Berlin, the capital of Germany, is a city that has seen quite a few upheavals and changes throughout tens, even centuries, of years. And perhaps, all of these are precisely what made it so special and one that attracts crowds of tourists every year, including Israelis, who come to it in droves. Berlin is a city that illustrates to us, on the one hand, a difficult history, which even led to its division (East Berlin and West Berlin – the division of the city in two until 1989, when the wall was torn down), and on the other hand – color, innovation, crazy energies and a lot of interest that are evident in many points in it And also in the various attractions it offers. Berlin has everything and whoever chooses to visit it, whether for just two days or for a longer period, will discover a surprising and enjoyable city.
Visitors to Berlin are offered a very wide variety of hotels, scattered throughout the entire city. Befitting a highly sought-after and touristic city, you can also find a wide range of prices, and while there are particularly cheap hotels, there are also more prestigious ones that are suitable for travelers with a high budget. There are hotels in Berlin that are in the more accessible center and there are those that are further away, requiring travel by public transport or by car. Either way, the many options are a very significant advantage and an opportunity to relatively easily find the preferred solution at an affordable price.
The cost of one night in the city ranges from 50 to 200 euros and even more (depending on the accommodation you choose) and the stars – from two to five. Backpackers or travelers with a limited budget will also be able to find discounted hostels as well as Airbnb apartments, which have recently become very popular in Berlin. Sometimes these will be apartments, which are offered for short-term rent or rooms in an apartment. Here, it is a perfect solution for those who want to get to know the city itself well and reduce accommodation costs as much as possible. The apartments or rooms offered are usually equipped and the location – all over the city, including close to the important central sites.
As it is touristed throughout the year, it is relatively easy to find available accommodation at any given moment, but for those interested in visiting it during the summer months, between June and August, it is recommended to make sure to book accommodation in advance, as well as during the month of December, in the Christmas area, when many people arrive from all over the world to experience up close the wonderful Christmas atmosphere thanks to the charming holiday markets.
Befitting a city of immigrants and many young people, Berlin has plenty of restaurants, suitable for every palate. You don’t come to Berlin just for the typical German food, although it too, or at least – some of its dishes, deserve a taste. Yes, you will find in Berlin diverse international restaurants with rich and good dishes and of course also simpler restaurants and cheap fast food chains.
Due to the large number of Jews who have lived there over the years, as well as those who live there now, you can also find quite a few restaurants in Berlin that specialize in serving kosher Jewish dishes, as well as dishes familiar to us from Israeli cuisine. For those who miss home a little, and especially for family meals, these restaurants are a place to meet the flavors we all know, flavors from traditional Jewish cuisine.
For those looking for the more local cuisine – potatoes, pea puree and of course cabbage, mashed potatoes and good beer – the restaurants on the main streets of Berlin are the right address. These showcase a typical Berlin / German menu that includes quite a few “comforting” dishes that make sure to warm the stomach well on its well-known cold days.
There are quite a few sites and attractions in the city that do not put any big and touristy city like Berlin to shame. Fascinating museums, colorful markets, galleries in surprising areas, large parks and also historical points, which tell the story of Berlin over the years, are only part of what you will meet in this city, part of a very long list of places that are a must visit.
Important tip – whether for two days or for a week or more, you are offered a special card called WelcomeCard, which grants attractive discounts to most of Berlin’s museums, to several attractions and to the means of transportation in the city. It is valid for a period of time between 48 hours and 6 days and in different areas, where the desirable museums. Prices range from 20 to 47 euros. For more details about the card, click here.
Here is a short overview of attractions in Berlin that warrant a stop:
A memory of one of the worst times in the city, but also of optimism and hope (that even the bad can turn into good…). Of the great wall that separated the two parts of the city, the western part of Berlin and the eastern part, several parts remain, which are today decorated with colorful graffiti inscriptions. A certain part of the wall is even adjacent to pubs, where young people usually hang out, which made it a popular and touristic meeting place. It is hard to believe at first glance at the parts of the wall because the vibrant and beautiful city was in the past a sad city that separated families, loved ones and other close people.
This is, perhaps, one of the special attractions in the city, one that brings its visitors together with dark and complex times that passed through Berlin. The memorial, known in German as “Holocaust Dunkamel” covers an area of 19,000 square meters and resembles a cemetery in its appearance, and for good reason. It is difficult to remain indifferent to the sight of the gray concrete cubes in it (2,711 cubes in total), which are placed in a masterly order and at different heights. These symbolize the Those Jews, who were exterminated in the Holocaust during World War 2. The sense of unease is evident in almost every corner of it, and this, together with the eerie silence of the place, gives the monument a look and atmosphere that we will not find elsewhere.
Some of the most important museums in the country and in the city itself. Museumsinsel is a popular and well-known attraction in Berlin, where you will find spectacular antique collections, special works of art and even an impressive cathedral – the Berliner Dom, a landmark that is hard to miss. The museums on the island are open throughout the week, except for Mondays, from 10 am to 6 pm.
Adjacent to Paris Square, which in itself is a very touristic spot in the city, is the famous Brandenburg Gate, known to us from many photos of Berlin. This gate is one of the most recognizable symbols of the city, the one that is illuminated in the hours of darkness and is a special decorative element in the entire city. On top of the gate you can see her chariot drawn by four horses as well as a cross and an eagle, symbolizing Napoleon’s victories in the various wars.
This beautiful square, established in 1688, is visited by quite a few locals and, of course, crowds of tourists, especially during the holidays, when colorful events are held there and markets are open to the public, offering all kinds of produce for sale. This square, like many other buildings in the city, was badly damaged during World War II, but was renovated and renewed. At both ends of it stand interesting buildings – at one end the French cathedral, where the museum of the history of the Huguenots operates, while at the other end – the German cathedral, where there is a museum focusing on the history of German parliamentarianism. The city’s symphony orchestra operates from a special concert building, located exactly between these two cathedrals.
In Berlin, as in other large cities in the world, there is a tall tower, rising to a height of 365 meters, right in the center of it. Those who reach the high vantage point will be able to see Berlin’s lovely skyline, as well as some of its familiar sights from afar. There is also a revolving restaurant and you should stick to the huge glass windows there if only to experience the city for a moment in a slightly different way. The tower is open to visitors throughout the months of the year: from March to October it is open from 09:00 am to midnight, and from November to February from 10:00 am to midnight.
Berlin is a very big city and getting around is possible using a rented car or public transport. At the same time, due to the traffic jams, the congestion at times and the difficulty many times in finding a free parking space, you should consider using the local transportation solutions in the city, with which you can get anywhere you want. Renting a car in Berlin is mainly relevant to all those who wish to combine trips in the regions, in nearby or more distant places. In such cases it is recommended to take care to order a rental car in Israel and to do so in front of well-known and leading rental companies in their field. Leaving the city in a rental car is relatively simple, and is done through a ring road – A10 Berliner Ring, which is connected by highways from the various ends of Berlin.
A relatively short flight of between 4 and a quarter to 4 and a half hours will take you directly to one of Berlin’s airports, which are located near the city: Tegel Airport, which is a 30-minute drive away, while the other – Schönfeld Airport, which is a 45-minute drive away From the center of Berlin (another airport is expected to open in 2020 – Berlin Brandenburg Airport).
Flights to Berlin depart from Israel throughout the months of the year and are offered by quite a few airlines, including Ryanair, EasyJet, Wise-Air, KLM and of course El-El. As of today, in addition to the direct flights, there are also a wide variety of flights to Berlin, which include stopovers at various destinations along the way. These flights are considered cheaper (low-cost) and, like the direct ones, are offered throughout the year.
Berlin is suitable for a visit in any season. In the cold and snowy winter months, the city offers an unparalleled European winter charm and a festive atmosphere, especially around Christmas. In the summer months, visitors enjoy a multitude of events, festivals and a great deal of activity in the city, which attracts visitors of all ages. In the summer months, between June and August, the weather in Berlin is very pleasant, such that it allows wandering around the city itself without suffering from the heat loads, which characterize other destinations in the world during these months.
For those who choose to fly to Berlin, it is recommended that they take into account special events, which should be included during the visit:
Every autumn, from mid-September to the end of October, beer lovers from all over the world come to Berlin. As part of the Oktoberfest, a host of festive events and festivals are held throughout Berlin (and other places in Germany), which of course include a great selection of local beers along with good complementary dishes. At various points in the city, large complexes are opened, allowing all the crowds to taste the beers and enjoy a good and light atmosphere.
During October, a beautiful festival of lights was held in the city, illuminating the entire city with a multitude of magnificent colored lights. About 500 different buildings in the city, including historical buildings, bridges, squares, shopping malls, train stations and also public parks are illuminated with many lights, giving them an unforgettable appearance. All of these are accompanied by fireworks, artist shows and guided tours.
Those arriving at the end of November in Berlin are offered lively Christmas markets. These, serve visitors delicious chestnuts, good hot wine and traditional gingerbread cookies. They have stalls full of goodies and a wonderful festive atmosphere. Those who choose to come to Berlin towards the end of the year, can take part in the New Year celebrations, which include huge street parties held near the Brandenburg Gate.
Even in the summer, there is no shortage of special events and festivals in the city, which are a focal point of attraction for many travelers as well as locals. There are plenty of music festivals in Berlin, such as the techno music festival, held in the city during the month of August, a festival that focuses on pop culture, including music, art and more, as well as other festivals.