A heady blend of grit and glamour in northeast Germany, Berlin is the country’s largest, most cosmopolitan city.
Filled with memorials, museums and cutting-edge architecture ripe for exploring, it makes the ideal destination for a weekend break or longer.
Berlin Airport is around 16 miles (27km) from the centre but easy to get around using the efficient BVG public transport system. This includes the U-Bahn (underground), S-Bahn (light rail), buses and trams. Plus there are plenty of taxis and cars for hire.
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Neighbourhoods To See
Berlin houses central business districts across the city. In the West, the Champs Elysees-style boulevard Kurfürstendamm is home to fashion houses and car showrooms while Alexanderplatz is the nucleus of East Berlin. The dazzling skyscrapers of Potsdamer Platz earn its name as the city’s Times Square.
The bustling Mitte district is colourful, cosmopolitan and jam-packed with sights, including the famous Brandenburg Gate and striking Reichstag. Don’t miss the Kulturforum – a fantastic collection of popular art museums in Tiergarten park.
For Local Life
Across Kreuzberg park in West Berlin, Bergmannkiez is a pretty neighbourhood of café-lined streets with a historic market square. Seek out the vast market hall from 1891, selling books, fresh produce and artworks.
The Berlin Wall
Only remnants remain of the wall that once separated East and West Berlin. An outdoor memorial includes an original wall section, vestiges of escape tunnels, border installations and even a chapel.
One of Berlin’s most iconic landmarks and home to the German parliament. This 19th-century building has been burned, bombed and rebuilt, and now sports a giant glass dome with 360-degree views of the city.
This former border crossing is an important historical monument, not just the setting for some great spy thrillers. An open-air exhibition tells the gripping stories of those who succeeded and failed to escape East Berlin this way.
A symbol of division during the Cold War, this elegant royal city gate was inspired by Athen’s Acropolis and completed in 1971 as a powerful mark of reunification.
Witness Holocaust history
Visit this moving memorial, a dark maze of blocks above an underground information centre, to witness the stories of victims of the Holocaust.
Food and Drink
You must try the local schnitzel, sauerkraut or currywurst. Tourist-heavy Mitte is home to great food spots with everything from Vietnamese to traditional German fare. A trip to local markets such as Markthalle IX serves up heritage vegetables, locally sourced meats, street food and an excellent microbrewery.
FEBRUARY | Berlin Film Festival (Berlinale)
One of the world’s major film festivals
MAY-JUNE | Berlin Carnival of Culture
Celebrates diverse nationalities in a float parade of dance, music and acrobatics
AUGUST | The Long Night of Museums
Sees Berlin’s cultural institutions open till 2am to showcase artworks, performances and concerts
AUGUST | International Beer Festival
Features over 2000 beers from around the world
OCTOBER | Festival of Lights and Oktoberfest
A festive Bavarian celebration at the heart of the city
NOV-DEC | Christmas markets
Offer gift shopping galore at 100+ locations across the city