Visiting Berlin can be an exciting and memorable experience, as the city is full of history, culture, and vibrant neighborhoods. However, like any other travel destination, there are certain things you should avoid doing to fully enjoy your trip. In this blog post, we’ll explore the common pitfalls and offer helpful tips on what not to do in Berlin. Let’s dive in!
1. Don’t forget to validate your public transportation ticket
When using public transportation in Berlin, it’s essential to validate your ticket before boarding. Failure to do so can result in a hefty fine. Look for the small yellow or red machines at the train or tram platforms, or on the bus, and stick your ticket in to get it stamped with the date and time. This validates your ticket and ensures it’s valid for the duration of your journey.
2. Avoid disrespectful behavior at historical sites
Berlin is home to numerous historical landmarks, such as the Brandenburg Gate, the Berlin Wall Memorial, and the Holocaust Memorial. While visiting these sites, it’s crucial to show respect and act appropriately. Avoid climbing on structures, speaking loudly, or engaging in any activity that may be seen as disrespectful to the solemnity of these places.
2.1 Holocaust Memorial
The Holocaust Memorial, also known as the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, is a memorial site consisting of 2,711 concrete slabs. It’s essential to remember that the memorial is not a playground or a backdrop for a photo shoot. Avoid climbing on the slabs or engaging in any behavior that may disturb visitors paying their respects.
3. Don’t jaywalk
In Berlin, crossing the street when the pedestrian signal is red is considered illegal. The city takes pedestrian safety seriously, and jaywalkers can face fines of up to 55 euros. Always wait for the signal to turn green before crossing the street, even if there are no cars in sight. Safety should be a priority.
4. Avoid excessive noise and disturbance in residential areas
Berlin is known for its vibrant nightlife, but it’s essential to be mindful of the residents who live nearby. If you’re out late at night or early in the morning, try to keep noise levels to a minimum when passing through residential neighborhoods. Avoid yelling, honking, or any behavior that could disturb those living in the area.
5. Don’t rely solely on credit cards
While credit cards are widely accepted in many places in Berlin, it’s always a good idea to carry some cash. Some smaller cafes, street food vendors, or public transportation ticket machines might only accept cash. It’s recommended to have a mix of payment options to ensure you can make purchases without any inconvenience.
6. Avoid taking pictures of people without permission
When photographing people in Berlin, courtesy matters. It is considered polite to ask for permission before capturing someone’s picture, especially in intimate or personal situations. Approaching people with respect shows cultural sensitivity and helps maintain a positive image of tourists in the city.
7. Don’t forget to tip appropriately
Tipping practices in Berlin are slightly different from those in other countries. While service charges are included in restaurant bills, it’s customary to round up the amount or leave a small tip as a sign of appreciation for good service. A common practice is to round up to the nearest Euro or add around 5-10% of the bill. Remember to check if the gratuity is already included before deciding on the tip.
8. Avoid discussing sensitive topics carelessly
Berlin is a city with a rich and complex history. While engaging in conversations with locals or fellow travelers, it’s crucial to be mindful of discussing sensitive topics like World War II, the Berlin Wall, or the Stasi regime. These topics can evoke strong emotions, so approach them with sensitivity and respect for those who may have personal connections to the past.
9. Don’t forget to sample local cuisine
While it’s important to know what not to do in Berlin, it’s equally vital to explore and enjoy the city’s culinary scene. Don’t miss out on sampling local specialties such as currywurst, döner kebab, or traditional German beer. Berlin offers a diverse range of food options, and trying new things can be a delicious part of your visit.
10. Avoid rushing through your visit
Berlin has so much to offer, from historical landmarks to vibrant street art and trendy neighborhoods. Avoid the temptation to rush through your visit. Take the time to immerse yourself in the city’s culture, explore hidden gems, and engage with the local community. By slowing down and enjoying the city at a relaxed pace, you’ll have a more authentic and memorable experience.
Now that you’re aware of what not to do in Berlin, you can make the most out of your trip and ensure a smooth and culturally respectful visit. Remember to be mindful of the city’s rules and customs while embracing all the incredible experiences Berlin has to offer. Safe travels!