Berlin, Germany Travel Guide Last Updated: Dec 2022
While it may not be as beautiful as the others, Berlin is now one of the most visited cities in Europe and it impresses virtually everyone who comes. The unusual history of being divided between communist and capitalist from 1961 to 1989 is still visible today, and it’s made for a fascinating and huge city with great sights and nightlife.
Why Visit Berlin
It may not be obvious why you should visit Berlin, but talk to anyone who has been here and they will tell you it is one of their favorite European cities. The old East Berlin is still something of a giant Bohemian art district with odd shops, restaurants, and bars that wouldn’t survive elsewhere.
Berlin is also a fantastic travel bargain as it is one of western Europe’s most affordable capital cities where your travel funds will go surprisingly far for the amount of fun on offer.
You’ll want to see the Brandenburg Gate for probably your best Berlin photo opportunity, and Museum Island has several very worthwhile places to visit where almost everything is captioned in English as well as German.
More than anything else, Berlin is about the unusual shops and eateries and nightlife spaces, especially in the former East.
Our pick: The best cheap and central hostel in Berlin
Where to eat and drink in Berlin
Food in Berlin is also quite reasonable, with filling and interesting meals being pretty easy to find at moderate prices. There are so many bars all around the city that drink prices tend to be decent as well, and buying beer or wine in a supermarket is also easy to pull off if you want to get a head start before leaving your hotel or hostel.
Many hotels and hostels include breakfast. If you are on your own there are some cheap options available, mostly rolls and sandwiches.
$4.30 - $8.60
Berlin has plenty of Turkish and Middle Eastern stands and restaurants which are usually great and cheap. Wurst/sausage stands are cheap for local cuisine.
$5.38 - $12.90
Beer halls and similar casual restaurants usually have filling and cheap traditional German food.
$9.68 - $19.35
This is a great drinking town, though the many trendy bars can be expensive. Look for beer halls and happy hours for the best deals.
The Sandeman’s New Berlin free walking tours in particular are excellent, and well worth the €5 or so tip you’ll give the guide at the end.
The hop-on, hop-off bus tours here are definitely worthwhile since the city is rather spread out and all of the top attractions are visible from the street.
A one-hour river cruise on the Spree is also recommended as many of the most important and beautiful buildings are actually built facing the river.
If you want to do all the main highlights along with a few city tours in only 2 or 3 days, then the Berlin Pass is worth considering.
When to visit Berlin
Temperature and rainfall
Berlin Weather advice
Berlin has a generally agreeable climate with typical weather patterns. Summers are warm but rarely so warm that it becomes a problem. Summers are also the wettest time of the year, yet humidity doesn’t make things too uncomfortable most of the time.
Winters are predictably cold and snow does accumulate at times, but the city doesn’t become snowbound like some more northern and eastern European cities.
Autumn might be the best season to visit if you want to avoid the huge crowds of summer.
Hotels and hostels in the eastern part of Berlin are still generally more affordable than in the fancier western neighborhoods. Those wanting to experience some of the more interesting nightlife should look for places in or close to Prenzlauer Berg, Mitte, or Kreuzberg.
In addition to being exciting and a lot of fun, Berlin is one of the more affordable major European cities for visitors. Hotels are abundant and reasonable deals are normally easy to find, though in summer it’s best to book in advance if you can. You can sometimes get excellent rates at high-end places when there are no trade shows in town. Check our recommended Berlin hotels list for some great choices that offer low rates.
Check Berlin hotels
Berlin Hotel Seasons
The high season for Berlin is June through August, and particularly July and August. During summer the hotels and hostels can get booked up well in advance so it’s advisable to book yourself as early as possible, as the cheaper and better places get filled first.
Low season tends to be from November through March, though the winter holidays see rising hotel demand so that’s another one to book in advance for. Otherwise it’s usually fine to arrive without a reservation, but on the other hand, Berlin is huge and spread out so if you are planning on finding a room on foot then it might be a hassle, especially in the evening.
As of 2020, the long-delayed Berlin Brandenburg Airport is finally open and the other airports are closed. Flights into Berlin can be cheap from within Europe, but it’s not one of the cheaper cities to fly into from farther away.
Berlin HauptBahnhof is the central train station and it’s well connected by public transportation to everywhere else in the city. You can get to Berlin by train quickly from Amsterdam, Prague, and Munich, among other places.
Getting around Berlin
Berlin is huge and spread out so you’ll definitely want to familiarize yourself with the public transport system. Just like in other large German cities, there is the U-Bahn that is mostly underground and the S-Bahn that branches into many nearby suburbs.
Many Berlin neighborhoods are very walkable, but it could take half a day to walk between them. Taxis are reasonably priced and reliable.