Your essential Berlin to-do list
Berlin is an excellent choice for a getaway and it’s so close (flights are around 1 hour 45 minutes from London Heathrow) that it’s also ideal for a long weekend break. Whether a romantic break, a family holiday or a hen party – you’ll find something to suit every taste in this cosmopolitan city.
The German capital is split into very distinct areas, centring around the historical Mitte – rich with history, culture, nightlife, food havens and shopping spots. In East Central areas (Friedrichshain, Kreuzberg and Prenzlauer Berg) you’ll find trendy arty types while City West (Charlottenburg, Tiergarten, Wilmersdorf and Schöneberg) is home to Kurfürstendamm, a luxury shopping avenue.
Culture fans will be spoilt for choice in Berlin. Essential sights to see and places to visit include the remains of the Berlin Wall (there’s a memorial site which runs along both sides of the BernauerStrasse), the iconic Brandenburg Gate, Checkpoint Charlie, Parliament building Reichstag and the beautiful Charlottenburg Palace. Popular galleries include C/O Gallery which has a focus on photography, BerlinischeGalerie full of home-grown talent and Pool Gallery for modern art and street culture. Berlin also houses the Bauhaus Archives (Museum of Design), a Currywurst Museum and the R.M.C.M Ramones Museum.
Berlin is well known for its nightlife so friends, couples or party-goers who fancy a few good nights out in Berlin will not be disappointed. The city’s most famous venue, Berghain/Panorama Barn on the border of Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain is set in an abandoned warehouse with DJs playing techno and house music. Be ready to say goodbye to your weekend though: Friday nights will finish on Saturday afternoon, while Saturday night sessions tend to wrap up on Monday morning. Rockers and punks will love Wild at Heart in Kreuzberg with live music acts every Thursday to Saturday.If you’re booking a hen party in Berlin, go to Hen Heaven, who will arrange everything from the hotel to your activities – click here for more information.
If you fancy a shopping spree in Berlin, head to North Mitte for boutiques and independent fashion stores; or Friedrichstrasse for big name designer stores. Check out Prenzlauer Berg and the Humana second hand outlet in Alexanderplatz for vintage steals.
Tiergarten image – copyright flickr.com/edwin11
Families should be sure to visit Tiergarten, the city’s largest park at nearly twice the size of Hyde Park in London. On the border you’ll find Berlin Zoo and Aquarium, which has the largest collection of species in the world. Save little feet by hitching a ride on a sightseeing boat tour or bus tour for a view of the city’s top spots.