Im a Britsh guy planning on travelling to Berlin from UK for four days in September (friday 12th to monday 15th) and im curious to know a few things from people who either live in the city or have travelled there.
First of all im wondering which is the best airport to fly to, as i understand there are 3 major airports in Berlin, i believe the best airport to use would be Tegel airport as it seems to be closer to the city, however most of the cheaper airlines tend to land at the Schoneberg Airport which appears to be quite a distance from the city centre, so would it pose a major problem to use Schonenberg Airport or is best to try and use Tegel and be closer? I imagine the transport system is quite good from the airports and ive heard there are some good transport services which take you from the airport to the city, but im not 100%....
I believe there is also a third aiport Templehof but its alledgedly closing down within the coming months so for me i would pick this one because of its tradition and history but as far as i know its used as a domestic airport and therefore wouldnt be possible to get flights from the UK which is a shame.
Has anyone flown from UK to Berlin and if so which airline did you choose? ive searched for quite a while and have only found one reasonable flight so far and would be interested to hear opinions on that.
Also regarding hotels i would prefer a low cost hotel close or in the city centre which is close to some of the major attractions however i realise as a world class city you have to pay extra for the quality so i dont mind that, and if anyone has some recommendations i would love to hear them.
What are the unmissable attractions in Berlin bearing in mind i only have two or three days to see them, as i would like to see a lot of what the city has to offer and dont want to miss any great sites )
My next question is about the local Olympiastadion stadium which hosts German club Hertha Berlins league football matches and i would love to see a game that weekend and as the stadium is quite big i fancy my chances of getting a reasonable ticket however it may only be for season ticket holders and nationals etc, so has anyone gone to see a game? If so were you able to get a ticket on the day or just prior to the game?
Almost done!....How good is the public transport system with trains and buses and are they easy to use without getting too lost?
My final question is about the entertainment etc, where are the best places to eat out? any restaurant/cafe recommendations? Also are there some good venues for live music i.e rock bands etc?
Well thanks very much for reading, i have very little knowledge of Berlin as you can see and would be great to get some advice before travelling and with just a month to go have started learning German which seems interesting and more so, a little easier than i first imagined.
Thanks John )
Ay Up lad, I flew to Berlin with Ryan Air from Stanstead, and they fly into Schonefeld, i seem to remember it was just a 5 min walk to the railway station from Schonefeld and then about 45 min into Berlin on the train. I don't know how cheap you will get your flight ticket as your depart date is only a few weeks away!!!! Try Air Berlin also as they fly from Stanstead as well as Ryan. For accomodation check out the hostel Circus Circus, they have single rooms as well as dorms, and is as good as any hotel for the price you pay, i have stayed there twice and not got a bad word to say about the place, even a bar down in the basement. I also went to see Hertha Berlin play at the Olympic Stadium, sorry can,t remember how long the journey was to the stadium on the train, but its not that long 20 mins? managed to get tickets for the game ok hour before kick off, crap game 1-1 draw 43,000 att a few more than they get down at Oakwell these days !!!!!!!!!! can,t remember how much the price of the tickets were, it was 4 years ago!!!!!!! hope its some help to you cheers Allan
the cheap airlines usually fly into schonefeld (easy jet, ryan air). if you are lucky you can get reasonable prices for air berlin. they fly into tegel which is a bit more convenient because it's closer to the city center. there is also british airways and lufthansa going to tegel, but they are more expensive. but check if ba has some good offers. as far as i know there are no connections to tempelhof anymore.
as toby tyke said it takes about 45mins fom schonefeld by train to berlin center. from tegel it's only 20mins by bus. public transport is excellent in berlin. a day pass is 6,10euros and valid on all public transport. you'll only need the AB tariff for your stay unless you come from schoenefeld, which is C. not sure if there is still a 3-day pass and if it's cheaper at all.
many buses and trains run 24hrs.
a good venue for live rock music is the "lido" -very british (it's where the wombats or the pigeon detectives had their berlin debut). it's near station schlesisiche tor. in "magnet club" rock bands are playing live on thursdays (station eberswalder strasse). there is great rock music at "sage club" on thursdays, too. if you turn up another day of the week you'll end up between people wearing leather clothes (or probably more not wearing them). it's in the subway entrance of heirich heine strasse. if you're lucky you can see some good concerts at "postbahnhof" am ostbahnhof.
sightseeing recommendations are difficult as there are so many and i don't know what you like. take the bus no. 100 which takes you through the city passing some important sights. mitte, prenzlauer berg, kreuzberg and friedrichshain are the areas to go to. if you want to get a view from above go up the "fernsehturm" at alexanderplatz. to be honest the cafe is a little old fashioned and service is bad but it's still worth the view. very close by is the "weekend club" which offers great views. check the link for a good choice of berlin sights which pretty much sum up berlin life: http://nymag.com/travel/weekends/berlin/
so, not much more to add. i'm sure you'll be able to get some ticket for the olympiastadion. it's definitely worth going there for the building, too.
have a great stay in one of the greatest cities of the world!
I'd choose Schönefeld as well simply because you'll get cheaper flights there and it seems to be quite well connected by train and shuttle buses. For more info on how to get to the city have a look at this link:
Ryan Air and Air Berlin are the airlines I would have recommended as well. Ryan Air is usually the cheapest but they charge additional fees for checked-in luggage, paying by credit cards other than theirs and non-online check-in so if you take advantage of any of these, add an extra 5-20 Euro to the fare. Do check on Lufthansa and British Airways though because they sometimes have special offers which can be cheaper considering that they will probably fly to Tegel, which is more central and it is thus cheaper to get to the city from there.
Public transport shouldn't be a problem. Any info on that can be found at http://www.bvg.de/index.php/en/Bvg/Start.
The easiest way to get around is the underground (U-Bahn) and S-Bahn (regional trains) for longer distances. I've never actually had to catch a bus there myself so I don't know but I just know from experience it's usually more difficult to use them in a city where you're not at home because you don't know what the place where you get off at looks like and they might not all have announcements for each stop.
If you don't mind sharing a room, I'd stay at a hostel. I've stayed at this hostel (http://www.jgh-berlin.de/jgh-en/index.php) and it's in a quiet area with lots of Turkish shops and stalls and really clean, also had a good breakfast. Another one I have seen on TV a few times is this one: http://www.wombats-hostels.com/berlin/ Seems really good and apparently they also have hotel-like double rooms, a kitchen etc.
As far as sights are concerned, I would really recommend taking a walking tour with NewBerlin tours (http://www.newberlintours.com/nbt/index.php?lang=en). I took the English tour with two Australian friends and it was absolutely amazing (no, I don't work for them ). They leave from the Starbucks in front of the Brandenburg Gate (major sight, can't miss it) at 11 am every day as far as I can remember, I'm sure you'll find that on the website. The walk takes around 3 hours and covers the most important sights in the city centre. Definitely worth it. It's free, but you can tip at the end depending on how you liked it and what you can afford. You can then decide to go back to some of those sights afterwards.
In addition, a must see is the Reichstag, the German parliament. Beautiful building and you can go up into the glass dome which is nice for the view or even watch parliament. Go early because it's usually crowded.
Hope this helps! Have fun in Berlin!
Fantastic...Toby you are a legend! this helps me a lot and now i have more of an idea!
Agentin thanks a lot for the live music and airport recommendations, ive been looking recently and have seen return flights offered for around £90 so i will probably go with that as its quite reasonable.
Thanks to you to Butafly, some good stuff there about the transport system and daily tickets to buy and i will also check out the hostels that you mentioned
I think i will try that tour walk from starbucks as it seems pretty good to see a lot in those 3 hours or so, and i also saw the glass dome in a review and that looks fantastic to see across the city so one morning im gonna have to be up very early!!
Thanks again all )
Hi Sorry i said the hostel was called the Circus Circus in Berlin, wrong thats the one in Vegas where we stayed 2 year ago, the one in Berlin is just The Circus, think it was that third glass of wine that did it!!!!!!!
Since last time i posted a few other questions came to mind and i wondered if anyone had some advice to give.....
How is driving around Berlin on weekends for new drivers to the area, is it advisable to do this or better to walk or use public transport? Also i have a valid UK license so would i be elegible to drive in Germany with this or do you also need extra permits?
Many thanks John
I didn't find it all that stressful to drive there but that was probably because I had directions and pretty much only drove to the hotel and then back to the autobahn. I'd say as in all big cities it would be rather stressful and public transport is probably much easier. As far as I know, an EU driver's licence allows you to drive in Germany without any extra permit. Just make sure you are allowed to drive the particular vehicle in the UK, then you should be allowed to drive it here, too. Maybe check with the German Embassy just to be sure though.