To think of Berlin as a dreary city still struggling to escape the shadow of its communist past is to do the German capital a great injustice. Vibrant, fascinating and truly unique – Berlin today is simply bursting with culture, history and a huge array of world-class entertainment.
The contemporary and the historic collide in this wonderfully diverse city. Alongside the world-famous Brandenburg Gate and iconic Reichstag building stand incredible feats of modern architecture like the dazzling Sony Tower at Potsdamer Platz. The remaining Berlin Wall at East Side Gallery and infamous Checkpoint Charlie border crossing are unsettling, yet fascinating, reminders of the city’s troubled history. Cycle around Tiergarten then quench your thirst with a refreshing pils in a sundrenched beer garden. Admire artistic treasures on Museum Island then relax in a deckchair at Strandbar Mitte urban beach. Sip cocktails at a cosmopolitan bar in Charlottenburg before grooving to techno beats in hip Prenzlauer Berg.
Summer festivals in Berlin
Berlin is synonymous with hip, fashionable people experimenting with art, music and film – so its festivals are sure to share these qualities. Pop-Kultur is being held at various venues across Neukölln – affectionately called ‘Little Istanbul’ due to its Turkish inhabitants. The German capital’s cultural elite will be holding events, talks and concerts from 31 August to 2 September exploring the diverse nature of Berlin’s scene. On 10 and 11 September, big name bands and world-famous DJs come to Treptower Park, between Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain, to wow the crowds at Lollapalooza – an exciting import from the USA, where Radiohead and Kings of Leon are headlining.
A pleasant stroll along the Unter den Linden boulevard in Berlin’s central Mitte district takes you to the scenic Spree river or the world-famous Brandenburg Gate. Climb to the top of the 368m TV Tower in buzzing Alexanderplatz for stunning panoramic vistas. Soak up the lively atmosphere in Hackescher Markt, with its array of trendy boutiques, bars and cafés. The luxurious Hotel Adlon Kempinski enjoys a superb Mitte location, with views of the Brandenburg Gate.
Spend an evening at the opera or visit the imposing Second World War-era Olympic Stadium in the affluent west district and Charlottenburg. For designer label shopping, make your way to the bustling boulevard of Kurfürstendamm. Visit Berlin’s landmark Kaiser Wilhem Memorial Church at Christmas time to shop for festive goodies at its excellent market. Head to Savignyplatz for a host of lively bars, cafés and restaurants. The stylish H10 Berlin Ku’damm hotel is a perfect base for exploring this thriving area.
Communist-era architecture mingles with modern renovations in the multicultural melting pot that is unified Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain. Trendy and bohemian, Friedrichshain is the place to go for cool nightclubs and hip boutiques. Picnic in the green oasis of Volkspark and be sure to stop by East Side Gallery, where a 1.6km section of the Berlin Wall has been conserved. Book a stay at one of our centrally located hotels to get close to the nightlife action.
Even in the communist era, this area north of Mitte was a magnet for bohemian artists and hip young things. Since then it has undergone a dramatic transformation but retained its trendy edge. Watch the world go by as you relax with a coffee in a laid-back café. Or cool off in summer with a refreshing lager at PraterGarten, Berlin’s oldest beer garden. Browse the boutiques then dance into the small hours at one of the many lively nightspots.
Unwind with a picnic in the spawling, idyllic parklands of Tiergarten. Enjoy a great family day out at Berlin Zoo – the largest in Germany – which borders the park. Head south from here and find yourself in Potsdamer Platz, a thriving hub of art, entertainment and shopping. The towering Sony Center is a stunning feat of architecture, which boasts a cinema, Legoland attraction and more. The deluxe Ritz-Carlton Berlin hotel affords views of the Sony Center and Tiergarten.