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Berlin

  • Berlin

    Rex Features

The once-divided city of Berlin is a rollicking European capital where art, food and music are in excess. Whether you’re visiting to stroll around Potsdamer Platz or hankering for a helping of schnitzel, Berlin has it all. In East Berlin, neighbourhoods like Mitte are home to chic shopping boutiques like Redwing and posh hotels such as the Soho House and Casa Camper. In February, film buffs can take in a week of new releases at Berlin’s annual International Film Festival, the Berlinale. In summer months Volkspark Friedrichshain is a verdant oasis, perfect for whiling away an afternoon, as are little gems such as Cafe Jacques, a darling place along one of Berlin’s six canals that serves excellent pastries and schnapps. Half the delight of a trip to Berlin is discovering its myriad of diverse neighbourhoods, like its Turkish quarter, Kreuzberg or West Berlin’s glitzy Charlottenburg, home to interesting sites like the 18th century Baroque castle, Schloss Charlottenburg. Berlin is a sprawling metropolis but thankfully well connected by affordable overground trains and buses, and good links to regional airports and nearby cities.

Berlin Travel Tips

  1. Over the past decade, Berlin’s hotel scene has moved up a notch, with designer hotels such as Hotel Q and Luxe 11 springing up to cater for the well-heeled visitor. Well connected by public transport and at the historic core of Berlin is Mitte where the imposing luxury Soho House recently opened its doors. For something a bit more modest and quaint, check in at Casa Camper, an excellent hotel for short weekend visits.
  2. Summer evenings and winter mornings are the perfect time to stroll along Berlin’s Spree River. Along the way there are places to stop in for a bite to eat and a steaming coffee -  look out for the Patio Café, a great local spot, ideal for tucking into a book.
  3. One of Berlin’s greatest urban designs is Museumsinsel, an island of museums on the Spree River. Morning is the best time to visit: if you can’t fit in all five museums, try not to miss Pergamon Museum to view the Ishtar Gate or the Neues Museum for a glimpse of some of the world’s finest Egyptian artefacts.
  4. White asparagus, schnitzel, curry wurst and sauerkraut are some Germany’s national culinary treasures. All are delicious but not satisfying to live on for a week. For fresh market-to-table fare try Little Otik, a Kreuzberg eatery at Graefestrasse 71 that draws from Alice Water cuisine and local Turkish markets for inspiration.
  5. Antique hunters will swoon at Berlin’s Sunday Flea market at Trödelmarkt Arkonaplatz where you can find everything from paintings to used clothing and silverware. Another fabulous spot for treasure hunting is the Mauerpark Flea Market, which is an easy walk along the Bernauer Strasse.

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