There is no guarantee that the warmth and beauty of the summer will sustain, in Berlin. It is hence, better to pack a jacket, as it tends to be grey and cold.
May to September is the best time to visit the city, in which, July and early August can get hot. It is when the city’s lakes welcome you!
The main airport for international carriers (British Airways, Air France-KLM, United, LOT, etc.) and the domestic flights hub (Lufthansa, Air Berlin), is the Tegel International Airport located in the north-west of the city.
The base for most low-cost airlines (EasyJet, Ryanair and Germanwings), charter flights and the Eastern Europe traffic, is the Schönefeld (ICAO: EDDB, IATA: SXF), that formerly served the capital of the GDR — southeast of Berlin.
Till the much delayed expansion of eastern Berlin’s Schönefeld Airport (about 24 km – 15 miles – outside the centre) into BBI (Berlin – Brandenburg International), is complete, Western Berlin’s Tegel Airport (TXL) will continue to be used. The BBI is also known as ‘Willy Brandt’ – the international airport of the capital region. Schönefeld is now mostly used by charter and low-budgeted airlines.
The X9, 128 or 109 buses leaving from Tegel Airport, connect to various points and subway stations in Berlin. It costs 25 euros by taxi to central Berlin. The Airport Express and the slower S-bahn trains travel to city centre, from Schönefeld. The U7 subway line at the Rudow station is connected by bus 171. These 3 options require an ABC zone ticket costing 3 euros. From Schönefeld airport, a taxi ride would take 40 minutes, costing around 40 euros.
The efficient, semi-privatized, Deutsche Bahn (DB – German Rail) has their high-speed Inter City Express (ICE), Inter City (IC) and the Euro City (EC) trains journey between the centres of many major cities, like, Munich and Frankfurt. These journeys are a much faster option than by air.
From Amsterdam, Zurich, Vienna and Budapest, there are daily night trains. Advance booking is a must and if booked much earlier it turns to be more economical, sometimes costing as low as 29 euros.
Long distance trains from the Eastern European cities like Kaliningrad, Kiev, Minsk, Moscow, Saint Petersburg and Warsaw, stop at Hauptbahnhof and Ostbahnhof. Prior reservation is highly recommended.
An exhibit on the Reichstag’s history in German and English, is at the base of the dome.
The tours of the building are free. Book your tour to confirm your reservation at scheduled times, through the north portal. Continuous threat to the security has resulted in the need for individual visitors to register in advance to visit the glass dome and terrace.
Book in advance as individual entry is limited to a maximum per day.
Brandenburger Tor (Brandenburg Gate)
Berlin Television Tower
The Berlin Wall Memorial and Documentation Centre
Perched on the former border strip at Bernauer Strasse, it includes a piece of the Berlin Wall with border strip and watchtower. It provides a look into the construction of the border facilities and its workings and leaves an indelible impression on the visitor about the wall that once divided the entire country and the world too.
The 365 metre TV tower is Berlin’s tallest edifice with its globe (that was remodelled as a pink football during the 2006 World Cup Event) with a rotating viewers’ platform. The popular meeting places are the Brunnen der Völkerfreundschaft (Fountain of Friendship amongst Peoples) and the World Time Clock erected in 1969. Designed by Peter Behrens, the Berolina House now houses a large retail clothing store. The Alexa shopping mall and a multiplex cinema draws film fans daily.
The events that led to the construction of the Wall, the original tools and devices, the recordings and photographs that show how east Germans escaped to the west (with an ingenious miniature submarine!) are all exhibited in this modest museum.
It is still a must-see sight in Berlin resonating history and emotions, in spite of the fact that there is very little lift to recall the ambience of pre-1989 days, after much debate about what should be left and preserved for posterity.
This is now New Berlin’s entry point, to a new kind of American sector. With its Manhattan style office district, the Friedrichstraß and its new buildings designed by international architects like Philip Johnson, who created the American Business Centre, is the result of millions in corporate investment that helped rebuild the central part of Berlin in the 1990s.
Berlin Holocaust Memorial
The centre focuses on the diverse memorial sites across Germany, documenting the issue of genocide. An example of this in Berlin is the Stolpersteine (tripping stones) initiative, that has plaques on street pavements, outside house’s main entrance, commemorating the deported Jewish residents. Open day and night, the monument allows a relaxed walk through the concrete slabs.
East Side Gallery
The Schloss Sanssouci was the private retreat of King Friedrich II (Frederick the Great) who was also the mastermind behind many of Potsdam’s spectacular parks and palaces. These miraculously survived WW II with not a single shrapnel hitting it! The Schloss Sanssouci was chosen by the Allies after the shooting stopped, for the Potsdam Conference of August 1945, to lay the groundwork for Germany’s post war future.