In Spite of the Strong Euro, Berlin Continues to Attract Americans with Competitive Hotel Rates, Free Admissions, Discounted Sightseeing, and All Around Value.
Los Angeles, January 22, 2008 – With the Euro reaching record heights against the Dollar, US-travelers are looking more than ever for value. From luxury to low-cost travel; compared to other European capitals, Berlin remains quite affordable for every budget. The city’s very competitive hotel rates, subsidized culture, and many special offers allow visitors to enjoy music and museums, the city’s exuberant lifestyle, and many historic and contemporary sights without breaking the bank. The following suggests how to get the most value for the dollar (or Euro):
► Berlin Hotels: Exceptional Value at competitive Rates
Berlin currently boasts 90,723 available hotel beds in 592 hotels and guest houses, with an additional 8,000 rooms scheduled to become available in the near future. Berlin’s room rates compare very favorably with those of other top European cities. In 2006, the average room rate in a four or five-star hotel in Berlin was quoted at Euro 140 per night, compared to rooms of similar quality priced at Euro 314 in London and Euro 298 in Paris. A three-star property costs an average of Euro 67/night. Budget travelers have a choice of 30 hostels (13,000 beds), with rates as low as Euro 10 per night. 350 of Berlin’s hotels can be booked online with a “best-rate-guarantee” at www.visitBerlin.de. (Average rates for 2007 will be available shortly).
► Berlin Welcome Card offers more Choices and Savings
The Berlin Welcome Card has long been one of the most popular city cards in Europe. Visitors can choose any of the four different tickets offered, depending on the length of their stay or on their sightseeing preferences. The traditional Berlin Welcome Card grants 48 or 72 hours of free public transportation inside Berlin’s city limits. Its accompanying booklet offers Berlin information, plus discounts coupons for many sights and tourist attractions. Prices for the Welcome Card start at Euro 16.50 for one adult (Euro 18 for the extended area, and includes one adult plus three children under 14). Another favorite is the Welcome Card Culture+, a combination of the transportation ticket and the three-day museum pass (from Euro 33.50). (www.berlin-welcomecard.de).
► NEW: Berlin Philharmonic present Free Lunch Concerts
More than six hundred classical music fans came to the first lunch concert on November 16, 2007 in the foyer of Berlin’s Philharmonic Hall. They represented an unexpected success for the new concert series which combines chamber music and lunch with free admission. Every Tuesday at 1:00 P.M. through May 13, 2008, the Berlin Philharmonic Hall invites the public to get to know the best music of Berlin in a thirty to forty minute concert. www.berliner-philharmoniker.de
► Thursday is Museum Night: Free Admission to Berlin’s most Popular Museums
Thursday evening is the evening to visit Berlin’s top museums. For four hours before closing (at 10 pm), all visitors are admitted free of charge to the permanent exhibitions of the New National Gallery, Picture Gallery, Pergamon Museum, Old National Gallery, Museum for Photography / Helmut Newton Collection, the Egyptian Museum, and the Antiquity Collection. www.smb.spk-berlin.de
► No-Admission Festivals and Parties
Many of Berlin’s annual festivals and events are free for all. These include:
Carnival of Cultures, May 9 – 12
In celebration of Berlin’s cultural and ethnic diversity, the Carnival of Cultures presents a colorful parade, dancers, singers and musicians from about 70 nations. (www.karneval-berlin.de).
Fête de la Musique, June 21
On summer solstice, this truly European music event celebrates the diverse forms of live music. Free concerts on over 50 stages throughout Berlin feature artists from all of Europe. (www.fetedelamusique.de).
Berlin International Beer Festival, August 1 – 3
During the 12th annual Berlin International Beer Festival, Karl-Marx-Allee will turn into the world’s longest beer garden, with 190 breweries from 72 countries and 1,700 brands fine beers (www.bierfestival-berlin.de).
German Unification Day, October 3
Germany’s reunification is commemorated each year on October 3 with a large celebration on the streets surrounding Brandenburg Gate and the Reichstag. Special stages featuring everything from classical to rock.
Festival of Lights, October 14 – 28
For two weeks each October, Berlin turns into a sparkling metropolis when its most recognized sights will be highlighted by colorful lights, projections, and fireworks. (www.festival-of-lights.de).
New Year’s Eve at the Brandenburg Gate
Up to one million gather at Brandenburg Gate to call in the New Year and witness a dramatic fireworks display. The party features stages, DJ towers, dance floors, a Ferris wheel, and food from all over the world (www.silvester-in-berlin.de).
► Shopping in Berlin: Americans get a 19% VAT Refund
Berlin offers amazing shopping, ranging from international labels to hundreds of local shops and designers located in the city’s side streets and off-beat neighborhoods. Unlike in the USA, a 19% Added Value Tax is already included in the marked price. However, Americans purchasing goods for over Euro 25 can qualify for a refund of the VAT upon departure. Shop where you see the Global Refund Tax Free Shopping sign and simply ask for your Global Refund Check. When leaving the country, show your purchases, receipts and passport to customs officials, have your Global Refund Checks export validated, and collect your refund. (www.globalrefund.com