1. Football (Soccer) in Berlin, Germany
Football is by far one of the most popular sports in Berlin and the German Bundesliga is one the most competitive football leagues in Europe.
The main football season runs from August through to May each year and the main stadium is the city’s Olympic stadium.
Tickets are easy to come by and visitors to the city should not face any problems in purchasing them. However, it is advisable that you make your bookings and ticket purchases in advance should Bayern Munich come to Berlin for a match.
The main team in Berlin is Hertha BSC. Hertha has a solid core and passionate fanbase in Berlin, and this is clear when they go up against their long-time rivals Bayern Munich.
The Olympic Stadium in which they play is a fantastic stadium and it is well-worth coming here on a non-match day to do the stadium tour!
Stadium: Olympic Stadium, Berlin.
2. Berlin Marathon
Berlin marathon is one of the most famous marathons in the world and has been taking place since 1974.
Despite its humble beginnings, with just under 300 runners, participating in a marathon that was conducted on a small street in the city, Berlin Marathon has now grown to be a sizeable event that now attracts thousands of runners.
In recent years, this marathon has grown to include inline skaters. The runners and skaters who participate are a mix of amateurs and professionals from over 100 different countries across the world.
The Berlin Marathon is part of the World Marathon Majors, which is a set of six marathons around the world that have a $1 million prize pool.
The World Marathon Majors (in case of interest) are the:
- Tokyo Marathon
- Boston Marathon
- London Marathon
- Berlin Marathon
- Chicago Marathon
- NYC Marathon
The Berlin race is a road race that is run over a course that is just over 42 kilometres long through the streets of Berlin.
The course is legendary and it is well known for being the fastest marathon course in the world.
Furthermore, the end of the course is especially significant, with runners passing through the Brandenburg Gate to get to the final 400 meters of the race.
Date: This annual event takes place during the last weekend in September.
Official website: Berlin, Germany Marathon.
3. Handball Füchse Berlin
Handball is a very popular sport in Germany and Berlin has its own team, Füchse Berlin.
Füchse Berlin play in the top profesional league (the Handball-Bundesliga) and were founded in 2005.
Füchse Berlin also compete in the European Handball Federations European League.
You can find tickets for Füchse Berlin here.
4. Alba Berlin Basketball
Basketball also has a strong following in Berlin and the biggest professional team is called Alba Berlin.
Alba Berlin play in the Mercedes-Benz Arena which holds up to 14,500 fans.
The team were formed in 1991 and have since gone on to become the most successful ever German basketball club, winning numerous titles and trophies both domestically and in Europe.
You can find Alba Berlin match tickets here.
5. Ice Hockey and the Eisbären Berlin (Berlin Bears)
In addition to arguably having the best basketball team in Germany, Berlin also can be argued to have the best ice hockey team in the country too.
The Berlin Bears (Eisbären Berlin in German) also play at the Mercedes-Benz Arena (yes, the arena is a key focal point for professional sports in Berlin) and they’ve been in existence since 1954, although they were renamed and rebranded in 1992 to the bears.
You can visit the official Berlin Bears site here.
6. Being Active in Berlin
Bicycle Tours of Berlin
Berlin is a good city for getting around by bicycle with a lot of flat areas and with many cycle paths and cycleways. There are also a number of organised bicycle tours including:
- Fat Tire Bicycle Tours
If you go on one of the organized tours, many of them take in sites including the Berlin Wall and Brandenburg Gate and the tours take place at a very steady pace and there are stops quite often so these types of bicycle tours of Berlin pretty much suit any ability of cyclists.
Hiring or Renting a Bicycle in Berlin
If you want to hire a bicycle and tour the city at your own pace, there are a number of locations for renting a bike in Berlin.
One of the most popular companies to rent from is Bike City (Tel: 39 71 91 45) and they are based at various locations in Berlin (including close to Zoo Station).
How to Get to Berlin and Local Transport
Berlin can be reached by air, train, and road.
Its two major airports are Tegel International Airport and Schönefeld Airport, which draw in thousands of passengers from several international destinations on a daily basis.
Tegel International Airport in Reinickendorf is Berlin’s main airport and currently handles most of the flights to and from the capital.
Buses to Berlin
Berlin has many bus networks that ply buses to and from the region on a regular basis.
Those visitors opting to use the bus services will arrive at the Zentraler Omnibus Bahnhof (ZOB) in Charlottenburg, which is the main bus station in the city and is connected to over 350 different European destinations.
The ZOB is well equipped with waiting rooms, luggage lockers, extensive parking facilities, restaurants, and a car rental zone for visitors to make use of.
Driving to Berlin
When driving into Berlin, you will enter the region via the Berliner Ring, the Autobahn (A10). This roadway circles the city and connects it to international highways.
The other autobahns, such as the A113, will take you to Dresden and Cottbus, the A111 to get to Hamburg, and Rostock, and the A115 if you want to head to Hannover and Leipzig – all lead onto the A10 that takes you into Berlin.
Railway and Trains to Berlin
Berlin is also well connected to the rest of Europe via a network of railway lines and roadways.
Berlin is host to the Hauptbahnhof, one of the largest train stations in all of Europe, and, as a result, the train service is by far the most popular means of getting to Berlin.
The rail network connects to Berlin from several main European cities including Amsterdam, Prague, Cracow, Vienna, Paris, and Zurich.
Where to Stay in Berlin – Hotels
Berlin is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe and hosts a large array of accommodation options. The city is home to some of the best hotels in Europe and some offer luxury to the highest standard.
Best Areas of Berlin for Accommodation
In terms of areas of the city to stay in, there are a number of excellent locations to choose from. Areas including Mitte, Charlottenburg, Schoneberg, Pankow, and Spandau are all very central, have plenty of bars, restaurants and are good for local transport.
Each area has its own benefits and all are good areas to stay in. If luxury hotels are not your style, then the city also has an excellent choice of youth hostels, Bed and Breakfast, pensions, and home-stays.
Berlin has every style class of accommodation to suit all budgets in addition to being a city with a number of classy museums, galleries, and also wellness venues.
My 5 Favourite Berlin Hotels
1. Hotel Adlon
A silent witness to two world wars and a fire that almost burned it to the ground, Hotel Adlon was rebuilt in 1997.
This hotel has housed famous personalities like Charlie Chaplin and Herbert Hoover. It is exquisitely designed with stain-glass domes and Carrara marble.
2. Schlosshotel im Grunewald
If you are in the mood to be pampered like royalty, this nineteenth century hotel, with its 54 rooms, is where you need to stay.
Designed by Karl Lagerfeld the hotel’s rooms are classic and unique at the same time. Great location, service, and a quality restaurant.
3. Grand Hyatt
With a five-star rating from the government and having been designed by world-renowned interior designer Hannes Wettstein, this hotel is extremely current and almost futuristic with its minimalist approach to design.
The rooms are large and spacious and are suited to luxury travellers.
Designed to resemble a building out of the 1920s, this Art Nouveau themed hotel is known for its luxurious design and rooms.
This hotel is one of the best hotels in the city and visitors who can afford it must definitely stay here at least once, while in Berlin.
5. The Regent
Featuring art and antiques from all over Europe, including Viennese crystal chandeliers, this hotel with its elegant rooms, was built on the site of a car park bombing. The Regent has an old-school design that creates a charming ambiance that its patrons relish. You can find more hotels online.
Best of the Rest
One of the most popular hotel districts in the city is the Berlin-Mitte.
Located in the vicinity of the Alexanderplatz and the Friedrichstraße, the Berlin-Mitte is the perfect accommodation option for tourists who are short of time as many of Berlin’s most popular tourist attractions are located within or near this area.
Other popular hotel districts include Spandau, Pankow-Prenzlauer Berg, Charlottenburg-Wilmerdorf, and Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg.
Steigenberger Berlin (Los-Angeles-Platz 1, Berlin)
This is an excellent hotel and in a very central location. This hotel is close to the:
- Train Station
The hotel itself has some excellent quality rooms and the service every time I stay there is excellent.
Kempinski Hotel Bristol – Kurfürstendamm 27, Berlin
I loved the room in this hotel and it’s in a great location, right on the Kurfürstendamm Boulevard.
This hotel has a spa and sauna area, a swimming pool and some other excellent facilities that I enjoyed using.