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Berlin is the capital and the most populous city in Germany by area and the most populous city in the European Union by population within the city limits. Berlin is surrounded by the state of Brandenburg and borders Potsdam, the capital of Brandenburg. Berlin is a cosmopolitan city of culture, politics, media and science. The city is known for its festivals, diverse architecture, nightlife, contemporary art and very high quality of life.
Berlin is rich in history and culture. There are three world heritage sites in Berlin: Museum Island, the palaces and parks of Potsdam and Berlin, and the Berlin Modernist settlements. Other sights include the Brandenburg Gate, the Reichstag building, Potsdamer Platz, the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, the Berlin Wall Memorial, the East Side Gallery, the Berlin Victory Column, the Berlin Cathedral and the Berlin TV Tower, the tallest structure in Germany. Berlin is home to numerous museums, galleries, libraries, orchestras and sporting events.
Basic info and car hire in Berlin
- Location: Germany
- Population: 3.8 million (2020)
- Official language: German
- Currency: Euro (EUR)
- Weather: Berlin has a temperate continental climate characterized by cold winters with average temperatures around freezing (0°C). The coldest month is January with -1°C. In winter, however, there can be different situations. When Atlantic currents prevail, there can be relatively mild periods when it can rain and the temperature exceeds 10°C; however, in these cases, wind and humidity can increase the feeling of cold. Summers are moderately warm, with daytime temperatures around 24 °C. July is the hottest month in Berlin with an average temperature of 18°C and the most daily hours of sunshine with 8 in July. However, the nights are cool and sometimes even a little cold. Atlantic depressions can also arrive during this time of year, bringing some cool and rainy days, while the temperature can reach 30°C during the best weather periods. The wettest month is June, with an average rainfall of 71 mm.
- Holidays in Berlin: Berlin is a beautiful and large city. It has large, quiet parks, stately mansions, and quiet corners everywhere. It has some of the best museums and galleries in Europe. There are many different neighbourhoods with squares lined with cafes and people enjoying life. Each neighbourhood is different and unique in its way. You can easily enjoy Berlin at any time of the year.
- Internet coverage: Hotels, bars, restaurants and cafes offer Wi-Fi.
- Road conditions: Berlin being a metropolis, the roads are in very good condition. Foreign drivers must be prepared for traffic on the main roads in particular, but with good research ahead of time and a GPS, driving is easy and enjoyable.
- Car hire in Berlin: Hiring a car at Berlin Brandenburg Airport or any other location in Berlin with Orbit Car Hire gives you plenty of freedom to get around Berlin and Germany. With a wide range of vehicles to choose from, you can be sure to find the one that suits your needs and gives you the most benefit on your trip.
Driving in Berlin
It is easy and convenient to travel through Berlin by car. The city has good highway access, several major roads are leading into the centre, and plenty of parking in the city centre. Traffic rules are clear and roads are well signposted. Berliners generally drive properly and follow the traffic rules. One thing you may not be used to is the number of cyclists. They usually ride on a bike path that is part of the sidewalk. So make sure you look out for them before you turn right.
- Age limits: The age limit is between 21 and 25, depending on the car rental agency. Many agencies will either charge a young driver fee if you are under this age or not allow you to rent the car at all.
- International Driving Permit: Yes, if your driver's license is not identifiable as Driving License, for example, if it is written in a non-Latin alphabet (e.g. Arabic, Chinese, Cyrillic, Japanese).
- Additional papers: Identification (passport), a valid driver's license, and valid proof of insurance. (It is advisable to take out insurance with the car rental company in case your policy does not cover you when driving in Germany).
- Additional requirements: Warning triangles, spare wheels and a hands-free kit with hearing aids are required if you are talking on the phone while driving.
- Children in the car: All vehicle occupants must wear a seat belt. Children under twelve years of age or over 5 feet tall may ride in the front passenger seat.
- Driving side of the road: Right.
- Lights: Headlights must be on at all times (day and night).
- General speed limits: 80 mph / 130 km/h on motorways, 49 mph / 80 km/h on main roads outside built-up areas and 31 mph/50 km/h inside built-up areas.
- Parking suggestions: Almost all car parks are metered, with the average price per hour being around GBP 1.90/ € 2.20.
Car Hire in Berlin
Most popular car hire at Berlin
The most selected hire car in Berlin is the Hyundai I20 with the Opel Corsa and Volkswagen Golf also being a popular option. The most popular car types in Berlin are the mini and economy car categories.
7 Seater car hire in Berlin is a great option for larger families. You can find vehicles like the Ford Galaxy, Seat Alhambra and Volkswagen Caravelle available at affordable rates here at Orbit Car Hire.
9 Seater car hire can be ideal for large groups travelling to Berlin. Popular options are the Volkswagen Transporter and Mercedes Vito. 9 seater rentals in Berlin is great for large groups with many suitcases.
Popular Driving Routes
Drive your hired car beyond Berlin
Want to rent a car for a one-way trip? No worries! Orbit Car Hire offers a variety of one-way Car Hire options in many locations outside of Berlin. One-way car rental is ideal for cross-town or cross-country travel, saving time by not returning to your original location.
Since Berlin is a city in the middle of Europe, it is exciting to travel beyond Berlin. There are many interesting cities to go to with your hired car, such as Frankfurt, Leipzig, Hanover, Hamburg, Dresden and many more! With permission from the car hire company you work with, you can even take your hired car to another European country and go on your little Eurotrip - the possibilities are endless!
Start your reservation with Orbit Car Hire and find great options for one-way car hire in Germany.
Popular day trips from Berlin
Day trip to Leipzig
The cultural centre of Leipzig is an enriching day trip from Berlin. In the 20th century, Leipzig was one of East Germany's leading cities, and today visitors can take a walk through history from then to now at the Forum for Contemporary History. Art lovers can take a look around Leipzig's Museum of Fine Arts, while classical music fans can visit the Bach Museum before paying their respects to the composer at his grave in St Thomas Church. Catch your breath at the Coffe Baum, a historic café that has been around since 1686. The city is about 160 kilometres from Berlin. By car, the journey takes just under two hours, depending on traffic.
Day trip to Dresden
A day trip to Dresden is a great way to get to know the city on the Elbe River. The Saxon city, which is within easy reach of Berlin, is known for its magnificent royal buildings. Although many of them have been rebuilt from ruins, landmarks like the Zwinger and the Hofkirche are as majestic as ever. Also visit the famous Frauenkirche, which was rebuilt from its rubble after lying in ruins for 60 years. While walking through the city, always keep your eyes peeled for the incredible street art. The 193 kilometres between Berlin and Dresden will take you about two hours by car (without traffic).
Day trip to Wannsee
The two lakes of Wannsee are a popular retreat from the heart of the city for locals and travellers alike. A retreat for the rich and famous, this picturesque area is home to several luxurious villas; you can get a glimpse of this lavish lakeside life at the Liebermann Villa. Wannsee is also home to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of the elegant Glienicke Hunting Lodge and Phauen Island. When the weather is nice, this large lake area is naturally full of sun worshippers enjoying the great outdoors and waterfront recreation. Wannsee is located in the west of Berlin and is only 25 kilometres from the centre of Berlin. You can reach it in just 30 minutes by car.
Day trip to Hamburg
Head north for a day to explore the northern port city of Hamburg. At the International Maritime Museum, you can learn more about the history of the city, which is known for its maritime importance and heritage. But there's more to this hip city than ships and cargo. Visit Speicherstadt - the largest warehouse district in the world and a World Heritage Site UNESCO - St. Pauli Piers or the modern-designed Elbphilharmonie Concert Hall. If you have time, do not miss the nightlife in the St. Pauli district - this is where the Beatles honed their musical skills. The 285 kilometres between Berlin and Hamburg will take you around two and a half to three hours by car.
Day trip to Szczecin
Cross the eastern border of Germany for an adventure in Szczecin, Poland. This charming port city on the Oder River offers travellers a delightful day of culture and sightseeing. Do not miss the imposing Duke's Castle, once the seat of the Dukes of Pomerania. Do not miss the Old Town with its colourful facades and the Town Hall, which now houses a museum and the Wyszak Brewery. Architecture fans should head to Solidarity Square to see the ultra-modern Szczecin Philharmonic building. The 143-kilometre route from Berlin to Szczecin will take you about two hours to drive.
Popular day tours in Berlin
City Highlights Bike Tour
Experience Berlin from a unique perspective and learn about the city's fascinating history and vibrant culture on a guided bike tour through historic neighbourhoods and past famous monuments. The duration of the tour is 3-7 hours.
Experience 11 notorious Berliners as they uncover the darkest moments in the city's history in a spooky show. The show is designed for small groups and is limited to 10 participants at a time.
Highlights Private Walking Tour with a Local
Book a real Berliner for an up-close-and-personal exploration of the main sights. Your local host will show you the main sights of Berlin from a local perspective, showing you the best of the city with a private, personalized and customized itinerary. The duration of the tour is 3-8 hours.
6-Hour In-Depth Private Tour of Jewish Berlin
Learn about Berlin's Jewish history in the company of an academically trained guide. Roam the Jewish quarters of Berlin and visit the old Jewish cemetery and the New Synagogue. Enjoy a 6-hour private tour that can be customised to your interests.
Sports in Berlin
Berlin offers its visitors and residents a wide range of outdoor and indoor sports, whether you are looking for a general activity or something more specific. The popularity of some sports also changes throughout the year. Since most lakes freeze over in the winter, ice skating is more popular in the winter, while in the summer all Berliners make a pilgrimage to the local lakes to go diving.
What to see in Berlin
Berlin has a lot to offer, interesting sights and other places to visit. Experience the culture of the city and immerse yourself in the long and extensive history that the city has to offer. As mentioned earlier, Berlin is a very large city with many districts, each with its city centre. You should be well organized and plan your days according to where you are staying.
Football is by far the most popular sport in Berlin. Although Berlin's first football team has not had any notable success recently, Berliners still enjoy their national sport. To see a team in action as a new Berliner or visitor, the easiest way is to join the various football groups on Facebook. These groups are managed by the local teams and you can simply ask when and where you can join them!
Berlin is one of the best places in the world to run and burn some calories. Few other capital cities have as many green spaces as Berlin, and the streets are wide enough to enjoy your run without crowds. It's no coincidence that the annual Berlin Marathon is one of the fastest and most popular marathons in the world. You can start your run more or less right in front of your house or hotel. Even at night, all the streets and sidewalks are lit up, so you can run around the clock. If you want to check out the most popular running routes in Berlin, you should visit the Volkspark Friedrichshain or the Grosser Tiergarten. Both parks are ideal for your workout among trees and picnickers. On the other hand, if you prefer to run on asphalt, the former Tempelhof airfield is the place to go.
Table tennis is a sport that is very common in Berlin. In almost every park you will find at least one table where you can play table tennis. If you have your racket, you can easily join a group of people and play a match - it's a great sport to meet new people. You can even play table tennis in bars; you can usually borrow a racket while you order your beer!
One of the reasons so many people love Berlin is because of the many parks and wide streets found throughout the city that are perfect for cycling. Even though the city has more than 3.5 million inhabitants, you never feel cramped like in other capitals. Many streets and paths along the rivers and lakes invite you to take long bike rides.
Berlin's most famous historical landmark is undoubtedly the Brandenburg Gate. Once a symbol of a divided nation, it now stands as a symbol of unity and peace. This impressively large neoclassical gate was commissioned by King Frederick William II in 1788 and its design was inspired by the Propylaea on the Acropolis in Athens. The 26-meter-high sandstone monument stands on Pariser Platz in the Mitte district, just one block from the Reichstag building. During the Cold War, its physical and symbolic position as a blocked gate along the Berlin Wall made it a frequent site for demonstrations by West Berliners. It is also famous as the backdrop for US President Ronald Reagan's call to Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987 to tear down the wall. A visit to the Brandenburg Gate at night is a special treat and undoubtedly one of the best free experiences in Berlin.
The Berlin Wall was built in 1961 when East Germany sealed off that part of the city to prevent citizens from fleeing to West Germany. It was torn down in 1989. Today, only small sections of this graffiti-covered travesty remain, including a 1.4-kilometre section that is preserved as part of the Berlin Wall Memorial. It is a chilling reminder of the hostility that once divided Europe. Highlights of a visit include the Marienfelde Refugee Center Museum, with exhibits about the million and a half people who passed through Berlin as refugees; the Guenter Litfin Memorial, a former watchtower that now commemorates the first civilian killed trying to cross the border from East to West; and the monument commemorating the divided city and the victims of Communist tyranny.
Despite its age - it celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2020 - the 368-metre-high Berlin TV Tower has lost none of its appeal to visitors to the city. Since its opening in 1970, Europe's third tallest free-standing structure has attracted over 60 million visitors, most of them for its spectacular views over the German capital. Originally, the structure was built to mark the overcoming of communism (it is located in former East Berlin). Today, the landmark can be seen from almost every corner of the city and is considered a symbol of the city's reunification in the 1980s. Be sure to visit the structure's observation deck and reserve a seat at the 207-metre-tall revolving restaurant if you have some time.
Dating from the late 17th century, Charlottenburg Palace is the oldest and largest Prussian estate in Berlin and was the main residence of the German royal family for decades. Today, the palace has been beautifully restored and boasts many extraordinary features, including a massive 50-meter-high central dome, opulent Baroque and Rococo décor in the expansive rooms, and a large garden inspired by the gardens at Versailles. A highlight of the sightseeing program is a visit to the New Wing with its state apartments and magnificent ballrooms. Built in 1746, the New Wing gives a glimpse of the splendour in which Prussian kings and electors lived, from Frederick I's bedroom and study with its fine furniture and paintings to the State Dining Room and the 42-meter-long Golden Gallery with its rich, gilded stucco work. Over in the Old Palace is the Porcelain Cabinet, a room dedicated to a large historic porcelain collection and special exhibits, including the Crown Jewels and other royal items. Another highlight is the palace park, built-in 1788. Be sure to visit the Mausoleum with its royal tombs and the Great Courtyard. One of the best things to do in Berlin in winter is to visit the Christmas Market at Charlottenburg Palace, where more than 250 merchants and artisans offer seasonal goods.
Gendarmenmarkt, one of Berlin's largest squares, is dominated by three historic landmarks: the Concert Hall, the French Cathedral, and the German Cathedral. This picturesque 17th-century square is now one of Berlin's main tourist attractions and hosts numerous public events each year, including classical concerts on the steps of the Konzerthaus in summer. In winter, the entire square is transformed into the city's famous Christmas market. The cathedrals are so named for their domes and are not churches - the French Cathedral houses the Huguenot Museum and the German Cathedral displays the history of the German Parliament. Alexanderplatz, another famous square in Berlin, was the centre of East Berlin life and is now home to the World Clock, a popular meeting place.
The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe - also known as the Holocaust Memorial - is another Berlin landmark that attracts tourists from all over the world. It is a remarkable testament to the German people and their commitment to never turn a blind eye to the atrocities of the past. Located on the east side of the Tiergarten, this collection of 2,711 concrete slabs spans 19,000 square meters of uneven ground. Beneath the sprawling memorial is an information centre that houses letters, diaries and photographs of Holocaust victims. An audio guide is available in English.
The Spree Island - better known as Museum Island - lies between the Spree and the Kupfergraben and is one of the city's most important UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Here you'll find many of the city's oldest and most important museums, including the Altes Museum, built-in 1830 to house the crown jewels and other royal treasures. The New Museum, destroyed during World War II, was rebuilt and reopened in 2009. It houses the extensive collections of the Egyptian Museum, the Papyrus Collection and the Antiquities Collection. The Alte Nationalgalerie displays neoclassical sculptures and paintings from 1815-1848, as well as Impressionist and early modern works. The Bode Museum houses a collection of Byzantine art as well as a large collection of sculptures, ranging from the Middle Ages to the late 1700s. The city's most popular museum, the Pergamon Museum, houses a museum of Islamic art, the Ishtar Gate, and reconstructed historical buildings from the Middle East. The newest museum attraction, the Humboldt Forum, opened in 2019 and houses the Ethnological Museum of Berlin and the Museum of Asian Art.
Founded in 1987 to mark Berlin's 750th anniversary, the German Historical Museum is a must-see for anyone interested in learning more about the city's remarkably rich history. This much-visited attraction consists of a series of historical exhibition rooms packed with fascinating artefacts from various eras and events, from the founding of the country to the fall of the Berlin Wall. Other highlights include exhibitions on medicine, fashion, religion, printing, art and photography. Military enthusiasts will also get their money's worth with the extensive collection of historic armour, weapons and uniforms. There is also an on-site cinema and a research library open to the public. Guided tours are available in English and there is a handy cloakroom and café for those planning a longer stay.
Also of interest is the Checkpoint Charlie Museum the most famous border crossing between East and West Berlin. This fascinating tourist attraction features numerous displays and artefacts that trace the history of human rights, as well as exhibits that deal specifically with the history of the Berlin Wall and Checkpoint Charlie. The museum is located next to the original guardhouse and also features some of the most interesting attempts by those who tried to escape communist rule. This includes an original homemade balloon used in a successful attempt.
One of Berlin's newer attractions, the DDR Museum, which opened in 2006, offers a sobering glimpse into life in East Berlin under communist rule. Located in East Berlin's old government district, this popular attraction features a variety of interactive exhibits on topics such as surveillance, the privations of daily life, and a replica of a high-rise building. Other highlights of a visit include a replica prison cell, an interrogation room, a cinema and accompanying information. Be sure to try the Trabant simulator, which offers a realistic driving experience along the Berlin Wall in a classic East German vehicle. A large collection of authentic artefacts from the era is also on display.
The Berlin Zoological Garden is the oldest zoo in Germany and remains one of Berlin's most popular attractions, attracting 3.5 million visitors a year. Founded in 1844 and completely rebuilt after World War II, the zoo is known for its many successful breeding programs and authentic animal habitats. The zoo is home to nearly 20,000 animals large and small, from Arctic wolves to zebras. Famous residents include pandas, giraffes and penguins. The Zoological Garden is also home to the largest aviary in Europe, as well as the Aquarium Berlin, where you can see more than 9,000 animals in 250 tanks, including reef and tiger sharks, jellyfish, tropical fish, reptiles and insects.
The Nikolai Quarter is located in the heart of the old town of Berlin. Here you will find many of the city's oldest and most popular sights, as well as many interesting things to do beyond the usual tourist attractions. This pedestrian-friendly neighbourhood is known for its many small buildings in the winding streets, which are home to restaurants, cafes, and shops, as well as artisan shops selling everything from basketry to woodwork. Highlights of the district include the many old fountains, lanterns and lattice windows on the older houses and historic buildings. Another popular destination is Berlin's most famous street, Unter den Linden. This wide avenue stretches for about 1,400 meters and connects Pariser Platz in front of the Brandenburg Gate with the Lustgarten. Today, the two lanes of cars are separated by a wide, central pedestrian area that spans much of the street and is a wonderful place to relax and watch the hustle and bustle of the city.
Streetlife in Berlin
Berlin is by far the cheapest capital city in Western Europe, making it a great place for budget travellers that are looking for world-class museums, cheap food, great nightlife, and affordable accommodations. Prices are slowly rising, but it's still easy to visit Berlin without spending a lot of money. For budget travellers, a visit to Berlin costs around €40-€75/day. These Berlin prices are based on what you need to visit the city comfortably as a budget traveller. If you want to upgrade your accommodation, you'll need to add another €100-€200per night, depending on your choice. Berlin has several great museums and attractions to offer - and most are quite affordable. There are also plenty of sights, monuments, parks and street art, all of which are free. You will not go hungry in Berlin, as there are plenty of inexpensive options. Most meals are hearty and the beer is cheap. What else could you ask for? There are a large number of hostels in Berlin, and the prices are affordable. Even hotels are not bad if you do a little searching. Rental apartments are also plentiful and affordable, and they are a great way to experience the city like a local.
Compared to other major cities in Germany or around the world, Berlin is considered a fairly safe city. Therefore, it is not surprising that visitors to Berlin also feel safe. Nevertheless, there are a few things you should watch out for to be safe. To avoid pickpockets, it is best to:
- Keep all valuables close to you, for example in the inside pockets of your coat or the front pockets of your trousers.
- Keep a tight hold on your handbag or other bags on crowded public transport.
- Stay away from dark parks and corners at night.
Where to stay in Berlin
In the city of diversity, it is easy to find accommodation for all types of travellers visiting Berlin, from cheap to the best luxury.
Best for nightlife - now Berlin. Located between Friedrichshain and Kreuzberg, this 304-room hotel towers over the Spree River and is within walking distance of the bars and clubs of Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain. The hotel is an explosion of candy colours and curved shapes. Room service provides round-the-clock guitars and decks for late-night jam sessions and DJ. There's a riverside terrace for sunset cocktails, saunas where you can sweat out the previous night's excesses, and a 5 pm check-out on Sundays.
Best for live music - Orania.Berlin. Just a block from one of Berlin's most famous punk clubs, this boutique hotel brings something new to hip east Kreuzberg - namely, a sophisticated ground-floor lounge with live jazz, handcrafted cocktails and contemporary cuisine by Michelin-starred chef Philipp Vogel. Housed in an Art Nouveau building that used to host cabaret shows, the hotel's 41 rooms are decorated in warm reds and golds and feature oak floors, hand-knotted rugs, and extremely comfortable beds. You also get free tickets to the jazz and classical concerts that take place in the salon on the top floor.
Best for history - Hotel Adlon Kempinski. This grande dame overlooking the Brandenburg Gate in Mitte has hosted guests ranging from Albert Einstein to a Michael Jackson. Opened in 1907, the hotel survived World War II until it was accidentally set on fire by Soviet soldiers during a raid on the wine cellar. Rebuilt in 1997, the hotel has a two Michelin-starred restaurant, a three-story spa, and 385 rooms decorated in elegant style-think rich silks and mahogany furniture. Major sights such as the Reichstag building and the Holocaust Memorial are just a short walk away.
Best for budget - Motel One Berlin-Alexanderplatz. Opened in December 2017, the 708-room hotel is the 10th Berlin outpost of the design-focused German hotel chain. The hotel is located in the city centre, near the main train station, and the lively lobby lounge reflects Berlin's creative atmosphere with murals and colourful Moroso armchairs. Rooms are cosy and comfortable, with double or queen beds, Egyptian cotton bedding, and tech amenities like rain showers. Sign up for the hotel's loyalty programme for complimentary breakfast and late check-out on Sundays.
Best for modern luxury - SO Berlin Das Stue. On the edge of leafy Tiergarten - Berlin's equivalent of London's Hyde Park - this 78-room hotel once housed the Danish embassy in the city centre. Spanish designer Patricia Urquiola's playful public spaces mix animal sculptures with colourful bespoke furniture and black-and-white fashion photographs. Rooms feature high ceilings, Arne Jacobsen Egg chairs and high-end entertainment systems, while the expansive Stue suites have freestanding silver tubs. On the ground floor, there's a Michelin-starred restaurant by Catalan chef Paco Pérez and a Susanne Kaufmann Spa with plant-based treatments.
Best for shopping - 25hours Hotel Bikini Berlin. Just a 10-minute walk from the Kurfuerstendamm shopping boulevard and close to the hip Bikini shopping mall, this 149-room hotel is the perfect place for a little shopping spree. A lobby lounge with hammocks and bicycles hanging from the ceiling adds a funky flair. Rounding out the amenities are a lively rooftop bar, a ninth-floor sauna with views of the Berlin Zoo's monkey enclosure, and free MINI Coopers to borrow. Choose between the Urban Rooms with views of the bomb-damaged Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church or the Jungle Rooms with views of the zoo and Tiergarten.
Best for romance - Provocateur. Just five minutes from Kurfuerstendamm, the Provocateur is the kind of hotel where you order a bottle of champagne and hang up the "do not disturb" sign. The 58 rooms, which opened in January 2017, are unashamedly sensual, with lipstick-red or teal hues, plush velvet, and a bedside switch that dims the lights, plays sultry tunes and throws sexy video art on the wall. You might not even feel the urge to leave - although there's an equally seductive cocktail bar and renowned French-Chinese restaurant on the ground floor.
Best for wellness - Hotel de Rome. Just a stone's throw from the State Opera House, this Rocco Forte hotel is housed in a former 19th-century bank. The old vault has been converted into an 8,600-square-foot underground spa where you can splash in a pool with gold mosaic tiles, book a shiatsu massage and visit the Finnish sauna. Most of the 145 rooms are chic and modern, with king-size beds and huge bathrooms, while four historic suites boast wood panelling, hardwood floors, and the odd piece of World War II shrapnel.
Best for old-school glamour - Hotel Zoo. Originally opened in 1911 in a prime location on Ku'Damm, the Hotel Zoo became the official hotel of the Berlin International Film Festival in the 1950s, hosting stars such as Grace Kelly and Sophia Loren. Renovated in 2014, the 144-room hotel combines modern charm with old-school flair. Rooms have high ceilings, hardwood floors, glass rain showers, and plush towels by Maison Martin Margiela, while the Grace Bar, where you can browse, offers top-notch cocktails and DJs on weekends.
Best for architecture - Hotel Oderberger. Located in Prenzlauer Berg, this former 19th-century public bathhouse was transformed into a 75-room boutique hotel in 2016. Original elements such as tiles and doors were combined with modern furniture and contemporary art; old bath cabins were converted into bedrooms, while the former boiler room is now a modern German restaurant with 50-foot ceilings. But the hotel's most striking feature is undoubtedly the 65-foot indoor pool set in a cathedral-like hall. After a swim, stroll down to Mauerpark for the Sunday market and outdoor karaoke.
Best for families - Brilliant Apartments. In a 19th-century townhouse on one of Berlin's most beautiful café streets, these 14 flats offer a mix of style and practicality. They range from studios to two-bedroom flats and some have balconies, bathrooms and extra beds, as well as a quiet courtyard at the back. Walk to Mauerpark and the MACHMit! museum for kids, while Mount Mitte's high ropes course and the Natural History Museum are just a short tram ride away. For older children, the Berlin Wall Memorial is a 15-minute walk away.
Best for boho vibes - Lulu Guldsmeden. This 81-room hotel on busy Potsdamer Strasse is part of a quirky Danish hotel chain and boasts a relaxed charm. The high-ceilinged rooms combine elegant Scandi style with bright Balinese accents. Most are furnished with four-poster beds, but it's worth paying for the extra space in a suite or loft within its swing. There's an atmospherically lit bar and restaurant serving Nordic-inspired organic cuisine on the ground floor, and a courtyard planted with plants. Rent a bike to explore the city or walk five minutes to the nearest metro station.
Best for foodies - The Mandala Hotel. If you want to treat yourself to something special, go to The Mandala at Potsdamer Platz. It has everything you want from a five-star hotel: sleek and stylish rooms, a first-class spa and a famous restaurant. The two Michelin-starred Facil restaurant overlooks a bamboo garden on the fifth floor and is upmarket but relaxed, serving artfully presented dishes such as mullet in beurre blanc and venison with pickled pumpkin. The Brandenburg Gate is a 15-minute walk away, while the upmarket KaDaWe food hall is four underground stops away.
Enjoy the culture in Berlin
Where to eat, drink, and party in Berlin
Berlin is a lively and exciting city. You are spoilt for choice when it comes to where to eat, drink and enjoy the great nightlife!
Nobelhart & Schmutzig. Nobelhart & Schmutzig is the restaurant that pioneered local, sustainable cuisine in Berlin. Everything served comes from a farm outside the city and the staff tell you a story about the farmer who grew the vegetables. It's not over the top but feels special and interesting. So enjoy the organic wine, which comes from the priceless last stocks of a German winery. All the guests are seated at a single long table around the open kitchen, which makes the atmosphere more relaxed than in many other restaurants.
Lon-Men’s Noodle House. This decades-old Taiwanese place is famous for its soups, handmade noodles and dim sum. It's one of the best Asian restaurants in Berlin, especially if you are on a budget, as everything on the menu costs less than $15. If you want to grab a bite to eat after exploring Museum Island, this is the place to go. Even when it's busy, you rarely have to wait for a table at Lon Men's Noodle House. This restaurant is located in the heart of Berlin's Little Asia.
La Lucha. La Lucha is the best place to start your evening in Kreuzberg if you have a group in tow. The Mexican eatery offers loud Latin music, a colourful interior and strong drinks. The dishes, like tacos and quesadillas, are great for sharing and we love the big stone bowl with homemade corn crisps and fresh guacamole. Once you have had a few margaritas, micheladas and mezcal flights, there are plenty of bars nearby where you can dance or drink cocktails.
Barra. Barra is a feel-good restaurant in a warm, brick and wood-clad space. The reasonably priced, seasonal menu is simple and offers comforting dishes such as gnocchi with pistachios and pecorino, mussels in fennel and peach gazpacho with burrata. There's also a small but well-thought-out wine list with wines that are not overdone. Seating is limited - especially on Sunday and Monday evenings when Barra is one of the few large restaurants open. It is therefore advisable to book in advance.
Rocket + Basil. There are several Persian restaurants in Berlin, but this one is a favourite of many diners. The interiors are bright and perfect for a coffee and a computer day, an afternoon snack or a quick lunch. Rocket + Basil is just a 15-minute bus ride from sights like Checkpoint Charlie and the Topography of Terror - an area where there are not many good food options. The daily specials are always made with local German ingredients, such as slow-cooked chicken with jewel rice and turkey meatballs in saffron tomato sauce. The pastries are also delicious, especially the cardamom buns.
The Berlin Icebar is located between Alexanderplatz and Hackescher Markt. Everything is made of ice! At the bar, there are glasses made of ice into which vodka and gin from Greenland or other Arctic drinks can be poured. Three drinks are included with the purchase of a ticket.
Eschenbräu is one of the best craft breweries in the city, and the beer garden with its large oak trees is also very popular. It is located in a private residential Hof and offers seasonal and other beers as well as organic pretzels and a few other food items.
Berghain is considered one of the best clubs in the world. This club offers techno beats in a former power station with a strict door policy.
The House of Weekend is one of the most famous clubs in the city. This place offers a great panoramic view from inside an old office building and a roof terrace.
What you need to know about renting a car
What do I need to rent a car in Germany?
A credit card in the name of the main driver needs to be presented. A security deposit may be required while renting a car so the credit card must have sufficient funds. You can find details about the security deposit listed while booking the vehicle as well as on your voucher. It is important to have a valid driving license with the name of the main driver as well as additional drivers when it applies. An International Driving Permit is required in addition to a National Driving License if the National Driving License you or any of the Additional Drivers hold is not clearly identifiable as a Driving License, eg, it is in a non-Latin alphabet (eg Arabic, Chinese, Cyrillic, Japanese). It can also depend on the country or car rental company you are renting with. If you have found a car on our website, you can press the rental terms link from the supplier for more information about driving license requirements. You will need to have identification with you such as a passport and ID cards. When you pick up your rental car you need to have your voucher with you.
How old do I need to be to rent a car in Germany?
The minimum age to rent a car in Germany is 21 years old, however, some suppliers allow young drivers from 18 years of age to rent a car from them. A young driver fee can apply for drivers that are under 25 years of age. This information is visible in the search engine with Orbit Car Hire.
Do I need car insurance in Germany?
Insurances are very important when renting a car and can be different between countries. When renting a car in Germany with Orbit Car Hire the prices will include mandatory insurances in the country.
Do I need a credit card to rent a car in Germany?
In most cases, a credit card is required to be presented in the name of the main driver. A security deposit may be required when renting a car so it is important to have sufficient funds on the credit card. When searching for a car at Orbit you can see credit card requirements from all our suppliers.
Do I need an international driving license in Germany?
An International Driving Permit is required in addition to a National Driving License if the National Driving License you or any of the Additional Drivers hold is not clearly identifiable as a Driving License, eg, it is in a non-Latin alphabet (eg Arabic, Chinese, Cyrillic, Japanese). It can also depend on the country or car rental company you are renting with. If you have found a car on our website, you can press the rental terms link from the supplier for more information about driving license requirements.
How do I find the cheapest car in Germany?
You can find cheap car hire by comparing prices with all major car rentals at Orbit Car Hire. A good idea can be to book in advance as the prices can increase closer to the travel period.
What is the cheapest rental car in Germany?
You will find the mini car category or economy cars to be the cheapest car categories. Vehicles such as Toyota Aygo and Opel Corsa often provide the best prices.
What is the best car rental company in Germany?
You may find excellent service provided by companies such as Alamo, Enterprise, Europcar, Buchbinder, and Keddy.
What types and makes of rental cars deals can I find in Germany?
You will find car types such as mini, economy, compact, Full-Size, and luxury cars. Popular rental cars are Hyundai i20, Renault Clio, VW Golf, BMW 1 series.
Does my rental car have unlimited mileage when I book for Germany?
Most car rentals in Germany offer unlimited mileage in their offers.
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