Be enthralled by baroque and neoclassical architecture in a contemporary cityscape that is as arresting at night as it is in the day.
Berlin, Germany’s capital city, is most famously known for the Berlin Wall – a symbol that once divided but now serves to unite this cosmopolitan municipality – filled with futuristic architecture, a revolutionary arts scene, delectable food, and most importantly, palpitating nightlife that is sure to leave an indelible impression on even the most homesick traveler.
SO WHERE OR WHAT EXACTLY IS BERLIN?
Berlin is the most populous city in Germany with about 3.5 million people, and the second most populous city in the European Union, after London, England. With people from over 180 countries calling Berlin home, it is no wonder that the city is also the most popular tourist destination in all of Germany. From the music and its people, to the buildings and its film and beer festivals, Berlin’s multiculturalism and ethnic diversity is one that permeates all aspects of Berliners.
GETTING THERE AND AROUND
Berlin’s Tegel and Schönefeld airports are the only two international airports that serve the capital. Located 9 and 23 kilometres from the city centre respectively, the cheapest and fastest way to get from either airport to central Berlin is by bus. The TXL Express Bus and the Express Bus X9 both stop outside Tegel Airport’s Terminal A or B and takes approximately 20 minutes to reach Berlin Central Station. From there, you can take a train or bus to any desired destination of your choice.
Check-in to any one of more than fifty hotels within a two kilometre radius of Alexanderplatz – one of the most well-known pedestrianised squares in Germany with its iconic, 368-metre tall television tower, or Berliner Fernsehturm, that offers a panoramic, unparalleled vantage point of the whole of Berlin. The observation deck is located 203 metres above ground and its elevator reaches an altitude of 200 metres in 40 seconds, so no time is wasted in observing the 360-degree view of the breathtaking landscape, where on a clear day, you can see up to 42 kilometres in any direction.
One of Berlin’s most contentious and compelling landmarks is also one that very little remains. Of the 155 kilometres that divided the city into East and West, only a mere 1.4 kilometres of the original wall is left today. This prominent concrete barrier draws hundreds of thousands of tourists annually, in search of their preferred kaleidoscopic graffiti redolent of the history, mystery and beauty that is associated with the wall’s construction and eventual collapse.
What is travelling without shopping? If there is just one place any savvy tourist must visit to satiate his or her need to purchase something new for the wardrobe, wrist or waist, then Kaufhaus des Westens is the place for you. With eight floors, 60,000 square metres of retail space and over 380,000 articles on display, KaDeWe, as it is more colloquially known, is the largest department store on the European continent. Each floor is dedicated to a different type of merchandise; from beauty accessories on the ground floor to the two uppermost floors devoted entirely to gastronomic gratification that any gourmand would be proud of.
Standing at 26 metres tall and 65 metres wide, the neoclassical architecture of this majestic archway represents a reunited Germany and just like the Berlin Wall, is a very famous historical landmark. This monument has been through some of the brightest and darkest events of modern German history, but soon became a symbol of peace and solidarity between East and West Germans after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Today, as visitors walk through the gate, they can marvel at the intricately crafted sandstone masterpieces depicting the twelve mythological labours of Heracles found on each of the six 11-metre-deep transverse beams that are sandwiched between the Doric columns on either side.
EAT AND DRINK
Berlin is a city renowned for its food and beer. Schnitzels (fried chicken or veal coated in breadcrumbs), pfannkuchen (jelly-filled donuts) and currywurst (steamed pork sausage smothered with ketchup and curry powder) are just some of the tantalizing snacks found in nearly all shopping centres around Alexanderplatz.
Similarly, the Berliner Kindl Weisse, Erdinger Hefeweizen and Rothaus Pils are three of the most popular, full-bodied and award-winning brews that can only be found in some German cities like Berlin.
At the end of a long day, Park Inn Berlin provides you with your recommended eight hours of shut-eye in any one of the 1,012 non-smoking rooms on 37 floors, in the 150-metre high building that is located in the heart of Alexanderplatz. With the four-star hotel overlooking the magnificent television tower just 500 metres away, what’s not to like? Auf Wiedersehen!