I was in Berlin before, for Valentines. I definitely wouldn’t recommend it for this event, especially due to the weather in February; it was so extremely cold and humid. But I do recommend Berlin for so many reasons that I shall detail in the DOs .
I personally love Berlin, the locals and the derelict air of some of the neighborhood, the sense of freedom and detachment. It seems like a budist town lost in a sea of Protestantism. Not fashionistas but still groomed in a special manner, the Berlin style.
Now I come back with the same mixed feeling about this city. It’s either you like it or not, nothing in between. Some neighborhoods are 5 stars, some not even one star. Some very artsy and some very scary. It is a very thin line, for example, for graffiti between street art and some nasty ugly drawings on the wall. and I’ve seen it all in Berlin.
I do recommend some wall drawings at this address, Berliner Kunsthaus.
So I can’t give a proper number of stars – every neighborhood has its own. This is some don’ts about the city, and some hidden tips I discovered.
- Winter is freezing! Don’t visit in the winter if not properly dressed or if you have a low level of cold endurance. Really, no kidding, as it is windy also and feels more cold than the thermometer shows.
- so don’t go unprepared without checking the weather apps.
- Pack accordingly but don’t over pack – there is also room for some shopping although I don’t do it when in holidays and especially if the same brands. But there is a large selection of local designers.
- unfortunately nowadays almost everybody can call himself a local designer and almost every drawing is art and if I do not agree I am not cultured….well there is room under the sun for all of us.
- so choose wisely, as you feel, don’t let yourself influenced by the influencers who are most of the time payed to manipulate our perception. Nothing to judge just for you to know the reality. Smart travelling is about getting out of the beaten paths, discovering spots on your taste that make you unique feelings and experiences about a place.
- smart travelling is not about everything cheap and following blindly the top things to see and do of famous websites. From TripAdvisor I would not visit half of the top 30.
- Also I’ve seen less fashion exposure, as in Paris or Milan, although a special sense of fashion more hippy, groovy, rock, underground….not my style.
- so, coming back to weather, visit more in the summer but be aware that accommodation is expensive so don’t book last minute as I always do. Even airbnb is expensive.
- still hotels and apartments are so clean and correct – if 3 stars then 3 stars. You get what you pay for, nothing more or less. The German way and I absolutely love it. A good example is the Novum chain of hotels.
- Berlin is not about over quality or too much luxury when it comes to medium mass tourism. Also when it comes to the neighborhoods especially the formal communist part of the city.
- I personally love this neat architecture and the style of the German people.
- don’t need to rent a car even if the city is huge and the points of interest are very scattered around the city.
- don’t over plan for a city break. it is not a city to return for the point of interests like in Paris, but it is a city to return for the underground life.
- also if you do not know a little bit of history or don’t use a guide, that you can find it even for free provided by Sandeman. than walls are just concrete. Most of the points of interest related to Nazis, Jews and Cold War are more about emotions than about buildings. Watch and learn from the past!
- Use the public transport – very efficient and affordable if you choose a plan. I would recommend a Berlin card for 72 hours, something around 35 euros. You can buy at SXF airport just at the tourist information counter. Don’t forget to validate before using the train.
- the city is very expensive and it is related to the cost of leaving in Berlin which is increasing while the city tidiness decreases so much.
- it is still a safe city, we are after all in Germany. Although areas like Warschauer train station can make you think otherwise. Too bad for the tourists when heading to East Side Gallery or the Oberbraum Bridge. The view is deceptive and also this two point of interest are in my opinion over rated.
- in fact I would not aim to visit the architecture or museums in Berlin, except Egyptian museum, C/O museum for photography, The museum of the present ( contemporary art), and absolutely the Art quartier, Kunstraum Kreuzberg/Bethanien
- the Helmut Newton foundation is over rated – better go to C/O.
Follow us on the part two of Berlin.