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Berlin in 48 Hours

06/04/2016 10:55

So you've just spontaneously booked a plane ticket to spend a weekend away in Berlin. But you are not so sure of what to expect, what to do and where to go... Here are some top cultural sights and cultural tips to consider when exploring Germany's capital!

Cultural Sights

1. Book yourself a slot online to have breakfast at the Reichstag Dom; it's like the German version of eating at the Ritz! And it happens to be on the rooftop of parliament...
2. Watch the sunrise or sunset at the Brandenburger Tor
3. Go to the East Side Gallery; this is a must. Here you can appreciate the former Berlin wall which portrays Berlin's political history and culture through the use of multi-coloured graffiti
4. Fancy strolling around some fancy looking museums along the river Spree? Head to Museum Island!
5. If you are museum mad, don't forget to go to the DDR museum, Topographie des Terrors, the Jewish museum or even the Currywurst museum!
6. If you're feeling hungry, go to Hackescher Markt. A cobbly, beautiful area filled with diverse restaurants serving everything from exotic Vietnamese cuisine to traditional German classics such as Schnitzel. You can eat outside, even if it's snowing!
7. Mustafa's. Berlin's most famous kebab to take-away. Queues are 24/7. You better get yourself there early!
8. Feeling podgy from eating your body weight in Currywursts, Schnitzels and Kebabs? Hire a bike and cycle around Tiergarten!
9. You have come for the nightlife, but you just aren't sure where to go? Well, Berghain is dubbed the most exclusive club to get into. You may be in with a chance, if you wear black, act subtle and turn up at about 4am.
10. However, if you do get rejected (which you probably will!) then fear not! There is always Tresor, Watergate, Soda...and many more!
11. Clubs in Berlin do not have licences to shut at specific times. So technically you could party on until you leave for the airport on Sunday!
12. If palaces are your thing, Berlin delivers just as well as London! Go to the Charlottenburg Schloss where you can spend hours walking around the gardens and eating and drinking in chic cafés nearby
13. Sunday mornings usually mean hangover time. Why not sweat your hangover out at the Flohmarkt? (flea market). There's countless markets, music, entertainment and the beer keeps flowing.
14. Take a Photoautomaten Selfie! You know those photo booths we used to go in with our friends? (not for a passport photo). Well, Berlin still has those...get a snap to take home!
15. Berlin is famous for its festivals such as Karneval der Kulturen or Gay Pride. If you are lucky enough to be in Berlin when one of these events take place, why not get involved!

Cultural Tips

1. If you are going on a night out, do not wear anything above the knee! Short skirts or dresses are not usually worn, especially in winter. You will freeze.
2. If you are travelling to Berlin in winter, it can feel like the arctic circle! So make sure you bring your warmest clothes - otherwise you will not survive.
3. It is really not uncommon for there to be S-bahn (overground) or U-bahn (underground) strikes in Berlin. Make sure you check the latest updates online. Or if you are already at the station and find yourself stranded - approach a local. Chances are they will be able to speak English and help you find an alternative route!
4. Buy yourself a daily travel ticket for each day and make sure you use the stamp machine just after you have purchased it, to validate it. Otherwise, you could be fined. Tube and train conductors go undercover in ordinary clothes, so don't be caught off-guard!
5. Queuing does not really exist in Berlin, so as Take That once said, have a little patience!
6. Should you need medical attention, the emergency number is 112
7. Bring that EHIC card - Germany's healthcare system is not free! And make sure you get comprehensive travel insurance too.
8. Don't get stung by changing your pounds into euros at the airport. Get this sorted in England beforehand to get the most out of your money
9. Supermarkets and shopping malls are not usually open on a Sunday, so don't be alarmed!

It is strongly recommended by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's 'Know Before You Go' campaign, to take simple yet essential measures before going abroad, so that you can be as safe as possible when you are out there. It is also highly recommended to check out the FCO's latest travel advice on Germany, such as terrorism threats, money, local laws and customs, and health. This information can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/germany

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