Germany’s capital has a turbulent history, much of it occurring in the 20th century thanks to the brutal Nazi regime, WWII and the Cold War.
But in the years since the infamous Berlin Wall was torn down, the city has become a melting pot for art, design, fashion and music.
It’s a city that has reinvented itself and become the German capital of cool.
Berlin’s art scene deserves all the fame and all the hype that regularly surrounds it. The city has been transformed by some of the most creative minds in all of Europe, extending arts influence far beyond the regular institutions and using the whole city as a canvas. You’ll find art all over the city, and it’s a great way to explore Berlin’s many different and distinctive neighbourhoods.
The best way to get up close and personal with Berlin’s history is on a walking tour, where you can tread the same paths as Prussian kings, Nazi forces, Jewish refugees and Red Army soldiers.
Whether you have one hour or one day, a Berlin walking tour taking in sites like the Brandenburg Gate, 1920s Cabaret Mile, Hitler’s Bunker and the wall, will share insights that will linger for a lifetime.
Berlin’s currywurst blows just about all other European street food out of the water and finding the best currywurst in Berlin feels like a true accomplishment. Why? Well for starters there’s an endless amount of stalls dedicated to serving that faultless combination of steamed and fried pork sausages, sweet curry ketchup and curry spice that dates back to 1949.
The Kreuzberg neighbourhood is the place to eat your way through the high density of Berlin’s best dining options, from street food to high-end restaurants.
Other cities in Germany may be better known for their beer gardens, but Berlin has still got some of the best in the country. If you’re in a group then spending endless hours enjoying life’s finer things in a busy beer garden is a Berlin essential.
For a quirky Berliner experience, head to Mauerpark for some Bearpit Karaoke – that’s a concrete ampitheatre where locals queue up to have the honour of singing karaoke to huge crowds every Sunday.
Head out of Berlin for the day and into Brandenburg’s capital of Potsdam. You’ll only be travelling around 40 kilometres so getting here won’t eat up much of your time, and the tiny effort is well worth it. Known as the former royal seat of Prussia, this town is resplendent with old world charm, featuring spectacular palaces and impeccably manicured gardens, the kind European fantasies are made of.
Hipsters will want to spend most of their time in the dilapidated surrounds of RAW-Gelände, a former train repair station now covered by graffiti and populated by weekly flea markets, nightclubs, art spaces and bars, including disco-for-two Teledisko which is located in a repurposed phone booth. It’s not only one of the best examples of adaptive reuse projects in Berlin; it’s one of the best in the world.
If you go to one market in Berlin, make sure it’s the Turkish Market which stretches just under a kilometre along the Landwehr Canal, on both sides of Maybachufer Straße, every Tuesday and Friday from 11am to 6.30pm; Kreuzberg is defined by its Turkish population, so plenty of delicious food and interesting wares can be found here.