General information

Language

German is the official language in Berlin and the rest of Germany. English is spoken in many places around the city, especially among younger people and service providers. A few native phrases like “Guten Tag” (“hello”), “Ja” (“yes”), “Nein” (“no”), “Bitte” (“please”), “Danke” (“thanks”) and “Auf Wiedersehen” (“goodbye”) can certainly go a long way.

Currency

The Euro (€) is the official currency in Germany. Currency exchange can be done at every bank, although ATM withdrawal is often the cheapest option, subject to individual bank fees and charges. Credit and banking cards are widely accepted, but  it is recommended to carry a small amount of cash.

Time zone

Germany switches to daylight saving time on Sunday March 26th, 2017 at 02:00 am (to 03:00 am), which will then be the time zone UTC +2.

Electricity

Standard power voltage is 230V, 50Hz. Most sockets are for appliances with two-pins, as shown below.



Weather

In March, Berlin’s morning temperatures are normally around 3°C – 4°C (30 F) while the afternoons are more likely to be 12°C – 13°C (mid-50s F).

Safety

Berlin is considered to be a very safe city. Nonetheless, you should still be cautious of pickpockets and scams around the main tourist sights and traffic hubs. Additionally, it is advised to remain vigilant at night.

Important phone numbers:
Police: 110
Emergency: 112

Vaccinations

There are no vaccination requirements to enter Germany.


Drinking water

Water from the tap is very clean and safe to drink. The same applies for ice cubes in bars and restaurants, ice cream on the street, etc.

 

Wi-Fi

Free public Wi-Fi is not very common in Germany, however, some cafés and other public places provide Wi-Fi for their customers without charge.

There is also free Wi-Fi at many of the train stations.

 

Opening hours

Most shops open from 9:00am to 8:00pm on weekdays and close at 6:00pm on Saturdays. On Sundays most of the shops are closed, except for those in large train stations, which often remain open throughout the weekend.

 

Alcohol

The legal drinking age is 18. Alcoholic beverages can be carried openly in public.

 

Tipping

Service workers rarely work for minimum wage, but tipping is highly welcomed. It is not required to tip every interaction but a tip of 5–10 % is expected at restaurants or bars.