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Holidays to Berlin are a mix of classic and cosmopolitan flair thanks to the city's fascinating history, alluring art scene and cosmopolitan vibe. This buzzing capital is brimming with character and offers a wealth of attractions – so much so that it has become one of the most popular city break destinations for art lovers and partygoers. Explore Berlin's melting pot of culture, see the city's iconic monuments that tell stories of the past, visit the thought-provoking Wall, soak up the atmosphere in its bustling squares and catch a glimpse of cutting-edge art showcased across the capital. Add in beautiful parks, great bars, breweries and a seriously good dining scene, and Berlin holidays are pretty hard to beat. So if you're after a vibrant city break with shopping, markets and more Berlin is the best of the bunch.
Places to Go and Things to Do
Stroll in the Tiergarten
Enjoy a leisurely stroll along the picturesque green paths of the Tiergarten, the city's answer to New York's Central Park. Pack a picnic and enjoy by the small lake and then check out the monuments and memorials scattered across the spectacular park. Slow things down with a boat ride on the Neuer See Lake, stop by the Schleusenkrug beer garden near the pretty canal or combine your visit with a trip to the Berlin Zoo!
Walk the Berlin Wall
Step back in time and visit the thought-provoking ruins of the Berlin Wall. Begin at Checkpoint Charlie, a tourist centre that once functioned as the border crossing when Berlin was divided. View a restored mile-long stretch of the wall along its southern border of Wedding and Mitte, along the banks of the river Spree. The East Side Gallery is the largest remaining section of the Berlin Wall and a popular spot for sightseers. This landmark is covered in graffiti painted by local and international street artists during reunification.
Marvel Over Museum Island
Museumsinsel (Museum Island) is a unique ensemble of five museums located in the middle of Berlin's river Spree. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is definitely worth a visit for those that want to tap into the city's cultural scene, with its unique collections spanning over 6,000 years. It's also incredibly picturesque! View the Egyptian bust of Nefertiti at the Neues Museum, catch a glimpse of the Ishtar Gate of Babylon and look out for the Islamic Art collection at the Pergamon Museum.
Soak Up Iconic Sights
Steeped in history, Berlin is eclectic mix of old and new . Visit the glass-domed Reichstag building and take a guided tour to the top where you can also book into the rooftop restaurant and enjoy panoramic views of the city. Step back in time at the Brandenburg Gate. For an emotional journey into Jewish history, take a walk through the Holocaust Memorial or visit the concentration camp memorial at Sachsenhausen. Other sights to consider include the Olympic Stadium, the Fernsehturm and the Pergamonmuseum.
Enjoy Street Art
You don't need to visit a gallery to spot this city's creative side, with many of Berlin's neighbourhood streets boasting some of the best street art in the world. Look out for sketches from local artists El Bocho and Alias alongside work from Italian artist Blue Aurreal and French artist Victor Ash, including the famous cosmonaut wall stencil in Kreuzberg and sketches of Mick Jagger, Jack Nicholson and Adolf Hitler.
Bag Some Bargains
Berlin has a broad range of luxury department stores, local lively markets and designer boutiques to browse through. If you're looking for a bargain, potter around the flea market at Prenzlauer Berg Mauerpark on a Sunday and you'll find a diverse selection of souvenirs including handmade articrafts, records, clothes, musical instruments and even furniture. Other flea markets active on the weekends include Arkonaplatz in Mitte which is great for vintage discoveries, Nowkoelln Flowmarkt for all of your fashion finds and Markthalle IX, for its microbrewery, meats and European cheeses – visit on a Thursday evening and indulge in its spectacular street food.
Take a Tour
Explore the city at your own pace on a guided Hop-On Hop-Off boat tour, learn more about Berlin's history by bike or embark on one of the three-hour walking tours around the Kreuzberg District, where you can feast your eyes on your vibrant surroundings and your stomach on the street-food stands!There are also beer tours, food dinner parties hosted by local Berliners and art walking tours.
Relax on the River
The Oberbaum bridge sitting pretty over the river Spree, is the most picturesque of Berlin’s 900-plus bridges. Once closed to civilians in the days when it served as the border between East and West Germany, it now separates the districts of Kreuzberg and Friedrichshainers. The barbed wire is now replaced with a sandy beach in the summer. The double-deck bridge is the perfect spot to take pictures and enjoy the graffiti and street art painted on its surface too.
Rest assured that the city’s excellent public transport network will get you where you need to be quickly and efficiently. Taxis are readily available but can be expensive and less reliable than public transport. Schonefeld Airport has good bus connections and it’s easy to arrange car hire there too, if you want the freedom of driving. However, Berlin has an environmental zone in the centre of the city meaning only cars under a certain emission standard are allowed to enter.
Travelling by bus or car
In Berlin the bus service is integrated with the S-Bahn (overground train) and U-Bahn (underground train). This means if you buy a day pass you have the freedom to hop on and off all three modes of transport.
Berlin has an environmental zone for cars, meaning only cars under a certain emissions level are able to drive in the centre. Cars require a special sticker in order to enter the Umweltzone (the environmental zone). The sticker must be present on the car windshield or you are at risk of a fine. Check if your hire car has a sticker before entering the zone. Drivers are generally careful but remember to drive on the right-hand side and watch out for cyclists.
Passports and Visas
British citizens don’t need a visa to visit Germany but a valid passport is essential. The most recent guidelines can be found at For more information and advice, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/germany/entry-requirements or the Foreign Office at www.fco.gov.uk/en/
Health and Safety
Don’t forget travel and medical insurance for your visit to Germany. You also need an EHIC card for medical emergencies. For more info, see www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/germany/health
Vaccinations aren’t necessary for travel to Germany but visit your GP before travel to make sure routine jabs are up to date.
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