Berlin, a heady blend of grit and glamour in the northeast of Germany is the country’s largest and most cosmopolitan city.
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.
Arriving at Berlin Tegel Airport
Berlin’s compact yet functional Tegel Airport sits about five miles northwest of the city centre. On landing, passport checks and customs are usually relatively swift, and the airport is well integrated into the city’s public transport network, making it easy to travel to and from.
Four BVG (Berlin Transport Services) stops are located right outside Terminals A and B and the TXL Express Bus runs at six-minute intervals towards the city centre via Main Station (Hauptbahnhof) to central Alexanderplatz (it takes around 37 minutes, depending on the time of day). Zoologischer Garten, to the west of the city, can be reached in approximately 20 minutes by Express Bus.
If you want to change onto the S-Bahn (Berlin’s rapid transit railway system), the Express Bus TXL will take you to Beusselstrasse station in just 10 minutes, where you can take the circular line. The U-Bahn network (which runs mostly underground) is just five minutes away from the airport via the Express Bus.
Tegel also has a direct connection to motorway A111 (exit Flughafen Tegel) which then links it to the A10, A110 and A115, reaching out in all directions across the city. Taxis are easy to flag down and car hire is clearly signposted.
Food and drink
When in Berlin, you simply must try the local schnitzel, sauerkraut or currywurst. To give you a head start, we strongly recommend you pop your nose into Prater, a beer garden that has been drawing jovial crowds since 1852, and Krasselts, which proudly displays a plaque on its walls announcing it as is the true birthplace of currywurst.
Listed covered market Markthalle IX on Eisenbahnstrasse in Kreuzberg serves up heritage vegetables and locally sourced meats. You’ll also find an excellent microbrewery under its roof and the owners host regular themed events, such as ‘Cheese Berlin’. There are street food evenings on Thursdays too.
The footfall in tourist-heavy Mitte means great food spots have sprung up out of necessity. Popular restaurants include Monsieur Vuong, which offers just a few fresh, simple Vietnamese dishes on its menu, and the rotating Restaurant Sphere at the top of the TV tower – one of the tallest structures in Europe. Oranienstrasse in Kreuzberg has a great mix of restaurants and bars, whether it’s Asian fusion or traditional German fare you’re after. Try Max & Moritz, a traditional German beer hall that’s been open for over a century, for maximum authenticity.