Berlin is great for Goths and alternatives of any kind. Transport in Berlin is excellant and inexpensive with week-long public transport passes for the central areas of Berlin costing around €35. The U-bahn (Underground Train) typically runs until 2am every weekday night and all night on Fridays and Saturdays and the S bahn, tram and bust network typically running all night every night. Taxis are also reasonably priced if you happen to have missed the last train or find yourself lost. It’s a good idea to keep in mind that Berlin was once two cities and because these two cities then merged into one it is massive – more than two times the size of London! Bear this in mind when planning to travel from one side of the city to the other…
Although it is possible to travel to Berlin from London by train, you will need to change 3 times (London to Brussels, Brussels to Cologne, Cologne to Berlin) and this is unlikely to cost you less than about £200-£300 return (although the site “Man in Seat Sixty-One” claims you can do it for £45 return)
You can book your entire journey from the Deutsche Bahn Site and although they have a English language site it can get a little confusing so may be worth keeping your German phrasebook and dictionary handy. Some Eurostar trains show as unavailable when you search on the DB site so it may also be worth checking the Eurostar site.
Both of Tegel and Schönefeld airports are near the city centre, have easy transport links and a variety of airlines flying from London to Berlin. The majority of the low cost airlines like EasyJet, RyanAir etc. fly to Schönefeld while the airlines like British Airways and Lufthansa fly to Tegel. As ever, it’s worth shopping around and checking all airlines as due to the extra luggage and tax charges some low-cost airlines add, they can sometimes end up being more expensive. Last time I flew to Berlin, British Airways ended up being as cheap as EasyJet and cheaper than RyanAir.
Places to Stay
As with any large capital cities, there are plenty of places to stay. Here are some good recommendations from friends and previous visits.
Hostels in Berlin are excellant and unless you are looking for a luxury hotel, there is really no reason not to stay in one. Try looking at Hostelworld where you can book hostels, check out customer reviews see a map of the locations of hostels in the area. Here are a couple of recommendations:
AO Hostels are all over Berlin and also in Prague and Vienna. They have four hostel/hotels in Berlin but the A&O Berlin Friedrichshain is the one I have stayed in and is just 20 minutes walk from K17. Prices are cheaper than Dark Hostel ranging from €9-€45 and they have far more rooms available so this is an excellant alternative to Dark Hostel.
Rent an apartment
Last time I stayed in Berlin two friends and I decided to rent an apartment. This worked out far cheaper than any hotel or hostel at around €112 for 5 nights between us. A good place to start for Holiday apartments is the Way To Stay site.
Eating and Drinking
Food in Berlin is cheap and very good and there are plenty of places to have beer. You can get the popular, Berlin invented snack Currywurst (curried sausage) on almost every street corner and Berliners do seem to eat at every available opportunity! The post-clubbing food fest in Berlin is far superior to Britain’s dodgy kebab, chips or greasy pizza affair. In Berlin, Oven baked pizzas, pasta, Turkish food (made of real meat that won’t give you food poisoning) and early morning baked goods from the bakery, all feature in a clubber’s diet. Here are some particular recommendations of where to eat and drink in Berlin.
Berlin has a large Turkish community meaning that you can get excellant falafel, shawarma etc. This is also good for any Vegetarians as Turkish food usually has a selection of vegetarian options. Dada is known as the best in Berlin but is predominantly a street food place (although there are some places to sit inside) so for a winter trip or rainy day this could be a challenge. Expect to get food and a beer for under €10.
There’s a rumour going around that The Last Cathedral is owned by industrial metallers Rammstein. Whether this is true or not, this graveyard themed pub playing Goth friendly music is a good place to visit for a drink. They serve an array of drinks including beer, mead, cocktails and shots but do watch out for the occasional pub crawl or tourist troop that come in to stare. Usually stays open to 3am at least.
Clubs in Berlin don’t usually open until 11pm and don’t really get going until around 1am. They will also usually stay open until around 10am for the hardcode clubbers.
The infamous Alternative club used to be open every night but is now only open Friday and Saturday. €6 entry, 3 floors of insanity – not to be missed
Dunker has some excellant club nights. On Monday is their Dark Monday night playing Goth and Industrial and Sunday is Das War Vor Jahren (loosely translated as “Those were the years”) which plays 80′s and NewWave. It’s a great venue with a lovely beer garden for if the dance floor gets too hot.
If Cyberdog made a club, this would be it. C-base looks like a crazy crashed space ship complete with a screen showing cult sci-fi movies and a game table with touch control computer games! It even has free WiFi for the geeks! Every Saturday they hold BioMechanic which is a crazy Cyber Goth party. Definitely one to check out.