If you’ve burnt through your holiday but have enough time for some long weekend sorties, then our weekend guides might just be for you. As we tend to go a little weak at the knees when thinking about Berlin, we thought it a good place to start.
If you like art, if you like food, in fact if you just like having a really good time, this is your city. Filled with beautiful people, inspiring restaurants (despite what even some of the locals say), bursting with marvellous museums and streets that are dying to be explored.
From it’s architecture and art, to night spots, Berlin is a city both hungry for the future and fresh in ideas.
WHERE TO STAY?
Easy, stay in Mitte – no question. We can guarantee you will want to move here.
Casa Camper Like its owners, minimalist; ultra hip; location to die for; attached to the insane Los Palillos tapas bar (with former El Bulli chef – err yes please) & THE BEST BIT, their all day snacking bar on the top floor for elevensies, teatime treats or midnight munchies – you can literally drop into when the whim takes you (dreamy); oh and an honesty bar… [Weinmeisterstraße 1, 10178 Berlin, +49 30 20003410]
Soho House Berlin: Effortlessly cool; quirky English interiors; the ultimate site in Mitte; rooftop views (with obligatory swimming pool) AND homemade shortbread. There is also a spa that is perfect for tired sightseeing feet or hungover heads after a big night. This was formerly a department store that became Stasi HQ – although the only thing you will be interrogating there now is the cocktail list. It is a haven of boho serenity and brimming with edgy Europeans visiting this fine city. [Torstraße 1 10119 Berlin, +49 30 40 50 440]
Circus Hotel: Affordable; eccentric; located in a central busy bustling area and the ideal spot for shopaholics. It is technically actually a hostel – but forget previous backpacking memories – this is in a different league. It offers dorms or penthouse suites – and with it, some of the best views over the city. You can also rent bicycles (love) and they offer free tours of the city. [Rosenthalerstraße 1, D – 10119 Berlin, +49 30 2000 39 39]
WHERE TO EAT?
If you ask any German where you can get German food in Berlin they think you are mad. Their reply tends to involve explaining that German food is bland. But Berlin is a melting pot for fusion food and fayre whether European or Asian.
Kimchi Princess: Korean at it’s best. Inside, dark red lighting with extraordinary container like style – we recommend sitting outside in the summer. Large grills to cook your own and the food is seriously good. Look out for the owner who often arrives by bicycle to check everything is running okay. [Skalitzer Straße 36, 10999 Berlin, +49 163 4580203]
Richards: In the know and hidden in a lovely old school restaurant which has been given some modern styling. Food to die for, its all about their taster menu but beware – the menu doesn’t make an allowance for English speakers (quite right). Its either pot luck or take a dictionary (not the best look if you’re trying to blend in). It has a contemporary German interior combined with some rather delicious art. Book ahead. [Köpenicker Straße 174, 10997 Berlin, +49 30 49207242]
WHAT TO SEE?
The Reichstag: If you haven’t got a full day, we strongly advise you to book (it’s free but they like to know who is taking a peek) to see the glass domed roof of this extraordinary Government building. Designed by (Saint) Norman Foster with a glass roof to represent the transparency of democracy in action. It’s a great way to get your bearings and see the city from above (especially the Brandenburg Gate). Check out the Brandenburg gate, the [Platz der Republik 1, 11011 Berlin, 00 49 30 2270]
Museum Island: In the centre, along the Spree with five museums to pick from and with more antiquities than you can shake a Pharaoh at, it’s a must. Best on a Sunday after a nice long brunch we think.
East Side Gallery: Open air gallery spreading over 1km of the largest remaining part of the Berlin Wall. Painted by 118 artists from 21 different countries, their work represents the remarkable day when the wall came down. Witty portrayals and gallons of colour, this is a must see. It is also a fun area to explore – an early evening drink follows on rather well. [Mühlenstraße, 10243 Berlin,
+49 172 3918726]
Holocaust Memorial: Imagine the size of 3 football pitches in the most central location imaginable. That is extraordinary in itself. Then imagine 2,711 concrete slabs of varying heights arranged in a grid pattern. This has always been a controversial monument and was initially widely objected by the Jewish community when it was first completed. Despite the obvious sculptural merits, there is an eerie and almost uncomfortable silence as you walk around it. You will need to be feeling strong for this. [Georgenstraße 23, 10117 Berlin, +49 (0)30 2639430]
BARS & CLUBS
Berghain: Legendary Berlin club with unrivalled acoustics set in a former power station. Not for the faint hearted or Telegraph readers. Impossible to get into and involves blagging your way past the infamous Sven. But it’s totally worth the queue and if you get in, you will be in for the long haul (parties regularly last for over 24hrs). You will need serious stamina. [Am Wriezener Bahnhof, 10243 Berlin, +49 30 29360210]
Beckets Kopf: No sign, just a glowing photograph of Samuel Beckett in the window marks this location. Simply ring the doorbell to enter this low key but wonderfully eccentric cocktail bar. It has an exciting menu for the connoisseurs as well as floral or herbal options for the more adventurous. Their ‘Monkey’s Gland’ Absinthe cocktail is bizarrely made with English marmalade and is very tasty. [Pappelallee 64, Prenzlauer Berg, Berlin, +49 162 237 9418]
Altes Europa: More of an institution really. Located in Mitte, this is the sort of place that makes you feel like you’re a local. Quite traditional and not overly friendly service but definitely the ideal place for cozy evening drinks. [Gipsstraße 11, 10119 Berlin, +49 30 28093840]
RANDOM THINGS TO DO
Trodelmarkt am Arkonaplatz: Very popular flea market in the city’s yuppie district. If you are looking for anything retro, this is the place to head for. Top finds will be 1960s or 1970s treasure/icons/junk (depending who you ask). It is particularly good for furniture and antique hunters. [Arkonaplatz, 10435 Berlin, +49 171 7101662]
Christmas Markets (Nov/Dec): These are the best. Mulled wine or warm apple cider; chocolate crepes; huge Christmas trees; lots of little chalet style shops (albeit selling quite weird things); joyful Christmas spirit and if you’re lucky, some ice skating. Bliss. The Weihnachtszauber am Gendarmenmarkt is the most famous and is a good place to start [Leipziger Strasse 65]. We also like the smaller markets that you will find popping up all over the city – more rustic and a bit more fun.
Badeschiff (Summer only): Or for those uneducated among us… ‘a floating swimming pool’ in the River Spree. This is a godsend in the summer when Berlin is roasting. Pack your poshest swimmers as this is all about posing, ogling and drinking cocktails. [Eichenstraße 4, 12435 Berlin Treptow, Treptower Park, Berlin, 0152 05 94 57 52]
GUIDES TO GET?
Luxe City Guides we love.
What Jewellery to wear?
This is easy. You need something low key. You need something that looks effortless but on trend. Berliners are seriously spontaneous – so at least pretend it was unplanned (even if it wasn’t).
Our Olivera gold hoop earrings are perfect. Wear them when visiting a gallery and then go straight onto dinner. They will bring in the early hours too.
Team these with a necklace – our favourite is the Westbourne Pendant. Or why not create your own?
And if you are hitting the clubs (which lets face it, is a must) – take one of our Chennai Long Necklaces to sparkle through the night with you.
Berlin is the bees knees of brilliant. Book now, you won’t regret it.