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Summer Breaks In Berlin

Top ten things to do on a city break in the German capital

Published on January 16th 2012.


Summer Breaks In Berlin

WHILE some cities have a few days' worth of attractions and sights, Berlin could easily fill a week or more. It's teeming with historical must-sees and cultural gems that you'll want to put in your itinerary but don't over-schedule your time. You're bound to get diverted by a shop or café or bar that catches your eye.

Time spent in Berlin is about mooching around its laidback neighbourhoods, delving through its flea markets, and making the most of its scene-leading nightlife, as well as exploring its history. This once divided capital is now a confident, cosmopolitan metropolis that celebrates the present but doesn't try to skim over its turbulent past.

Top Ten Things To Do in Berlin

Cold War Bunker at The Story of Berlin Museum
Take a tour of the radiation-proof nuclear bomb shelter that lies beneath the Kurfürstendamm. Built to house 3,592 Berliners in cramped lines of bunkbeds under emergency lighting, it's an eerie testament to the fear inspired by the Cold War.

Deutsche Guggenheim
Visit this state-of-the-art gallery in the Deutsche Bank on the Unter den Linden for contemporary exhibitions and modern art. Past exhibits have included big hitters such as Picasso and Andy Warhol as well as avant garde artists from the twenty-first century.

Holocaust Memorial
This abstract memorial is designed to disorientate and isolate you as you walk the narrow pathways between concrete slabs. The information centre below is a sensitive yet powerful documentation of the horrors of the holocaust.

The Reichstag
Norman Foster designed this incarnation of the German parliament building. Walk to the top of the dome to get a 360-degree panorama of the city. A mirrored cone down the centre gives views of the workings of democracy in the chamber below.

Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church
This church was damaged by WW2 bombs, leaving a ruined spire that now stands as an official memorial. Inside, the octagonal walls are lined with tiny pieces of blue stained glass, creating a peaceful light effect that contrasts with the violence suggested by the devastated exterior.

Alexanderplatz
Stand in the centre of vast public square to get a sense of the Soviet era architecture of the former East Berlin. You can take a lift to the top of the space-age Fernsehturm television tower, and sip martinis in a cheesy cocktail bar 203 metres above the city below.

Fleamarket at Mauerpark
Taking place every Sunday, this flea market is more car-boot than antiques fair, though there's still some gems to be found amongst the junk. Go for second hand vinyl, clothes, and an enthralling selection of odds and ends. Afterwards, head to the huge karaoke session that takes place in the park – thousands gather to cheer (and boo) the singers.

Grunewald Forest
If you're staying longer than a few days, escape the city for an afternoon by catching the S-bahn to this forest park. Take a picnic and if it's warm enough, your swimming kit, for a dip in one of its lakes.

Berghain
This former power plant is now the Best Club in the World, according to just about everyone who's been there. The music is mainly techno, as played by residents including Ben Klock, Dettmann and Steffi. Saturday night sessions stretch into Sunday evening and beyond.

Bike hire
Size-wise Berlin is more London than Leeds so you'll need to master the U-Bahn system to get around. A summer alternative is to hire a bike from one of the many outlets, including Deutsche Bahn's Call A Bike service. It's a cycle-friendly city with designated lanes and a conveniently flat topography.

Flights from Leeds to Berlin
Fly with Jet2.com from Leeds Bradford to Berlin from £35.99 one way including taxes. Route starts 1 June 2012 with flights up to three times a week. Approximate flight time is two hours.

Jet2holidays city break packages to Berlin start from £229 per person.

 

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