Travelling to Berlin for Hatch Conference? Here’s all you need to know…
Mar 27, 2023
We are so excited that over 40% of Hatch Conference attendees will be travelling to Berlin to attend the events! For some, it will be the first time in the cheap-and-sexy capital of the western world, so we thought we’d put a guide of everything you need to know before travelling to a design conference in Berlin (but were too afraid to ask!)
Berlin is home to over 2.5M inhabitants plus 1M tourists at all times. Largely due to the massive reconstruction after the war and the fall of the wall, the city is comfortable to explore thanks to its wide streets, multiple parks, and great public transport.
Early October tends to be a “late summer” with temperatures reaching up to 20°C with the occasional rain but the real cold and grey weather, which the city is famous for, won’t come fully until early November. Therefore, you’ll get to enjoy the city in its fall foliage, one of our personal favourite times of the year.
Arriving in Berlin
Berlin has now just one airport, Berlin Brandenburg (BER), which has become infamous as being Germany’s most expensive public building ever to build including many fun stories around its disastrous construction. A pretty common event in Germany unfortunately!
It has two terminals which are well connected to the city by public transport. A single ticket will cost you €3.80 and are available from the ticket machines on the train platform. Be aware that some credit cards like American Express are often not accepted in Berlin so we suggest bringing some cash or EU debit cards.
Taxis (Uber, Bolt, etc.) or other private are of course available but public transport will always be faster to get you to your destination.
If you arrive by train into Hauptbahnhof (Main station) or any other station, you will have good train and metro connections to most key places in Berlin. An A-B zone ticket will cost €3.00 for a single. Don’t forget to validate your ticket by using one of the ‘stamper machines’ which are found within the train itself (U-bahn / S-bahn) to avoid fines!
Where to stay
So where is it good to stay? There are many stereotypes for each neighbourhood and most have their own charm. The best part about Berlin is that it doesn’t really have a centre or a periphery. Neighbourhoods are divided into smaller “Kiez” of which each are filled with many bars, restaurants, entertainment, etc that are all reachable by foot. This is true as long as you stay in what is called the “Ring” which is the area marked by the circle lines S41 and S42, or “Ringbahn”.
Popular areas for designers:
This area used to be home to many artists during the early 2000s and is still very relevant for culture hosting lots of art galleries and trendy spots. It has been rapidly gentrified, so some areas can get expensive. Perfect for: Creatives looking for inspiration while always in easy reach of a flat white.
An area with a large Turkish community that came to Berlin after the wall fell, it has now become the successor to Kreuzberg for artists and bohemians. It is the most rapidly-gentrifying area, creating a very interesting contrast. Perfect for: 20-something-year-olds on a budget.
After the fall of the wall, this was the place to be. Lots of artists and creatives were based here, and you can still see the marks of history and art. During the early 2000s, it became the centre of the startup scene and a “baby zone”, pushing back on crazy nightlife in favour of hipster-chic areas. Perfect for: 30-something-year-olds who prefer an earlier night followed by brunch against a late night out!
By the water and close to most nightclubs. Like Kreuzberg, it has been heavily gentrified but a few tourists remain. The waterside offers great parks and landmarks like the East Side Gallery, street markets, and the biggest casual foodie scene in Berlin. Perfect for: Gourmet lovers, night owls, and people who don’t mind a smoking bar.
This area literally means “centre” and its quite large but we couldn’t stop from featuring it as it covers the most classical parts of the city from the Museum’s Island all the way to the Berlin Wall museum and former bunkers. It’s probably the least interesting area at night, as most properties are offices, stores, etc. but there are still some jewels to find. Because of it location it also attracts a lot of tourists, so finding a good spot can be a challenge. Perfect for: Those looking for a more classical European trip.
How to get to the venue
If you stay within the “Ring”, getting to the venue should take no more than 25 minutes via public transport. You have multiple options to get to the venue from the Ringbahn, to metro (U9/U6), tram (M13) and buses.
Berlin also offers bike sharing and scooters, as well as electric car sharing, for those who wish to power themselves to the venue using climate-friendly method.
A single ticket for public transport within zone A-B will cost €3.00 and be valid for 2 hours. A good hack to save is to get the “4 Rides Ticket” which will give you 4 single tickets for €10, which you will need to validate before each use. You can also buy 24, 48, and 72 hour tickets, some of which bundle discounts on cultural attractions. More info on that here.
10 useful things to know before your first trip to Berlin
Cash is king While some places take cards, always have at least €20 cash in your pocket. Lots of restaurants and convenience store won’t take cards. You can leave your AMEX at home, you can’t use it here!
No need to dress up Berlin fashion is the right level of looking like you don’t care. Wearing fancy clothes won’t get you far. For some places you might not need clothes at all.
You won’t get into Berghain Don’t waste your time queuing. The door staff can smell tourists from far away and rarely let them in. Luckily there are plenty of other good techno clubs across Berlin that are more welcoming. (But if you do get in, let us know!)
Be ready to queue People in Berlin love queuing for things, from a donut to access to an ATM.
Tipping is NOT mandatory Few Berliners tip and the generous ones round up. Wages in Berlin are pretty fair but of course service staff won’t be offended if you do, and who knows, you may bring a smile to their faces.
Speaking English is enough In general, most people can understand basic english in most areas of the city, even if sometimes they pretend they don’t.
You can drink in public In fact, it’s sometimes encouraged. Instead of sitting in a bar and paying €4 for a beer, you can grab one for €0.90 at your local Späti (convenience store) and walk around with it.
Public transit tickets need to be validated Unless you buy a single ticket, you’ll need to stamp it to avoid getting fines.
Everything is closed on Sunday, even supermarkets! Museums and cafés remain open on Sunday. If you need anything else, make sure to do it on Saturday at the latest. (However, if you are desperate, supermarkets at large train station (i.e. Hauptbahnhof) do open on Sundays.)
There is always an afterparty You decide when a night out ends.
We hope this information was useful! Do you have any other questions about coming to Berlin? Write us on twitter at @hatchconference and we will happily answer them!