The very best of...BerlinFriday 24 July 2015 by Melanie Klaschka Explore Berlin with our must-see guide to this vibrant and eclectic city.
The best things to see and do
Berlin is one of Europe’s best examples of what can be achieved through creative urban regeneration – a city where Cold War concrete meets cutting edge cool. Most visitors take time to visit the Brandenburg Gate, which started life as a 1791 royal city gate and is now a dramatic symbol of German reunification. It’s also well worth visiting Berlin’s Holocaust Memorial, where a sea of concrete columns create a symbolic sculpture of remembrance. One of Berlin’s most iconic buildings is the Reichstag, which is now the home of Germany’s parliament; you can take a trip up to the glass dome for fabulous views of the city. Finally, take a stroll around the stunning Charlottenburg Palace, taking in both the beautiful palace and the wonderful gardens and lawns.
The best food and drink
What makes Berlin’s dining scene stand out from the crowd is the city’s wonderful diversity, which offers up a superb array of ethnic cuisine from every corner of the globe, from Lebanese to Indonesian, Greek and Latin American. It’s truly a city with something for everyone, from its 13 Michelin-starred restaurants to trendy organic cafes and street stalls selling currywurst and other hearty German specialities. The city is famous for its nightlife, with a huge array of bars, clubs and music venues. Berlin’s people are welcoming, the beer is plentiful and lots of places stay open until the small hours – what’s not to love?
The best way to get around
Berlin is a big city, so exploring on foot is not for the faint-hearted! The city has a superb bus, tram, light railway and underground network that covers the whole city - the U-Bahn (underground) is ideal for exploring the city centre, whilst the S-Bahn (overground) is perfect for heading out to the suburbs. Taxis are pretty cheap by European standards, and a good way to get home after a night out, along with the city’s famous yellow buses. Trams are mostly found in East Berlin, a throwback to the days when it used to be divided into two cities. Cycling is a good way to explore too, with a great network of dedicated bike lanes criss-crossing the city.
The best events and festivals
Berlin is a city that likes to party, and this is reflected in the weird and wonderful array of festivals and parades hosted in the city throughout the year. One of the biggest is the Carnival of Cultures in May or June, a colourful 3-day festival in the surburb of Kreuzburg, with a fantastic parade of dancers, DJs, bands and singers. In late June Berlin hosts Christopher Street Day, a flamboyant array of Gay Pride events that culminates in a huge street parade. One of the biggest events is the Berlin Love Parade, a street party that has grown into one of the biggest dance music events in the world, with over one million hedonistic party-lovers dancing their way along the parade route (bring your own techno whistle!).