Berlin, the capital city of the Federal Republic of Germany, is one of the most beautiful, liberal, and cosmopolitan cities in the world. The city, which before the demolition of the Berlin Wall, was divided into 2 separate and different entities - the communist Eastern Berlin and the democratic Western Berlin. Berlin has a diverse population, and is known for its liberal nature, which is a great attraction for all sorts of artists from all over Europe. Berlin is home to over 150 different museums, more than 400 art galleries, over 50 performing theaters, and a number of remarkable music conservatories. The city has long been in the cross-hairs of history and has its share of famous landmarks such as the Reichstag, the Brandenburg Gate, Checkpoint Charlie, and what’s left of the Berlin Wall. But despite its heavy historical burden, or perhaps because of it, Berlin is throwing itself into tomorrow with contagious energy and at times, the entire city seems to be one huge party. Cafes are jammed packed at all hours, bars are jumping and rocking, and the clubs host one of the most frenzied and hedonistic scenes in the world.
The living cost in Berlin is lower than in most major German cities. You’ll have no problem to eat out inexpensively; public transport is relatively cheap and tickets to cultural events and entertainment are affordable. Hotel accommodation is comparatively low-priced, and you can find plenty of excellent hostels for around €40 a night. And that’s not all: many museums offer free admission on a particular day of the week or month, cinemas are almost half price before 5pm Monday to Wednesday, and most restaurants offer a range of set menus and special meals for a low price.
Currency: The Euro (€) is the German and European currency. €1 is divided into 100 centimes or cents. Notes are €5, €10, €20, €50, €100, €200 and €500. coins are 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 cents; €1 and €2.
Everyday prices: A single ticket for the bus, tram, U-Bahn or S-Bahn is 2.4€ (zone A & B), a weekly pass will cost you 28€, and a ticket for the whole month is 77€. For a reasonable sandwich you will pay from 2€ and up, and the salads starts at 3€. Dining at a economic restaurant can cost from 7€ to 10€, while a three course meal for two in a mid-range Restaurant will be around 40€. A Cappuccino is around 2€. A ticket to the movies is 5€-8€, while theatre tickets can range from 7€ to 30€. A beer in the local pubs is usually 2.5€-3€, and entry fee to a nightclub is around 10€.
Tipping: Restaurant bills include a service charge and tipping is not compulsory, but if you're enjoyed the service, you can add about 5% to 10% to the total bill. However, you should remember that it is not customary to leave the tip on the table, but to hand it over with the money. At hotels, bellhops are given about 1€ per bag and it's also nice to leave a few euros for the room cleaners. Bartenders usually expect about 5% tip, and taxi drivers around 10%, though a small gratuity rounding up to the nearest Euro is also frequent.