Berlin's combo of glamour and grit is bound to mesmerise anyone keen to explore its vibrant culture, cutting-edge architecture, fabulous food, intense parties and tangible history.
Bismarck and Marx, Einstein and Hitler, JFK and Bowie, they’ve all shaped – and been shaped by – Berlin, whose richly textured history stares you in the face at every turn. This is a city that staged a revolution, was headquartered by Nazis, bombed to bits, divided in two and finally reunited – and that was just in the 20th century! Walk along remnants of the Berlin Wall, marvel at the splendour of a Prussian palace, visit Checkpoint Charlie or stand in the very room where the Holocaust was planned. Berlin is like an endlessly fascinating 3D textbook where the past is very much present wherever you go.
Forget about New York – Berlin is the city that truly never sleeps. Sometimes it seems as though Berliners are the lotus eaters of Germany, people who love nothing more than a good time. The city's vast party spectrum caters for every taste, budget and age group. From tiny basement clubs to industrial techno temples, chestnut-canopied beer gardens to fancy cocktail caverns, saucy cabarets to ear-pleasing symphonies – Berlin delivers hot-stepping odysseys, and not just after dark and on weekends but pretty much 24/7. Pack your stamina!
Art & Culture
When it comes to creativity, the sky’s the limit in Berlin. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, the city has become a giant lab of cultural experimentation thanks to an abundance of space, cheap rent and a free-wheeling spirit that nurtures and encourages new ideas. Top international performers grace its theatre, concert and opera stages; international art world stars like Olafur Eliasson and Jonathan Meese make their home here; and Clooney and Hanks shoot blockbusters in the German capital. High-brow, low-brow and everything in between – there’s plenty of room for the full arc of expression.
People & Quality of Life
Berlin is a big multicultural metropolis but deep down it maintains the unpretentious charm of an international village. Locals follow the credo 'live and let live' and put greater emphasis on personal freedom and a creative lifestyle than on material wealth and status symbols. Cafes are jammed at all hours, drinking is a religious rite and clubs keep going until the wee hours or beyond. Sizewise, Berlin is pretty big but its key areas are wonderfully compact and easily navigated on foot, by bike or by using public transport.
Why I love Berlin
By Andrea Schulte-Peevers, Author
Berlin is a bon vivant, passionately feasting on the smorgasbord of life, never taking things – or itself – too seriously. To me, this city is nothing short of addictive. It embraces me, inspires me, accepts me and makes me feel good about myself, the world and other people. I enjoy its iconic sights, its vast swaths of green, its sky bars and chic restaurants, but I love its gritty sides more. There's nothing static about Berlin: it's unpredictable, unpretentious and irresistible. And it loves you back – if you let it in.
How to see the Berlin Wall
For 28 years, the Berlin Wall - the most potent symbol of the Cold War - divided not only the city but the world...
Top 20 free things to do in Berlin
Berlin may be one of the best-value cities in Europe but for tourists those euros can start to add up after days of museum-hopping and nights of clubbing. Save your cents by taking in some of the city’s many freebies...
Need to know
A three-day itinerary to the German capital. 'Reichstag' by erikwestrum...
Feast on Europe's best food trucks
Food trucks may be trendy now but the concept is hardly new. Since the turn of the century, hungry workers have counted on mobile vans and stalls lining city streets to provide cheap, filling fixes...