Over the past few years, Berlin has made a noble bid to return to its glory days in the 20s and 30s, attracting American artists and young ex-patriots looking to stake their claim in the world of graphic design, architecture, electronic music, nightlife and ideas. In certain bars on certain nights, there are more Americans than Germans. Attracted by the inexpensive and luxurious living in large apartments with small balconies and terraces, the massive streets, intellect of the German culture and the sites and sounds of a city split between two worlds in the post-war period, these long-term tourists bring new life to a re-emerging city. Now, Berlin continues to draw tourists with its high energy and low-priced tourist deals, and with the wonderful outdoor events that dominate the city's streets and parks through the summer and spring.
A quick city tour of Berlin can be kept to a minimum in the price department with packages from Gate 1 Travel (tel. 800/682-3333; www.gate1travel.com). From June through October, a five-day Berlin vacation including round-trip airfare out of New York, three nights at your choice of hotels, and daily breakfast starts from $899. Departures are still available on June 5, July 24, August 28, September 11 and October 2, 2006. Air security taxes and departure fees are not included in the price of the package. For people looking for guided city tours, Gate 1 can arrange a number of different sightseeing excursions such as a city circle tour and boat ride ($33) and a Potsdam tour ($45). The hotels on this tour include the Mercure Hotel Berlin Mitte, a recently built three-star hotel close to the Brandenburg Gate, the Reichstag and many museums.
If you can act fast, take advantage of Go-Today's (tel. 800/227-3235; www.go-today.com) Berlin city tours. You need to book by midnight, April 20, to lock in an $889 air-and-hotel deal that includes six nights in Berlin. Hotel accommodations vary, but at the budget level the Berlin Mark Hotel is very comfortable with large rooms and a friendly staff. The hotel is located very close to public transportation, the zoological gardens and the Memorial Church -- a famous West Berlin landmark with a damaged steeple standing as a reminder of the Allied bombings of the Second World War. The main shopping district in West Berlin is nearby, and the side streets around the church come alive with cherry blossoms and blooming flowers as temperatures warm up in the spring. To go during Berlin's famous Love Parade taking place July 15, 2006, trips with Go-Today start at $1,119 plus taxes and departure fees.
The Love Parade (www.loveparade.net), Berlin's most famous festival is a giant celebration of peace and love led by the youth of the world where adults, children and teens march together as one in costume (and some without costume) in the spirit of world love to the beats of electronic music. After a two year hiatus while the event tried to take root in San Francisco, the parade is back with most events surrounding the march completely free of charge. Attracting over one million people to Berlin, the Love Parade started with just a 150 lovers of global dance music marching in a peace demonstration to protect and celebrate their "right to rave." Over the years it has grown into the world's largest and safest party promoting global togetherness. With large floats and people marching the streets covered in nothing but body paint, the Love Parade is a pure expression of freedom. Events surrounding the parade include music from the world's most-acclaimed DJs playing to dancing crowds in Berlin's largest and smallest music venues, nightclubs and bars. One of the nicest things about the Love Parade is as a participant, all you have to do is show up and have fun. Book a hotel room now to ensure you have a place to stay.
With the biggest musical festival in the world in town, why not host the world's biggest sports event as well? Germany plays host to soccer's 2006 World Cup (http://fifaworldcup.yahoo.com) starting in June. Berlin, one of the twelve German cities where games will be played, will host the World Cup Final on July 9, 2006, estimated to be watched by over 1 billion people worldwide. The match game will be held in the 75,000-seat Olympiastadion, the same stadium where American sprinter Jesse Owens shocked the world with his gold medal performance on Hitler's home turf. In the early rounds of the Cup, Brazil will play in the grouping set to play in Berlin, meaning at least over 100,000 Brazilians will be in Berlin to root on what might be the world's best soccer team. With only 51 days and counting to the first game, tickets for this world event are hard to come by but can be attained at the event themselves as people often have extras for those unable to attend.
Hosted by Yahoo, the World Cup Site has a hotel accommodation page and search engine that's lightning fast. Searching by a price range starting at 100€ ($123) and lodging of three-stars or below between 6 and 25 miles from the stadium, we found nine different hotel options in Berlin listing name, price, location and distance of the hotel from the stadium and the airport. Pictures and descriptions of the hotel as well as the route from the hotel to the game are also provided.
For tickets and hotel packages to the 2006 World Cup, Sports Traveler (tel. 888/654-7755; www.sportstraveler.net) has deals allowing you to follow your favorite soccer (or football) nation through the Cup. For Team USA Ticket and Travel Packages, expect to pay $1,995 per person for two nights in a three star hotel, good tickets to the USA versus the Czech Republic on June 12, 2006 in Gelsenkirchen, a two-day public transportation card, and a discount book to local sites. Gelsenkirchen is a small industrial town near Essen that has roots stretching back to 1150 A.D. It's one of Germany's serious soccer towns with over 70 local clubs and a professional team drawing sold out crowds to its stadium that hosted the World Cup Final in 1974. For Team USA's second game on June 17, 2006 versus Italy, a perennial soccer power, costs come to $1875 for a similar package with games played in Kaiserslautern, a city of 100,000 people located amidst one of Germany's forest areas. Tickets available for this game are in the end zones behind the goal. To follow Brazil in Berlin, Sports Traveler packages start at $2,395 for games against Croatia and Australia.
Talk with fellow Frommer's travelers about Berlin, the Love Parade, World Cup Soccer and more on our Germany Message Boards today.