated with the left wing youth culture and Turkish immigrants, this district is somewhat noisier than most of
  • Prenzlauer Berg - a trendy area undergoing regeneration, north of the city center. Popular with students, lots of cafes and bars.
  • Friedrichshain - a trendy area as well - younger, less academic and much more punk between Kreuzberg and Prenzlauer Berg. Students, bars, restaurants, a fancy flea market on Sundays.

Berlin has been officially divided into 12 large districts (Bezirke) since January 2001, a simplification of the previous 23 smaller districts (Stadtteile, Bezirke) that was undertaken purely for administrative efficiency. The smaller districts remain foremost in popular conceptions of the city, however, and are generally of a more practical size and cultural division for the purposes of the traveller.

  New borough Old boroughs
I Mitte Mitte, Tiergarten, Wedding
II Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg Friedrichshain, Kreuzberg
III Pankow Prenzlauer Berg, Weissensee (Weißensee), Pankow
IV Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf Charlottenburg, Wilmersdorf, (unofficially shared between these two) the Ku'Damm district
V Spandau Spandau (unchanged)
VI Steglitz-Zehlendorf Steglitz, Zehlendorf
VII Tempelhof-Schoneberg Tempelhof, Schoneberg (Schoneberg)
VIII Neukolln Neukolln (unchanged)
IX Treptow-Kopenick Treptow, Kopenick
X Marzahn-Hellersdorf Marzahn, Hellersdorf
XI Lichtenberg-Hohenschonhausen Lichtenberg, Hohenschonhausen
XII Reinickendorf Reinickendorf (unchanged)


Berlin was multicultural before Berlin existed! The surrounding area was populated by Germanic Swabian and Burgundian tribes, as well as Slavic Wends in prechristian times, and the Wends have stuck around. Their modern descendants are the Sorbian ( Slavic-language minority who live in villages near the Havel and Spree rivers.

Starting in the 1600s, with large numbers of French Huguenots fleeing religious persecution, Berlin has welcomed asylum seekers, religious, economic or otherwise. In the second half of the 20th century Turkish Gastarbeiter (guest workers) and large numbers of immigrants from communist countries, including the former Yugoslavia and Vietnam, not to mention Soviet soldiers who refused to return home, have made Berlin more multicultural than ever.

Berlin is also a youth-oriented city. Before German unification, West Berliners were exempt from the West German civil/military service requirement. Social activists, pacifists and anti-governmental people moved to Berlin for that reason alone. Musicians and artists were given state subsidies, it was easy to stay out all night thanks to liberal bar licensing laws, and studying years at the university was a great way to kill time. Prenzlauer Berg is said to be the place in Europe with the highest baby-per-capita rate.

Berlin is a relatively young city by European standards, dating only to the thirteenth century, and it has always had a reputation as a place filled with people from elsewhere. Someone who has lived in Berlin for ten years will see themselves as a "true Berliner," looking down on the person who has only been there for five. It's sometimes tough to find someone born and raised here! This is part of Berlin's charm: it never gets stuck in a rut.

But it's not all beer bashes and café-sitting. One of the most important "products" produced in Berlin by both academic and company-sponsored institutes is research. Research is exported around the world just like something tangible. It makes more sense to export research than products. German labor costs are tremendously high: unions such as IG Metall make the American auto industry's unions look like tea parties, and high labor costs mean expensive products. Today we have student strikes for no tuition fees. The universities are overfilled and most schools do not get enough money for material. The 18% unemployment rate in Berlin is calculated without students.

Some famous artists of the region and their best-known works include Lucas Cranach the Elder, Lucas Cranach the Younger, Johann Gottfried Schadow, Marlene Dietrich (The Blue Angel) , Leni Riefenstahl (Triumph of the Will), Bertold Brecht (Threepenny Opera), Kathe Kollwitz, Kurt Tucholsky, Thomas and Heinrich Mann, Walter Gropius, Paul Klee, FW Murnau (Nosferatu), Fritz Lang (Metropolis), Volker Schlondorff, Wim Wenders (Wings of Desire (German: Der Himmel über Berlin)), Blixa Bargeld/Einstürzende Neubauten, Christopher Isherwood, Gunter Grass (The Tin Drum), members of the Bauhaus architectural movement.

A certain uneasy detente still exists between some former residents of East and West Berlin (and Germany). Wessi evolved as a derogatory nickname for a West German; its corollary is Ossi. The implication here is that after reunification, the West Germans automatically assumed the way they do things is the right way, and the way the Easterners should start doing it, too. Westerners got a reputation for being arrogant. They saw the Easterners as stubborn Communist holdouts only interested in a handout from the "rich West." Consider a shirt for sale in a shop inside the Alexanderplatz Deutsche Bahn station: Gott, schütze mich vor Sturm und Wind/und Wessies die im Osten sind ("God, protect me from the storm and wind, and Wessies who are in the East").

Berlin, especially the former East, has evolved into a cultural mecca over the last decade and a half. Artists and other creative souls flocked to the city in swarms after the wall fell primarily due to the extremely low cost of living in the East. Despite the increased prices and gentrification as a result, Berlin has become a center for art, multimedia, electronic music, and fashion among other things. The particularly high number of students and young people in the city has only helped this cause. Just stroll down a street in Prenzlauer Berg, Friedrichshain, or Mitte to get a glimpse of the new East Berlin.

Get a good map like the rough guide map or something like that if you're coming here. Also, the public transport system is absolutely amazing here but gets confusing due to lack of signposting in some of the larger stations. Get hold of a good rail map. If youre driving here, the roads can be a bit confusing so be careful and drive defensively. This also applies to cyclists. It is a beautiful city so allow good time to get to see the sights. Hiring a bike is worthwhile. Also, if you're into techno music, this is the techno capital of the world, so there's some very good techno clubs to visit.


Get in


By air

Berlin has three airports 1 (, all served from the same web site.

  • Tegel International Airport (TXL) - located in the north-west of the city
  • Schonefeld (SXF) - increasingly the focus for low-cost airlines
  • Tempelhof (THF) - a small relic of the pre-war era, Tempelhof is located immediately south of the city centre, but has only a small number of connections serviced mainly by commuter and charter planes

Various airlines, such as British Airways and Air France, serve direct flight connections between Berlin and major German and European cities. Lufthansa, the domestic German airline, serves Tegel.

However, it will be difficult to book a direct flight to Berlin from outside Europe. Most airlines will fly to the major hub airports such as Frankfurt and Munich and offer connecting flights to Berlin. As of July 2005, however, both Delta and Continental have reestablished daily direct flights from New York (JFK and Newark).


By bus

As with all major cities, many bus companies offer transport to Berlin.


By train

The German train corporation Deutsche Bahn offers ICE connections between Berlin and other large German cities. If you arrive in Berlin on DB, you are entitled to use your ticket to travel by S-Bahn -- but not U-Bahn (the city subway system) -- to your destination, because the S-Bahn is a part of DB.

Stations During the times of its division, Berlin had two main train stations: Zoologischer Garten or short: Bahnhof Zoo for the West, and the Hauptbahnhof for the East. After the fall of the wall the former Hauptbahnhof has been renamed Ostbahnhof while a brand new main station is being built close to the Reichstag called Hauptbahnhof - Lehrter Bahnhof (currently only served by S-Bahn).


Get around

Berlin's city centre is conveniently compact and most of the major sights and venues can be accessed easily enough on foot. Failing that, or in case of bad weather or little time, traveller can make use of the excellent bus and train services to get around. Taxi services are also easy to use, if much more expensive. You can hail a cab (the yellow light on the top shows the cab is free), or find a taxi stand (Taxistelle). Be sure you get the driver's attention before you get in at a taxi stand; he or she may be asleep.

Check the Berlin route planner 2 ( (in English) to get excellent maps and schedules for U-Bahn, Bus, S-Bahn and Tram or to print your personal journey planner. The Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe (BVG) have a detailed fare list on their web site 3 ( There are vending machines selling all ticket types on the platforms at every station of the U-Bahn and S-Bahn. They offer instructions in many languages including English, but if you need assistance most larger stations have staffed ticket counters where you can ask questions and buy tickets. Before you get on the train you need to validate your ticket using the yellow machines on the platform (or in the bus). You will most likely need to pay a fine if you are caught with an unvalidated ticket. A ticket is valid on all the different types of transportation, with unlimited changes. If you don't know how to get somewhere, or how to get home at night call 030 (for Berlin) 19449 , the 24 hour Customer Service from the BVG. There are also facilities in most U-Bahn stations to contact the Customer Service directly. In some places like Zoologischer Garten and Eberswalderstrasse people will try to sell used tickets to you. It is not legal, but generally save to use (check the validation stamp!) and widely accepted. Don't pay more than half price. You might as well want to give your used tickets if not needed to those poor people. Other will have the pleasure to be offered a cheaper trip.


By train

The Berlin U-Bahn (subway) is something to behold. It is so charmingly precise! There are no turnstiles to limit access, although trying to scam rides can lead to a ticket that can easily be more than 50 euros (and most residents claim to see ticket checkers once a month; if you're determined to scam, the morning papers print the lines with controllers for the day -- but this is not really helpful as a lot of "undercover" patrols check other lines as well). In addition, all U-bahn stations now have electronic signs that give a time of the next train, and its direction based on sensors along the lines.

Detailed maps can be found in every U-bahn station on the trains. Don't be confused by the alternative tram maps. U-Bahn stations can be seen from afar by their big, friendly blue U signs. Together with the S-Bahn (which is administered by Deutsche Bahn and mostly runs aboveground), the U-Bahn provides a transportation network throughout the greater Berlin that is extremely efficient and fast. On Friday and Saturday nights, as well as during the Christmas and New Year holidays, many U-Bahn and S-Bahn lines run all night, so returning from late night outings is easy, especially given the average start time of most 'parties' in Berlin (11pm?).

For a single journey you can buy a cheap Kurzstrecke for 1.20 EUR, but this is only for travelling 3 stops. For a longer single journey you must pay 2.10 EUR. This is valid for anywhere in zone A & B. Alternatively spend 5.80 EUR on a zone A & B day travelcard (Tageskarte). This is valid on trams and S-bahn's too. You are unlikely to need to go beyond zone A & B. This is a very large area, even including Schonfeld airport. A pass for one week for all trains and buses in the city costs around 25 euros and can be purchased near most stations.


By tram

The trams are mostly in East Berlin, as in the West the tram lines were removed to facilitate more vehicular traffic. If you don't have a ticket already, you can buy one inside the tram.

Two types of tram service are available. Metrotrams are similar to what English-speakers call Light Rail, with stops spaced further apart than on local access routes, and with traffic priority measures. Tram routes not so identified stop more frequently and may even include picturesque single-track rides through forested areas far east of the Mitte Bezirk (borough).

Perhaps the most picturesque line in the city, known to transit system officials as "the most beloved tram line in Germany" due to its customers' passionate opposition to reducing service is Line 68. In off-seasons, it has more scenery than people, but when hot weather comes, its lakeshore meanderings and the tiny, gemuetlich village of Alt-Schmoeckwitz at the line's outer terminal draw so many customers that extra trams are pressed into service. Line 68 may be best accessed at the Berlin-Gruenau S-Bahn station, where all types of convenience food and shopping are available.

Beyond the village center and tram terminal, a large forested area of lakefront parkland offers hiking and bicycling possibilities. This was once the home neighborhood for expatriate American, international music and film star Dean Reed. The Line 68 tram itself had one brief moment of glory, in 1936. In its former incarnation as Line 86 it was the best route to the Olympic rowing events and some structures, street names, etc. still reflect that high point.


By bus

Buses are the easiest way to see the city.

Bus 100 leaves from Zoo Station ("Berlin Zoologischer Garten") or U-Bahn station Alexanderplatz and crosses most of historic Berlin, including many of the sites listed here. For the price of a city bus ticket or daily pass it's possible to see much of the city from one of these double-decker tour buses. Sit up top - it's easier to see the Reichstag, as well as the many historic buildings on Unter den Linden. If you're lucky, you'll get the legendary bus-driver who delivers a commentary (in Berlin-accented German) on the trip. Bus 200 takes nearly the same route, but through Potsdamer Platz.


By cycle

Bicycle is another great way to tour Berlin. Berlin offers many Radwege throughout the city (although not all are very smooth), and has very few steep hills. Bicycle is a very popular method of transportation among Berlin residents, and there is almost always a certain level of bicycle traffic. Bicycle rentals are available in the city, although the prices vary. In addition, the Deutsche Bahn (DB) placed many public bicycles 4 ( throughout the city in 2003. These can be unlocked by calling a number on the bicycle with a cellphone (handy). Seeing Berlin by bicycle is unquestionably a great way, that will acquaint the traveler with the big tourist sites, and the little Sprees and side streets as well. Although it's good to carry a map, in Berlin maps can be found at any U-Bahn station, and many Bus Stations, thus often eliminating the need to carry a map at all times. For more information on cycling Berlin,

  • Berlin by Bicycle 5 (
  • German Bicycle Club (Berlin) 6 (




Berlin has a vast array of museums. Most museums and galleries charge admission - usually about ?6 or thereabouts for an adult, normal concessions apply. However, many of the state run museums, including most of the ones below, are free on the first Sunday of each month. Nowadays a lot of museums use to grant free entrance 4 hours before closing every thuresday.

  • Museuminsel. Literally "Museum Island", this district is best known for the vast Pergamonmuseum, which houses a very extensive collection of ancient Greek, ancient Middle-Eastern and Islamic art and architecture.
  • Alte Nationalgalerie ( Art from the 19th Century Works from Adolph von Menzel, Edouard Manet, Claude Monet, Auguste Renoir, Edgar Degas, Paul Cézanne. Bodestraße 1-3 ,10178 Berlin-Mitte, Tel.: 20 90 55 77
  • Deutsches Historisches Museum ( German historical museum Unter den Linden 2, 10117 Berlin-Mitte, Tel.: 20 30 40
  • Brücke-Museum ( Works from the Dresden art collaborative called "Die Brücke" Bussardsteig 9, 14195 Berlin-Zehlendorf, Tel.: 831 20 29
  • Gemaldegalerie ( About 2700 European paintings from the 13th to the 18th century. Works from Dürer, Raffael, Tizian, Caravaggio, Rembrandt and Rubens. Matthaikirchplatz, 10785 Berlin-Tiergarten, Tel.: 266 29 51
  • Neue Nationalgalerie ( Art from the 20th Century Potsdamer Straße 50, 10785 Berlin-Tiergarten, Tel.: 266 29 51
  • Hamburger Bahnhof Modern Art Invalidenstraße 50-51, 10557 Berlin-Tiergarten, Tel.: 39 78 34 39
  • Museum für Verkehr und Technik ( Interesting museum for science and technology with many interesting objects. The Museum für Verkehr und Technik has also an outdoor area with a windmill. Address: Trebbiner Strasse 9, 10563 Berlin
  • Museum für Naturkunde ( Interesting museum with big collection of fossils and minerals
  • Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe An recently opened abstract artwork covering an entire block near the Brandenburg Gate, including an underground museum with extensive details on the Holocaust and the Jews who died during it.
  • Museum für Post und Kommunikation ( Museum for telecommunication and post with many interesting historical objects.
  • Museum für Post und Kommunikation
Glass dome of the ReichstagGlass dome of the Reichstag
Glass dome of the Reichstag

Landmarks with observation decks

While Berlin has relatively few high-rise buildings, there are several monuments with observation decks. Therefore of special interest are the Fernsehturm, the tallest tower of Germany and the Funkturm, an old lattice steel tower which is the only observation tower standing on insulators. Another famous landmark with observation deck is the victory column (Siegessaule) unfortunately it has no elevator - as opposed to the Berliner Fernsehturm and the Berliner Funkturm.

Victory columnVictory column
Victory column
  • Reichstag - the German parliament near the Brandenburg gate building has a large glass construction on top with a great view of Berlin. Be prepared for long lines and an extensive security check.
  • Berliner Funkturm- 150 meter high lattice tower, with open-air observation deck 124 meter above ground. Only observation tower on insulators! Located in the Western fair district, out of city center.
  • Berliner Fernsehturm on the Alexanderplatz - Germany's tallest construction, 368 meters high. Observation deck 204 metres above ground. Revolving restaurant on top.
  • Forum Hotel Berlin - Panorama restaurant in the upmost floor.
  • Victory column - an old monument with panoramic view. Unfortunately no elevator.
  • Grunewaldturm - historic observation tower
  • Glockenturm Olympic stadium
  • Bierpinsel - a small tower restaurant in Berlin-Steglitz
  • Müggelturm - an observation tower without elevator in Southeast Berlin, from which you can see that there is much forest around Berlin

Further remarkable constructions (not accessible for tourists)

There are some facilities not accessible for tourists, which attract attention, because of their height, their design or their special history.

  • Power Station Berlin-Wilmersdorf - a gas fired power station, which got a prize in architecture
  • Fernmeldeturm Berlin - a telecommunication tower built of reinforced concrete in Southwest Berlin. Used until 1990 for over-horizon direction link to Lower Saxony
  • Richtfunkstelle Berlin-Frohnau - a facility for directional radio in Northern Berlin, used until 1990 for directional radio to Lower Saxony. The guyed mast of this facility is 358.5 metres high and one of the tallest constructions in Germany
  • TV Tower Berlin-Mueggelberge - an incomplete TV tower. The tower remained incomplete, because it would have endangered air traffic at the Schonefeld Airport
  • Radio mast Berlin-Britz - At Berlin-Britz there was from 1946 to 1992 the main transmission site of RIAS. Now it is used for Deutschlandradio. It has two guyed masts for MW- and FM-broadcasting and two short-wave transmission antennas. One of the transmitters used for transmitting the programmes of RIAS can be seen at the Museum für Verkehr und Technik.
  • Radio mast Berlin Olympia stadium - a 180.7 metre high guyed mast for FM transmission near the Olympic stadium
  • Radio mast Berlin-Scholzplatz - a 230 metre high guyed mast for FM/TV-transmission
  • Radio mast Berlin-Stalluponer Allee - a 126.5 metre high guyed mast for MW-transmission


Berlin does not attempt to hide the less savoury parts of its history: a visit to the Topography of Terror ( (Mitte), for example, provides interesting but sobering insights into the activities of the Gestapo in Berlin during the Nazi years (1933-1945). Many of the walking tours also discuss scenes both of Nazi activity and Cold War tension and terror.

  • Berlin Wall A large stretch of intact Wall can be found to the east of the city centre along the River Spree. It is a section of the wall that is preserved as a gallery. This can be easily reached from Ostbanhof or Warschauer Strasse. It has many beautiful murals, politically motivated and otherwise. Another place to try is near the Martin Gropius Bau museum, currently under reconstruction.
  • Berlin Wall Memorial (Gedenkstatte Berliner Mauer). (U-Bahn Bernauerstrasse U8 or S-Bahn Nordbahnhof S1, 2, or 25, follow the signs in the stations (wall is Mauer in German)) Often missed by tourists but an absolute must for anyone interested in this part of the city's history. It's a memorial to those who died crossing so you won't, fortunately, get the tackiness of the Checkpoint Charlie area but you will be left with a haunting feeling of what it may have been really like. The monument itself is a gigantic wasted opportunity, blank and featureless, and the inscription on the outside, declaring it a monument to the victims of the "communist reign of violence," has angered many local residents, but the documentation center across the street on Bernauer Str. is excellent, although most of the documentation is in German.The viewing platform gives you a tiny hint of how massive the Wall was, and how terrifying the "no man's land" between the two walls must have been.
The Memorial is on Bernauer Strasse which itself is a street with a great deal of Wall history - the first recorded Wall related death was here, one of the famous tunnels and that famous photograph of the DDR border guard leaping over the barbed wire. Various monuments can be found along the entire length of the street, documenting nearby escape attempts and tunnels; captions are in German, English, French, and Russian. The Memorial itself is a complete section of 4th generation wall - both inside and outside sections, and you can peer through from the east side to see the remains of the electric fence and anti-tank devices in the death strip. It really helps you understand what an incredible feat it was to get from one side to the other -- and why so many died doing it.
  • Checkpoint Charlie/Berlin Wall. Checkpoint Charlie is no more. Formerly, it was the only border crossing between East and West Germany that permitted foreigners passage. Residents of East and West Berlin were not allowed to use it. This contributed to Checkpoint Charlie's mythological status as a meeting place for spies and other shady individuals. Now the remains of the Berlin Wall have been moved to permit building, including the American Business Center and other institutions not given to flights of John Le Carré-inspired fancy.
At the intersection of Zimmerstrasse and Charlottenstrasse is the famous "You Are Now Leaving the American Sector" sign. The actual guardhouse from Checkpoint Charlie is now housed at the Allied Museum on Clayallee. For a more interesting exhibit, go to the Haus am Checkpoint Charlie, a private museum with kitschy memorabilia from the Wall, as well as the devices GDR residents used to escape the East (including a tiny submarine!).
How did the checkpoint get its name? From the American military spelling alphabet - checkpoints "Alpha" and "Bravo" were at the autobahn checkpoints Helmstedt and Dreilinden. Checkpoint Charlie's atmosphere was not improved any 27 October 1961 when the two Cold War superpowers chose to face each other down for a day. Soviet and American tanks stood approximately 200 meters apart, making an already tense situation worse.
  • Hugenottenmuseum, in Franzosischer Dom, Platz der Akademie. The Hugenottenmuseum represents the ongoing influence on Berlin by the Huguenots who emigrated from France after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes. Crown Prince Friedrich William encouraged them to settle here because most of them were skilled workers or otherwise useful to the kingdom. One memorable artwork, in room nine of the museum, pictures Crown Princess Dorothea exclaiming "But he's a refugee!" upon being presented a very valuable set of jewels by Pierre Fromery. The generally agreed-upon view of refugees as poor, without resources let alone diamonds, was blown apart by the talented French Protestants forced to leave their country due to religion.
One of the most notable effects of having such a large French population was their influence on the infamous Berlin dialect. Berlinerisch words such as Kinkerlitzchen (from French "quincaillerie" - kitchen equipment) and Muckefuck (from French "mocca faux" - artificial coffee) are unique to the area.
The Franzosischen Dom (Dom = Cathedral) itself was built to resemble the main church of the Huguenots in Charenton, France, destroyed in 1688. It has housed the museum since 1929.
  • Kathe Kollwitz Museum. Kathe Kollwitz's reputation as a social activist who used art as a means to express her support of pacifism was hard-won. Her son was killed in the first World War, after which her art took a turn for the morose. When her grandson was killed in World War II, her art became even darker and more brooding as she contemplated the huge loss of life Germany had suffered. Both her own personal losses and those of the nation affected her art. After the war ever-present artistic themes for Kollwitz - death, violence, war, misery, guilt and suffering - took shape as the drawings, prints, sculptures, original posters and woodcuts housed in this museum.
  • Olympiastadion (Olympic Stadium). Built by Hitler for the 1936 Olympic Games, the Olympic Stadium is already crumbling! (So much for 1000-Year-Reich architecture lasting that long). It is one of the better examples of Nazi-era neoclassical architecture, and is still used for sporting events. It is the home of the most successful soccer/football team of Berlin, Hertha BSC, being heavily modernized in 2004/2005. A visit to a Bundesliga football match can be safely recommended, as football is a main ingredient of German public life (matches start Saturday 15.30 or Sunday 17.00, be there at least half an hour earlier). The Olympic Stadium is where Jesse Owens won four gold medals and proved Hitler's Aryan superiority theory dead wrong. The neoclassical architecture is meant to remind the viewer of the splendors of Greece, Rome - in other words, universally-acclaimed great civilizations. Were Nazi architects looking for a shortcut to respect this way? By reusing time-tested architectural components (columns, etc) instead of pushing forward with a genuinely modern twentieth-century, entirely new architectural concept, did they think their designs would garner more positive attention? It's difficult to say. To the west of the Stadium itself is the Maifeld with the Langemarck hall and the Glockenturm Belltower (with observation deck), both can be visited. It is still quite in the condition of before 1945 (except for the deterioration), so you can witness there the helplessness of the German authorities to cope with the area.

Near the Olympic stadium there is since 1951 a 180.7 metre high Radio mast, which is used for FM-broadcasting.

For a glimpse at the Olympiastadion when it was new and not falling apart, rent Leni Riefenstahl's movie Olympia. Riefenstahl has been accused of purposefully producing propaganda for the Nazis, though in her autobiography she denies it. There is no argument, however, that she is an excellent filmmaker. Though the Nazis may have helped fund some of her productions, Riefenstahl's artistic vision is undeniable.
  • Tempelhof airport was used with the Berlin Air-Bridge (Berliner Luftbrücke) 1948 till 1949 and featured in movies like Billy Wilders "One Two Three" with James Cagney, Horst Buchholz and Lilo Pulver. The terminal building is still fascinating: The largest built entities worldwide and has been described by British architect Sir Norman Foster as "the mother of all airports".




  • TAKING THE ROAD LESS TRAVELLED - Discover the city of Berlin in a different way by going on a guided bus tour with berlin trails
  • English and German day and half day tours that don't only show you the conventional sights but take you far beyond! Berlin's history and modern life told through Berlin's stories.
  • Full day bus tour including a bunker tour, lunch, drinks, a sightseeing tour and a beer tasting in a typical German brewery are Wednesdays and Fridays,
  • Half day tours including a tour through the former Stasi prison, snack and voluntary evening programm are Saturdays and Mondays.
  • For more information have a look at berlin trails -
  • Go on a Walking Tour of Berlin - the Mitte and surrounding districts are sufficiently compact to allow a number of excellent walking tours through its history-filled streets. You'll see amazing things you would otherwise miss.... Details are usually available from the reception desks of hostels and hotels. Some options include:
  • Berlin is also great for cycling. Check out


  • Sunbathing on the banks of the Havel and Spree Rivers.
  • The Berliner Funkturm and the Berliner Fernsehturm both offer a view over the city, for a fee. There is also a restaurant (quite decent one) on the top of the Fernsehturm in Alexanderplatz (7 (
  • Pick up a copy of EXBERLINER the monthly English-language paper for Berlin. It provides high quality journalism and up-to-date listings. Find out what's on and where in English. (
  • If you happen to understand German, the activity planners for the city zitty ( and tip ( are available at every kiosk. Be prepared to choose among a huge amount of options.


  • the Berlin Film Festival / Berlinale 8 ( - next dates: 10-20 February 2005. The city's largest cultural event and an important fixture in the global film industry's calendar (up there with Cannes and Venice...). 150,000 tickets sold, 500 films screened and a host of associated parties and events. In contrast to e.g. Cannes, most screenings at the Berlinale are open to the public. Tickets are inexpensive and relatively easy to get for the "International Forum of Young Film" screenings and the "Berlinale Panorama" (movies which are not in the competition).


  • Loveparade - This formerly massive event no longer takes place. For a real mass event the Karneval der Kulturen is highly recommended -- not to mention more fun.
  • Fuck/Hate Parade, The Fuckparade is at the same time as the Loveparade - With a big difference: The Fuckparade is political. The general motto of the Fuckparade is "against the destruction of the club scene". The other difference is the music played: underground club, goa, gabber, gothic...
  • Hanf Parade. End of August. The Hanfparade is the biggest european political demonstration for the legalization of hemp for use as agriculture and stimulant.
  • Christopher Street Day. The CSD is a well-known annual political demonstration for the rights of the gay culture organized in all major German cities. Even if you are indifferent about the issue, the Christopher Street Day is usually a worthwhile sight as many participants show up in wild costumes.
  • Fête de la Musique ( In June. Everywhere in Berlin there is different music at this day, which coordinates with a similar one in several French cities.
  • Karneval der Kulturen ( In May. The idea of the "Carnival of Cultures" is a parade of the various ethnic groups of the city, showing traditional music, costumes and dances. Other - more modern/alternative/political - groups also participate. Similar events are also held in Hamburg and Frankfurt.

Theatre, Opera, Concerts, Cinema

Berlin has a lot of theater houses, cinemas, concerts and other cultural events going on all the time. Here are some of them


  • Deutsches Theater - more classical theater
  • Volksbühne am Rosa Luxemburg Platz - sometimes controversial, modern theater
  • Schaubühne am Leniner Platz -
  • Schillertheater -
  • Theater am Kurfürstendamm -
  • Theater des Westens (
  • Grips Theather (
  • Friedrichstadtpalast ( - Cabaret Shows
  • Kabaret Theater Distel ( - Cabaret and Comedy, political satire in german
  • Maxim Gorki Theater ( - sometimes play the "3 Pennys Opera" by Brecht
  • Berliner Esemble ( - contemporary theater



  • Movimiento - independent movies, some in English
  • Cinemaxx - have English program
  • Cinestar - The "Cinestar Original" Cinema located inside the "Sony Center" at the Potsdammerplatz shows only movies in English.

It should be noted that all movies which need translation to German are released later in Germany.

Concert Houses

  • Philharmonie (
  • Konzerthaus


Learn old manufacturing techniques in the Museum für Verkehr und Technik.



Under the current economic climate, work is very scarce in Berlin. If you don't speak good German it's unlikely that you will find work easily, though if you are an EU citizen, a student or have a work permit you may be able to scrape by teaching English or working in a bar but it'll be tough, there's not much work around.



Since shopping hours were extended last year until 8pm on a Saturday in most places shopping has become much easier. Sunday opening is still sadly not on the horizon, though if you have time to queue you can go to Friedrichstrasse or Ostbahnhof Stations to supermarkets there on Sundays. Note, the queue is usually to get IN the supermarket! However, there are usually some bakerys and small food stores open on Sundays around Oranienstraße in Kreuzberg 36.

Ku'damm remains the main shopping street even now that the Wall has come down. KaDeWe (Kaufhaus Des Westens) at Wittenbergplatz is a must visit even if just for the vast food dept (which has an extremely confusing layout). It's reputedly the biggest department store on Continental Europe and still has an old world charm, with very helpful and friendly staff. Be aware that on a Saturday this shop can be unbearably busy, and seems to be full of rich, arrogant and extremely rude customers, so go during the week if you can.


  • Strasse des 17. Juni, in front of Ernst-Reuter-Haus, take the S-bahn to Tiergarten Station, Saturdays and Sundays 10.00 to 17.00
  • Arkonaplatz, Prenzlauer Berg/Mitte Sundays 10.00-17.00
  • Am Kupfergraben/ Museumsinsel Saturdays and Sundays 10.00 -16.00
  • Boxhagener Platz, Friedrichshain , Sundays 10.00-18.00
  • Treptow, Eichenstraße 4 , Sundays


Eating out in Berlin is ridiculously cheap compared to any other West European capital, or indeed even most other German cities. The city is very multicultural and most cultures' cuisine is represented here somewhere, although it's often very highly modified to suit German tastes.

For eating out, note that it is best to ask if cr cards are accepted before you sit down - it's not that common to accept cr cards in restaurants in some parts (especially the former East) of the city.

Vegetarians can eat quite well with a little bit of research and menu modification despite it seeming like a meat eaters heaven with all the sausage stands. Kebap restaurants have a lovely selection of roasted veg and salad. The falafel they serve is an unusual processed entity but yummy and meat free. Yellow Sunshine is an excellent vegan restaurant serving realistic fake sausages in several german varieties. Get there from Warschauer Strasse SBahnhof and cross the river then ask a german where it is.

One of the main tourist area to eat is Hackescher Markt / Oranienburger Strasse. This area has dramatically changed from what it was even two years ago. Once full of squats and probably not entirely legal bars and restaurants it had some real character and was a great place to be. However, it is rapidly becoming developed and corporatized, even the most famous squat, the former Jewish-owned proto-shopping mall "Tacheles" has had a bit of a face lift.

So this means that while there is a now a good choice of restaurants and bars in the area, they are very overpriced and the food is at best average quality. The "Assel" (it means Woodlouse:) on Oranienburger Strasse furnished with DDR cast off furniture is still relatively authentic and worth a visit, especially on a warm summer night.

Oranienburgerstrasse is also an area where prostitutes line up at night, but don't be put off by this. Prostitution is legal in Berlin and the area is actually very safe.

For extremely cheap and good food you should try Kreuzberg and Neukolln with many, many Indian, Pizza and Doner Kebap restaurants. (It's Neukolln where the Doner Kebap was invented 30 years ago.) Prices start from 1 EUR for a Kebap and 1.50 EUR for a pizza.

For good cheap food Kastanienallee is better, again not what it once was since the developers moved in but still not yet as exploited as Hackescher Markt. It's a popular area with artists, and students and has a certain Bohemian charm. Try Imbiss W, at the corner of Zionskirchstr. and Kastanienallee, where they serve superb Indian-fusion food, mostly vegetarian, at the hands of artist-chef Gordon W. Further up the street is the Prater Garten, Berlin's oldest beer garden and an excellent place in the summer.

Note that the custom here is to tell the waiter how much you're paying, including the tip, when you are presented with the bill, rather than to leave the money on the table. Normally 10% is ok (or round small amounts up to the nearest Euro or next Euro), but waiters don't get paid much anywhere so if the service has been good feel free to tip more. (Waiters in Europe, however, are not dependent on tips to make a living, as they are in the U.S., and it is perfectly possible to survive, albeit not luxuriously, on just one's hourly wage.) Berlin is famous for rude service, though my experience generally is that it's rarely bad per se, just a little cold in some places. The service by contrast is far far better than what you would get in Vienna.



If you want to get some tap water in a bar ask for "Leitungswasser" (if you just say "water" (Wasser), you will receive mineral water), it is common if you drink coffee. They should not charge you for it but you should order some other drink as well...

  • At Warschauer Straße (which you can reach via S-Bahn and U-Bahn station Warschauer Straße) and more specifically Simon-Dach-Straße you can find a wide variety of bars, from sport bars to comfy waterpipe bars. It is common for locals to meet at Warschauer to go to a bar there.
  • Einstein is one particular example of a home grown coffee chain which has nice staff, great coffee and is fairly priced. In particular, the Einstein on Unter Den Linden is as far from "junk coffee" as it's possible to be.
  • There are lots of Irish bars all over the city, as there are in all European cities. If you like off-the-shelf Irish bars or watching the football in English then you won't be disappointed, but in a city with new cool bars opening pretty much daily and a huge range to choose from, you'll find that these cater mostly to the Irish construction workers and Germans attracted by Irish music, which is often played in them.
  • The LuisenBrau next to Schloss Charlottenburg has excellent brewed beer. You can have either a helles (light) or a dunkles (dark). Although the beer is quite excellent, the atmosphere is quite touristy, and clearly not as antique as it strives to be.


  • SO36, Oranienstrasse 190, Berlin / Kreuzberg legendary Club whose roots are punk, nowadays plays different alternative mainstream concerts. Don't miss the GAYHANE, the turkish gay party.
  • Rosi's, Revalerstraße 29, Berlin Friedrichshain. Rosi's features grungy underground - best club in town if you love that. Nice Grill outside with lots of chairs for the warm days, has one chill out floor and one main stage almost in ront of a very nice bar. house electro and alot of concerts.
  • WMF, Stralauer Strasse 58, 10179 Berlin-Mitte, U Klosterstrasse, S+U Jannowitzbrücke (electronic Music)
  • Dunckerclub, Dunckerstr. 64, 10439 Berlin-Prenzlauer Berg (Alternative, Hardrock, Independent)
  • BERGHAIN Only Berlin could offer such a huge techno cathedral.The best new night club in Europe? Extremely good techno music in the most amazing vast location but be prepared for a tough door policy! Not for teenagers.
  • Magnet Greifswalder Str. 212/213, 10405 Berlin-Prenzlauer Berg (Alternative). Some indie Concert and club nights. Take care, there is also a FC Magnet Bar in Veteranenstrasse, which is a cool place, too.
  • Kinzo Situated under the TV tower at Alexanderplatz.
  • KITKATCLUB Some people like to say that without the "KITTY" Berlin wouldn't be Berlin. Some other pretend that it's today the best night club in Europe because of its unique concept. It's anyway the most famous Berlin address, unique clubbing concept mixing extremely good techno/electro/trance music to sexual freedom, be open minded enough and be aware of the strict dress code...! NON STOP party from Saturday night to Sunday evening. Bessemerstrasse 2/14, 12103 Berlin Schoeneberg
  • Watergate Great location , directly at the Spree river, 2 floors, they play DnB sometimes, alot of other stuff too, so check the schedule. The regular Drum and Bass night is called Hardedged, usually fridays. Take the U1 to Schlesisches Tor or the Tram 20 from Eberswalder Strasse to Warschauer Strasse (last stop) and then cross the bridge.
  • Icon DnB every saturday, some Hip Hop and a monthly Ninja Tune night. Walking distance from Eberswalder Strasse Station. Cantianstrasse 15 . Check the map on the Website.
  • Maria am Ostbahnhof Used to be a underground techno club called deli, they play softer music now, but still very very cool location. Lots of live sets. Go to Ostbahnhof with a train , then walk to Schillingbrücke (Map on the website)
  • Dr Pong, Eberswalder Strasse 21, Very Berlin style club where you can play table tennis and drink cheap beer, very friendly place
  • NBI Nice small little club, not really for dancing , with nice people and live sets. Schonhauser Allee 36
  • Bastard Kastanienallee next to Prater Beergarden






  • Jugendgastehaus Berlin International ( - Kluckstr. 3, 10785 Berlin, Tel. +49 (0)30 261 10 97,, four-bed rooms start at 21 ? (depending on age), ten-person-dormitories start at 15 ?, all overnights including breakfast and bedsheets. Central location near Potsdam Square thus quiet surrounding! HI-Hostel-membership required, international guests may also pay 3,10 extra for an overnight membership.
  • Mitte's Backpacker ( - Chausseestr. 102, 10115 Berlin (Mitte), Tel. 28 39 09 65, Fax 28 39 09 35,, 2-Bed Rooms start at 22 Euro p. P., Sleeping hall starts at 13 Euro, U-Bahn Zinnowitzer Str. This hostel boasts a super central location, only 10 minutes from all the main sights of the city. The theme rooms are astonishing !
  • BaxPax ( - Skalitzer Straße 104, Berlin (Kreuzberg), Tel. ++49(0)30 695 183 22. This hostel is supercentral located in an area that boasts excellent nightlife. Your visit to Berlin isn't complete without at least one overnight stay in this hostel.
  • Alcatraz ( - Schonhauser Allee 133a, 10437 Berlin (Prenzlauer Berg), Tel. 48 49 68 15, Fax 41 72 58 04,, Double Rooms start at 22 Euro p.P., Common Room starts at 13 Euro, U-Bahn Eberswalder Str.
  • A&O ( - Boxhagener Str. 73, 10245 Berlin (Friedrichshain), Tel. 2 97 78 10, Fax 29 00 73 66,, Double Rooms start at 24 Euro p.P.,Sleeping hall starts at 10 Euro, S-Bahnhof Ostkreuz
  • Helter Skelter Hostel Berlin ( (former Clubhouse Hostel) - Kalkscheunenstr. 4-5, 10117 Berlin (Mitte), Tel. 280 44 99 7, Fax 290 44 717, E-Mail:, 2-Bed Rooms start at 46 Euro/room, big dorms start at 13 Euro, U-Bahn Oranienburger Tor, S-Bahn Friedrichstrasse
  • Heart of Gold Hostel Berlin ( - Johannisstr. 11, 10117 Berlin (Mitte), Tel. 2900 3300, Fax 290 44 717, E-Mail:, 2-Bed Rooms start at 48 Euro/room, big dorms start at 13 Euro, U-Bahn Oranienburger Tor, S-Bahn Friedrichstrasse, S-Bahn Oranienburger Straße
  • Corner ( - Driesener Str. 17, 10439 Berlin (Prenzlauer Berg), Tel. 437343 53, Fax 43 73 42 06,, 2-Bed Rooms start at 20 Euro p. P.,Sleeping hall starts at 14 Euro, U-/S-Bahnhof Schonhauser Allee
  • David's - Cozy Backbacker Hostel (, Bredowstr. 35, 10551 Berlin (Tiergarten), Tel. 3 93 53 59, Fax 39 03 84 20,, 2-Bed Rooms start at 15 Euro p. P., Sleeping hall starts at 9 Euro, U-Bahn Birkenstraße
  • Die Fabrik ( - Schlesische Str. 18, 10997 Berlin (Kreuzberg), Tel. 6 11 71 16, Fax 6 18 29 74,, 2-Bed Rooms start at 49 Euro/room, Sleeping hall starts at 18 Euro, U-Bahn Schlesisches Tor
  • Generator ( - Storkower Str. 160, 10407 Berlin (Friedrichshain), Tel. 4 17 24 00, Fax 41 72 40 80,, 2-Bed Rooms start at 23 Euro p. P., Sleeping hall starts at 10 Euro, S-Bahn Landsberger Allee
  • Jet Pak ( - Pücklerstr. 54, 14195 Berlin (Zehlendorf), Tel. 8 32 50 11, Fax 83 22 79 05,, 2-Bed Rooms start at 19 Euro, Sleeping hall starts at 12 Euro p. P., Bus X 10
  • Lette'm Sleep ( - Lettestr. 7, 10437 Berlin (Prenzlauer Berg), Tel. 44 73 36 23, Fax 44 73 36 25,, 2-Bed Rooms start at 24 Euro p. P., Sleeping hall starts at 15 Euro, U-Bahn Eberswalder Straße
  • Meininger 10 ( - Meininger Straße 10, 10823 Berlin (Schoneberg), Tel. 78 71 74 14, Fax 78 71 74 12,, 2-Bed Rooms start at 23 Euro p. P., Sleeping hall starts at 12,50 Euro, U-Bahn Bayerischer Platz. Also Meininger 12, Hallesches Ufer 30, 10963 Berlin (Kreuzberg)is part of this hostel
  • Odyssee ( - Grünberger Str. 23, 10243 Berlin (Friedrichshain), Tel. 29 00 00 81, Fax 29 00 33 11,, 2-Bed Rooms start at 45 Euro/room, Mehrbett ab 13 Euro, U-Bahn Frankfurter Tor. Also Sunflower, Helsingforser Str. 17, 12243 Berlin (Friedrichshain) is part of this hostel
  • Pegasus ( - Straße der Pariser Kommune 35, 10243 Berlin (Friedrichshain), Tel. 29 35 18 10, Fax 29 35 11 66, hostel@pegasushos, 2-Bed Rooms start at 19 Euro p. P,Sleeping hall starts at 13 Euro, U-Bahn Weberwiese
  • The Circus ( - Weinbergsweg 1a, 10119 Berlin (Mitte), Tel. 28 39 14 33, Fax 28 39 14 84,, 2-Bed Rooms start at 21 Euro p. P., Sleeping hall starts at 13 Euro, U-Bahn Rosenthaler Platz. Also Circus, Rosa-Luxemburg-Str. 39, 10178 Berlin (Mitte)is part of this hostel
  • Transit Loft ( - Immanuelkirchstr. 14, 10405 Berlin (Prenzlauer Berg), Tel. 48 49 37 73, Fax 44 05 10 74,, 2-Bed Rooms start at 71,50 Euro/room, Sleeping hall starts at 15 Euro p. P., U-Bahn Senefelderplatz. Also Transit, Hagelberger Str. 53-54. 10965 Berlin (Kreuzberg) is part of this hostel
  • Blockhaus-Rehbrücke ( - Thomas-Mann-Str. 19, 14558 Nuthetal, Tel.: 033200-81413,, is your fully equipped holiday-apartment with own kitchen situated between Berlin and Potsdam for 2 (49 Euro) up to 4 persons (69 Euro). Travellers are welcome to wash their laundry in the washing machine


  • the InterContinental Berlin Hotel 9 ( - located in the government quarter, close to the historical center and just a few steps away from the renowned shopping district of Kurfürstendamm
  • Hotel Adlon, Pariser Platz, Unter den Linden - run by the Kempinsky chain and is famous for the best and most expensive hotels in Germany and their latest flagship hotel is the Adlon in Berlin (the place where Michael Jackson almost dropped his baby out of the window) address Unter den Linden 77, 10117 Berlin, phone +49 (0)30 2261-0 fax +49 (0)30 2261-2222 email, cf. Wikipedia article (in German) (


Most people under 30 in Berlin will speak English to varying degrees of fluency, but it might not be as widely spoken as you might expect, so a few key German phrases are worth having.




Stay safe

Berlin is a safe place compared to American cities. However by now most European cities have crime problems as well and Berlin is no exception.

In general one needs to be aware of those problems but also understand that attacks and robberies etc. are "hit or miss" occurances and no part of Berlin would be much of a comparison to American "ghettos" in terms of crime.

Jaywalking as in crossing streets away from pedestrian crossings is quite common but generally only when cars aren't in sight or far away from the jaywalker. Because of that most drivers don't expect careless jaywalking and will expect people to remain on the sidewalk until no cars are in their vicinity. So if one has to jaywalk, "cautious" jaywalking is recommended.

There are localized riots on May Day. These riots normally take part in Kreuzberg, Friedrichshain and a small section of Prenzlauer Berg. They usually erupt in the night before May 1st and the evening of May 1st. It is advised to stay clear of these areas at those times. Vehicles should not be parked in these areas either on May 1st.


Get out

  • Sachsenhausen is a quiet suburb housing the remains of one of the Nazi concentration camps on German soil.
  • Escape to Kopenick and other wooded areas scattered around the city on the weekend
  • Potsdam is a city not far away west of Berlin and makes a perfect day trip. You can get there with the S-Bahn S1 or Regional-Bahn RE1 to the endstation Potsdam Hauptbahnhof.
  • The Raststaette Grunewald at the S-bahn Nikolassee is a good spot for hitching if you're heading south or west.
  • the Müritz lake region to the North is a national park
  • Frankfurt (Oder)Frankfurt (Oder) on the Polish border is within easy reach
  • the beautiful Baltic seashore (e.g., UsedomUsedom) is near enough for a day trip by train
  • to the South, Dresden is about two hours by train

External links

  • ( - Official Site of the German Capital (available in English and German)

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