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Berlin

The Brandenburger Tor, Berlin

Practical Info about Berlin

Getting around the city

The Berlin public transport system is efficient, if expensive, and the combination of buses, trams, ferries, the U-Bahn (underground) and S-Bahn (commuter rail) reaches every part of the sprawling city and its surrounds. The U-Bahn and S-Bahn are the best ways of getting around; buses cover the parts of the city that cannot be reached by train, and East Berlin has a network of modernised, pre-war trams. One type of ticket is valid on all forms of transport and fares are divided into three colour-coded tariff zones. Driving in Berlin is easier than in most big cities, but in general is still not recommended, as traffic is heavy and parking difficult to find and expensive. Taxis are plentiful, but it is cheaper to hail one in the street than to call ahead at one of the many call stands around the city. Cycling is also recommended, especially in West Berlin, which is well-equipped with cycle paths and trains that have special cars where bicycles can be carried.

Time

GMT +1 (GMT +2 between the last Sunday in March and the Saturday before the last Sunday in April).

Electricity

220 volts, 50Hz. European-style two-pin plugs are standard.

Currency

The unit of currency is the Euro (EUR), divided into 100 cents. ATMs and exchange bureaux are widely available. The major credit cards are accepted in large shops, hotels and restaurants, although Germans themselves prefer to carry cash. The quickest and most convenient way to change money is to obtain cash from one of the ATM machines that are ubiquitous features on all German streets. Banks are closed on weekends, but exchange bureaux at airports and main railway stations are open daily.

Communication

The international access code for Germany is +49. Telephone numbers in Germany can range from four to nine digits. There are surcharges on international calls made from hotels; it is often cheaper to use public telephone boxes in post offices, which use phone cards. The local mobile phone operators use GSM networks and have roaming agreements with most international operators. Internet cafes are available in the main towns.

Emergency number

Emergencies: 110 (Police); 112 (Ambulance)

Visa and health information

Everything about visa and health information

Public holidays

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2014 2015
New Years Day 1 Jan 1 Jan
Epiphany 6 Jan 6 Jan
Good Friday 18 Apr 3 Apr
Easter Sunday 20 Apr 5 Apr
Easter Monday 21 Apr 6 Apr
Labour Day 1 May 1 May
Ascension Day 29 May 14 May
Whit Monday 9 Jun 25 May
Corpus Christi 19 Jun 4 Jun
Assumption of the Virgin Mary 15 Aug 15 Aug
Day of German Unity 3 Oct 3 Oct
Day of Reformation 31 Oct 31 Oct
All Saints Day 1 Nov 1 Nov
Day of Repentance and Prayer 19 Nov 18 Nov
Christmas Day 25 Dec 25 Dec
St Stephens Day 26 Dec 26 Dec

Climate

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Berlin has a continental climate with cold winters, hot summers and fairly mild autumns and springs. Summer weather in Berlin is pleasant and sunny; the days are long and temperatures can sometimes exceed 86°F (30°C), particularly in July and August; however, the summer weather is also unpredictable, and can be fairly humid. Winter weather in Berlin, by contrast, is bitterly cold and damp, with plentiful snow and frosty days when temperatures hover at or just below freezing. Although snow falls between December and March, the city seldom stays covered in snow for long. Rain can fall all year round, but the wettest months are June and August, and the driest months on average are October and February.

Berlin-Tegel Airport

www.berlin-airport.de

Getting to the city

The most convenient and cost effective way to get to and from the airport is by bus. Buses connect with the subway and overground train stations. Taxis are readily available outside the airport terminals on both levels.

Car rental

Vehicle hire companies represented at the airport include Budget, Avis, Hertz, Europcar, National and Sixt.

Airport taxi's

Taxis are readily available outside the Berlin-Tegel Airport's Terminal A1. A taxi to the centre of Berlin takes approximately 20 minutes and costs between €35 and €40. Avoid touts and unlicensed taxis. Private hotel shuttle services to and from the airport are also available.

Transfer between terminals

The airport terminals are all connected by walkways.

Facilities

Facilities include banks, bureaux de change, ATMs, a post office, business centres and baby rooms. There are several shops, including duty-free, and a selection of restaurants. Disabled facilities are good; travellers with special needs should contact their airline in advance.

Parking

There are a number of parking lots at Berlin-Tegel Airport, all within easy walking distance of the terminal building. Short-term parking in parking lot PK costs €2.50 for the first 15 minutes and €2.50 for every 15 minutes thereafter, up to a maximum daily charge of €140. P1 and P2 are medium-stay parking garages: fees start at €4 for the first hour and go up to €32 for the day. Parking lot P5 is for long-stay parking: 1 week costs €87.

Internet

Wifi is available throughout the airport. Hourly rates vary depending on the connection plan.