Seeing the very best of Berlin
About Berlin, Germany
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Capital of Germany
Berlin, Germany’s capital and cultural center, dates to the 13th century. Divided during the Cold War, today it's known for its art scene, nightlife and modern architecture, such as Mies van der Rohe’s landmark Neue Nationalgalerie. Reminders of the city's turbulent 20th-century history include its Holocaust Memorial and the Berlin Wall's graffitied remains. Its 18th-century Brandenburg Gate has become an iconic symbol of reunification.
Area: 344.3 mi²
Weather: 56°F (13°C), Wind NE at 4 mph (6 km/h), 99% Humidity
Hotels: 3-star averaging $70, 5-star averaging $140. View hotels
Getting there: 9 h 40 min flight, around $940. View flights
Population: 3.375 million (2013) UNdata
Berlin is famed for its laid back, modish vibe. It attracts a young crowd with its eclectic nightlife, celebrated music scene and is famed for its cool arts and cultural offerings, alternative fashion, and, of course, its rather turbulent history. So if you are planning to head there be prepared to get stuck in and soak up the atmosphere in this spirited and stylish city, and follow our guide to make sure you see the very best of Berlin.
The Berlin Wall Memorial
Perhaps the most obvious, and certainly the most famous historical monument in Berlin is the Berlin Wall Memorial and this should be a top priority on your Berlin ‘to do’ list. The information centre is where you can discover the history and story of the construction of the wall, and if you walk around the back you can see the ‘death strip’ if you peek through the walls gaps. The wall is now adorned with colorful artists murals and poignant reminder of how courage and beauty can overcome even the darkest times.
Tempelhofer Freiheit Park
You can stretch you legs and get some air in your lungs by walking through the abandoned Tempelhof Airport. In winter it is bleak and haunting, in summer it is bursting with life. You can find an area which has been divided into much loved allotments, the runways teeming with walkers, roller skaters and cyclists, and at one end you will find the old terminal building which is now used for tours and events.
Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
A music lovers dream, the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra is decidedly one of the most accomplished on the planet. You can find the Orchestral home in a striking yellow building in Potsdamer Platz. There are free Tuesday lunchtime concerts by upcoming and renowned musicians. These are popular so arriving early is advisable.
Take in the view
For some fantastic views of the city head to Panoramapunkt which is located atop the Kollhoff tower, and home to Europe's fastest elevator. Kreuzberg hill in Viktoriapark is the city’s highest point and worth the hike. You can walk up alongside the lovely waterfall and enjoy the view as you go. Partygoers should head to the Neukoelln district where they can find the Klunkerkranich 'cultural rooftop garden' which take place in a car park of a shopping centre and offers great views over Berlin as well as a bar and DJ’s.
Head to a market
Markthalle 9 is in a gorgeous late 19th century building and the weekly farmers market is fantastic if you want to grab some tasty local produce. Bargain hunters however should hot foot it to Mauer Park where you will find a massive flea market on Sundays, with all sorts of wonderful items up for grabs.
Sample some local brews
Berlin is famed for its lively microbreweries and beer lovers will be happy to know that sampling local beers is a popular activity amongst visitors and residents alike. Prater Garten, is the oldest in town and has its own brew of Prater Pils, while relaxing Cafe am Neuen See boasts a fine selection of beers, and you can enjoy your drink while admiring the lovely boating lake in Tiergarten Park.
Soak up the culture at Museum Island
History and culture lovers will not be disappointed if they head to Museum Island which lies at the eastern end of Unter den Linden. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and consists of five museums, as well as breath-taking structures such as the Gate of Miletus, and the Ishtar Gate of Babylon.