Many travellers think of Berlin as a serious city for historians and people who like rain. Well, that’s only partly true. Located in northeast Germany, Berlin has a complex past, a growing international community and fun-loving locals. Places like Kreuzberg and Tiergarten are not to be missed when you’re ready for delicious grub and relaxing surroundings. In other words, grab some happy snaps in front of the Brandenburg Gate, take in a diverse mix of culture and cuisine and drive really fast on the Autobahn.
As you look for hotels in the Berlin city centre, check out Mitte, a neighbourhood brimming with some of the most popular historic sites and museums. If you don’t want to be far from a post-flight nap when you arrive, book accommodation near Berlin Airport (known as Tegel International). The surrounding area is quiet and removed from the tourist queues, so rest up.
Things to Do in Berlin
Here’s the scoop. At Wotif, we take to the streets of Berlin with three Bs in mind (Berlin makes four): buildings, backstories and beer. Start on the first B at the Brandenburg Gate, the centrepiece of Berlin architecture, directly west of the sprawling green Tiergarten and within walking distance to the Reichstag Building. Don’t crash a German Parliament meeting if you can help it, but definitely take a peek at the inner workings of past and present politics—plus the façade is pretty. If you’re here for the backstories, head west to Museum Island, but don’t skip the German Historical Museum on your way across the Kupfergraben to see Berlin Cathedral and Pergamon Museum, which has a whole Babylonian temple inside it. As you make your way through the city, slow down at the Topography of Terror, a museum chronicling the dark history that blanketed the second half of the 20th century, built near a portion of the Berlin Wall. To lift your spirits and celebrate today’s Berlin, it’s time for the final B: Beer, as well as other culinary delights. Hit up Kreuzberg to mingle with locals and stuff your face with German classics like spätzle and strudel. For less conventional vibes, don’t forget Neukölln—it’s youthful, avant-garde and international, not grungy. If you wear yourself out busting moves and sampling brews, don’t worry: in Berlin, accommodation is as easy to find as a hot, soft pretzel.
Getting To & Around Berlin
Intercontinental flights to Berlin touch down at Berlin Tegel Airport (TXL), just 10 km northwest of the city centre. Pick up one of our car hire options to take your bags to your hotel in Berlin, or catch a ride downtown on underground transit. Taxis are plentiful, so if you have a need for speed on Germany’s famous interstate without a speed limit, you can hail a local to show you around as you yell “Autobahn!” from the back seat.
Best Time to Visit Berlin
Any time is the perfect time to book Berlin holidays with Wotif. In May through December, you’ll find mild weather, outdoor adventures and hopping brew festivals—see what we did there? Even during the cold season (January–April), the city’s warm, welcoming spirit will keep you feeling toasty.
We’ve scouted out sweet deals on airfare and Berlin accommodation, so you can mix and match to create the perfect getaway to Germany’s historic capital.
Due to Berlin’s scale and the size of the city center it is difficult to cover the main sights on foot. The Berlin Welcome Card offers a great way to get around the city and see many of the highlights; it includes unlimited travel on the underground, metro, and tram systems and 50% discounts on most museums. Another good way to experience central attractions like the Reichstag (the restored parliament) and its Norman Foster glass dome is to board a sightseeing boat on the river Spree.
Arts and Culture
Those seeking a cultural experience should head for the Berlin Museumsinsel in Mitte. The six museums on a small island focus on classical antiquities, prehistory and early history, Islamic art, and sculpture, and house Egyptian and Numismatic collections. The museum complex itself was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999.
For a more modern take visit the Temporäre Kunsthalle Berlin at the Schlossplatz nearby which will showcase modern art created in Berlin until the end of 2010.
A new generation of young Germans eager to experience life in this city of constant change has migrated to the capital in recent years from all over the country, filling the bars and cafes in Prenzlauer Berg, Kreuzberg, and Mitte. Bars and clubs in the central district are mostly open into the early hours of the morning. Expect the unexpected - wine bars that only charge what you want to pay (Weinerei at Zionskirche Square) or a drinking joint in a circus tent (Bar Jeder Vernunft, Schaper Street).
Berlin has no equivalent to the West End or Broadway, but a number of British shows have established themselves here over the years – including Blue Man Group.
Potsdam and Park Sanssouci
If you have more than a couple of days in the city, it’s worth venturing to nearby Potsdam and Park Sanssouci (which freely translates as ‘carefree’). The vast royal gardens are often compared to Versailles and resemble a showroom for medium-sized palaces. Schedule at least two hours to explore and choose your favorite from residences such as Friedrich the Great’s Palace Sansousi, which gave the park its name, and later additions such as the Neues Palais. Hide