Apart from a few winter sports junkies and German expatriates returning home to celebrate Christmas, few people consider visiting Berlin during winter. When temperature drops below zero, especially in January, it halts the progress of outdoor tourism and sightseers fail to make the most out of their trip. Some foreigners are not accustomed to such an extreme weather and may find their health, along with their trip, jeopardized. However, airlines and hotels offer limited offers and the like incentives to encourage tourism. This can be the best time to travel cheap.
The coming of May sparks a renewed interest in Berlin among travellers. Spring is colder than most people think and May is the only month when spring is both mild and beautiful. Summer season (July-September) is by far the most tourist-friendly. The average daytime temperature in May is 14 °C, in June 17 °C, and in July 19 °C. The arrival of summer brings a fresh lot of tourists which spurs the entire hospitality industry of Berlin into action. Cafés, terraces, public parks, shopping malls and even museums are jam-packed with tourists. Also, some of the major festivals occur during this period. Christopher Street Day and German-French Fair are celebrated in July, the German-American Festival is held in August. Also in August is the International Berlin Beer Festival. This is the time when people from all corners of the world are drawn to Berlin like bees.
Berlin Wall: Unlike some ruined rubble from a post-war film as many of us imagine, Berlin Wall is, surprisingly, an eye-candy. For years, it has served as a canvas for local artists to show their brilliant and avant-garde art. A promising site!
Museum Island: Tucked away in an island on the Spree River, this is a hub of different museums. To preserve the national heritage of Germany, many museums and heritage centres have been built on the northern half of this island. Artefacts of significant value have been saved from oblivion and are proudly presented.
Potsdamer Platz: The German counterpart of Trafalgar Square in London and the beating heart of Berlin. Surrounded by plazas, restaurants and entertainment hubs, many tourists start their vacations from here.
Berlin Cathedral: First-time visitors cannot help but marvel at its Baroque architecture with its richly decorated domes (inside and out) and an elaborate overall craftsmanship. This is the largest church in Berlin.
Charlottenburg Palace: A large-scale stately palace – the biggest in the city – remarkably well done and richly decorated. A large collection of indoor tapestries and artwork adorns the interior layout of the palace.
- River Spree
- Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe
- Sanssouci Palace
- Berlin Zoological Garden
S-Bahn Rail Network:
S-Bahn is the standard commuter rail that facilitates passengers on 170 key points in a 330 kilometre network in and around Berlin. A total number of 170 train stations serving this vast rail network make different parts of Berlin (and the surrounding suburbia) easily accessible. This is not an underground train service. S-Bahn trains will be seen above ground taking the bulk of passengers in and out of the capital.
U-Bahn is the standard metro system in Berlin famous for its yellow-coloured trains that occasionally run above ground. But most of them run underground. The operational network has about half as much coverage as that of S-Bahn but the number of train stations is about the same (173). During rush-hours there is a train after every 5 minutes and like the S-Bahn, it provides a 24 hour service on weekends.
Buses offer a few more options (buses for the handicapped and hop-on / hop-off tourism buses) and cover those routes that happen to fall outside of the rail network. Metro buses, which launched to fanfare, attracted a high percentage of local commuters. These double-decker buses run 24 hours a day and there is a bus after every 10 minutes. There are also a number of night buses enlisted as the N-series (N1, N2…N9) which are jam-packed during the night when U-Bahn calls it a day.
Increase in the proportion of frequent users of ride-hailing apps has compelled many taxi companies to launch their own applications. Taxi is synonymous with comfort, privacy and flexibility. Even though taxis are just a call away, travellers can also book them in advance. Before sitting in a cab, make sure that it has a registered number plate and that it also has a metre.
Berlin’s five-star hotels define the true standards of luxe living. Some of the major 5-star hotels are:
- Hotel am Steinplatz
- Radisson Blu Hotel
- Sofitel Berlin Kurfuerstendamm
- Pullman Berlin Schweizerhof
- Hilton Berlin
Listed below are some of the more popular 3-star hotels that are cheap and provide value for money:
- Hotel Mardin
- Hotel Europa City
- Energie Hotel
- Pension Puschkin
- Hotel-Pension Arche