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Is Berlin safe for solo female travelers? Is Solo travel in Berlin possible? If there is one destination that is perfect for solo female travelers, it is Berlin. To the untrained eye, the city might seem a little rough around the edges but Berlin is more of a modern destination, which should pose no major difficulties for a regular traveler. Of course, like many major cities, there are areas which you may not want to find yourself frequenting after dark. But seeing as Berlin is a city which attracts plenty of tourists, if you stay within the popular areas you should not encounter any issues.
Aside from being a safe place to visit, it’s a great place to live (I lived there for a year). Also, Berlin is an amazing city with so many great things to see and do. Known for being one of the biggest, cultural hotspots in the world, with a plethora of art galleries, museums and landmarks to enjoy, it is also a city with an amazing cafe culture and varied nightlife. So, if you love a good party, Berlin is the place to be!
Planning your own trip to Berlin? Here is a local guide on how to travel like a pro as a solo female traveler.
Table of Contents (skip directly to the info you're looking for)
- 1 The Ultimate Solo Female Travel
- 1.1 Be Yourself
- 1.2 Take Advantage of Free Stuff
- 1.3 Use Social Media to Meet Up With Other Travelers or Even Locals
- 1.4 Research Your Accommodation Options Well
- 1.5 Watch Out For Pickpockets
- 1.6 Make Preparations In Case You Are Pickpocketed
- 1.7 Do Carry Some Cash With You
- 1.8 Carry Some Form of ID With You Too
- 1.9 Also Watch Out For Drunken Groups
- 1.10 Avoid the Eastern Part of the City at Night
- 1.11 Know What to Do in an Emergency
The Ultimate Solo Female Travel Berlin Guide
Berlin is a city of individuality and originality. No matter where you come from, no matter how you dress, no matter what you are into, you are guaranteed to fit right in in Berlin. The city is well known for being one of the most tolerant and accepting on the planet. Hate crime of any kind, be it related to race, gender or sexuality, is relatively low in comparison with many other cities around the globe. It is exactly this inclusivity that makes Berlin such a great place for solo female travelers, so you can be your true self when visiting this amazing city.
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Take Advantage of Free Stuff
The great thing about a city like Berlin is that there is always free stuff to do. One of my favorites is the huge number of free walking tours, which take place throughout the city. Although you may prefer to scout a city by yourself, Berlin is such a sprawling place that taking a free walking tour is worth it, if only to get your bearings and also discover those little-known streets and alleyways you might miss otherwise. These tours are a great way of learning more about the sights you visit; the guides are usually phenomenally well-versed in tales and facts about the city, as well as knowing all about those cool bars and cafes you will be dying to check out for yourself. They are also a great way of meeting other fellow travelers.
Remember: Tipping is encouraged. The guides deserve to be tip after sharing with you their insider tips for Berlin.
But walking tours are not the only free thing to do in Berlin. As it is such a big city, there is always something free going on, such as free days at museums and galleries, or free events like music festivals or craft markets.
Even if you are not on a budget, and have the cash to spread around, it is still worth checking out these free activities so that you can meet fellow travelers, learn something new, or just enjoy a unique event/activity. Take advantage of being away and challenge yourself to get out of your comfort zone!
Use Social Media to Meet Up With Other Travelers or Even Locals
Because of the German culture and the reserved nature of the German people (yes, I know this is a generalization, but it does tend to be true), it can be quite hard to meet locals when traveling in the country and this is still very true of Berlin, despite it being the capital city. When you can, of course, meeting people during activities, as mentioned above, is more about meeting other travelers. If you would also like to hang out and socialize with people who live in Berlin, you can use social media and networking websites. Facebook is the obvious choice as it regularly features a number of events in its various groups and pages. Another website you can use is MeetUp, which hosts a wide variety of meetings, workshops and events encompassing many different activities and hobbies, from yoga classes and photography walks to language exchanges and pub crawls.
As a foodie, I also love how you can find so many varieties of cuisines in Berlin. There are plenty of options for meat lovers, and also for Vegetarians and Vegans around Berlin.
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For the chance to meet up with both locals and travelers, see if there are any Couchsurfing events or hangouts happening when you are in town. Regardless of whether you are a regular couchsurfer or not, everybody is welcome at the events, so you will not be made to feel like an outsider just because you choose not to couchsurf. I personally do not couchsurf and I attended many of the events around the world.
Research Your Accommodation Options Well
As you probably know, accommodation options are in abundance in Berlin. Whether you want to stay in a boutique hotel or if you fancy having your own Airbnb apartment, you will be sure to find something to your liking in Berlin. However, as a solo female traveler, it is important that you research your accommodation options thoroughly. This is particularly true if you are planning on staying in an Airbnb property, especially when it comes to location. You do not really want to be staying anywhere too far from all of the major attractions – you will just end up spending a lot of your vacation time on public transport.
If you do like the look of somewhere outside of the center, you will need to check what the public transport is like to get back, especially at night, if you plan on been out late. Although Berlin is a safe city, there are areas, particularly in the east, where it is considered unsafe for women to be walking around, on their own, after dark. I used to live in the east and I did not encounter any security issues in my area but, one downside was that, since my tram stopped running after a certain time in the evening, I had less options available for returning home. So sometimes I’d have to leave earlier from a gathering or club to avoid the hassle of traveling later. I hate leaving before I’m really ready to go, especially when I’m having a good time. But it’s worse being stuck for hours trying to get home. Avoid this and stay closer to the city’s center!
When it comes to hotels in the center, make sure you read through the reviews of the property. Some may have a great location but, like every other capital city in the west, standards can vary widely, irrespective of how much you pay per night. Also, look up the exact address of where you want to stay; preferably, you want to stay somewhere which has its main entrance on a well-lit street, not down a back alleyway where you might feel nervous walking down on your own. Basically, make an informed decision.
Watch Out For Pickpockets
Generally speaking, Berlin is a safe city to visit and you are unlikely to encounter any major crime while you are on holiday there. But, like in every capital city in Western Europe, pickpocketing is unfortunately an everyday occurrence. If it makes you feel any better, this is a problem for the local people too, not just for tourists.
Take particular care when you are traveling on public transport, or hanging around busy bus and/or train stations. Do not put any valuables or cash in your pockets – if you do, do not be surprised if it’s not there later on. If you want to be extra careful, consider investing in a money belt; these are thin belts, which can be worn under clothes and where you can put important items such as large amounts of cash and debit/credit cards. They even have one that you can attach to your bra. Or consider leaving your important valuables in your hotel room or in the accommodation’s safe and just carry the bare minimum that you need. Although you should definitely be keeping all of your valuables out of sight, it is uncommon for pickpockets to steal things like passports and phones; it is usually cash they want (although, they can also make use of contactless debit cards) so keep your wallet safe.
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A good thing to remember about Berlin is that you are not necessarily more of a target for petty theft just because you are a woman traveling solo. Pickpockets here target anyone who looks like they are not paying attention to their belongings, or who have stuff in their pockets which can be easily accessible, which is not specific to gender.
Make Preparations In Case You Are Pickpocketed
Of course, no one likes to think about having their money or other valuables stolen, but it is always a good idea to have a plan B just in case. The most important thing you can do nowadays, if you have not done so already, is to download an app for the bank account you will be using when traveling. A lot of banking apps now allow you to freeze your card with immediate effect, a handy tool if your card does happen to be stolen. If this is not possible, keep the number of your bank in your phone and call them as soon as it goes missing. It is also a good idea to have some cash, which you keep separate in your accommodation, so you have something to in case of emergency.
If you need cash quickly, and your bank cannot get a card to you within sufficient time, ask a friend or family member to send you some money via Western Union or MoneyGram. For those of you who have not used these services, it basically works like this: (1) Someone you know will make a transfer to Berlin using one of the websites. You may need to tell them which specific branch you will be picking the money up from; you can check this via the website of the company you are using. (2) They will pay the money from their account and within approximately 30 minutes they should receive confirmation that the transaction was successful, along with receiving a confirmation number. When they have received this, ask them to pass it onto you; (3) Then, you go to the branch, present them with your ID and the confirmation number, and you will be given the money in cash.
Do Carry Some Cash With You
All this talk of pickpocketing might make you wary of carrying any cash at all and you may decide to stick with using your bank cards. However, although Berlin, and indeed the rest of Germany, is finally catching up with the rest of Europe, it is still very much more of a cash-based society. In fact, I have had issues using Mastercard and Visa when purchasing train tickets at self-service counters just because they were not issued in Germany; the last time this happened to me was just last year. Other friends of mine, also US citizens, have mentioned issues with using their cards in Germany too, although this situation seems to have improved in recent years. In theory, you should have no issues using your cards in hotels and big stores, especially if you are using a Europe-issued card. But it is always best to carry some cash with you just to be on the safe side.
Carry Some Form of ID With You Too
Although it is a requirement for everyone in Germany to be able to prove their identity if stopped by the police – and this includes people living there, not just tourists – it is not massively enforced on a day-to-day basis. Police checks are usually not random; they are done as part of big operations and it would be bad luck if you happened to encounter one.
That being said, it is a good idea to have some form of identification with you in the event of you having an accident or being involved in a crime. EU citizens can use driving licences to prove who they are. If you are from outside the EU, your passport is the only accepted form of ID. If you do not feel comfortable carrying your passport around with you, make a photocopy of it and carry that instead, or take picture of it with your phone. This should suffice if you do happen to get stopped. If it does not, the police will usually ask you to take them to the place where your official ID is being kept for verification.
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Also Watch Out For Drunken Groups
As Berlin has a reputation as a party city, it follows that you may come across some groups of overly drunk people when you are out for the night. In my experience, this is more likely to be tourists rather than locals who have specifically traveled to the city to partake of the cheap booze (Yes, Berlin is actually a really inexpensive city, especially in comparison with other Western European capitals). While this should not go any further than catcalling or inappropriate comments, use your street sense to avoid any trouble. Do not engage in any contact; cross the street if necessary and, if you see people fighting, do not approach them. Better to be safe than sorry.
Avoid the Eastern Part of the City at Night
Yes, Berlin is a relatively safe city and you should encounter no problems when walking around the streets at night. That being said, some female travelers have reported incidents of harassment in the eastern districts after dark. The general rule of thumb is not to venture too far out of the city centre after dark and do not walk down deserted streets on your own. If you are staying in one of the outer districts, make sure you are using well-lit streets.
Know What to Do in an Emergency
If you do end up having a medical emergency or need to deal with the police – of course, fingers crossed that you do not – Berlin is one of the best places to do so. The police here are extremely efficient and will take any report of a crime seriously. They even have special departments that deal with petty crimes such as pickpocketing. They also station plain-clothes police officers are usually in areas where minor crimes take place, so never feel like you are wasting their time with ‘small matters.’ If something happens to you, and you are not sure if there is a police officer around, call 110 for the emergency police department. Alternatively, if you are unharmed, make your way to the nearest police station.
When it comes to health care, the standard of treatment in Germany is exceptional. However, it is not free for Germans nor tourists, which is why it is imperative that you buy a decent travel insurance policy before you leave for your trip. The phone number for medical emergencies is 112.
In comparison with lots of places around the world, safety should not be an issue in Berlin. It is a city in a country with a highly effective police force, excellent transport links and where people of all types are accepted. Thousands of people, solo female travelers included, travel there every year and encounter no problems whatsoever, so there is really no need to think that something will happen to you while you are there.
Besides, I’m speaking from experience since I traveled solo around Berlin, and then even lived there solo for over a year. I felt totally safe and I very much enjoyed living there since there are plenty of things to do; it is quite diverse and a very fun city to explore. I totally recommend for you to visit Berlin and experience it for yourself.
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