As Germany’s capital city, Berlin holds a very special place in peoples hearts. Vibrant and sophisticated, it has come a long way since the 20th century cold war days, when it was divided by the now graffiti covered remains of the infamous wall. Berlin dates back to the 13th century and was severely damaged by bombs during WW2, however, nowadays, it boasts an eclectic mix of both the modern and historical, including the symbolic 18th century Brandenburg Gate and the stunning Charlottenburg Palace.
Hotel accommodation ranges from cheap and cheerful through to five star luxury, so something for all budgets and tastes; take a look at hotels situated in prime locations, such as the Kurfürstendamm shopping street, which is right in the city centre. A great way to get around is to purchase a Travel Card, which is valid on all of Berlin’s public transport networks, within zones A, B and C.
The city of Berlin has a lot to offer everyone and there is so much to do, even during a short stay. Visit stunning parks and gardens, including the 160 year old Friedrichshain, the Viktoriapark with its beautiful, artificial waterfall and the Botanischer Garten, which has more than 22,000 different plants. Let's also not forget stunning palaces, such as Bellevue, the official residence of the Federal President and the upmarket bars and restaurants along Berlin’s waterfronts - the River Spree and several lakes - all offering a table with a view.
Berlin is well known for its art scene and, a favourite amongst artists, is the Berlinische Galerie, a former glass warehouse offering exhibition areas that are flooded with light. There are many museums, including the fascinating, interactive Deutsche Demokratische Republik, which offers a first-hand experience of how life used to be. Another ‘must see’ is the Spy Museum, which gives an intriguing insight into German history, including laser games and incredible gadgets.
Shopping should begin at the extraordinary Potsdamer Platz Arkaden, with it’s 120 shops and many bars and restaurants, all located under one roof. Follow this with a visit to the Alexanderplatz, probably the most frequented square in Berlin, not only for shopping, but also for hotels and major landmarks, such as the 365 metre Berliner Fernsehturm - a TV Tower which has a rotating spectator platform. This exciting city, in addition, offers boutiques and shops selling luxury and unusual items through to farmer's markets offering German delicacies.
Berlin is considered to have some of the finest nightlife in Europe, so, as darkness falls, head to either Torstraße or Schöneberg for a chic and wide-ranging mix of bars, restaurants and nightclubs; this is certainly an area that knows how to party! However, if a more sophisticated nightlife is preferred, then The Pearl Bar and Club is a must; opened in 2013, it is situated at Fasanenstrasse 81. With it’s stylish chrome furnishings and 10 metres high waterfall, it offers everything for the more discerning party goer.
No matter what season of the year, Berlin is always open for business and pleasure; there is no doubt that it is hard to find a more exciting and diverse city at any time of the day or night.