Berlin, the capital city of Germany is one the sophisticated metropolitan cities on the face of the earth. Historians believe that the city has been in existence long before the 13th century.
The city of Berlin has witnessed numerous wars, the latest of which resulted in the destruction of the Berlin wall.
Berlin was once made up of two different states – Eastern Berlin, which was occupied mainly by communists and Western Berlin, a non-communist state. The destruction of the Berlin Wall during the Cold War was an incident that indicated the end of the war and eliminated the movement restrictions between the two states.
The city of Berlin is highly populated and is home to quite a number of foreign residents from over 150 different countries in the world. The city hosts a large number of atheist groups, people with no religious affiliations. Religion is not forbidden though, as there are a number of churches, mosques and even Buddhist temples in the city.
Berlin is a highly commercialised city with the finest infrastructure in areas such as housing and transportation. The city which also has a very extensive road network has a surprisingly low car ownership rate when compared to other developed cities in the world. The low car ownership rate is due to the riding culture imbued into the liberal residents of the city of Berlin in a bid to reduce carbon emissions in the environment. There are two major international airports in Berlin, namely Tegel International Airport and Schonefeld International Airport. The presence of these airports make the city accessible from various airports in different cities all around the world. Still on the topic of transportation, Berlin has a well-run bus transport system as well as a rail system with over 150 stations all across the city. The city also has one of the oldest tramways in the world, The Berlin Strassenbahn.
The city of Berlin has a very rich culture that has continued to attract various artistic personalities from Europe and other countries. The liberal nature of the city contributes largely to the influx of artists who prefer the atmosphere in Berlin to the conservative nature of their own cities.
Although the cultural aspect of the Berlin was greatly repressed during the communist era of the cold war, it has made up for it’s losses in this present age with the presence of countless museums, art galleries, performing theaters and music conservatories in the city.
HOW MANY DAYS SHOULD I SPEND IN BERLIN?
The City of Berlin is very large and home to various attractions. For this reason, anyone looking to visit and enjoy it’s sites and rich culture would have to spend a minimum of seven days in Berlin. The city can be very overwhelming, especially to a tourist and trying to visit all the main attractions within a limited number of days is practically impossible.
To avoid wasting time by walking around the city during your stay, it is advisable to move around with the aid of a bicycle. Cyclists have separate lanes so the fear of being hit by a vehicle is erased.
Biking provides a fast and easy way to move around the city.
THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE I GO TO BERLIN
Travelling is a fun way to make new discoveries. If you are preparing to visit the City of Berlin soon, here are some things to have at the back of your mind while planning your trip.
- It is best to travel round the city with public transport. It is not only cheaper than a tourist bus but also covers famous routes. Public transportation provides a quick and easy way to move around the city.
- Unlike other major tourist destinations in Europe, spending time as a tourist in Berlin is quite inexpensive.
- With a few exceptions, most stores in Berlin stay closed on Sundays.
- Ensure that you always carry cash when venturing out as credit cards are not widely accepted in the city of Berlin.
- It’s best to visit in the summer or spring because then, the becomes greener, but also due to the different atmosphere of the city. People seem less grumpy, happier and smile more!
- If you are a vegetarian, there are various restaurants and eateries that cater to specific tastes. It is equally important to add a tip while making payment after eating out.
- You cannot full experience the real Berlin if you only spend time in one location. Visit other districts and experience unique lifestyles.
- In Berlin, you’re not prohibited from drinking alcohol in public places so long as you do not constitute a nuisance to occupants of the area. It is only forbidden to consume alcoholic drinks in public vehicles.
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Citizens of countries in the European Union can travel into the city without a visa. Only proper documentation such as a valid passport or an ID card is required.
However, citizens of Non-EU countries are required to have a visa before attempting to visit the country. Visas can be obtained from German consulates and embassies.
Types of Visas
The type of visa you apply for will depend on the amount of time you intend to spend in the city.
This visa can only be obtained by a person who already has a job in Germany. You will be required to provide proof of your qualifications. This type of visa is valid for the entire duration of the job.
Working Holiday Visa
This visa is enables you to live and work in Germany for a duration of 12 months. The Working Holiday Visa is only available to citizens of Australia, New Zealand and Japan who are under 30 years of age.
The student visa is granted to people who applied and have been accepted into a German university. The visa is valid for the length of study.
For those who have enrolled in a language course and are willing to spend a minimum of three months in the country learning German.
This visa is suitable for those who are self-employed. Before applying for this visa, you need to have at least three letters of intents from companies in Germany who are willing to hire you for freelance jobs.
|Languages spoken||The official language spoken in Berlin is German. As the city has a population of diverse cultural entities, other commonly spoken languages include : • English • Turkish • Russian • Arabic • Polish • Kurdish • Vietnamese • Serbian • Croatian • Greek • Japanese • Chinese|
|Currency used||The official currency used in Berlin is the Euro. The notes are available in 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 Euro denominations. There are 1 and 2 Euro coins as well as denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 Cent coins.|
|Area (km2)||The City of Berlin is considered the largest city in Germany and the second most populous city in the European Union. The biggest river in Berlin is called Spree and the actual city measures an area of 891.82 square kilometers.|
Sports & nature
SPORTS AND NATURE
There are various indoor and outdoor sport activities in The City of Berlin. A large portion of the city is covered with forests, parks, rivers, lakes and even canals. The city also offers a range of recreational activities ranging from boat trips to a trip to one of the national parks.
Some sports are only available at certain times during the year. Such sports include ice skating which is only popular in the winter. The major sport activities in Berlin include;
This is the most popular sport in Berlin. In the city, you'll come across various football teams made up of both amateurs and professional players.
If your favorite way to burn calories and keep fit is running, then you'll fit in perfectly in the City of Berlin. The roads are broad and have many grassy areas so you can enjoy your run without any worries. The popular running tracks in Berlin include Volkspark Friedrichshain and the Großer Tiergarte but if you'd rather run on asphalt then the best place to go is the former airbase - Flugfeld Tempelhof.
Other common sports in Berlin include; Table tennis, Martial arts, Swimming, Ice Skating and Cycling. There are also gyms and local studios situated around the city for Yoga enthusiasts.
The city of Berlin is famous for its nightlife and is home to quite a number of clubs, bars and pubs.
Nightlife is most active in the older districts of Mitte, Prenzlauer Berg, Friedrichshain and Kreuzberg. Although Mitte is now more commercialized than it was in the past, it still hosts a range of bars and clubs.
Kollwitzplatz, Helmholdtplatz and Schönhauser Allee in the Prenzlauer Berg district are some of the best neighbourhoods to find drinking holes and let your hair down after dark.
When preparing for a night out in Berlin, be open minded and ready to take advantage of any opportunity the night brings your way. The city is very liberal so there are lesser rules on the proper mode of conduct when clubbing. For more information on the best parties or clubs, you can ask the locals.
A lot of bars often get filled up around 10 or 11 p.m and they usually stay open until the early hours of the morning. If you'd like to experience Berlin's nightlife at it's peak, don't go to clubs in the city before midnight. One benefit of showing up earlier, before midnight is the possibility of a lower entrance fee. There are no specific dress codes.
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