Berlin Travel Guide

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Berlin has managed the challenging feat of becoming a top tourist destination while retaining much of its natural charm, freshness and character. The city is a quirky mix of the traditional and the modern having been masterfully reinvented post reunification.

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Even in its days as the capital of East Germany, the city had a magnetic attraction for musicians. David Bowie famously produced three of his best albums here back in the 1970s and some of his more recent work (such as “Where Are We Now?”) suggests that Berlin is still very much a place he loves. He has hardly been forgotten by it either. Visitors can choose to join a Bowie tour to see his favourite haunts and the places he referenced in his songs. Alternatively, they can go and visit them independently.

Berlin’s cultural scene is famously lively with a number of famous festivals covering pretty much all art forms. The film festival in particular has become a major event with the top prize being much coveted. There is also plenty for music lovers to enjoy and those who want to see pictorial art will also be spoiled for choice.

Speaking of pictorial art, anyone who visits Berlin simply has to make time to see the Berlin Wall, which is now essentially an open air art museum featuring some truly iconic images as well as some very creative graffiti. Those who simply see the wall as a piece of history, rather than a piece of art, might enjoy taking part in one of the free walking tours, which are offered twice a day. There are English-speaking guides. Although optional it is appreciated if you leave a tip. An alternative way to get an overview of Berlin for free is to head to the Reichstag, which is topped with a glass dome designed by British architect Sir Norman Foster. The compensation for the (generally) long queues and (inevitably) heavy-duty security is an incredible view over Berlin.

All this site-seeing will help you to work up an appetite so it’s just as well that there are plenty of eating options in Berlin. Make time to try the celebrated currywurst at least once. This is a pork sausage, cut into slices, covered with a mixture of tomato sauce and curry powder and served with either chips or bread. It may sound weird but many people love it. For those who prefer to avoid pork or are vegetarians, there are plenty of other choices. The city’s high Turkish population means that this is one of the most vege-friendly places in Germany.

It is also one of the most tourist-friendly for a number of reasons, not least of which being its excellent transport links to other places and its efficient internal transport system. This makes Berlin an ideal choice for a short break as well as a longer holiday. The city’s numerous attractions can be enjoyed at any time of year. Just remember that it’s still important to have annual holiday insurance even if you are only going away for a few days.

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19 Mar '15

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