Travel & Tourism Tips

For a time, Berlin symbolized the schism between East and West Germany, with its infamous wall that served to divide the socialist district of the city from its Democratic counterpart. In 1990 the Berlin Wall came down and since then the city has rebuilt itself anew, in the spirit of unification, towards creating a modern European capital.

Since the wall was dismantled, more than a hundred streets have been reconnected, and signs that the wall even existed eventually disappeared. But the years spent divided are still evident in the city’s architecture, as the modern skyline of the West coexists with the pre-War structures that dominate much of the East.

Berlin has found its place again as a dynamic center for the arts, and the city is host to numerous museums, theatres, and galleries. The Kulturforum houses many important museums and concert halls, including the Picture Gallery which contains a large collection of 13th to 18th-century European art, and the impressive Berliner Philharmonie concert hall.

The city also has a vibrant nightlife, with a wide variety of entertainment choices to suit any taste. All year round, Berlin has festivals and events lined up, from the lively Christopher Street Day gay and lesbian parade in June, the spectacular Love Parade party in July, and the world-famous Jazz Fest in November.

Getting There & Around

By Plane

Frankfurt airportVisitors to Germany arrive in Frankfurt, which serves as the gateway for international flights. From there, connecting flights are available. Travellers from the US can take advantage of the single direct flight to Berlin, Lufthansa offers the service everyday except on Fridays from Washington D.C.’s Dulles airport to Berlin.

By Train

Bahnhof Zoologischer Garten
Bahnhof Zoologischer Garten

From many European cities, it is possible to travel to Berlin by train. Frankfurt and Hamburg also have rail service to Berlin, and a trip from Frankfurt should take about seven hours.

Trains arriving from the west usually stop at the Bahnhof Zoologischer Garten, which is the main train station, referred to locally as “Bahnhof Zoo”. Located at the city centre, near the Kurfürstendamm, linking it to the public transportation network. The bus network and the U-Bahn connect the station to the rest of the city. If you are making connections, Bus #109 has trips to and from Berlin-Tegel Airport .

The station offers facilities such as an information counter for visitors where you can get maps and brochures for free. You can also book a hotel room here for a fee. The station also has a post office, a currency exchange booth and luggage lockers for rent.

There are also two other train stations, Berlin Lichtenberg and Berlin Hauptbahnof where trains from eastern Europe usually make their stops, as do a number of trains from the west. S-Bahn 5 links these stations to Bahnof Zoo.

By Car & Ferry

If you are driving over from England, there are two ports that you can choose from as you make your trip into Germany . P&O Stenna Lines offers up to 35 ferryboat crossings daily between Dover and Calais. The crossing usually takes about an hour or so. From Calais, driving to Cologne usually takes three hours. Your other option is the passage to the Hook of Holland from Harwich. This sea crossing is usually made in eight hours. Driving via the Chunnel is also another option to consider.

By Bus

Buses make trips into Berlin from Paris, London and other major European cities. Eurolines is one of the largest operators, based in the Victoria Coach Station in Central London .

The Eurolines branch in Paris is at 28 av. du Général-de-Gaulle, 93541 Bagnolet; Métro stop: Gallieni.

For more information about Eurolines in Germany , contact Deutsche Touring, Am Römerhof 17, 60426 Frankfurt am Main www.touring-germany.com

There is no direct ticket seller for Eurolines in the US but a regular travel agent can usually make arrangements for Euroline bus trips to many European cities, including Berlin .

Main Attractions

Brandenburg Gate

Brandenburg Gate Berlin

Checkpoint Charlie

Checkpoint Charlie Berlin

Eastside Gallery

east side gallery

Jewish Museum

Jewish Museum

Hamburger Bahnhof

Hamburger Bahnhof

Potsdamer Platz

Potsdamer Platz

Suggested Itineraries in Berlin

If You Have One Day

Start your day early and head for the Brandenburg Gate, the symbol of the city. From there walk down Unter den Linden for a pastry and some coffee at the Operncafé. Next, go to the Gemäldegalerie where some of the greatest masterpieces of the world are on exhibit. Charlottenburg Palace is your next stop, from there you can view the famed bust of Queen Nefertiti in the Ägyptisches Museum. After night falls, have a stroll along the Kurfürstendamm, stop by the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, and cap off your day in Berlin with dinner at a local restaurant.

If You Have Two Days

On your second day, go to the Pergamon Museum on Museum Island, famous for its display of the Pergamon Altar. Visit the Bode Museum and the National Gallery before heading over to Alexanderplatz. The elevator will take you to a wonderful view from its TV tower, then before the day is over you should have time to explore the Nikolai Quarter.

If You Have Three Days

On day three, go to Potsdam.

If You Have Four Days

On your fourth day, begin with a stroll through the Nikolai Quarter. Return to Charlottenburg Palace in the afternoon and see the Historical Apartments. Cap the evening off with dinner and drinks at the Europa Centre. If you still have an additional day to spare, see any of the sights you haven’t seen yet, making sure to visit Checkpoint Charlie for a tour of its museum and a snapshot under the archaic border sign outside. If you still have some time, go to the Berlin Zoo, explore the Tiertgarten on foot, and catch a cabaret in the evening.

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