Late August is high summer in Berlin but in Germany this can mean anything. Summers can get very hot (30-37°C) but can also be rainy and cold (16-22°C). When packing for the Summit, be prepared for warm, rainy and cold weather.
What to bring. Bring a good and easily packable raincoat as well as a small umbrella in case of rainy days. Bring breezy light clothes in case of heat. Bring a warm sweater, long pants, closed shoes and a jacket in case of windy and cold days.
Germans are warm and open-minded people. They will happily help you if you are looking for directions and most people speak good English. Punctuality is highly valued, so do expect appointments and leisure tours to always start on time.
Public transportation is quick and efficient and within Berlin you can reach almost anywhere without having to walk more than 10 minutes by subway (U-Bahn), tram, express train (S-Bahn) and bus. Be aware that you cannot buy tickets on the trains and buses.
Tickets can be bought at most small shops selling snacks and drinks (Kiosks) as well as in the dedicated ticket machines at the bus and train stops. Note that after buying the ticket, you have to validate it in small validation machines either on the platform before entering the train (for U- and S-Bahn) or in the tram or bus.
There will be random checks for tickets and if your ticket is not validated, you will be charged a fine of €60. For the entire duration of the summit, you can buy day passes or week passes that are cheaper than buying a single ticket for every trip you take.
Unlike in other EU countries, Germans are still quite attached to their cash. Expect to not be able to pay with a card for amounts under €10 in most small shops and restaurants, in many small street restaurants such as kebab or Asian places you might not be able to pay with card at all. Our advice is to always bring sufficient cash with you.
It is common to pay with a debit or credit card - the common credit card providers are accepted almost anywhere. Be aware that American Express is not considered a common credit card provider in Germany and thus not accepted widely.
Touch payment as well as payment by phone are becoming more common in big store chains but don’t expect this in small stores or restaurants.
ATMs and banks can be found anywhere, exchange offices are mostly located in the main train stations as well as around the primary tourist spots.
Berlin is a melting pot of different cultures, and the city’s food culture represents this very closely. You can find almost any cuisine you want – from Arabic, Chinese, Italian, Korean and Mexican to Sudanese, Thai, Turkish and Vietnamese. There is also a growing number of restaurants offering more exotic food, such as Brazilian, Georgian, West African or Tibetan.
The most famous Berlin foods are without a doubt the Berlin Currywurst (a pork or beef sausage with curry sauce) served in a small bread bun and the Döner Kebap, a lamb or chicken kebap in flat bread served with salad. These are cheap street foods you can find almost anywhere. Vegetarian options are Falafel or Halloumi cheese. In general, you can expect to pay between €4 (for a Döner Kebap) and €12 (a plate of food in a restaurant) for a meal.
Beer is clearly the most beloved German drink and you will find a wealth of different types in supermarkets, small drink shops (Spätis) and bars and restaurants. In Summer, people love to buy beers to go and drink them in parks or by the canal or river. Try out “Berliner”, the local Berlin Pilsner, “Hefeweizen”, a South German type of beer or “Radler”, beer mixed with Sprite.