Berlin, Germany

Willkommen to perhaps Europe’s most fascinating city. Lines of bars and clubs, blaring out rock, techno and everything in between, have now replaced the famous Berlin wall, and are testament to the city’s resilience and upbeat character. Indeed, the collapse of the Iron Curtain has allowed its dormant creativity to flourish. Art galleries have sprung up in almost every vacant warehouse space, theatre and cabaret venues continue to pack them in, and awe-inspiring buildings such as the metal-and-glass Reichstag have brought iconic design to the Soviet-era cityscape. Add to this a vibrant culinary scene, offering everything from traditional würst to elaborate Asian fusion, and this city is one you’ll never want to leave. Berlin? It’ll take your breath away.

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Areas in Berlin

Do Go/Don’t go

There’s never a bad time to visit Berlin. In the balmy summer, there are all kinds of alfresco delights to indulge in; in winter, it may be cold and up-to-your-knees snowy, but it’s also incredibly atmospheric. And there’s glühwein on sale everywhere to warm you up.

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Getting there

  • Planes

    There are two airports in Berlin. Berlin International, better known as Tegel is the most likely arrival point for visitors from the US. It’s about six miles north of the city centre and is well served by transport links. Schönefeld is equally easy to get to and from. For information go to www.berlin-airport.de.
  • Trains

    Deutsche Bahn (www.bahn.de) is Germany’s national rail service, and operates cross-country links, as well as routes to other European cities. Berlin’s metro system – the U-bahn – runs from the early hours of the morning until just after midnight; and all night at weekends.
  • Automobiles

    Don’t bother. Parking places in central Berlin are difficult to find | and very expensive when you do…
  • Taxis

    You’ll find taxi ranks all over the city, and you can also call Taxi Fon (0800 8001 1554) to get one sent to you. When you get into a cab, the meter will always be set to €2.50. Expect to pay €1.50 a kilometre after that.

Paco Pérez

Paco Pérez

As you might expect from a chef who trained under Ferran Adrià, Paco Pérez creates dishes that could pass as artworks, colourful culinary portraits painted in foams, jus and powders. But these are not just hollow theatrics – Pérez has a gift for combining flavours that has bagged him a quintet of Michelin stars over the years. Miramar, the seafood-slanted restaurant he set up with his wife in his hometown of Llançà, near Girona, has become a site of gastronomic pilgrimage (sea cucumbers are a speciality). Peréz has not confined himself to Spain, however. When he opened Cinco at the Das Stue in Berlin in 2013, expectations ran high. Within a year, its technically accomplished, Iberian-inflected, 25-course tasting menu had added another Michelin star to his CV.

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Patricia Urquiola

Patricia Urquiola

Born in Orviedo, Patricia Urquiola is one of the most versatile and prolific designers in Europe today, with a roster of clients that many of her contemporaries would kill for: Dior, Louis Vuitton, B&B Italia, Salvatore Ferragamo, BMW and dozens more. Over her career, her unconventional eye and warm aesthetic approach has turned from furniture to interiors to architecture, and have won her so many ‘Designer of the Year’ awards, it’s very possible she has had to design a cabinet to keep them in. Smith hotel aficionados will spot her hand in the innovative and colourful look of Das Stue in Berlin, and Urquiola’s credentials as an architectural designer are on resplendent display in the lacework- and origami-inspired interiors of the Mandarin Oriental Barcelona.

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