Arrival in Berlin on Christmas Day?


Sep 18th, 2017, 03:05 PM
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Arrival in Berlin on Christmas Day?

I am planning a trip to Berlin for over Xmas break 2017-18 (trying to maximize vacation days and since I live in a northern clime am not put off by the weather).

I am wondering whether it will be a problem to arrive in Berlin (either airport) on Christmas Day?

I am not personally interested in Christmas, the holiday, I just am wondering about getting into the city or any practical logistics that might be impeded by arrival on a big holiday.

I live in a smaller US city (Boston) and our public transport and taxis are on much reduced service that day, and would expect similar, at least. But I want to be sure (before I commit to a ticket) that a) I won't be stranded at the airport, and b) I'll be able to get at least something to eat once I'm checked into my hotel. Also in checking out the state museum schedules online (my main interest) it looks amazingly as if they are open! (Shocking! but great!)

I've never traveled over Christmas week in Europe (though I've been to Europe quite a bit). Trying to get a sense of what to expect. Any other tips besides airport transport also welcome!
CharlotteK is offline  
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Sep 19th, 2017, 05:12 AM
Join Date: Aug 2017
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The hardest day for travelers in Germany is December24, Christmas Eve. From about 2pm nearly everything shuts down and trains run on a reduced schedule. This year this is even more so as Christmas Eve is on a Sunday. Christmas Day is like a normal Sunday, i.e. stores are closed and nearly everything else is open. The same rules apply to December26, which is a holiday as well. This means there are three 'holidays' in a row this year, one Sunday and two holidays. Nevertheless you won't get stranded at either airport and you'll get something to eat. If not in your hotel then in the immediate neighborhood. For museums Christmas Day and the following holiday are very busy. As most German museums close on Mondays I would check with each museum if that is the case on December25. Quite a few will change their 'Ruhetag' (day of rest) from Monday to another day of the week.
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Sep 19th, 2017, 05:46 AM
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Don't worry. While on christmas eve German cities almost shut down (but Berlin less so than other German cities) on dec 25 and 26 only most shops will be closed but restaurants and many museums will be open and means of public transport are running according to the sunday schedule (i.e. less frequent than on workdays but frequently). Opening hours of the maior museums over christmas can be found here (in German, but it's just a list of names: "1. Weihnachtsfeiertag" = dec 25, "2. Weihnachtsfeiertag" = dec 26):
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Sep 19th, 2017, 02:13 PM
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Thank you both so much. This is both reassuring and informative!
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Sep 19th, 2017, 08:48 PM
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For intra-city travels or rides from/to airports you won't experience any problems over Christmas.

Subways and suburban trains will run on Sunday schedule on Dec 25 and 26, which means that you may have a subway only every 10 minutes instead of every 5 minutes during the day.
The only lines which will have no or very little service are bus lines serving destinations like business parks or major industrial areas - but none of those are relevant for you.

You can expect some restaurant closures over the holidays (mostly Dec 24, but also Dec 25), but usually only neighborhood / family-run eateries, bakeries or pubs.

Museums and attractions should be open both Dec 25+26, or at least Dec 26 - but don't expect to be the lone visitor. Since Christmas Eve is the big day in Germany, many people go out to do stuff on the other days. Museums which are regularly closed on Mondays are usually open when Monday is a public holiday.
Nevertheless, it does not hurt to check each site's schedule individually since shorter (or longer) hours may be in effect because of the holidays.

You won't find any store open on Dec 25+26, also no groceries stores with the exception of those at major railway stations and maybe the odd neighborhood convenience store.
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Sep 22nd, 2017, 01:03 AM
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Thanks for so much detail. I think I've got this covered now.
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