No longer defined by the wall that divided it, this is one of Europe's most interesting cities; a haven of architecture and museums and fascinating cultural history.
Berlin is made up of 12 boroughs, each with its own distinct personality. Travelling through them is easy, with an excellent light rail system that runs all day and sometimes through the night at the weekend.
The first port of call for history buffs should be the central Mitte district, where the so-called Museum Island is situated. This is home to the Pergamon Museum, Bode Museum and several other renowned cultural institutions. If more recent history is your thing, the fully interactive DDR Museum offers a snapshot of city life under the Soviets, and is also only a short walk away.
Around the city there are many constant reminders of its recent dark past. The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, a moving tribute to the victims of the Holocaust, is adjacent to the Mitte's Tiergarten, while you can find the Berlin Wall Memorial, featuring a small slice of the untouched wall (most of which is now demolished), just under 2 kilometres to the north.
To get a feel for some of city’s great architectural styles, take a stroll to enjoy the rococo design of Schloss Charlottenburg palace or have a look inside Berliner Dom, a huge sandstone building in a mixture of styles including Gothic, Baroque and Neoclassical. One notable building has to be the Reichstag parliament building. A classic construction topped by a modern glass dome, this impressive building offers 360-degree views of Berlin. Last but not least, a must-see is Berlin’s defining structure, the Brandenburg Gate.
When the sun come out, join the locals and flock to one of the city's many beautiful parks. The Tiergarten in the centre is one of the most popular. It’s lined with trees and has beautifully manicured lawns. It’s also home to Berlin Zoo, which has been around since 1844 and boasts hundreds of animals from pandas to polar bears.
One of the most striking landmarks seen across the city is the TV Tower situated in Alexanderplatz, one of the city’s two main public squares, along with Potsdamer Platz. Destroyed during World War II, Potsdamer Platz has undergone a major redevelopment, shaking off its outdated image as a no man's land during the division of Berlin to become a culinary centre. To try delicious local delights like elsbein (pork knuckle), schnitzel and currywurst, this is the place to go.
For a day trip away from Berlin, visit the time-honoured city of Brandenburg an der Haven. It’s only about an hour’s journey from the capital and features a picturesque lake and quaint bars and restaurants. If you want to travel further afield, Frankfurt an der Oder is a good choice and is only separated from Poland by the Oder River.