Berlin, Germany
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Whether you're a hipster or a history lover, Berlin is a city break destination that ticks every conceivable box. Its music scene is legendary – the clubs and bars setting trends that the rest of Europe follows – and artists and photographers flock here to soak up the city's bohemian vibe. Then there's the architecture, the wide squares, bustling boulevards, and ornate monuments, many lovingly reconstructed since the dark days of the war and the Berlin Wall. There are also tourist attractions aplenty – animal lovers in particular have to see Berlin Zoo, arguably the greatest of its kind in the world.

The Best Berlin Accommodation

As one of Europe's major capital cities, Berlin has hotels for every kind of traveler. There are plenty of high-end establishments offering indoor swimming pools, luxuriant spas, and massage treatments, and rooms fitted with sumptuous Egyptian sheets and antique furnishings. Equally, you can find quirky boutique hotels in Berlin done up in a more minimalist, Bauhaus-inspired style, as well as good, reliable cheap chains that will do the job if your priority is to work or sightsee, rather than spend time in the hotel itself.

Where to stay in Berlin

For tourists and business travelers alike, the Mitte district is an ideal place to stay. It's the very heart of the city, offering swift access to office complexes and top attractions like the city's many museums clustered on the aptly-named Museum Island. Alternatively you can choose to book your Berlin hotel in the Charlottenburg district. This is best known for the handsome Baroque and Rococo sprawl of Charlottenburg Palace, which is well worth a visit if you're in the area (or even if you're not). Another enjoyable district is Prenzlauer Berg, which is a real social hotspot with enough pubs, restaurants, and galleries to keep you occupied for days.

When are the best times to travel to Berlin?

  • • Berlin is a fascinating city to explore at any time of year, but the summer months of June to August are undoubtedly the most popular. This is when you can swim in spectacular riverside pools, enjoy eating on sun-dappled terraces, and party all weekend at hip makeshift beach bars.
  • • December is another highlight, when magical Christmas markets pop up all over the city, and smells of spiced Glühwein and gingerbread fill the air. Late winter is your best bet for Berlin hotel deals, just be prepared to wrap up warm.

What are the top must-see attractions in Berlin?

Berlin’s most recognizable sight is the Brandenburg Gate – an elegant Neo Classical monument modeled on the gateway to the Acropolis in Athens, and commissioned by Friedrich Wilhelm II in the late 18th century. It is to Berlin what the Eiffel Tower is to Paris – a symbol of the city since the 18th Century, its vast columns and proud chariot sculpture have been a focal point for rallies and historic speeches for generations. A sprawling public square, Alexanderplatz is one of the busiest hubs within the central Mitte district – it's where you'll find the unique World Time Clock, a curious cylinder topped with an intricate sculpture of an atom. Nearby is the Fernsehturm, or TV tower, which reaches almost 400 meters into the sky and affords visitors jaw-dropping views across Germany's capital. As well as gazing out from the observation deck, you can also relax in the bar and restaurant. The city’s skyline is utterly dominated by the Tower, which was built in the 1960s by the German Democratic Republic. The East Side Gallery, meanwhile, is a 1.3 km stretch of the Berlin Wall, which has been covered with vibrant murals and repurposed as a moving monument to freedom. For world-class shopping, take a stroll down the Kurfuerstendamm, or Ku'damm as locals call it. This long and handsome boulevard is lined with independent boutiques, bars, and cafes, and is a must-see for any visitor. Want to enjoy some drinks after a day's sightseeing? Stroll over to Hackescher Markt, one of the city's bohemian districts famed for its relaxed and colorful nightlife.

What are the best types of food and restaurants in Berlin?

As a thrillingly multicultural city, Berlin’s food scene is constantly evolving, and every area has something unique to offer. In Kreuzberg you’ll find eclectic street food markets, edgy pop-up restaurants, and mouth-watering authentic Turkish fare. Head to Mitte if you feel like splurging on a Michelin-star meal, or sampling upscale twists on classic central-European dishes like wiener schnitzel. No visit to Berlin is complete without sampling the iconic currywurst – a sizzling bratwurst doused in addictive curry ketchup, served with a mound of crispy fries or a crusty bread roll.

What are the top things to do in Berlin?

Berlin’s home to some of the world’s best nightlife, so be sure to explore its countless bars and clubs. Hotspots are scattered all over town, but the hip districts of Neukölln, Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain have the highest concentration of venues. If you’re feeling a little worse for wear in the morning, head to a shimmering lake on the outskirts of the city. Wannsee is the best loved, with its expansive swimming lido and sandy beach. Culture vultures, meanwhile, should peruse the priceless artworks and historical artifacts you’ll find on Museum Island.

What are some fun facts about Berlin?

Berlin might conjure up images of urban sprawl, but the city boasts over 100 miles of navigable waterways and more bridges than Venice. Europe’s first electric traffic lights were installed in 1924 on Potsdamer Platz, which at the time was the continent’s busiest intersection. And Berlin is the only city on the planet to boast 3 world-class opera houses – the Deutsche Oper Berlin, the Berliner Staatsoper, and the Komische Oper.

What kinds of public transport are there in Berlin?

Travel in Berlin is efficient and affordable, thanks to an extensive public transport network, which encompasses overground and underground trains, trams, and buses. Tickets are available in vending machines at train stations, and are valid on all modes of transport. English instructions are available, but be aware only local bank cards are accepted, so have some cash handy. Regular train services run until around 1am on weekdays, and throughout the night on weekends – great news for those exploring the city’s club scene. Many bus routes also operate a 24-hour service.
Flying into Berlin? You may land at Tegel Airport, which is the largest hub for international travel in the area and is well located for the city – a taxi or bus ride will get you into the thick of things in no time. Budget airlines fly into Schoenefeld Airport, which is situated a bit further away from the city, while trains from every corner of Europe come into Berlin Central Station. A futuristic marvel of glass and steel, it's an attraction in itself.

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