Berlin

Berlin, a heady blend of grit and glamour in the northeast of Germany is the country’s largest and most cosmopolitan city.

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Although 92% of the capital’s buildings were razed to the ground by World War II bombs, it has rebuilt itself with remarkable results over the decades, making its memorials, museums and cutting-edge architecture ripe for exploring.

Festivals and events

It’s easy to soak up culture in Berlin, with annual events including the Berlin Film Festival (February), Berlin Carnival of Culture (May–June) and the spectacular Festival of Lights (October).

The Long Night of Museums event (every August) sees most of Berlin’s 170 museums and cultural institutions, including those on the World Heritage-listed Museum Island – open their doors from noon until 0200, giving visitors an intimate look at paintings, sculptures, art performances and concerts.

Beer, of course, is a big deal in Berlin. Its international beer festival is usually held during the first week in August, when over 2,000 brews from around the world are served up to jovial crowds across the boulevard of Karl Marx Allee. That’s not to mention the annual Oktoberfest celebrations, which – although not quite as large as their Munich counterparts – are still well attended and suitably raucous.

Towards the end of November, as the days get colder and the nights get longer, the streets erupt into a riot of festivity, with Berlin’s iconic Christmas markets setting up shop at around 100 fairy-light-strewn locations across the city.