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Greenwich Mean Time plus one hour (two hours in summer): Time in Berlin is 6
hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time in New York. (7 hours ahead of central
time in Chicago, etc.) Berlin uses the 24 hour clock, so the numeral 1 on a US
watch would be read as 1in the early morning or 13 in the afternoon, etc.
Transportation timetables and schedules will use this method of representation
of time. (designations of am and pm are unnecessary)
The country code for Germany is 49. There is no need to use this prefix
when calling within the country. To call Germany from the United States or
Canada, omit the first 0 from the German number and add the prefix 011 49.
code in Berlin:
For a report on Berlin weather, call 0190/270-641. (There is a per
The German climate is variable
so it is best to be prepared for all types of weather throughout the year. There
is no special rainy season. The most pleasant and predictable weather is from
May to October. This coincides, of course, with the standard tourist season
(except for skiing). The interim periods can bring fewer tourists and
surprisingly pleasant weather. The disadvantages of visiting out-of-season, especially in winter, are that some
tourist attractions are closed or have shorter hours.
holidays are observed in Berlin:
January 1 New
Good Friday. and
Easter Monday. (March or April)
May 1 (Workers'
(May or June)
November 1 (All
1 meter 3.28 feet
/ 1.09 yards
gallon 3.78 liters
US travelers just need a valid
passport (no visa).
220V, 50 Hz Electrical sockets take plugs with two round prongs or sometimes
three. American appliances will need a plug adapter and will require a
transformer if they do not have a dual voltage capability. Most hotels will
supply guests with an ironing board and iron if requested.
Banks & Stores
Banks are usually
open weekdays from 8:30 or 9 to 3 or 4 (5 or 6 on Thurs.), sometimes with a
lunch break of about an hour at smaller branches. Department stores and larger
stores are generally open from 9 or 9:15 to 8 weekdays and until 4 on Sat.
Most museums are
open from Tues. to Sun. 10-5. Some close for an hour or more at lunch. Many stay
open until 8 or 9 on Wed. or Thurs..
(NeustĂ¤dtische Kirchstr. 4-5, 030/238-5174).
030/110). Ambulance 030/112).
Berlin offer late-night service on a rotating basis. Every pharmacy displays a
notice indicating the location of the nearest shop with evening hours. For
emergency pharmaceutical assistance, call 030/01189.
German is the
primary language. English is spoken and understood in most hotels,
restaurants, airports, stations, museums, and other places of interest.
: Since January 1, 1999, Germanyâ€™s official currency has been the European
monetary unit, the euro.
Most prices you
see on items already have Germanyâ€™s 16% value- added tax (VAT) included. When
traveling to a non-EU country, you are entitled to a refund of the VAT you pay
(multiply the price of an item by 13.8% to find out how much VAT is embedded in
it). Some goods, like books and antiquities, carry a 6.5% VAT as a percentage of
the purchase price.
Global Refund is a
VAT refund service that makes getting your money back hassle-free. In
participating stores, ask for the Global Refund form (called a Shopping Cheque).
When you leave the European Union, you must show your purchases to customs
officials before they will stamp your refund form. Before you check your luggage
at the airport, ask to be directed to the customs desk. Once the form is
stamped, take it to one of the more than 700 Global Refund counters -
located at every major airport and border crossing - and your money
will be refunded on the spot in the form of cash, check, or a refund to your
credit-card account (minus a small percentage for processing). Alternatively,
you can mail your validated form to Global Refund: 707 Summer St., Stamford, CT 06901, 800/566-9828.
Welcome Card gives you 72 hours of free transport on all the buses and trams of
the VBB network. Also good for free admission or up to 50% reductions for
sightseeing tours, museums and many other tourist attractions.
The Berlin transport system consists of buses, trams, and U-Bahn (underground)
and S-Bahn (elevated) trains. The network is run by the BVG or Public
Transport Company Berlin-Brandenburg. Public transportation throughout the city
operates from about 4:30am to 12:30am daily (except for 62 night buses and
trams, and U-Bahn lines U-9 and U-12). For information about public transport,
call tel. 030/29-71-9843 or 030/19-449.
standard ticket (Einzelfahrschein) costs is valid for 2 hours of
transportation in all directions, transfers included. There is also a 24-hour
ticket for the whole city. Only standard tickets are sold on buses. Tram tickets
must be purchased in advance. Unless you buy a day pass, donâ€™t forget to
time-punch your ticket into one of the small red boxes prominently posted at the
entrance to city buses and underground stations.
If youâ€™re going to
be in Berlin for 3 days, you can purchase a Berlin-Potsdam WelcomeCard,
which entitles holders to 72 free hours on public transportation in Berlin and
Brandenburg. Youâ€™ll also get free admission or a price reduction of up to 50% on
sightseeing tours, museums, and other attractions, and a 25% reduction at 10
theaters as well. The card is sold at many hotels, visitor information Centers,
and public-transportation sales points. It is valid for one adult and three
children under the age of 14.
There are hardly
any direct flights to Berlin from overseas and, depending on the airline you
use, youâ€™re likely to fly first into another European city such as Frankfurt,
Amsterdam, Paris or London and catch a connecting flight from there. Berlin has
You can reach all
three airports by calling the central service phone number 0180/500-0186);
primarily serves destinations within Germany and Europe.
mostly operates international flights to/from Europe, Asia, Africa and Central
became famous as the main landing hub for Allied airlifts during the Berlin
blockade of 1948-49. Today itâ€™s the main hub for domestic departures and flights
to Central Europe.
Berlin is well-connected to the rest of Europe by long-distance bus. Most buses
arrive at and depart from the Zentraler Omnibus-bahnhof in Charlottenburg,
opposite the stately Funkturm radio tower.
Until the opening of the huge new rail center (Lehrter Bahnhof) in 2002, train
services to and from Berlin will remain confusing because of the extensive
construction that affects several stations. Trains scheduled to leave from or
arrive at one station may be spontaneously rerouted to another. Zoo Station is
the main station for long-distance travelers going to and from the west.
Berlin is very cycle friendly, and itâ€™s a good way to get to know the city -
there are specially marked bike lanes everywhere. There are also many bike
Transfers Between the Airport and Town
Airport is only 6 km (4 mi) from the downtown area. The No. 109 and X09 airport
buses run at 10-minute intervals between Tegel and downtown via KurfĂĽrstendamm,
Bahnhof Zoologischer Garten, and Budapester Strasse. The trip takes 30 minutes.
If you rent a car at the airport, follow the signs for the Stadtautobahn into
Berlin. The Halensee exit leads to KurfĂĽrstendamm.
is linked directly to the city center by the U-6 subway line.
a shuttle bus leaves every 10-15 minutes for the nearby S-bahn station; S-bahn
trains leave every 20 minutes for the Friedrichstrasse station, in downtown
eastern Berlin, and for the Zoologischer Garten station, in downtown western
Berlin. Bus 171 also leaves every 10 or 15 minutes for the western Berlin Rudow
subway station. A taxi ride from the airport takes about 40 minutes. By car, follow the signs for Stadtzentrum Berlin.
Buses are slightly
cheaper than trains. Berlin is linked by bus to 170 European cities. The
Omnibusbahnhof, the central bus terminal, is at the corner of Masurenallee 4-6
and Messedamm. Reserve through DER (a state agency), travel agencies, or the
station itself. For information call 030/301-8028 between 9 and 5:30.
autobahn system links Berlin with the eastern German cities of Magdeburg,
Leipzig, Rostock, Dresden, and Frankfurt an der Oder. Speed restrictions of 130
kph (80 mph) still apply.
A car is really unnecessary in
Berlin and the surrounding area. The transportation network is amazing in its
efficiency and extent. Public transportation via bus, subway and train is
available throughout the city and into all of the surrounding area. There are
numerous connections to cities throughout Germany and the rest of Europe.
There are six
major rail routes to Berlin from the western part of the country (from Hamburg,
Hannover, KĂ¶ln, Frankfurt, Munich, and NĂĽrnberg). Ask about reduced fares within
Germany. Some trains now stop at and depart from more than one of Berlinâ€™s four
main train stations, but generally trains from the west and north arrive at
Friedrichstrasse and Zoologischer Garten, and trains from the east and south at
Hauptbahnhof or Lichtenberg. For details on rates and information, call Deutsche Bahn Information 030/19419).
Berlin is too
large to be explored on foot. To compensate, the city has one of the most
efficient public-transportation systems in Europe, a smoothly integrated network
of subway (U-bahn) and suburban (S-bahn) train lines, buses, trams (in eastern
Berlin only), and even a ferry across the Wannsee, making every part of the city
easily accessible. Get a map from any information booth. Extensive all-night bus
and tram service operates seven nights a week (indicated by the letter N
next to route numbers).
popular in Berlin. Although itâ€™s not recommended in the downtown area, itâ€™s
ideal in outlying areas. Bike paths are generally marked by red bricks on the
WelcomeCard entitles one person or one adult and up to three
children to three days of unlimited travel as well as free admission or
reductions of up to 50% for sightseeing trips, museums, theaters, and other
events and attractions.
All tickets are
available from vending machines at U-bahn and S-bahn stations. Punch your ticket
into the red machine on the platform. For information about public
transportation, call the Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe 030/19449 or
030/752-7020) or go to the BVG-information office on Hardenbergplatz, directly
in front of the Bahnhof Zoo train station. If youâ€™re caught without a ticket,
there is a fine.
is efficient and extensive; trains run from 4am to approximately 12.30am, an
hour later on Fri. and Sat..
is better for
getting out to the suburbs : Wannsee or Potsdam, for instance. The city bus
network â€“ and the tram system in eastern Berlin â€“ cover most of the
gaps left by the U-Bahn:
run at intervals of around twenty minutes, although the routes often differ from
daytime ones; agents in the U-Bahn stations can usually provide a map.
are plentiful and can be hailed from the street or picked up at the taxi stands
at major intersections, by U-Bahn stations, or in front of the larger hotels.