Advance Planning

Two to three months before Book tickets for the Berliner Philharmonie, the Staatsoper, Sammlung Boros and top-flight events.

One month before Reserve a table at trendy or Michelin-starred restaurants, especially for Friday and Saturday dinners.

Two weeks before Book online tickets for the Reichstag dome, the Neues Museum and the Pergamonmuseum.

Resources

Lonely Planet (www.lonelyplanet.com/germany/berlin) Destination information, hotel bookings, traveller forum and more.

Visit Berlin (www.visitberlin.de) Official tourist authority info.

Museumsportal (www.museumsportal-berlin.de) Gateway to the city's museums.

BVG (www.bvg.de) Public transport authority site with handy journey planner.

Resident Advisor (www.residentadvisor.net) Guide to parties and clubbing.

Exberliner (www.exberliner.com) Expat-geared monthly English-language Berlin culture magazine.

Top Tips

  • Plan on doing most of your sightseeing on foot. Only by walking will you truly experience Berlin at eye level. To cover larger areas quickly, rent a bicycle. Otherwise, public transport is the best way to get around.
  • Go local – Berlin's spirit reveals itself to those walking around a neighbourhood, people-watching in a park or simply being curious about local food and drink.
  • There is no curfew, so pace your alcohol intake on bar-hops and in clubs to keep your stamina up.
  • When picking a place to stay, consider which type of experience you're most keen on – shopping, clubbing, museums, the outdoors, urban cool, partying, history – then choose a neighbourhood to match.
  • Don't be shy about striking up a conversation with strangers. Most Germans speak pretty good English and are happy to help.

What to Take

  • Good walking shoes – Berlin is best appreciated on foot
  • Umbrella or rain jacket – rain is possible any time of year
  • Small daypack
  • Travel adaptor plug
  • Sun hat and sunglasses
  • Curiosity and a sense of humour

What to Wear

The short answer is: whatever you want. Berlin is an extremely casual city when it comes to fashion. Basically anything goes, including jeans at the opera or a little black dress in a beer garden. Individuality trumps conformity and expensive labels at any time. In fact, flaunting your own style – any style – is often the ticket to making it past a picky club bouncer. Venues or restaurants with official dress codes are extremely rare.

Berlin weather is immensely changeable, even in summer, so make sure you bring layers of clothing. A waterproof coat and sturdy shoes are a good idea for all-weather sightseeing. Winters can get fiercely cold, so be sure you bring your favourite gloves, hat, boots and heavy coat.

Pre-departure Checklist

  • Ensure your passport is valid for at least four months past your arrival date
  • Check airline baggage restrictions
  • Inform your debit-/credit-card company of your upcoming trip
  • Organise travel insurance
  • Check if your mobile (cell) phone will work in Germany and the cost of roaming
  • If taking prescription medicine, bring enough for your entire trip and put it in your carry-on luggage
  • No vaccinations are needed to visit Germany