What should I do/know when I arrive at the airport?
There are two main aiports into Berlin. Tegel and Schönefeld. If you've arrived in Tegel, congrats! There is an easy bus route (labeled TXL) to U-Bahn (subway) connections through-out the city. If you've landed in Schönefeld, you're goint to have to take the S-Bahn (urban rail) network. They use the same ticket system, administered seperately by DB train company and BWG public transport services which might be confusing if you see different labels over the machines, but don't worry about that. The easiest thing to do is download the beautiful BWG app before your flight for your mobile device and purchase an AB ticket once landed in TXL or an ABC ticket if you landed in SXF.
What's different from other countries/cities?
Berlin is a very cosmopolitan city with its own unique history and aesthetic, which confuses and delights Germans from other cities. Expect the fashion to be much more casual than other German cities, and the attitude more forgiving. As an international destination for refugees of all kinds, it's a very compasionate city. It's also a very green city in the summer, and a very grey one in the winter. Try to carry cash at all times, because credit cards are not quite as commonly accepted. The public transport runs on the honor system, so make sure you remember to buy a ticket beforehand. It's also a very egalitarian city, the inequality gap between professionals and others is much lower. This can be double-edged; expect salaries to be lower than other European tech hubs, but also your purchasing power to go further, especially when it comes to rent, food, and entertainment.
Where should I stay / live?
Kreuzberg and Neukölln: plenty of cafes and entrepreneurs. Prenzlauerberg for more cute cafes. Rents are controlled throughout the city and will be quite similar and affordable. €500 - €800 for a room, €700 - €1200 for a one-room flat. Daily rates for staying in a flatshare or hotel can range from €30 to €180.
I need a bank account / debit card
The banking system in Germany is ancient and decrepit. Expect transfers to take several days, and most of your interactions being through snail-mail. In light of this, I'd recommend an online bank like N26 (A local Berlin company) or something like Revolut. If you are going for a proper old-school bank, Sparkasse is usually the best choice, because its branches and ATMs can be found everywhere in Berlin. Deutsche Bank and others are inexplicably missing from the scene. In order to sign up for a bank, you'll need to have an Anmeldung (domestic registration), unless you use an online bank like N26.
Coffee shops / Coworking to work from
Berlin has its own vibe that has to do with its storied history in music and clubbing culture. The legendary Berghain club is often on people's lists to visit, if you don't mind being rejected from a queue after waiting for an hour and a half at 2 am. Otherwise, the party district in Warschauerstrasse is a favorite. I find a very Berlin thing to do is to visit the Mauerpark flea market, watching the kareoke there with a cheap beer from the corner store. Having a beer sitting at the Admiralbrücke in Kreuzberg is another win. Berlin also has many eclectic local fashion brands that could be found dotted around the city.
Cafes: K-fetish, Five Elephants, Isla Coffee, Concierge Coffee, The Barn, Camon coffee
Coworking spaces: Enklave, Betahause, Factory Berlin, NoiseFabrik
The must try restaurants?
Berlin is quite a hive of delicious and affordable restauranteering. Cocolo ramen is a must-try. Angry Chicken spicy Korean wings is a must in the summer. Otherwise enjoy the myriad döner and fallafel joints liberally sprinkeld through the city.
Zola (pizza), Umami (vietnamese), La lucha (mexican), Mae Chareon (Thai), con tho (viet), Le Bon (french), Monsieur Vong (vietnamese)
Where can I go for a weekend getaway?
Berlin is quite isolated being nestled in the top-right corner of Germany's prime swamplands. It's easiesy to fly out of the city. Train connections exist for the environmentally conscious, though are likely to be much more expensive. The quickest day-trip is a bike-ride to nearby Potsdam, which is lovely in the summer. Otherwise, weekend trips to Prague are recommended!
During summer, Berlin is surrounded by lakes, more or less far, big and wild, which are the perfect day-trip (or camping weekend) to ressource yourself.
Who should you thanks for those informations?
Thanks Claire @ Shanghai
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