Welcome to Berlin

Guide to Berlin, Germany
"The greatest cultural extravaganza that one could imagine" David Bowie

Some cities offer instant gratification- the flirtatious, tart's boudoir of Paris, say, or the white heat and architectural dazzle of Rome. But in Berlin, a little effort may be required to unpeel the layers of culture, politics and parties that stretch back for centuries before Sally Bowles ever knocked on the door of the Kit Kat club. Like a polite but impenetrable host, the city may not charm immediately- but it rewards time, curiosity and patience in uncovering its most intimate spaces and enticing places.

Alongside the familiar visual weight of its most obvious history- the Reichstag, or the Holocaust memorial- is a restless, daring sense of change and motion, where art, fashion and music pulse underground, just beneath the staid surface. No wonder David Bowie spent three years here recording his Berlin trilogy, or that 110 years ago, Mark Twain remarked, "Berlin is the newest city I have come across. Even Chicago would appear old and grey in comparison."

Berlin still feels new, and ready to be discovered. It is a huge, sprawling canvas of a place- there are few neat strolls between landmarks, or broad, majestic vistas. Berlin is a door concealing a wild party where everyone is welcome and anything can happen. You only need to open it.

Guide to Berlin, GermanyGuide to Berlin, Germany



Kreuzberg is ideal for wandering - a jumble of restaurants, bars, music and boutiques more
Berlin Gneisenaustrasse

Berlin Zoo

It's the most popular zoo in Europe, with good reason more
Hardenbergplatz 8, 10787 Berlin Zoologischer Garten Zoologischer Garten


An urban aquarium of glittering glass and Jetsons futurism, this public square is the heart of bold, commercial Berlin more
Potsdamer Platz


Anna Blume

On the leafy Kollwitzstrasse, in Prenzlauer, this is an exquisite Art Deco cafe more
Kollwitzstrasse 83 10405 030 440 48749 Eberswalder Strasse

Parlamento Degli Angeli

This lovely Kreuzberg Italian restaurant may well have learnt from the best Rome has to offer more
Bergmannstra├če 109, 10965 030 81806400 Gneisenaustrasse


For a meal of unparalleled luxury, Hugo's offers haute cuisine made from local ingredients and a panoramic view of the city more
Budapester Strasse 2, 10787 Berlin 030 2602-0 Wittenbergplatz

Guide to Berlin, GermanyGuide to Berlin, Germany



One of Kreuzberg's more hysterically camp gay bars more
Mehringdamm 63, 10961 Berlin 030 67469562 Mehringdamm


As calm and crisp as a Winter morning, this Prenzlauer bar offers picture-window views more
Husemannstrasse 15 10435 Berlin 030 4428425 Eberswalder Strasse

Green Door

Not far from Bowie's old place, this is where kisses, cocktails and crucial 3am insights into life's meaning will disperse in the morning mist more
Winterfeldtstrasse 50 10718 Berlin 30 215 25 15 Nollendorfplatz


The Ellington Hotel

This vast 1920s hotel in Charlottenberg sails like an ocean liner on a sea of history more
Nurnberger Strasse 50-55, 10789 Berlin 030 683150 Augsberger

Hotel Sana

This sleek, modern block conceals a hotel which is unobtrusive in the best way more
Nurnberger Strasse 33, 10777 Berlin 030 20051510 Augsberger

Hotel de Rome

Set just off Unter den Linden, this large hotel opened six years ago in a grand, classical 19th century building more
Behrenstrasse 37 10117 Berlin 030 460 60 90 Franzosische Strasse

Guide to Berlin, Germany

In The Mood


Goodbye to Berlin- Christopher Isherwood

Berlin- The Downfall 1945 Anthony Beevor

Alone In Berlin- Hans Fallada

The Moment- Douglas Kennedy


The Lives Of Others


Wings Of Desire

Run Lola, Run



Low- David Bowie

Berlin-Lou Reed

Marlene Dietrich Sings Berlin- Marlene Dietrich

Paris Days Berlin Nights- Ute Lemper & Vogler Quartet


Avoid Checkpoint Charlie

The greatest symbol of the Cold War is now one of Berlin's most depressing experiences for entirely different reasons. Seething with tourists, and commercial tat, it's a grim monument to the Western values it originally existed to segregate.

Take Cash

Although ATMs are frequently available, it's still worth taking cash if you're eating out. Many smaller restaurants still don't have a card machine, and you'll save yourself a tiresome trek round an unfamiliar neighbourhood looking for a bank, while your partner smiles glassily at the waiters.

Getting Around

You can drive in Berlin, but public transport is fast and frequent by both bus and U-bahn. However, the maps can resemble multicoloured linguine, so work out the route you need beforehand to avoid dashing between platforms as the right train pulls away.

Berlin is a wonderful city for bike-riding, with careful, polite drivers and bike lanes alongside almost every main street. There are plenty of bicycle hire shops. Pedestrians need to take care, though, as often the only warning of an incipient running-over is a violently rung bell.

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