Berlin is one of the most exciting cities in Europe. Please find below some information below to make your stay more comfortable and enjoyable.
PASSPORTS AND VISAS
All visitors to Germany will need a valid passport to enter the country. If you are a citizen of the European Union, the United States, or your country is a party to the Schengen Agreement, you should not need a visa in addition to a passport to enter the country if you plan to stay in Europe for less than 90 days. Be sure to check with your country's consulate to determine if you need a visa to travel.
- Overview of visa requirements/exemptions for entry into the Federal Republic of Germany
- Applying for a Schengen visa
droidcon Berlin is happy to issue an official letter of invitation to attendees who require this in order to obtain a visa. If you do need a letter to apply for a visa, we encourage you to request one as early as possible. You must be registered prior to requesting a letter.
The official currency in Germany is the Euro. While Visa, MasterCard, and Maestro are accepted at most shops and restaurants, cash is welcomed everywhere. Most restaurants do not allow split checks on multiple credit cards, so be sure to carry cash while dining out with large groups! Tegel and Schönefeld airports will have an ATM for quick cash. View current exchange rates.
If visiting from outside Germany, be sure to bring a 230V power adaptor (plug type F), to ensure your laptop doesn't run out of battery on the first day! If you forget your adaptor, ask your hotel's front desk.
Public transportation is really good in Berlin. You can go nearly everywhere with the S-Bahn, U-Bahn or Tram - everything else can be reached by Bus. The system is divided into three zones (A, B, C), the first two being the city centre. The trains run from 5:00 until 1:00 during the week, and non-stop on weekends. A single ticket (Einzelfahrschein) is 2,70 € and is valid for 120 minutes. For rides less than three stations there is also a short ride ticket (Kurzstreckenticket). Depending on your duration of stay and the location of your hotel a tourist ticket (Welcome Ticket) valid for 48 or more hours might be an option. The tourist tickets also include various discounts at restaurants and museums.
We recommend the free public transportation app for your stay:
FOOD & DRINKS
Berlin is a melting pot of cuisine from all over the world, you can find anything from street vendors to fine dining, coffeehouses, breweries, and bakeries. The city's most iconic food is still the Currywurst. You can head to Curry 36 close to Zoologischer Garten for the classic version. Another typical Berlin street food is the the döner. You find them all over the city, but Mustafa’s Gemüse Kebap is worth the waiting in line. Berlin is also an ideal place for beer lovers. Make sure to visit Eschenbräu brewery on a warm fall evening for a glass of cold seasonal beer. If you're a sucker for a good beer garden you should visit the Prater - a public's favorite, located in the heart of Prenzlauer Berg.
MUSEUMS & SIGHTS
Berlin's turbulent history is reflected in its many landmarks and monuments. The city has been ripped apart for nearly 50 years by the Berlin Wall and still picking up the pieces today. Berlin is noted for its cultural flair and diversity in arts. For the first-time visit to the German capital, the city's top rated attractions such as Alexander Platz and the TV Tower, Brandenburger Tor and Untern der Linden street are highly recommended. You can look through the full list of Berlin's most prominent sights here. If you're planning to go all in on the tourist attractions, consider getting a Welcome Pass to save up on museum entrance fees, public transportation and more.
Moreover, Berlin's capacity for technological prowess and engineering makes it truly a geek's paradise. You should start with Museum of Technology with its massive exhibition spaces devoted mostly to the history of technology and pay a visit to a nearby located Science Center Spectrum, where you can spend all day experimenting in various fields (e.g. electricity and magnetism,
mechanics and motion, light and visions, and many more). A perfect place to bring your kids!
Berlin's Computerspielmuseum (museum for computer games) boasts of an impressive game collection with its 300+ exhibits, including playable classics and rare originals. The organizers promise to turn every visitor into Homo ludens digitalis and encourage everyone to cast off the existing stereotype of a gamer and create your own vision for this medium of entertainment. Furthermore, as recently announced, Computerspielmuseum along with Entertainment Software Self-Regulation Body (USK) and Digital Games Research Center of University Potsdam will bring their vast collections together to open up the biggest computer games library worldwide.
If you still have some time on your hands, there are multiple hacker spaces spilled across the city, where you can network and chill with like-minded individuals. Berlin is also home to Europe's largest hacker association – The Chaos Computer Club e.V. (CCC), which you should check for events and meetups.
Photo: cc-by 2.0 Matthias Ripp