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.
Be rlin really is a city that never sleeps. From tiny basement clubs and grungy bars to old-school corner pubs and industrial warehouse spaces, you’ll find somewhere to let your hair down morning, noon and night.
Many of the city’s most prolific clubs are concentrated around Prenzlauer Berg, to the north of the city centre, along with some of Berlin’s most established pubs. Bars and clubs in West Berlin are generally smarter and pricier.
It’s no surprise the city is known as the world’s techno capital, with a multitude of clubs pumping it out until the early hours. The sleek Watergate club in East Berlin is the best place for minimal techno (there’s also a floating deck terrace for watching the sun rise over arty Kreuzberg), while the immense, industrial Berghain is the grand dame of Berlin’s notoriously hedonistic nightclubs.
Berlin’s LGBT scene also has a reputation as one of Europe’s best, and the bars and clubs of Schöneberg, Prenzlauer Berg and Oranienstrasse in Kreuzberg are always lively. For something a bit different, legendary punk club SO36 harks back to West Berlin’s anarchist squat scene.