There are many things to love about German people. Aside from their amazing personalities, they can also boast about the Frankfurt book fair, the jelly doughnut, and some of the most beautiful castles in Germany. The seventh largest country in Europe, home of the Grimm brothers, famous composers and many powerful, German companies - Germany is one of the most interesting countries in the world.
Understandably, it might be hard to choose where to visit the many wonderful cities. Berlin, housing the largest population of people in the country, is naturally one of the most popular cities to visit in the country and in the entire world. While it is mainly known for its complex and interesting past, it is now popular for being a young and creative city.
While there are several things to consider before visiting or staying in Berlin, it is important to understand how the city works and what exactly there is to do there. Another important aspect of your travels that you should plan right away is where you will be staying. While these are always some of the hardest things to plan, this guide will walk you through everything you will need to know for your next visit to Berlin - from the costs associated with living and travelling in the city, to which sites you must see during your next trip.
Cost of Travel or Staying in Berlin
Berlin is one of the most visited cities in the world - that being said, if you're looking at a map of Germany, you will be able to see why people don't just visit or move there to taste delicious German beer. Each year, millions of internationals flock to travel, work and study in Germany, making it a dynamic and fascinating country in Europe.
That being said, one of the most important things you will need to prepare for your trip is where you will be staying. Berlin is divided into many districts, the most popular of which being:
While these staying in these districts all have their weak and strong points, you will also have to decide how you will be staying in Berlin, based - of course - on how long you plan on residing in the German capital.
For those with more flexible budgets, hotels in Berlin will probably be the best option. For those looking to budget, there are a wide variety of options to choose from, such as staying in a hostel, Airbnb and Couchsurfing.
The cost of living in Berlin will vary from district to district - with central locations obviously coming with a higher price tag than those further from tourist destinations. For example, a district like Mitte, while being closer to important cultural activities, is more expensive than the surrounding areas. Places like Friedrichshain, on the other hand, will be a lot cheaper.
Another aspect you should take into consideration is the kinds of activities you will be able to take part in your neighbourhood. This is an important lifestyle question to consider before finalizing where you will be staying.
While price comparisons are important, it is equally as important to figure out what kind of activities you will be doing during your stay in Berlin. The city is well known for its alternative atmosphere, and because of its size - you'll never be lacking something to do in the big city.
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Things to Do In Berlin
Deutsches history can be seen all throughout Berlin, which is one of the reasons why it's such a popular tourist destination. From eating German food to understanding how German parliament works, Berlin is one of the best cities in the Rhineland to visit and get an idea of what German culture is really like.
Here are some of the most popular, must-see attractions on your next visit to the capital.
Brandenburg Gate is one of the most iconic monuments in Germany. While it was technically found in Eastern Germany before the reunification of Germany in 1990, it was known as a "no man's land" during the time of the Cold War. Today, it is located in the centre of the city and is a great location to start your tour of the city.
Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe
Probably one of the most popular, and most important, monuments in Germany - this memorial is made out of almost 3,000 concrete slabs with the names of the Jewish people who perished as a result of the Holocaust.
Today, it stands as a solemn reminder of the tragedy that took place, while also paying homage to the victims that died.
If you're interested in seeing how the Federal Republic of Germany, otherwise known as West Berlin, and East Germany interacted throughout the years that the Berlin wall was in place - make sure to add Checkpoint Charlie to you to do list. While learning about the history of the relationship between the two sides, you will also have the opportunity to buy some interesting souvenirs!
Living In or Visiting the German Capital
From visiting the Reichstag building to learning about the iron curtain - visiting and staying in the Berlin comes with both benefits and considerations.
While living in Germany is, on average, relatively cheap - going on holiday or living in Berlin city can be costly without the right preparation.
Most of the population of Germany know that staying in the capital tends to be more expensive when compared, for example, to Northern Germany. However, the services in Germany tend to be cheaper, on average, than most major UK cities.
Flights to Germany are moderately priced, fluctuating from 30 to 300 pounds given the season and the day. Going to Germany by car is also entirely feasible. However, this option should be preferred by those travelling with their own car as renting normally does not allow for intra-country travel.
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Housing in Berlin boils down to three main components:
- Other options
While hotels are normally taken up by travellers with a bit more disposable income, hostels are a great option for both short stay travellers as well as students. Getting an apartment in Berlin can be difficult as the many districts can be vastly different from each other.
Another way to stay in Berlin, while experiencing more of German culture, is to either explore Airbnbs or Couchsurfing. Keep in mind the difference in seasons you will be travelling or living in, as prices tend to fluctuate in tandem with tourist cycles.
History of the Berlin Wall
From the peaks of Zugspitze, the canals of Hamburg, to the capital of Germany - the history of each German reich is not only well known but a point of German national pride. From the Holy Roman Empire to the Weimar Republic, from the Kingdom of Prussia to the Treaty of Versailles - German history is one of the oldest and most studied in Europe.
There is probably no other subject about modern German history studied more than the events surrounding the fall of the Berlin Wall. While Germany, both while it was a German empire and in today's democracy, has much to be proud of - the painful parts of their history have served the world a few important lessons.
The fall of the Berlin wall starts at the beginning of what became known as the Cold War. With the German economy destroyed and the world at an ideological splinter, the superpowers that won the Second World War divided Berlin into four zones.
These zones eventually led to the division between East and West Germany, otherwise known as the German Democratic Republic and the Federal Republic of Germany. While West Germany championed democratic ideals, East Germany with its Soviet-backed government, supported communist beliefs.
The tensions of the Cold War were intensified in the capital as the barrier of the Berlin Wall signalled towards a physical and ideological split between the most powerful superpowers at the time: the US and the USSR.
What we think of as the Berlin wall today was completed by 1962, a wall that symbolized the separation of families and changing times in the world. While the 1970s saw a shift in Soviet policy towards western countries, German reunification didn't happen until almost 20 years later.
In 1989 both East German militants and Western Germany citizens celebrated at the decision to not only open the frontier but to also take down the Berlin wall. Berlin today not only has a thriving economy, but it is also one of the most visited cities in the world - a reason that is found in its complex and intriguing history.