Kempinski Blog Article
A city of intrigue, Germany's capital city is a place that has captured the heart of many in the 21st century. This bustling metropolis is home to incredible art, theatre, music and literature as much as its history. In fact, the troubled past of this city isn't hidden away. The history is there for you to find, if you wish, but Berlin very much has the feel of a revived city within an older setting - and as such, there is much to discover, often in the most unlikely of places…
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 temperatures. 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!
Berlin is an incredibly well-connected city in terms of air travel and public transport. If you are flying into the German capital, you are most likely to land in either Tegel International or Schönefeld airports, and both of these are well connected to the city centre with bus routes or the S-Bahn - the overground train that covers the city centre.
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 amount of cycle-only paths and lanes you will see across the city.
When it comes to staying in Berlin, European elegance and luxury ensures that you can explore the city relaxed and well-rested. Though that may sound a bit like a dream - especially on a busy city break – it is something that is attainable at both Hotel Adlon Kempinski and Kempinski Hotel Bristol. Along with charming bedrooms in which you can rest after a tiring day in the city, both hotels are also home to luxury spas - ideal for nursing those weary feet!
From contemporary urban to classical, Berlin's art scene grows more vivid by the day. As well as being home to world-renowned artistic institutions like the Hamburger Bahnhof - Museum fur Gegenwart and the Alte Nationalgalerie, Berlin's streets have become the blank canvas on which urban artists like to create their masterpieces
East Side Gallery is an example of such a place. Hosted on and around a remaining stretch of the Berlin Wall, East Side Gallery comprises murals and works from talented artists that are making their stand against various political views. With over 100 paintings, those that are keen to preserve this piece of modern history have a challenge on their hands - development of the surrounding area means that the gallery's days may be numbered, so make sure you visit soon!
Away from urban art, you will find carefully curated collections in galleries across the city - as well as plenty of artist's studios with the windows thrown wide open if the weather is warm. Keep an eye out for upcoming talent as the creativity spills onto the streets!
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, big 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).
There are far more elegant cuisines available in the city too. The Schnitzel Holstein is a modern take on the authentic schnitzel, and combines breaded veal with capers and a delicately fried egg.
Although the aforementioned arty centres are certainly unmissable, there are a few extra places that definitely deserve a place on your Berlin itinerary.
Brandenburg Gate, Tiergarten and the Reichstag
All sitting close together in the very heart of the city, the iconic Brandenburg Gate (or, Brandenburger Tor) is seen as the gateway to Tiergarten, and 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 is 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.
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, and you should be able to find your way into the fascinating crypt beneath the cathedral's floor.