Holidays in Berlin are exciting and immersive. Berlin’s many tourist attractions and holiday activities include exploring historical sights and museums, immersing yourself in a pulsating nightlife and traditional German beer culture, and picnicking in glorious green parks.
Germany’s capital went through numerous changes in the past century. Today, it’s a thriving modern metropolis that is no longer a city divided, and an exciting destination to visit on holiday. Berlin’s nightlife is legendary, which is one of the reasons it’s such a popular place to visit. There are numerous historical sights to explore, including the remains of the Berlin Wall and Brandenburg Gate, not forgetting Checkpoint Charlie, now a museum.
Why visit Berlin
- History is everywhere, some of it so sad, like the Holocaust Memorial and the Berlin Wall.
- Berlin’s nightlife is outrageous, continuing until dawn.
- Its street art and graffiti are amazing.
- The city is home to three UNESCO World Heritage Sites: the Palaces and Parks of Potsdam and Berlin, Museum Island and the Berlin Modernism Housing Estates.
- There are more than 170 museums to explore.
- To see the ultra-modern German Parliament building.
- Berlin is famous for its craft beers.
- You can explore the city by bicycle.
- The street food covers many cuisines – and it’s delicious and cost-effective!
- Berlin is a jazz hotspot with venues all over the city.
When the two halves of Berlin were finally reunited in 1991, the city transformed into a lively, fun-loving, cosmopolitan and creative destination. Visit this dynamic and bustling city with a Berlin holiday package from Thompsons Holidays.
Things to do in Berlin
Berlin is a city that never sleeps, with things to do 24/7. People stay up throughout the night to enjoy all sorts of entertainment, music and fun. Of course, Berlin’s iconic attractions are must-sees, including the Berlin Wall, the famous Brandenburg Gate, as well as the emotionally stirring Jewish Museum.
There’s more to the city than a tumultuous history. Berlin is also home to incredible restaurants offering a diverse selection of cuisines, great shops and markets selling souvenirs and fabulous fashion. There are plenty of cultural experiences to enjoy in Berlin, including music, art, dance and incredible street art.
Things to do in Berlin
- Party the night away in a Berlin nightclub.
- Explore UNESCO-listed Museum Island, home to some of the world’s best museums and the magnificent Berlin Cathedral.
- Discover unique art at the East Side Gallery, part of the Berlin Wall that features over 100 paintings.
- Visit the centuries old Charlottenburg Palace.
- Take some time out at Checkpoint Charlie.
- Climb the 282 steps to the top of the Victory Column.
- Watch ballet, opera or music performances at Konzerthaus.
- See the impressive glass dome at the Reichstag, home of the German Parliament.
- Relax in Berlin’s most popular inner-city park, the vast 210-hectare Tiergarten.
- Track the story of the Holocaust in the Jewish Museum and Holocaust Memorial.
- Stroll by the riverside in Treptower Park.
One of the hippest and most progressive cities in Europe, Berlin is packed with history, art, great food, music and entertainment. While some of the museums are monuments are chilling reminders of the Third Reich and the Holocaust, there are quirky museums, too, like the Museum of Things and the Museum of Illusions. With so much on offer to see and do, why not contact Thompsons Holidays to book your Berlin holiday package?
Know before you go...
- The best months to visit Berlin are May and October.
- For sightseeing, late spring to early summer and late summer to early autumn are best. The queues are shorter, and there are fewer crowds.
- Flight duration from Johannesburg to Berlin: 12 hours, 55 minutes.
- There are regular flights between South Africa and Germany.
- South African passport holders require a Schengen visa to enter Germany.
- Passports should be valid for at least 3 months after travel and have blank pages.
- Germany is on Central European Time, one hour behind South Africa during the winter (November to March) and the same time as South Africa in the summer months (last Sunday in March to last Saturday in October).
- The official currency is the Euro (€ or EUR).
- Credit cards are widely accepted, and ATMs are prevalent.
- Tipping is an accepted custom. In restaurants, round up to the next Euro. For excellent service, add 5-10% to the bill.
- Food is not as expensive in Berlin as in other European cities.
- German is the official language.
- English is widely spoken.
- About 70% of the population is Christian. The Catholic & Evangelical churches are the most popular.
- When visiting religious and culturally-sensitive sites, dress conservatively. (See ‘What to pack’).
- It is safe to drink tap water in Berlin. Bottled water is readily available.
- Vaccinations are not currently required but do check with your travel clinic before you go.
- Smoking is not permitted in public areas such as restaurants, bars and indoor workplaces as well as on public transport. Airports offer designated smoking rooms.
What must I pack?
- Depending on when and where you visit, lightweight clothing for summer, warm clothing for winter, rain gear, ski wear and beachwear if relevant. Choose items that can be layered.
- Dress modestly when visiting religious and culturally-sensitive sites.
- Comfortable walking shoes.
- Sunscreen, lip balm, hat and sunglasses for summer holidays.
- Mini first aid kit and regular prescription medication.
- Hand sanitiser and insect repellent.
- Travel adaptor.
- Berlin has an excellent transport system, including the underground (U-Bahn), (lights trains (S-Bahn), buses and trams.
What can I do to be a responsible traveller?
- Wherever possible, buy local food and souvenirs and support local artisans.
- Avoid single-use plastic; rather take fabric shopping bags with you and use refillable water bottles (when local drinking water is available).
- Respect each other's cultures and customs and avoid imposing your beliefs.
- Do not support animal encounters and wildlife activities that are harmful or unethical.
- Always have a map (or app) on hand, especially when travelling at night.
- Be safety conscious: don’t display cash or valuables. Leave jewellery and expensive watches at home.
- Keep your belongings safe – use the hotel safe for passports and valuables and watch out for pickpockets and bag snatchers when out and about.
What do I do in an emergency?
- If passports or valuables are stolen, report the theft to the hotel/police immediately.
- Contact the Thompsons Holidays 24-hour care line to assist.
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