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What to do in Germany, Berlin

 
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lindamura's pictureby lindamura review
added on 7th of March, 2008
Population: Aprox. 80Mio

Major Airports: Franfurt (FRA), Munich (MUC), Berlin (BER, BML, TXL), Hamburg (HAM).

When to Go: Typically the months of May-September are good to visit as the temperatures are not too cold. In the summer it's usually quite hot outside, but never humid so always quite pleasant. If you are more into a cultural travel experience you will find that the winter time is also fine. Beware, it gets cold, but it will usually remain dry, so if you are well prepared you should not have any trouble. The cities offer plenty of cozy restaurants and coffee shops, so even if you do feel cold sometimes, you will find a good place to warm up pretty much everywhere. The North is typically a bit rainier during spring time as well as fall, so if you are heading towards Hamburg, Luebeck or Berlin you should definitely shoot for January, February, or May-September.

Getting There: Frankfurt is one of the busiest airports as it's used for transits a lot as well as a lot of business trips. If you are planning to go to Germany on a vacation, it's certainly recommened to fly either into Berlin (if you start up north) or start out in Munich to visit the South. The entire Southern region offers a lot of variety with lots of mountains (pre-aples), forests, lakes, rivers, and meadows and plenty of nice little towns with truly romantic and old architecture. The Northern regions have much larger cities and are also more dominated by the more monotonuous landscapes of plains, rivers and lakes.

Getting Around: Germany offers some great public transportation. You will notice that pretty much every city, town and even village has their own train station, and bus services. The larger cities also have trams and undergrounds. Germans are very well organized. Considering the size of the country, you will probably not find any place in the world where public transportation is more convenient and better managed than in Germany. Trains are almost always on time, and even if they are late, it will always be announced (even for a 2 minutes delay).

Depending on how far you travel and what your budget is, you can get quite good deals. Eurorail packages are typically recommend for anyone travelling through several countries. If you are just staying in Germany and you want to travel by train, then just fly out there an book your tickets at any train station. It's also possible to pay inside the train in case you're late, but they will charge you somewhere around 6 Euros on top of the regular fee. If you're on a budget, there are usually great weekend deals, where you can take any of the regional trains (slower and less convenient) for 35 Euros for the entire weekend. Otherwise taking the ICE is an experience of its own. Traveling at 170 miles an hour, while sitting in a nice restaurant or watching TV is also something quite amazing.

Once in a city, simply use the extensive network of buses, trams, and undergrounds. They are usually convenient, clean and quite affordable. Most people do speak English alright, so you should really never get lost in a German city.

Places to Stay: Even though there ar a plenty of hotels, it's something to get used to if you are used to the American hotel and motel chains. Germany does have the large international hotel chains, but they are also quite pricy. Most of the hotels are ususally smaller motels, that do not belong to a particular chain and so qulity usually fluctuates. One thing you can usually be sure of, they will always be proper and clean. If you are travelling on a budget, you should try the youth hostels, they are great, you can meet with many different travelers and the rooms are dirt cheap (compared to the hotels) and you will find them clean and often not much different from a hotel. What's also nice about hostels is that many times the hostels, which are publicly run are often an old castle or some other ancient building. There are also tons of camp grounds especially in the rural areas near lakes and any other frequently visited sites.

What to Eat: No worries there is always plenty of food. You can always pick up a little snack while walking around town. There is a great number of Turkish, Greek, Italian, German, and Asian stands offering many different type of meals. There are also plenty of restaurants where you can try some real bavarian pork knuckles, German Dumplings, Sauerkraut and all sorts of sausages. Hint: while in the south, try some "Schupfnudeln", these are potatoe dumplings pan fried with soem Sauerkraut and bacon bits. They are really delicious and you can usually get them at most butchers and even bakeries. Also there is a large Italian population especially in Southern Germany, if you are not on your way to Italy, try some Italian food as the restaurants usually get msot of their ingredients directly from Italy and thus the food tastes quite authentic.

 

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Recent reviews for Berlin

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Berlin City is the largest city of Germany with 3.4 million inhabitants and an area of 892 square km so the city became the capital of the country. Berlin had the first time the status of the capital in 1871 and this status was maintained... Read more »

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