With its wealth of museums, thriving Jewish quarter and population of up-and-coming designers, Berlin is a city unashamed to acknowledge its past and ready to embrace the future. Whether you’re passing through for a couple of days, or plan on an extended trip in this eastern-German gem, you certainly won’t be idle. To help you make a plan before you go, here are our tips of what to do and how much it will cost.
Berlin has one of the most efficient public transport systems in the world. Hop on bus number 100 (€2.10) to take a circular route past most of the city’s big tourist sites, or use the same ticket to hop on a ferry. Many of Berlin’s historical attractions, from the site of the Berlin Wall to its memorials, are free to visit, and this can be a very moving way to spend an afternoon. To keep yourself going look for an ‘Imbiss’ sign in the Turkish area for a filling, economical lunch-on-the-go. And when it’s time to call it a day, head back to the EastSeven Berlin Hostel, where the service is friendly, the coffee is hot, the beer is cold and rooms start at €14.
One of the simplest ways to get around Berlin is on a bicycle – provided you know how to read a map. Many streets have dedicated bike lanes, and rental rates get cheaper with every subsequent day you keep the bike. Expect to pay around €12 for your first day. Cycle over to Museum Island, home to five world-renowned museums and the only architectural and cultural ensemble considered part of UNESCO World Heritage. A combined island ticket gives you entry to all five museums, and will set you back €12. Finally, finish off your day with some traditional German fare at Die Eselin von A. am Wannsee, a German restaurant which offers some of the world’s best schnitzel.
To see Berlin in style, take a six-day guided tour with the Artisans of Leisure ($7,515) and discover some of the lesser-known attractions without doing the legwork. Once your tour is over you might like to recover in luxury at The Regent Berlin ($228), the 2013 Travellers’ Choice winner for luxury hotels in this historic city. Be careful – once you are in your room you may never want to leave, but be sure to make an exception by booking dinner at Hugos Restaurant ($128–$205). This cosy little culinary treasure is located on the 14th floor of the InterContinental Hotel, so be sure to ask for a window table to enjoy the view.