Berlin is a scene-stealing combo of glamour and grit that will fascinate anyone in love with history and culture, art and architecture, restaurants and nightlife.
Why I love Destination
By Andrea Schulte-Peevers, Author
To me, Berlin is truly one of the world's great capitals and nothing short of addictive. I fell in love with the city the first time I visited, mere months before the Wall's 1989 collapse. Since then, it's been exciting to see Berlin shed its Cold War-era brooding and blossom into a vibrant, sassy yet wonderfully relaxed capital city. I simply love the energy of the place, its ability to reinvent itself time and again. The nightlife, the people, the museums, the landmarks – the mix is an intoxicating cocktail that I'll never get tired of drinking.
Berlin is like a virtual 3D textbook where you find history staring you in the face at every turn. Strolling around, you can't help but pass by legendary sights that reflect key eras in city history. Schloss Charlottenburg, the Brandenburg Gate and Unter den Linden take you back to the period of Prussian glory. The dark ages of the Third Reich reverberate through the Scheunenviertel, the old Jewish quarter. Checkpoint Charlie and the East Side Gallery reflect the tense times of the Cold War. Potsdamer Platz and the new government quarter, meanwhile, stand representative of a forward-looking, post-reunification Berlin.
Art & Culture
With 600 galleries, 175 museums, three opera houses, five major symphony orchestras and scores of theatres and cabarets, Berlin's extraordinary cultural landscape may well be the envy of many a small country. It's a pillar of the fashion, art, design and music worlds, not just keeping up with but setting new trends. A global influx of creatives has turned it into a cauldron of cultural cool that’s even been compared to New York in the '80s. It's Berlin’s legendary spirit of tolerance and experimentation infused with a dose of gritty subculture that gives this exciting city its edge.
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 better 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!
People & Quality of Life
Berlin may be 10 times the size of Paris but its key areas are pleasingly compact and human-scale with plenty of green and open spaces. Public transportation is brilliant, you can walk without fear at night, few clubs have velvet ropes, and your restaurant bill would probably only buy you an appetiser in most other European capitals. It's a multicultural metropolis infused with the unpretentious charm of an international village. Berliners are a laid-back bunch who follow the credo 'live and let live' and put greater emphasis on enjoying life than accumulating material wealth.
Best places to stay in Berlin
Ten of the world's best city hikes
Stretch your legs over hours or days, without leaving some of the world’s biggest cities. This article is adapted from Lonely Planet's 1000 Ultimate Adventures. Tijuca Forest, Rio de Janeiro Aerial shot of Rio de Janeiro surrounded by the Tijuca Forest. Image by Paddy Eckersley / Digital Vision / Getty Images.
Berlin's best nightlife
Berlin's art scene
Berlin destination guides
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. Dome of the Reichstag building, Berlin. Image by Fabio / Flickr / Getty Images.
Offbeat tours of Berlin
Berlin City Hop-on Hop-off Tour
Berlin hop-on hop-off tour allows you to hop-on and off as many times as you like aboard open top double decker buses. There are 20 stops around Berlin, and buses departs every 10 minutes in Summer or 15 minutes in Winter. The continuous route without hopping-off is approx. 2.5 hours and a guided commentary in 13 languages is available.
'An Evening at Charlottenburg Palace' Palace Tour, Dinner and Concert by the Berlin Residence Orchestra
Settle in for an Evening at Charlottenburg Palace, with dinner, a self-guided palace tour and concert featuring the Berlin Residence Orchestra included.
Revamped: 10 neighbourhoods that have had incredible makeovers
Some neighbourhoods are effortlessly charming while others bring new meaning to the phrase 'beauty is in the eye of the beholder'. From gritty to glossy, these 10 neighbourhoods around the world have been completely revamped into coveted places to live, work and play. Grünerløkka cafe.