Berlin is one of the most exciting and vibrant cities in the world, where the giant monuments of yesteryear are interwoven with cutting-edge, innovative buildings, bars and restaurants. For history buffs, nightlife enthusiasts and everyone in between, it really is a city which should be at the top of your list of destinations.
For places to stay, there are of course options to suit every pocket, from hostels to the avantgarde hotels in the east of the city, or the more luxurious options such as the KempinskiAdlon Berlin in the centre.
You probably don’t need a history lesson about Berlin; the facts about the Second World War, the division of the city and the fall of the Wall are pretty well known. However, since reunification in 1990, Germany has done much to address its deep and complex history, and the likes of the DDR museum, Checkpoint Charlie and the Allied Museum provide a detailed insight into the history of the city. But nowhere is progressive Germany’s determination to face up to its past more evident than at the Topography of Terror. Built on the old headquarters of the SS and the Gestapo, this is an unforgettable experience, but not one for the fainthearted.
Other sites which form part of the typical tourist tour of Berlin include the iconic Brandenburg Gate and the nearby Reichstag, the parliamentary building with a glass-domed roof which provides stunning panoramic views of the city. Berlin is also home to one of Europe’s largest zoos, situated in the centre of the city.
When day turns to evening, you can sample the many culinary delights available in Berlin. The German capital has a significant Turkish population, and in Kreuzberg you will find some excellent dishes for very reasonable prices.
Kreuzberg is also home to Jolesch, an intimate restaurant boasting high-quality Austro-Hungarian dishes. For those looking to splash out, the Michelin-starred dishes from Stefan Goldman make dining at Hartmann’s in the centre of the city an exciting experience. Snacks are also readily available – bratwurst vendors seem to be everywhere when the sun goes down!
Berlin is perhaps the techno capital of the world, and the clubs hidden away in seemingly dilapidated old factories on the eastern side of the city are a clubber’s dream. For something truly remarkable, however, head to Adagio and its medieval décor, or Berghain, a former power station where entry is pricey and difficult, but the attitude is remarkably relaxed and there really is an anything-goes approach to having a good time.