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If you’re looking for a city with a rich history, exciting nightlife, and plenty of activities for an exciting trip, Berlin is the place for you.
But when visiting the city for the first time, it’s crucial to learn about the city’s history and culture before you arrive.
This article provides a guide to the potential mistakes to avoid while visiting Berlin that will help you have a pleasant journey in the city during your stay.
So, without further ado, let’s get started.
Mistakes To Avoid When Visiting Berlin
1. Expecting Shops to Open on Sundays
In Berlin, many people expect shops to be open on Sundays but you will find out very quickly that this is not the case.
While it’s normal in the U.S. for most shops and restaurants to be open on Sundays, Berlin is quite the opposite. Wondering why this place is different? Well, they take observing the Sabbath seriously and abstain from work on this holy day.
So, most stores and shops are closed on Sundays, except for a few bakeries, pharmacies, restaurants, and gas stations. And, in some areas of the city, there are “Sunday shopping streets” where a limited number of shops are open.
2. Not Keeping Your Cash Safe and Secure
Another potential mistake to avoid while visiting Berlin is not keeping your cash safe and secure. With that said, here are a few tips that are helpful to follow.
Bring a mix of small bills and larger bills. This way, you’ll be able to pay for things regardless of whether the place you’re visiting accepts credit cards or not.
Retain your cash in a secure location, such as a money belt or secret pocket. However, it’s best not to keep all of your money in one place. If there are any emergencies, it will be a lifesaver.
Only withdraw money from ATMs during the daytime and in well-lit areas. This will save you from getting scammed by thieves who target tourists.
Be aware of the exchange rate before withdrawing money from an ATM. So, you’ll know how much cash you should withdraw based on the current rate.
Finally, don’t forget to budget for things like souvenirs and tipping! These are often overlooked expenses that can add up quickly if you’re not careful.
3. Walking in the Cycle Lane
New visitors often make the blunder of walking in the cycle lanes of Berlin, which is entirely understandable given that their country’s transportation system might not include a dedicated route for cyclists.
But it’s illegal and can result in a fine. And not only that, but it’s also extremely dangerous. With so many cyclists on the road, there’s a good chance you’ll get hit by one if you’re not careful. Plus, you’ll be blocking traffic and causing problems for other pedestrians.
So, now that you’re aware of the possible danger, avoid using the cycle lane for your’s and others’ safety!
4. Impromptu Photoshoots at the Holocaust Memorial
The Holocaust Memorial in Berlin is a powerful and moving tribute to the millions of Jews killed during World War II. However, it is also a place of solemn reflection and respect; visitors should be mindful of this when taking photos.
While it may be tempting to snap a few photos, it is crucial to remember that this is not only a tourist attraction but a monument to the victims of one of the most horrific events in human history.
Therefore, taking respectful and considerate photos will help ensure that the memory of those who perished is adequately respected.
In addition to taking impromptu photos, some tourists also jump over the stones at the memorial. This is not only disrespectful but it’s also offensive.
So, try to be mindful of these rules and respect the monument when visiting this tourist spot in Berlin.
5. Speaking Too Loudly in Public
Speaking loudly in bars, pubs, or on public transportation might not seem like a big deal, but in Berlin, it is.
Most Berliners prefer to take public transportation or eat their meals in peace. Although that doesn’t mean they do not enjoy one another’s company, they do so but in more quiet and respectful tones.
So, to avoid odd looks and potential confrontations, it’s best not to speak too loudly in public while in Berlin to avoid disrupting others.
6. Not Exploring Anything Other Than the Tourist Trail
This is one of the most common mistakes to avoid while visiting Berlin. Whether traveling solo or in a group, you should definitely make time to add some more local spots to your Berlin itinerary
So don’t limit yourself to just the tourist trail. You might be surprised at how much you enjoy Berlin if you take the time to explore all it has to offer.
7. Forgetting To Tip Or Excessive Tipping
Tipping etiquette varies greatly worldwide, and there are many different ways to do it. Some places allow tipping, while others don’t. And even within countries, like European countries, tipping customs vary widely.
In Berlin, it’s considered rude not to tip in restaurants unless the service is terrible. So if you go out to eat with friends, ensure everyone pays their fair share.
However, if you’re dining alone, you don’t necessarily owe anyone anything extra. So, a good rule is to leave 10% of the bill. It is typical in cabs to round up to the subsequent euro.
8. Arriving Anywhere Late
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that arriving late to any event or place is no big deal in Berlin.
Berlin is a city that runs on schedule, and being late or missing an event can ruin your whole trip. From missed trains to sold-out concerts or dinner parties, punctuality is vital if you want to enjoy everything the city offers.
So be careful to be on time for any location or event you need to attend. Otherwise, you risk offending your host or making a bad impression.
However, there are always exceptions to the rule in case of emergencies. You will only have to call ahead. They’ll appreciate that you let them know.
9. Renting the Wrong Car
Avoid choosing the wrong vehicle if you intend to rent a car while in Berlin. Keep a few things in mind, such as what kind of activities you’ll be doing, what road trips itinerary to take, and where you’ll drive.
For example, if you want to do a lot of sightseeing, get a car that’s easy to park and maneuver in tight spaces. You’ll also want a vehicle with good fuel economy. Also, if you can’t drive stick shift make sure you rent an automatic transmission vehicle.
Whatever your travel plans, research well so you can enjoy your trip without any rental car headaches.
10. Not Having Enough Cash on Hand
When visiting any city, it’s always essential to have some cash on hand in case of emergencies. But especially for Berlin, it’s crucial to ensure you have enough money in your wallet rather than just debit or credit cards.
There are several reasons for this:
(1) Many businesses in Berlin only accept cash, especially the tiny vendors, restaurants, and of course, public transportation.
(2) ATMs can be hard to find.
(3) You’ll likely get hit with extra fees if you try using your credit or debit card.
However, it goes without saying that carrying a lot of cash can be risky. A good rule of thumb is to store a minimum amount of money to cover your expenses for a day or two.
11. Taking Any Bad Attitudes Personally
Most Berliners are lovely and friendly people. However, you may encounter the occasional grumpy Berliner. Don’t take it personally – It’s not you, it’s them.
Berliners are known for being a bit surly, but that doesn’t mean they don’t enjoy the company of tourists. They’re just a bit gruff on the outside. But once you get to know them, they’re actually very warm and welcoming.
So, don’t let anyone with a grumpy demeanor discourage you from enjoying all that Berlin has to offer.
Visiting the capital of Germany is a wonderful experience, but it’s always better to plan ahead. Otherwise, you could be making potential blunders that many first-time visitors do.
And here in this article, we discussed a few critical mistakes to avoid while visiting Berlin to give you a better idea of what could go wrong during your stay there.
So, keep these things in mind for a fun and laid-back trip to Berlin.