Since the fall of the wall, post-Communist Berlin has become a thriving creative and cultural center. The art scene here internationally renowned, and there is first-rate shopping for everything from global brands to hip, locally designed lines. There's a legendary nightlife scene, and parties very often continue on through sunrise. And then, of course, there are the city's iconic sights, from the Brandenburg Gate to the Jewish Museum, with its ultra-modern architecture. Berlin is a city where old, shrapnel scarred buildings abut some of the most cutting-edge architecture in the world.
The culinary scene is decidedly good, which is surprising to many first-time visitors. The city has embraced many of the cultural and ethnic foods: Donner kebab, currywurst, and other local favorites are perfect examples of this, all the way up to the Michelin-starred restaurants in Berlin Mitte.
It's still very possible to experience Berlin on a budget: Meals and hotel rates are low compared to other European capitals such as Paris or London. The sheer size of the city also dwarfs most others, but the sprawl is easily managed thanks to the (very clean, efficient, 24-hour) U-Bahn and S-Bahn train systems.
In a city the size Berlin, choosing where to stay falls mainly on budget and personality type. Many value hotels are located far east and west of the City Center, which can save guests money, but will force them to use the train system to get to any of Berlin's sights. Staying along Kurfurstendamm (ostensibly the city's most vibrant shopping street) is always fun for first time visitors. If you're looking to become more familiar with the locals, Prenzlauer Bergs bohemian chic vibe provides for a great base.
|Airports:||Berlin Tegel Airport (slated to close in 2013)|
|Berlin Schonefeld Airport|
|Berlin Brandenburg Airprot (opening in early-2013)|
|Peak:||April - Sept.|
|Electricity:||230 V, 50 Hz|
|Tipping:||5% - 10% on top of the included tip|