Berlin’s radiance quickly appears through its fascinatingly steely façade: few places are as culturally, historically and socially thrumming than the once-divided German capital.
Perhaps more than most cities, Berlin has come a long way in the last 30 years, from dystopian Cold War curiosity to Europe’s epicentre of free-spirited creativity. Former border neighbourhoods like Neukölln, Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain buzz with artists, musicians, radicals and outsiders and are often the base for fun-seeking visitors’ trips – nowhere else might a pop-up gallery exist beside a third-wave coffee shop, a traditional corner bar, a Turkish kebab joint and a squat-powered rave club.
Elsewhere, Mitte (literally ‘middle’) is handy for sightseeing and is home to many museums, the Brandenburg Gate and, why not, Checkpoint Charlie. As such, it’s especially popular with more adventurous city-breakers and alternative-culture fiends. The German capital has an easygoing, appealingly scruffy charm that gets more rewarding as you ease into it – one break here is never enough.