Don’t even think about walking around Berlin without a map. Especially if this is your first time in the city.
It is always good to carry a map with you if you wander around in an unknown city, and Berlin is no exception. What’s special about Berlin in this context is that it is relatively easy to find your way between distant locations, as long as you know how to make good use of it’s fabulous public transportation – and have a good map of Berlin.
The transportation includes two very thorough electric train systems (called U-Bahn and S-Bahn), many bus lines, and the Tram trains, a relic from the communist era. No single map I’ve seen contain all relevant information, but if you have a good map with the basic routes your more or less covered.
You can find dozens of different maps of both Berlin and it’s transportation system – usually side by side or back to back – in books and travel guides, and in various shops and tourist information agencies. Some of the more decent maps are actually given for free, like those offered by the BVG service centers (BVG is the main operator of city transportation).
Surprisingly, the best map I found was a very simple one, published by MPM Publishing, which we were given in NH Heinrich Heine hotel in our 2005 trip to Berlin. It was so good, that we took it with us when we came back to Berlin in 2006, although it was half way to total disintegration, as a result of the extensive use.
Try to put your hand on one of those (check MPM’s site to see how they look like. Click the “welcome to” link and scroll down).
Anyhow, it’s better to find a good map of the city and mark the places you want to visit prior to your trip.
BVG offer an interactive map, which can be also downloaded as a PDF file here.
As a tool for finding addresses and calculating distances I strongly recommend Maps24, which has offers interactive maps, satellite maps and hybrid maps (a combination of the first two). It also enables measuring of distances, creating routes, and has a few other nice features.
Another online resource which is really suburb is FleshEarth, which offers a quick and simple interface for six online mapping and satellite services (Google Maps, Microsoft VE, Yahoo, Ask.com OpenLayes and NASA’s Terra). I use it to look at my favorite Berlin locations every once in a while.