Berlin , Germany - Wontra Travels

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Welcome to Berlin

Berlin

Berlin
Country: Germany
Population: 3,520,031 (2015 estimate) 
Dialing Code: 49
Currency: Euro (€) (EUR)
Time zone: CET (UTC+1)
Official language: German

 

 

 

Berlin is the capital city of Germany and one of the 16 states of the Federal Republic of Germany. Berlin is the largest city in Germany and has a population of 4.5 million within its metropolitan area and 3.5 million from over 190 countries within the city limits.

Haunted by its war plagued history, Berlin has recast itself as one of Europe’s most exciting destinations. The German capital boasts an enviable creative hub inspired by its multicultural population and a thriving underground scene. The city’s nightlife is probably the best in Europe, and easily one of the most liberal – there are few taboos left in some of Berlin’s clubs.

Berlin remains a city with many distinctive neighbourhoods. Brandenburger Tor is a symbol of division during the world war, which now shows German reunification. It was built after the Acropolis in Athens and was completed in 1799 as the royal city-gate.

Germany was later on divided into east and west, In August 13,1961, East Germans permanently closed the border between East and West. The wall had 45,000 sections of reinforced concrete and included 79 miles of fencing, nearly 300 watchtowers and 250 guard dogs. Still more than 5,000 people escaped to freedom.

Information & Facts

Activities

Berlin is mostly sought after today for its vibrant cultural life. Berlin is mostly sought after today for its vibrant cultural life. It also has a vast array of museums, private art galleries, historic churches and high reaching towers with observation decks.

Berliners love to get in to the water as often as possible so you will definitely have to join in and for those who haven’t heard of it, Base flying lets brave participants fall from a 125m high building. This high adrenaline activity offers a controlled fall to its participants.

The nightlife in Berlin is also not to be overlooked . Get into the world of techno music with legendary parties running from Saturday night till Monday mornings

Climate

Berlin’s weather can be quite daunting. Its winters can be freezing, with snow on the ground for weeks at a time, and summers can be hot and muggy, with rain and cloud prevailing between the two extremes. June to September are the best months to visit when the weather is at its best.

Eating Out

Berlin may not be on the foodie world map, but it packs its own punch with a huge variety of great value dining and more than makes up for its lack of celebrity chefs with plenty of unique restaurants and concepts.Berlin may not be on the foodie world map, but it packs its own punch with a huge variety of great value dining and more than makes up for its lack of celebrity chefs with plenty of unique restaurants and concepts.

Getting Around

Berlin is a huge city. You can make use of the excellent bus, tram, train and underground services to get around. Taxi services are also easy to use and a bit less expensive than in many other big Central European cities. You can hail a cab (the yellow light on the top shows the cab is available), or find a taxi rank (Taxistand). Taxi drivers are in general able to speak English. If you ask for a short trip (Kurzstrecke), as long as it's under 2km and before the taxi driver starts the meter running, the trip normally is cheaper, €4. This only applies if you flag the taxi down on the street, not if you get in at a taxi rank.

Of course, there are still the usual issues for motorists like traffic jams and parking, but the city’s road network and relative lack of vehicles makes it far easier to drive around than some of Europe’s other capitals.

Kids Attractions

Berlin has two zoos and an aquarium. The Berlin Zoo in the west is the historic zoo that has been a listed company since its foundation. It's an oasis in the city and very popular with families and schools.

Language

German is the official language. Regional dialects often differ markedly from standard German. Minority languages include Danish and Sorbic, while English is widely spoken by a large part of the population.

Most people under 40 in Berlin are able to speak English with varying degrees of fluency, but it might not be as widely spoken as you might expect, so a few key German phrases are worth having, especially in the suburbs and less touristy places. Basic French and Russian is partly spoken because French in West Berlin and Russian in East Berlin were taught in schools.

Money

Generally currency is the Euro. Some large department stores may take foreign currencies at their information desks, but do not count on that, and accept exchange rates which are not to your advantage.

Negatives

Berlin is generally safe to walk at night and at daytimes. Private transportation or the use of taxis is not required for safety reasons. Fraudulent taxi scams do not exist.In public transportation and tourist areas, pickpockets are a problem.

Night Life

Berlin is one of Europe's most exciting and best-value party cities, a byword for alternative culture and nightlife without taboo. West Berlin is the favoured hangout of a wealthier and older crowd, while east Berlin and Kreuzberg are where you’ll find the real action.

Berlin is also a great place to hear live music, whether it’s local bands in an underground bar or international stars on world tours. Gig tickets are refreshingly affordable, making music far more accessible here than in other major European capitals.

Restaurants

Eating out in Berlin is incredibly inexpensive compared to any other Western European capital or other German cities. The city is multicultural and many cultures' cuisine is represented here somewhere, although it is often modified to suit German tastes.

The main tourist areas for eating out is Hackescher Markt / Oranienburger Straße. This area has dramatically changed during the years: once full of squats and not-entirely-legal bars and restaurants, it had some real character. It is rapidly being developed and corporatized, and the artists of the most famous squat - the former Jewish-owned proto-shopping mall "Tacheles" - were evicted and the area has had a bit of a facelift. There are still some gems in the side streets, though, The "Assel" (Woodlouse) on Oranienburger Straße, furnished with DDR-era furniture, is still relatively authentic and worth a visit, especially on a warm summer night.

The custom in Germany is to tell the waiter how much you’re paying (including the tip) when you receive the bill — don’t leave the money on the table, it may be taken by other guests or passers-by. If there is confusion with the tip, remember to ask for your change

Shopping

There are no legal restrictions on shopping hours Mondays through Saturdays. Sunday opening is by law limited to about a dozen weekends per year, often in combination with large events, watch for announcements in the shops and local media. Some supermarkets located at train stations (Hauptbahnhof, Bahnhof Zoologischer Garten, Friedrichstraße, Innsbrucker Platz and Ostbahnhof) are open late and also on Sundays. Many bakeries and small food stores (called Spätkauf) are open late at night and on Sundays in busier neighborhoods (especially Prenzlauer Berg, Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain). Also turkish bakeries open on sundays.

The main shopping areas are:
Ku'Damm and its extension, Tauentzienstraße remain the main shopping streets with flagship stores of many international brands. KaDeWe (Kaufhaus Des Westens) at Wittenbergplatz is a tourist destination in its own right, not least for the vast food department on the 6th floor. It's reputedly the biggest department store in Continental Europe and still has an old world charm, with very helpful and friendly staff.

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