Destination of the Week: Berlin
The capital city of Germany is both glamourous and grungy with an unpretentious and richly historical culture. Known for incredible architecture, vibrant nightlife and, of course, the Berlin Wall, this city that never sleeps delivers action, adventure and an abundance of fun.
What to do
The Berlin Wall was mostly demolished in 1990, but you can still visit a restored section along the border of Wedding and Mitte, the tourist spot at Checkpoint Charlie and the stretch known as the East Side Gallery, which is dedicated to art.
The Grunewald Forest is perfect to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. Take a stroll, cycle or horseback ride through Berlin’s largest forested area and swim in freshwater lakes if the weather is warm. Visit the Reichstag, the home of the German Parliament, explore Jewish history at the Judishches Museum and shop until you drop at Europe’s largest department store, KaDeWe.
Berlin’s famed nightlife scene even includes after-parties and daytime clubs, with everything from hardcore techno, hip-hop, rock, swing and tango for anyone after an endless dance party. If that’s not your thing, check out the Berlin Philharmonic in concert at its iconic yellow home theatre, designed by Hans Scharoun.
Where to stay
Along with nearly every international hotel chain, Berlin has a range of quirky, local options to satisfy adventure seekers, as well as hostels and apartments to suit every budget. Location is everything, so choose based on how far away, or how close, you want to be near the action.
Soho House Berlin (£££)
Smack bang in the middle of the city, the trendy Soho House is a perfect base for exploring. Guests can enjoy the Cowshed Spa with a Hamman and sauna, a rooftop pool and terrace, a gym and a restaurant. A range of apartment and studios are available, including stylish lofts for longer stays, all equipped with huge flat screen TVs and rain showers.
Askanischer Hof Boutique Hotel (££)
If you’re looking for some quirky, old-world Berlin flair, the Askanischer Hof is for you. Located on Kurfurstendamm Boulevard, the boutique hotel that David Bowie once stayed in is housed in a private mansion with an Art Deco lobby, flamboyant candelabra and ornate ceilings. All the rooms are individually designed with antique furniture, cable TV’s and luxury bathrooms.
Cityhostel Berlin (£)
Within a few minutes’ walk of all the main attractions in the city, Cityhostel Berlin is a great place to discover Brandenburg Gate, the Jewish Museum and Checkpoint Charlie. The hostel offers a breakfast buffet onsite, a terrace, free Wi Fi and 24-hour reception.
Where to eat
Apart from the traditional German comfort food, like Currywurst, pork knuckles and smoked pork chops, the gourmet foodie can find Michelin-starred restaurants and international cuisine among Berlin’s ever- expanding food scene.
Fischers Fritz (£££)
The exquisitely glamorous, Michelin-starred Fischers Fritz, located in The Regent Berlin offers haute cuisine with elegant live music and superior service. Try confit of cod with swiss chard, green mango and shellfish jus, or Oysters Rockefeller, before dipping into their exclusive Martini list.
Splendidly situated on the shore of the river Spree, Hafenkuche is fresh, cheery and friendly with a gorgeous terrace that’s lit romantically at night. They offer specials, including picnic baskets and a BBQ area with a grilled food menu, as well as a la carte menus for lunch and dinner.
With California style burritos, soft shell tacos, chips, salads and soups, the blend of Mexican and American style food at Dolores, at Alexanderplatz Square, is made with fresh ingredients and it’s easy on the budget for a quick snack at any time of the day
Image source: (c) istock/thinkstock
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