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Berlin and Prague

I'd like advice from a learned traveler on visiting these two cities. I assume that coming from San Francisco we can fly nonstop to Berlin. How does one find reliable city tour guides? I know other info is available in RS' guide book, but does he have one on Berlin?
Thanks,
Kathy

Posted by
13930 posts

I just looked at rome2rio.com and did not find any nonstop flights between SFO and Berlin or between SFO and Prague.

Posted by
2025 posts

The major carriers do not fly into Berlin non-stop, they hub elsewhere. Air Berlin does fly non-stop to Berlin, but that is from JFK or Chicago, where you can connect. If you want to make the connection in Europe, you can fly SAS or Norwegian non-stop from SF to Copenhagen, and then SAS to Berlin from there.Or Lufthansa non-stop SFO to Frankfurt or Munich and then the quick connection to Berlin.

I wonder if the airlines might change and start flying into Berlin when the new larger airport is finally opened, now pushed back to 2017, IIRC.

Posted by
6033 posts

RS does have a Snapshot Guide to Berlin. When you say reliable city tour guides, are you looking for a private guided tour of the city? If so, I can't help you there. But I do recommend the Original Berlin Walks tours, they are group tours but very well done. I took two of them when I was there, a general overview tour which was about 4 hours and a half-day tour to Potsdam (train/bus/walking) which was about 5-1/2 hours. They weren't particularly strenuous but did involve a lot of walking. I think they were about €10-12 each. Both guides were excellent and the tours comprehensive.

Note: If you plan to take a guided tour of the Reichstag and dome, you must reserve ahead of time on their website.

Posted by
250 posts

I have always found great guides and tours on TripAdvisor! Just look for a lot of reviews so it's not skewed.

Posted by
16764 posts

You can also download Rick's free Audio Tour versions of suggested walking routes in Berlin and Prague.

Posted by
12091 posts

Hi,

You're in luck...almost. There is a non stop from Calif to Berlin, ie, from LAX on Air Berlin. Some flights have a layover in Düsseldorf but that can be avoided. If I were going from SFO to Berlin, non stop, something I've considered, I would get to LAX (train or flying; at Union Station in LA, almost right across from LA Chinatown, is an Amtrak bus going to LAX) to take this Air Berlin connection.

Posted by
12091 posts

Hi,

Here is another way: non stop from SFO to Frankfurt (FRA) on Lufthansa, connect there on a flight to Berlin. In 2014 I did that SFO to FRA on Lufthansa, then took the ICE train instead Frankfurt Hbf to Berlin Hbf., got to Berlin by early evening of the arrival date in FRA.

Posted by
11153 posts

Look on Kayak http://www.kayak.com/flight or Matrix ITA: http://matrix.itasoftware.com/ for your flight options. Travelers from the US West Coast usually prefer to connect in Europe rather than the eastern US when there is no nonstop available (as in this case). There are two advantages: the overall flight time is shorter, and if your first flight is late, there will be many more options from (say) Frankfurt to Berlin than there will be from JFK to Berlin. You want your air travel to be all on one ticket; this way, if a delayed flight causes you to miss a connection, the airline is responsible for getting you to your destination. If you are on separate tickets, YOU are responsible, both logistically and financially.

Connecting in Munich is usually felt to be easier than connecting in Frankfurt, if you have a choice; both will have very frequent connections on to Berlin (not sure about Prague).

Yes, Rick has a Germany book, and a Snapshot Berlin guide that is directly excerpted from it (in other words, buy one or the other, but not both). You can investigate them on this website, here: http://travelstore.ricksteves.com/catalog/index.cfm?fuseaction=catalog&parent_id=159. And here's his Prague And The Czech Republic guide: http://travelstore.ricksteves.com/catalog/index.cfm?fuseaction=product&theParentId=157&id=290

These books have plenty of information about visiting on your own, and with his tips I found these cities very "user friendly." If you want a private guide, Rick lists some; I also like the idea of a walking tour, especially in Berlin, to start to grasp its history. Do beware the "free" tours offered in both cities; here's a blog post from Rick on the subject: http://blog.ricksteves.com/blog/the-ethics-of-aeoefreeae%C2%9D-tours/.

Posted by
30932 posts

ka,

I can't offer any information on flight options from San Francisco to Berlin, but just wanted to mention that you'll probably have better luck finding flights into Frankfurt. I usually seem to transit through there both coming and going from Europe, and it's not too bad.

As others have mentioned, the Snapshot Berlin would be a good book to use. Which sights are you planning to see that might require a tour guide? For walking tours around Berlin (with various themes), I would highly recommend Original Berlin Walks. I've taken several walking tours with them and have found the guides not only extremely knowledgeable, but also fun to tour with. For something a bit different, you might try a Segway tour.

The trip from Berlin to Prague via train is very easy and quite scenic. Are you planning to return to the U.S. from Prague?