Destination Germany: Why Not Choose… Berlin?
Capital of Germany and the country's largest city, but also the second-largest city in Europe after London, Berlin has many faces.
First of all, Berlin is a history: its division, its wall, and its reunification in 1989. But Berlin is also the trendy city with many neighbourhoods to discover, the green city promoting new energies, and the city for eating organic and eating well.
A City Coloured by History and Culture
Undoubtedly one of the most visited sites in Berlin, an emblematic monument which draws the eye and stands 368m high, the Television Tower (Fernsehturm) offers an unbeatable view of the city. In clear weather, you can even see the old American Cold War listening station.
Right near the Tower, just a few minutes away on foot, you will find Museum Island, a one-of-a-kind architectural and cultural ensemble, which was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1999. It contains five museums: the Pergamonmuseum (Pergamon Museum), the Bode Museum, the Neues Museum (New Museum), the Alte Nationalgalerie (Old National Gallery) and the Altes Museum (Old Museum). Created on the initiative of King Frederick William III at the start of the 20th century, Museum Island is the legacy of a century of cultural policy resulting in the assembly of one of the richest art collections in the world.
Another unmissable monument to be visited is Berlin Cathedral, which is in fact a church, because it has never been the seat of a bishop. It is the largest church in Berlin. Its dome walkway offers a full view of Museum Island and the new Berlin Palace.
Stop for a drink in the Hackesche Höfe, eight rear courtyards in Scheunenviertel (barn quarter), one of the liveliest neighbourhoods in Berlin, frequented by both Berliners and tourists. This site exemplifies the constantly renewed vitality of Berlin.
Continuing your walk, head for Kreuzberg, Berlin's punk, alternative and multicultural neighbourhood. Get lost in the busy Turkish market along the canal, dig into street food in Markthalle Neun, then relax in Tempelhof Feld, Berlin's biggest public park.
Here, you will see another side to Berlin: with over 2400 parks and gardens, Berlin is one of the greenest cities in Europe. Situated in south-central Berlin near the Spree, Treptower Park was created in the 19th century as a recreational area. Today, it is home to the Soviet Memorial, a huge war memorial and military cemetery. With a 13m-high statue of a Soviet soldier holding a child, it commemorates the soldiers who fell in the 1945 Battle of Berlin.
Top 10 Must-Sees
Alexanderplatz: the largest and one of the most famous squares in Berlin. Named after the Tsar Alexander I, who visited the capital of the Kingdom of Prussia in 1805, over time, it has become the city's most important commercial hub.
Berlin Hauptbahnhof (Berlin Central Station): one of the capital's most spectacular architectural projects. In the station hall, there are several floors of shops, cafés, newsagents and flower shops: everything you might need!
Berliner Rathaus (Berlin City Hall): head office of the governing mayor and one of the symbols of the capital. The name "Rotes Rathaus" (Red City Hall) comes from the colour of its red bricks. The armorial hall, the grand festival hall, but above all the nine-metre high column hall, with its orange ribbed ceiling, make the Rathaus a site worth seeing.
Botanischer Garten (Botanical Garden): with its 22,000 varieties of plants, it is one of the three largest botanical gardens in the world. It also has the world's largest greenhouse, the 25m-high, 30m-wide and 60m-long Große Tropenhaus.
Checkpoint Charlie: one of the border crossing points in Berlin where, during the cold war , people could cross the wall dividing the German capital . From James Bond to John le Carré, it has inspired many spy novels.
Jüdisches Museum Berlin (Jewish Museum Berlin): one of the largest museums in Europe. It consists of two buildings housing a permanent exhibition and many temporary exhibitions, covering two millennia of history of the Jews in Germany .
Berliner Fernsehturm (Berlin Television Tower): standing 368m tall, it boasts the highest revolving restaurant in Europe. The view over Berlin is unbeatable, and the elevator takes just a few seconds to get to the top.
Berliner Dom (Berlin Cathedral): the largest Lutheran church in Berlin. It contains the family crypt of the Hohenzollern, and its dome overlooks the whole Mitte district.
Government district and Reichstag building: Discover the history and architecture of this imposing late Renaissance style palace. From the roof and its glass dome, you can enjoy a superb panorama of Berlin.
Healthy and Tasty Cuisine
In Berlin, a green city that loves organic produce, you can taste the delicious caramelised meat of organic kebabs with a clear conscience, as well as currywurst, a true institution in Germany.
You should also try buletten (meatballs), a Berlin favourite, and other typical dishes: Eisbein mit Erbspüree und Sauerkraut (traditional ham hock with pease pudding and sauerkraut), Hering in Dillsauce, and to satisfy your sweet tooth after meals, the famous Käsekuchen (cheesecake) or Rote Grütze (red fruit compote with vanilla sauce).
Remember that the city also has fantastic world cuisine.
January: International Green Week Berlin
A one-of-a-kind international exhibition for the food, agriculture and horticulture industries.
Berlin International Film Festival, with over 400 films screened every year.
June: Carnival of Cultures
On the agenda: four days of street celebrations, the parade, and various festivities around the city.
June: International Design Festival
DMY Berlin, founded 2003, is a showcase for contemporary design. It developed around a core group of top designers from Berlin's design circles, who are experts in identifying current or emerging trends in culture and design.
August: Long Night of Museums
Over 100 museums and cultural institutions allow access to their exhibitions, collections and works of art for a whole night, accompanied by a wide range of events.
September: Berlin Marathon
In the last weekend of September, over 40,000 athletes participate in the Berlin Marathon: the fastest marathon in the world.
October: Festival of Lights
During the Festival of Lights, Berlin is lit up by a series of illuminations and projections at over 50 famous sites and spaces.
November: JazzFest Berlin
Over the four days of JazzFest Berlin, there is a rich and varied programme of concerts for jazz enthusiasts.
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