Kempinski Blog Article
Shiny and modern, yet displaying traditional grandeur at every turn - destroyed in the Second World War, yet full of sights and landmarks - Germany’s capital Berlin is a hugely interesting destination that must be explored and understood.
If you are looking for a city break destination that is filled with culture, sights and experiences, but that is also enjoyable to simply stroll through and explore away from the main tourist attractions, Berlin is the one, offering something for every type of traveller.
With a continental climate that features warm summers and cooler winters, Berlin isn't radically different from the rest of western Europe in terms of temperature. This means that the city’s outdoor attractions can still be enjoyed - especially in the spring and summer months. Though locals are more likely to retreat indoors through autumn and winter, there is still plenty to explore - from chilly ice rinks to warm museums!
How To Get To Berlin And Getting Around Berlin
Wherever in the world you are travelling from, getting to Berlin is easy, especially by air as the city is served by two large airports (and the soon-to-be-completed Berlin Brandenburg Airport that is under construction).
Tegel International Airport is serviced by most international carriers – British Airways, KLM, United Airlines and many others – and from here the city can be reached via taxi or bus in 30 to 45 minutes. The other choice of airport is Schönefeld, served by regional carriers such as EasyJet, Ryanair and Jet2. From here, you can take the short S-Bahn journey to the city or take a taxi.
In addition to the S-Bahn, Berlin also has an underground train system known as the U-Bahn. Across both these services - as well as the bus and tram routes - you can expect precision and timeliness when looking to travel. This means that public transport is widely embraced in the city centre, and few locals rely on taxis. For the adventurous, cycling is also a popular method of getting around - not least because of the vast number of cycle-only paths and lanes you will see across the city.
Buses also run from Berlin to hundreds of European cities, with the same being true for trains. Long-haul trains can be caught from further afield destinations such as Moscow, Warsaw, Budapest and even the Kazakh capital, Astana. These will arrive at one of Berlin’s main stations, Hauptbahnhof, Ostbahnhof, Zoologischer Garten or Südkreuz
Once you are in the city, you can take advantage of Berlin’s extensive bus, train, underground, taxi and tram services. Fares are inexpensive, services are highly efficient, and there are a range of route planners you can use to easily navigate the network.
The Best Things To Do In Berlin
Berlin certainly has a lot to offer visitors looking for a cultural escape - it is a beautifully artistic city that is home to creatives of every type. For visitors that appreciate theatre and classical music, there is the Friedrichstadt-Palast, the Konzerthaus, Deutsche Oper, Theater des Westens and the Philharmonie – if you want dance, opera, music or drama, these are the places to visit first.
Then there are Berlin’s thoroughly modern, cutting-edge cultural hotspots and nightlife. You’ll find performance venues such as the eclectic Hebbel am Ufer here, as well as famous nightclubs like Berghain, indie concert venues such as Lido and S036 and art galleries seemingly on every corner – there is a lot to enjoy in this exciting city.
However, if you are looking for something a little more relaxed, Berlin’s large collection of museums never disappoints, and it’s a great idea to make time for such locations as the Natural History Museum, Jewish Museum, Pergamon Museum, German Museum of Technology and Deutsche Kinemathek – to name only a few!
There are hundreds of sights to see and enjoy in famous Berlin – here are some of the most important ones we think you should certainly make time for during your visit.
Once a symbol of the division between East and West Germany, today the Brandenburg Gate is the city’s most iconic sight. A beautiful monument that is steeped in history, the Gate is stunning during the day, but make sure you visit after nightfall – beautifully lit, it’s the best time to appreciate the columns, friezes and the epic Quadriga that tops it.
The iconic Brandenburg Gate (or, Brandenburger Tor) is seen as the gateway to Tiergarten, an idyllic green space which the Reichstag (the German parliamentary building) overlooks. Here, you will find many walking tours, and indeed, the area is best explored by foot. If you fancy seeing inside the Reichstag, make sure you book a visit in advance as it’s very rare to get ticket admission on the day.
Topographie des Terrors
An eerie but important monument, Topographie des Terrors is an architecturally simple place where you can learn - in great detail - more about Germany's part in World War II. Documenting Nazi crimes, the space is a haunting one, but one that is vital to visit in order to really comprehend Berlin's past. It is not until you are halfway through the exhibit that you realise you are standing where the headquarters of the SS, the Secret State Police and the Reich Security also once stood.
If you would like to spend a day immersing yourself in culture, head to Museum Island, home to the Pergamon, Altes, Neues, and Bode Museums, and the Alte Nationalgalerie. Contained within impressive Prussian architecture, it is a beautiful and convenient complex that every sightseer should try to visit.
A symbol of both Berlin’s dark Cold War past and post-reunification success, the Berlin Wall and the associated attractions of East Side Gallery and the Memorial to the Berlin Wall are definite must-sees, no matter how much of Berlin’s history you know.
A truly awe-inspiring cathedral, the Berliner Dom is simply unmissable. A huge, domed roof is the feature of the building, accompanied by ornate decorations. Be sure to explore the entire building - you should be able to find your way into the fascinating crypt beneath the cathedral's floor too.
If there’s one thing that Berlin has a lot of, it has to be parks. All across the city there are plenty of pretty, well-kept outdoor areas for sightseers to enjoy, from the huge and central Tiergarten, to the disused airport at Tempelhofer, to the lush Botanischer Garten.
What And Where To Eat In Berlin
After a day spent exploring Berlin’s must-visit locations, it makes sense to have an equally exciting evening discovering Berlin’s famous cuisine. Food lovers are thoroughly spoilt in the German capital, with every possible cuisine being represented exquisitely.
If you would like to try authentic German dishes, make sure you visit well-regarded restaurants like the authentic Hackerthals, the traditional and welcoming Dicke Wirtin, and Marjellchen, which serves mainly Prussian dishes full of rich meats and flavours.
As well as being a foodie hub for dishes from across the globe, Berlin is also home to its own gastronomy - and it is full of chunky, hearty dishes. Currywurst is ever-popular with locals and visitors alike. In fact, German sausages can be served up in any number of ways, containing all kinds of meat (and even fish).
More contemporary tastes can be enjoyed at Restaurant Bieberbau, while the best Italian, Mexican, Indonesian and Middle Eastern flavours can be found in Trattoria Portofino, El Loco, Mabuhay and Yarok, respectively.
For fine-dining, Lorenz Adlon Esszimmer at Hotel Adlon Kempinski holds two Michelin Stars for its outstanding European inspired menu.
Vegetarian And Vegan Dining in Berlin
In a world looking for healthy, animal-friendly and climate-conscious diets, vegetarianism and veganism are being observed by an increasingly large number of people. While most cities offer a number of vegetarian restaurants for supporters of meat-free eating, it is difficult to find a place that comes close to offering the same selection of vegetarian and vegan cuisines as Germany's capital.
Vegan Summer Festival
Being Europe's largest, the city's Vegan Summer Festival is the place to visit if you love street food, want to try cutting-edge vegan cuisine, or to learn a little more about the event's central dietary philosophy.
Taking place every August on Berlin's Alexanderplatz, there is always a wide range of foods to sample – from delicious tofu creations to tasty falafels and vegetable stews, all the way to scientific and innovative imitation meats made from various vegetable proteins. Even if you are meat-eater you are sure to find a dish that suits your tastes.
- The Green Market Berlin
Even if you love dining on vegan and vegetarian street food, there's something very satisfying about being able to create vegetarian and vegan dishes in your own kitchen. If you are staying in a suite or apartment and want to try cooking some of this food yourself, ensure you visit The Green Market.
Each month Berlin's thriving vegan community comes together to offer a fabulous weekend of street food, clothing stalls, cookery classes, live music and an ethical market – a perfect place to spend a morning or afternoon before serving your own vegan creation back at home.
Chipps serves an all-day vegetarian and vegan menu. In the morning you can enjoy French toast with vegan bacon and waffles with blueberries and cream, before enjoying lunch and dinner dishes that include baked fennel with gorgonzola and truffle risotto with oyster mushrooms and chestnuts. Rich, delicious and healthy!
- Lucky Leek
Another addition to Berlin's blossoming list of vegan restaurants, the Lucky Leek is good example of what happens when gourmet chefs move their focus away from meat. Seitan dumplings, pumpkin-filled ravioli, miso pecan blondies, lentil wontons and many other elegant and delicious dishes are on the menu here.
Where To Stay In Berlin
We are proud to have two of the best hotels in the city if you are looking for a luxurious place to stay. Kempinski Hotel Adlon is located in the heart of the city overlooking the Brandenburg Gate, offering a range of stylish rooms and suites, as well as six restaurants and bars.
For more information on the great experiences Berlin has to offer, don’t hesitate to contact our staff – they will be happy to help you create a perfect getaway!