I am back in Berlin – again!  I grew up only 3 hours from this great city, yet I have only started to explore it in depth during the past 5 years.  I am now coming to Berlin 3-4 times each year, and I continue to make new discoveries that make Berlin a must-see destination for everyone.

Here is a list of reasons—probably still incomplete—why Berlin is such a great city to visit, experience, and enjoy. For me, Berlin is all of these:

  • Living museum – Meet eyewitnesses, survivors, and students of WW2, Cold War, the rise and the fall of Soviet communism, and German reunification
    • Brandenburg Gate (the site of World War 2 and the line dividing Berlin into eastern and western parts)
    • Reichstag (German Parliament; a must-see site—the place where democracy triumphed over totalitarianism)
    • Topography of Terror (a moving reconstruction of the rise of Nazis to power in Germany)
    • Checkpoint Charlie (made famous for spy exchanges during the Cold War)
    • Berlin Wall Memorial (history of the rise and collapse of the wall dividing the city, and the world, during the Cold War.
  • Foodies paradise – This city boasts an incredible food scene, compliments of over 128 ethnic groups being included among the city’s residents.
    • Turkish delight (Berlin has the largest Turkish populations in the world, outside Turkey; döner kebab is the best street food anywhere in Europe.
    • Russian specialities (pierogi or bortsch may be acquired tastes, yet you can experience Russian food in the safety of Berlin)
    • Asian cuisines (Vietnamese and Chinese take outs are everywhere; spicy food from Indian restaurants)
    • African treats (incredible Ethiopian foods in eastern Berlin)
    • Traditional German beer garden experiences (my favorite is Kartofel Stube (literary “potato pub”) where every item on the menu has potatoes as ingredients!)
    • New additions: Mexican and American foods (Tex-Mex, steaks, burgers)
  • Divided City – Despite the end of political divisions and the coming down of the Wall, it offers a fascinating study of a city divided by ethic neighborhoods, gentrification districts, affluent western Berlin, artistic sectors made famous over 100 years ago by the falls Cabaret, and remnants of communist developments and block. (NOTE: despite many socio-economic-cultural divisions, Berlin is a very safe place to explore!)

  • Cultural Metropolis – From vibrant music scene, to city-wide modern and historical art/sculptures, to world-class Museum Island, to powerful Jewish memorials, Berlin has so much to offer!

  • Architectural Surprises – Includes world-influential Bauhaus designs, to modern Sonic Center, to the futuristic Dome at the Reichtsag, to a modern functional train station, to historical Parisian Square.

Lessons Shared:

  • Transportation: I prefer to fly to Berlin from London (over 10 daily connections); another good connection is Dublin.
  • Best time frames to be in Berlin is May, late September, and early December; avoid late July and August, as it is crowded and hot.
  • Stay in western Berlin (better hotel, and better location, and easy transfer to all parts of Berlin)
  • To move around the city, use daily Travelcard (unlimited travel for 2-5 people; can travel on buses, trains, and subways)
  • Visit KaDeWe shopping center (similar to prices to London’s Harrods; thus far, I have enjoyed every meal at the rooftop cafeteria)
  • Enjoy local practice of feierabend (literally “end of work day”): Berliners enjoy end of work time = time between end of workday and bedtime. This free time is time to forget about work, and to concentrate on relaxation and socializing over drinks/food, before heading home to rest.

We are in Berlin every December (for Christmas Markets) and every May (some of the greatest European festivals and the best weather of the year) and every September (for Octoberfest celebrations). Join us!