With world-class museums, ultra-modern architecture and characterful coffee shops, Berlin holidays offer an enchanting blend of rich history and vibrant culture.
When it comes to European capital cities, cosmopolitan Berlin is hard to beat. As the largest of Germany's cities, both by land area and population, it has a bustle that never fails to provide its many visitors with a sense of excitement. Wandering through the city by foot is a great way to take it all in. Along with the lively atmosphere you'll find colourful street art, impressive modern architecture, and intriguing historic relics at almost every turn. With a great variety of trendy cafes dotted around the city, there are plenty of chances to refuel on a break from your stroll.
As you'd expect from a modern capital city, there is a wealth of things to do and see here. For history lovers in particular, Berlin trips offer an extremely packed itinerary. Much of the city's past remains on display today, not only housed in its numerous superb museums, but outside on the streets. From the glitz of the Golden Twenties to the turbulent times of the Cold War and World War II, it’s easy to get a real sense of the city's deep history. Those passionate about art meanwhile, are sure to be delighted with the city's vibrant scene, encompassing everything from art fairs, quirky galleries and performance art.
It may have a reputation as one of the world's most glamorous cities, but Berlin remains happily affordable. It's also easy to navigate the city centre, despite its large size. With the majority of the city's major attractions nestled close to one another in the key neighbourhoods, and a great public transport network, seeing the best of Berlin in a reasonably short amount of time is very possible. Whether wandering through the lively Mitte and Friedrichshain neighbourhoods, exploring the scenic waterways of Spandau or paying a visit to the elegant palaces of Steglitz-Zehlendorf, Berlin holidays offer charm and excitement in spades.
Few Berlin trips would feel complete without time spent exploring the city's many impressive museums. Indeed, there are so many here that the city even has its own 'Museum Island' - a UNESCO World Heritage Site in itself. Here you'll find gems such as the Neues Museum, home to an enthralling array of Egyptian artefacts, including the bust of Queen Nefertiti, and the Pergamon Museum, filled with classical antiquities in equally regal surroundings. For those wishing to learn more about Germany's history, The German History Museum is a must-do. The Jewish Museum offers in-depth insight into the city's Jewish history, while the The Holocaust Memorial serves as a poignant reminder of all of the Jewish people that lost their lives under Hitler's reign.
Another worthwhile addition to most Berlin tours is any of the city's art galleries. The Gemäldegalerie showcases the best of European painters between the 13th and 18th centuries, including pieces by Holbein, Rembrandt and Rubens. The Scharf-Gerstenberg Collection meanwhile is home to surrealist works by the likes of Picasso and Dalí, while the Old National Gallery features art from the Romantic period. For beautiful sights outside of the city's galleries, a visit to the 18th century Brandenburg Gate archway is worthwhile, and, for cutting-edge architecture, the Potsdamer Platz square.
Another popular stop on all Berlin tours is Checkpoint Charlie; a crossing point between the wall dividing East Berlin and West Berlin during the Cold War. To catch a glimpse of the infamous wall itself, pay a visit to the Berlin Wall Memorial. Not only is the last remaining section of the structure here, but also a range of informative exhibits and displays. To see how 118 graffiti artists have transformed a part of the wall, be sure to stop by the East Side Gallery. For those looking for more outdoor activities, the likes of Tiergarten, the city's oldest park, and Viktoriapark, complete with a vineyard and waterfall, should do the trick. Animal lovers will no doubt enjoy a wander through Tierpark Berlin, home to 7,250 animals, or Zoo Berlin, home to more than 20,200. Berlin holidays offer plenty in the way of shopping sprees too, with the pedestrianised Alexanderplatz and charming Spandau old town being particularly pleasant.
Naturally, Berlin holidays are not only about the sights and attractions, but also exploring the city's diverse culinary scene. You can find a huge variety of international cuisines in restaurants across the city; everything from Greek and Italian to Indian and Turkish. Of course you can also take advantage of the many opportunities to try the local fare, in eateries ranging from plush dining rooms to budget friendly hole in the wall joints. Being a city full of energy and excitement, a late supper certainly won't be an issue; most restaurants continue serving food late into the night.
So, what local dishes should you tempt your taste buds with? Well, all good Berlin tours should involve the city's favourite; currywurst. This tasty sausage dish is so popular there's even a museum dedicated to it. Simple but delicious, it consists of a fried pork sausage covered in a special sauce and usually served with chips. Another tantalising local favourite is schnitzel; a thin pork steak covered in breadcrumbs and fried. For the ultimate combination, be sure to order it with spätzle; egg noodle dumplings covered in cheese.
When it comes to enjoying a night on the town, Berlin trips certainly don't disappoint. In line with its status as a hip and trendy city, there are a seemingly endless array of elegant and quirky bars to choose from. Whether you fancy soaking up the last of the sunshine in a beer garden, tasting the city's very best wines in an intimate cellar bar or sipping on perfectly-mixed mojitos at a funky cocktail bar, there's plenty of fun to be had after the sun sets. With superb options for cabaret, live music and ballet too, it's easy to make the most of your nights in this lively city.
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