Berlin

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*I’ve been to Berlin twice and I truly love it.  Inside of this Berlin Guide, you’ll learn interesting things about the city, as well as get my recommendations for things like — culture, food, nightlife, and things to do.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions, and please check out my other related posts on Berlin:
10 Things to do in Berlin
5 German Foods to Try
Ultimate Guide to the Nightlife in Berlin
Top 10 German Words

General Thoughts

With about 3.5 million people, Berlin is the capital and largest city in Germany.

Along with enormous size comes a vibrant and lively atmosphere, which makes Berlin one of the hottest destinations in Europe for young travelers.

There is no question that Berlin is Germany’s ‘trend setter’ when it comes to fashion, arts, design, and music.  This was noticeable from the moment I arrived in Berlin and immersed myself into the culture.

You may be surprised to hear that artists come from all over the world to be a part of the hundreds of art studios, street art and art galleries found around Berlin.  This is one of the things that makes Berlin so unique.

Whether you’re a backpacker, a study abroad student, or just stopping by, I can guarantee that Berlin has something inspiring for you.

As I was walking around Berlin, I learned about the dark History in regards to WWII and the fall of the Berlin Wall to end Communism. There are loads of museums and notable landmarks that you should visit. It goes beyond anything that you’ve ever learned in a textbook, seen in a movie or heard from a friend.

Let’s jump into some quick facts:

Quick Facts

Screen Shot 2014-03-12 at 6.21.16 PMCurrency: Euro (EUR)
LanguageGerman
Population: 3.5 million people
– The first documents of settlement in Berlin date back to the 13th Century
– After WWII, Berlin was divided into East Berlin and West Berlin
– 6 U.S. Presidents have made historical speeches in Berlin since the war- most memorably being Ronald Reagan “Mr. Gorbachev, tear this wall down.”
– Over 500,000 residents in Berlin have foreign passports, spanning over 185 countries
– Berlin is Germany’s largest University City with 4 universities and 10 technical colleges
– The Berlin TV Tower is the tallest structure in Germany at 368 meters (1.208 ft.)

Culture & People

My trip to Berlin was my first time in Germany, so I was definitely in culture shock as I was trying to understand German culture.

But soon to be told, I found German culture to be fascinating.  I learned quickly that the Germans have a distinct way of life that is really efficient.  In other words, they get their sh*t done and they don’t mess around.  The trains are always exactly on time, and so are people if they are going to a meeting.

I noticed that the standard of living is extremely high in Berlin, as it is a very modern society.   A perfect example is the complexity and efficiency of the metro system.  It’s one of the best public transportation systems I’ve ever been on.

Another thing to note about German culture is open minded culture.  For example: public nudity isn’t a big deal and it wouldn’t be crazy to see a topless person in a park on a summer day.   In addition, kissing and touching in public is common between couples.  I think you’ll find that Germans are very direct with their opinions and thoughts.  They have no problem asking you questions that you might not feel comfortable answering.

Which leads me into my next observance about Germans: They all speak perfect English.  Their grammar, pronunciation, accent, spelling, and sentence structure is perfect.  I don’t know what kind of education system they have in elementary schools, but I am damn sure that it works.  I honestly feel like some Germans speak better English than I do.

Lastly, I found most Germans to be kind and warm-hearted people (although they might not appear that way at first glance).  I encourage you to talk to some random Germans on the street or in a bar and you’ll find out that they genuinely want to get to know about you.  They might even buy you a beer or two!

Click this link to learn the Top 10 German Words to keep in your back pocket 😉

What to Do?

Berlin has plenty of things to do that will definitely keep you occupied during your visit.

The most magical part of the city is to walk down Berlin’s famous Unter den Linden Boulevard, which stretches from the Brandenburg Gate to the famous Alexander Platz Square.  It passes through the Museum Island, the Berlin Cathedral, the German Historical Museum and eventually Berlin’s TV tower.   This boulevard is the nuts and bolts of Berlin; you have to visit.

For the best view of the city, head to the top of the TV tower (the highest building in Germany), and you can see the incredible landscape and architecture of the city.

I recommend taking a Free Walking Tour if you want to get an educational tour of the famous landmarks around the city.  The tour guide that I had was awesome, and I learned a lot in just 4 hours of touring around.  Although it is labeled as “Free,”  you are encouraged to give a tip at the end.

For a more complete list, check out my post on 10 Things to do in Berlin.

The Food

The food in Berlin is very typical of any German city.  Main dishes include lots of meat (pork, beef, chicken, lamb, duck, bratwurst), pretzels, bread rolls and noodle dishes. 

Scattered around the city are various sorts of restaurants- both German and international cuisines- as well as delicious street food vendors. 

Make sure to try currywurst (a Berlin specialty) and spatzle!  Those were my two favorite dishes that I just couldn’t stop eating.  Also, doner kebabs (Turkish food) are a very popular street food and they are probably your cheapest option for a meal. 

If you want to learn more about the best foods, please read my post on 5 German Foods to Try!

The Nightlife

Berlin is home to some of the most original and best nightlife scenes in all of Europe.

The clubs are vibrant, posh and lively, where people seem to party on every night of the week.

Rumor has it underground that techno/electronic music was born in Berlin in the late 80s, so Berlin is home to the original rave.  Most clubs around the city will host live DJ’s and the crowd will be dancing until the early hours of the morning. My favorite club was Watergate – but the bouncers are very strict so make sure to dress nice and don’t look drunk when you’re entering.

Germany is also known for their beer drinking!  Go check out a famous brewery or a beer garden around town and enjoy a classic German lager.   The beer just doesn’t stop flowing…

Berlin is just one of those cities that you will never want to leave, once you have arrived.  I had a wonderful experience and I have no doubt that you will too!

If you want to know the best hotspots, then visit my post on Ultimate Guide to the Nightlife in Berlin.

Thanks for reading! Please comment below and share your experiences with me! 

Related Blog Posts
10 Things to do in Berlin
5 German Foods to Try
Ultimate Guide to the Nightlife in Berlin
Top 10 German Words

11 thoughts on “Berlin

  1. Excellent blog! Do you have any recommendations for aspiring writers?
    I’m hoping to start my own site soon but I’m a little lost on everything.
    Would you recommend starting with a free platform like WordPress or
    go for a paid option? There are so many choices out there that I’m completely confused ..
    Any suggestions? Thanks a lot!

  2. Hi Drew
    Your website’s really awesome, and it’s helping me a lot in order to organize an Interrail trip this summer! We’re going to cross Amsterdam, Berlin, Prague, Munchen and Salzbourg with 2 friends of mine ! Does one of these cities are riskey for three 18 years-old travelers? Do you have any special tips for these cities? Would you recommend coffee shops in Amsterdam to us?
    Thank you 😉

  3. One little error that you made…Germany has a population of about 80 million people, not 35 million 😉
    Other than that – great blog! keep up the great work!!!

  4. I lived in Berlin for 3 years and it is definitely one of the best cities in Europe! One thing about your post though… it was Reagan who told Gorbachev to “tear down this wall.” 🙂

  5. Great tips! I’m heading over to Berlin this month so I’ll be sure to check out that free walking tour and sample some of the dishes you mentioned – especially the currywurst!

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