Practical Information in Berlin MitteEdit This
Rules of civilized behavior in German restaurants are nearly identical to those of other western nations. However a striking difference lies in the custom of tipping. Unlike the United States and Canada, tipping is not compulsory. Restaurants typically add 5 to 10 percent gratuity to your bill so don't feel you need to leave any more behind. You may feel, however, that your waiter or waitress deserves more due to the level of service they gave. In this instance you should give it directly to them with a "thank you." Another customary practice is rounding upwards. If your bill comes to 28 euros, handing them 30 and telling them to keep the difference is appreciated. This isn't mandatory, however. Leaving no extra tip will still guarantee you are treated well should you return to that establishment.
Germany has used the euro since 2002. Euros come in the following denominations in notes; 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500. Coins exists in 1 and 2 euro amounts as well as 1 cent, 5, 10, 20 and 50. The euro is a strong and stable currency but minor fluctuations can be expected.
Most banks, major hotels and post offices can exchange money in Germany. If you are changing a large amount you may wish to inquire ahead of time as to where you will receive the best rate of exchange. The most convenient method for getting cash is via an ATM machine. German ATM's typically take cards from abroad. You may wish to check ahead of time with your Bank as to the fees involved.
Although Germany is the third largest economy in the world, credit card use is still quite limited. Debit cards are the most common form of payment followed by cash. Checks are now obsolete in the country. When visiting Berlin Mitte, having an adequate amount of cash available will save hassles and embarrassing situations.
Across Germany Sundays are held sacred. Outside of church and hospital emergency rooms very Little is open. Berlin, being the capital, will provide a few exceptions but be prepared for a very slow day when Sunday rolls around. Hotel restaurants will have limited hours so get the meal times in advance. Buses and trains will also run a reduced schedule so check times before embarking on any big sightseeing trips. Quiet hours are also customary in Germany on Sunday with actual times varying from region to region. Berlin will likely observe these but being that it caters to a large tourist population, flexibility will be allowed.