WHEN TO GO
The ideal temperature to visit Berlin is between June and August, with maximum temperatures around 25ºC and minimum temperatures of 15ºC, but these are the rainiest months (around a 25% probability of precipitation) and maximum occupation, so May and September should be valued, because of pleasant temperatures, less rain and moderate prices.
Although cold, autumn and winter can be a good time to go, since the wide range of accommodation allows you to find advantageous prices without antelation in low season. In my case, both times I went in low season, the first time was in November, I stayed where it was considered the best hostel in the city booking a few days before, and the second time at the beginning of March, we went to a hotel that was quite good 100 meters from Check Point Charlie for € 50 booking it the night before.
ANNOYANCES AND PROBLEMS
- In Berlin there are people who are not friendly to tourists. Some will say “as anywhere”, perhaps, but here there seems to be a greater proportion than in any other city in Germany, in line with the proportion of tourists. Twice it has happened to me that they have refused to speak to me in English, but not two people who passed by on the street, one was the waiter of a bar, and the other the lady of the ticket window in a train station, who in addition to swear something in German made me a clear and uneducated gesture with her hand indicating “get out of my sight”; we are talking about two people whose jobs depends a lot on tourism. Next moron I meet is getting such a complaint form that he or she is going to pay for the three of them.
- Talking about payments, as in most of Central Europe, you have to pay in toilets. To use them in a train station is something that you may not like but is not so infrequent, and favors that they stay cleaner, but you’ll be requested a tip for using the bathroom in many bars and restaurants where you are having something, or even in some museums or exhibitions in which you will have paid your entrance. Personally what I do when I see myself face to face with an assistant that I can not avoid is to give them the biggest bank note I have; as people pay in small coins, they never have change, but that’s not the customer’s problem, so they can go and look for change abandoning their place or, as usual, let you pass for free.
Berlin, especially in the area that interests tourists, is one of the safest capitals in Europe, both in objective terms of safety-crime rates, and in the subjective appreciation that the city transmits. This does not mean that we should trust ourselves in excess:
- As in any tourist location, the greatest risk is that of pickpockets, although resources are being used to control them; in the street there are many policemen and in the metro also, together with incognito inspectors in pairs to inspect by surprise, as soon as the doors of the car are closed, to the travelers who have not validated the ticket before going up, but which obviously also deter pickpockets from acting. Both criminals and police are usually the least expected, the only time I have been asked for the ticket the inspectors had more look like pickpockets than inspectors, but their identifications and attitude did not give rise to doubt. You should not get on public transport without validating the ticket, inspections are frequent. Apart from classic pickpockets, there are many who try to distract by making you sign false requests. Special care must be given to groups of children who surround us, pretending to beg, they are as skilled with their hands as they are fast escaping.
- On May 1 (Labor Day) there are often violent demonstrations.
- Sadly, as in any area with a high number of visitors, the risk of terrorism is high today. Still, this should not discourage anyone from going, the chances of being involved in an attack are extremely low and it’s really about having the bad luck of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Caution is recommended in crowded areas, especially in festivals or markets, and try not to linger in them longer than necessary.