Berlin is the capital and largest city in Germany. The city is best known for its often-chronicled and many times dark, history. Today it is a vibrant, cosmpolitan city.
Berlin's fascinating history provides many opportunities for sightseeing. From the Berlin wall to Reichstag, there are so many sites that make the city a top desination for cultural holidays. Though much of the city was damaged during World War II, it has been rebuilt masterfully.
The nightlife is lively in Berlin, with fantastic clubs, pubs and bars! Pub crawling is a popular way to explore the city. The club scene in Berlin is among the biggest and most progressive scene in Europe.
Berlin is located in eastern Germany approximately 70km from the country's border with Poland.
Currently Berlin is served by 3 airports, however there are plans to consolidate into 1 international airport. Berlin-Schönefeld International Airport is the main airport for low-cost airlines and charter flights. It lies outside of the city, but is served by both the S-Bahn and train. The airport is currently being expanded into the tentatively titled Berlin-Brandenburg International Airport, scheduled to open in 2012.
Tegel International Airport is in the north-west of Berlin and is served by many major airlines. There is regular bus service into the city centre. The airport is due to close in 2011 before the opening of the new airport.
Tempelhof Airport is a small airport which has only a small number of connections. Originally scheduled for closure in 2004, it has now been postponed until October 2008.
For travellers arriving by train, there are regular night trains from many major European cities including Amsterdam, Paris, Vienna and Zurich.
Top 10 Things to See and Do in Berlin:
1. Brandenburg Gate - The infamous Berlin wall divided the city in two from 1961 until 1989, during which time the gate was closed. Today the gate serves as a symbol of freedom.
2. Berlin Holocaust Memorial - Opened in 2005, the memorial is dedicated to the Murdered Jews of Europe. It is made up of 2700 concrete slabs near Brandenburg Gate.
3. Charlottenburg Palace - Built in 1965, the palace was commissioned by Queen Sophie-Charlotte. Today the building, courtyard and gardens can all be visited.
4. Tiergarten - Berlin's largest park used to serve as the royal hunting grounds. It is a fantastic place to have a picnic, take a walk or just relax.
5. Reichstag - The House of Parliament has played a huge role in the history of Germany. Finished in 1894, the building housed the Parliament until it was burned down in 1933. It was reconstructed and the Parliament is once again housed in the building. The newly constructed glass dome is open to the public.
6. Gendarmenmarkt - The beautiful square is home to the Schauspielhaus and the French and German Cathedrals.
7. Jewish Museum Berlin - This spectacular museum is worth visiting if just to see the interesting zig-zag layout. There are many exhibits featuring contemporary art, historical artefacts and multimedia displays.
8. Museum Island - The 'island' is the northern half of an island in the middle of the Spree River, filled with well-renowned museums. The museums include the Pergamon Museum, The Old National Gallery, the Old Museum, the New Museum, Bode Museum and the James Simon Gallery.
9. East Side Gallery - This 1.3km section of the Berlin wall serves as a memorial for freedom. It consists of 106 paintings on the East side of the wall.
10. Potsdamer Platz - Now a haven for modern architecture, it was once desolate and divided in two by the Berlin Wall. Today Potsdamer Platz is a busy square in the centre of Berlin.
Images From Flickr: charlie cravero and martin
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