I'm thinking of travelling to Germany in late June, bare in mind I'm from England. Problem is, it's my first time properly travelling by myself.
Firstly, I'm thinking of visiting Berlin and then from there just visit cities via the train. As its my first time travelling - is this a good way of getting about? Back-packing is not an option as I'm not 100% confident this will be a good way to do it.
Secondly, if anyone has been to Berlin / Germany recently is there anything worth seeing - any shows / tours? It sounds really stupid I know, but just double checking.
Train is a good way of getting around Germany. The German train system is just as good as the British one, only with more special offers (thus getting the best deal for your money is more complicated).
But it is not a good idea to use Berlin as a base to explore all of Germany, since Berlin is pretty much in the middle of nowhere. Berlin is not London, the surrounding countryside around Berlin has pretty nature but not a lot of people. It does not offer that much to a city tourist. If you want to visit other big cities in Germany like Hamburg or Cologne it makes more sense to spent the night there than go there from Berlin. Germany is bigger than the UK, it takes around 7 hours to get to Cologne and around 10 hours to reach certain destinations in the Southwest.
I thus fail to comprehend why city-to-city backpacking is not an option for you. The only difference to a city trip is that you move your stuff to a different city and a different hostel during your trip. It is not exactly complicated. And yes, you can plan everything in advance.
How long is your trip? If I know I could give you some suggestions for an initiary.
I'm from England and a big fan of Berlin - I would say if you do go to Berlin, stick to Berlin! A week isn't even long enough to fully explore Berlin let alone other cities. I think a mistake for many people is trying to fit in lots of places rather then exploring and getting to know a single area. You just can't fully immerse yourself in a day or two. But that is just my opinion.
I would say if you really want to explore Germany, don't pick Berlin, for the above posters reasons.
But I would say - Berlin is amazing, so stay in Berlin for a week! What do you enjoy doing? Museums, art galleries, pubs, clubs, eating out, parks, etc? Do you like punk?
t_maia - My trip is around a week, I know it's extremely short but it's the only time I could've taken off work. If you have an idea for an itinerary on what to do for those days I'd be willing to hear what you've got in store. If not Berlin, then I was thinking maybe Dortmund or even Munich? The reason why I said city-to-city isn't an option is because of the length of time I'm there for.
LittleDragon - Hi there, myself included - I'm from the UK too. I'm very much into history and museums that's why I thought Berlin would be my best bet due to its rich heritage. Other than that, I'm into what any other 20 year old is - sports, clubbing, culture. As I explained above, it's the only time I could've taken off work - which is rubbish! So other than Berlin, do you have any specific places of interests?
If you only got a week, I agree with LittleDragon that sticking to Berlin will be best.
If you had 2 to 3 weeks or so I would tell you to do around 5 days in Berlin plus a few other places depending upon your interest, but 7 days are perfect for a trip to Berlin,
Berlin is a great city, you won't be bored and it is totally possible to do a few day trips if you are so inclined.
Typical day trips from Berlin are Potsdam and Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp. Last time I checked both destinations could be reached using a Berlin ABC day ticket, don't know whether this is still the case.
Destinations a bit further away are the Spreewald, Dresden and Wittenberg.
I would really recommend staying in Berlin for a week, I think you'd get so much more out of it then you would visiting a load of cities in just a few days. Firstly you'll waste so much time travelling on public transport! Berlin also has literally everything you could ever want in a city in one place, and it's huuuuuuge! It has so many museums and is rich in history (Berlin Wall, holocaust museum, etc.) plus so many different districts to eat in and go to clubs/dance nights/live music, if you're not afraid of it having an edge I'd say go to Kreuzberg, maybe stay in Prenzlaur Strasser (probably misspelt) which is a bit more middle-class and chilled out and use the trams to get around, I prefer them to the underground. What kind of music are you into?
My suggestion would be to focus only on
a Day Trip to Dresden (Buses from Berlin to Dresden from ZOB) or an economical Weekend Ticket (for 5 persons)
You will not realize how the week whizzes by in Berlin especially in Summer.....