Berlin travel tips
Contemporary capital of cool
Home to artists of all stripes, Berlin is Europe's cultural capital as well as the capital of Germany. Home to the national parliament, the TV tower and many other attractions, as well as a thriving nightlife, this lively city offers plenty to do day and night.
Best time to travel
Winters in Berlin tend to be bitterly cold, with temperatures often reaching several degrees below zero. Conversely, their summers are several degrees hotter than in the UK, so any time from May to September is ideal for a visit if you want to spend lots of time outside. If you can handle the cold though, December is a wonderful time to visit Berlin, as the Christmas lights are quite spectacular, and there are of course plenty of traditional German Christmas markets selling gluhwein and stollen (traditional German mulled wine and Christmas cake).
Berlin is a very cycle friendly city - with dedicated cycle lanes, wide roads and plenty of flat terrain, many people choose to get around on bikes, which are available to rent fairly cheaply. The cost of living in Berlin is also much lower than in the US, so you can enjoy eating out to a good standard on a budget. Bars and clubs tend to have lower entrance fees than in a lot of other cities as well, so nights out needn't cost the earth.
Transport from Berlin Brandenburg International Airport to central Berlin is fast and cheap. Take the train, S-bahn (city line), bus or taxi. Catch trains from the airport railway station beneath terminals 1 and 2 or, if landing at terminal 5, regional trains and s-bahn trains go from the nearby terminal 5 station.
Airport Express and regional trains are fastest into the city. City/suburban lines S9 and S45 (also go from terminal 5) both stop at Ostkreuz, from where there are trains and buses to many other parts of the city and surrounding regions. Please note that there is a separate station near the airport Terminal 5, and only regional trains and S-Bahn trains stop here (no airport express train). Those landing at Terminal 5 should walk to Terminal 5 train station and catch regional trains or s-bahn into the city. Tickets to the city cost from 3,80 Euro.
Buses also leave from the terminals with a journey time from around 30 minutes and ticket prices starting from 2.70 Euros. Take bus number X7 or 171 to Rudow and change for the underground there if heading to the southern districts.
The underground network in Berlin is a quick and convenient way to travel between attractions but be sure to validate your tickets at the machines around the stations before you travel, or you could have to pay a fine. Once your ticket is validated, check how long you can use it for, as tickets do expire after a couple of hours. It's worth investing in a Berlin Welcome Card, which includes a travelcard valid on all public transport as well as offering 50% off the entrance fee for many popular attractions.