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Travel ideas : Berlin, the avant-garde German capital

With a perpetual artistic and cultural movement in the heart of Germany, Berlin is the ultimate avant-garde travel destination.

Travel ideas : Berlin, the avant-garde German capital

Summary

Everyone who visits Berlin is fascinated. A futuristic city harbouring a troubled past, Berlin’s rebuild has been at the hands of some of the best in architecture. The city’s monuments, museums, parks and shopping centres now boast grandeur. A must-see when in this European capital is the Brandenburg Gate. Leading onto Alexander Platz on the Kurfürstendamm, Berlin’s very own Champs-Elysées, and to the Charlottenburg castle dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries, this monument has been restored to its former glory.

Berlin, ahead of the rest of Europe's cities

Walk through the arches of this monumental gate, standing proudly in the middle of Pariser Platz where all grand parades in Berlin take place. Keep going and you’ll end up in Mitte, the city’s historic centre. This governmental area of town features many other historic symbols including : the transparent dome over the Reichstag, the German parliament, the chancellery which is tucked away in a bend of the river Spree, and the Kaiser Wilhelm Kirche with its crumbled bell-tower that has never been rebuilt.

Berlin - city view
Among the largest European cities, Berlin is eight times as large as Paris. © DR
Reichstag of Berlin
The American architect Norman Foster was commissioned to build the glass dome of the Reichstag, the German parliament. © DR
Berlin - memorial church
Flanked by a contemporary tower, the Memorial Church connects the past with the present.© DR

Heaven for shopping sprees and nightclubbing

Hit the Unter den Linden ! This boulevard is dotted with neo-classical buildings and leads up nicely to Potsdamer Platz, home to the extravagant Sony Center, and then onto Friedrichstrase, Berlin’s shopping mecca. In the eastern part of town, Kreuzberg is the most colourful area with its unique single-storeys hidden in backyards. Come evening time, the stunning cocktail bars and sweltering nightclubs will eventually open their doors.

Recommended addresses

  • KaDeWe, on Kurfürstendamm - www.kadewe.de - a real head-turner for tourists, Berlin’s version of Harrod’s is definitely Europe’s largest department store.
  • Opernpalais, Unter den Linden, 5 : Impossible to miss this market and its beautiful surroundings, you’ll find food from across the world here, ranging from bistro- to gastro-style.
  • Oxymoron, Rosenthalerstrasse, 40-41 - www.oxymoron-berlin.de - the ultimate hipster spot with its neo-pop design from the 70’s and disco/house beats in the background.
  • Fly : Air France has five daily flights from Roissy CDG2D to Berlin. 3654 and www.airfrance.fr.
  • Stay : At the Ritz-Carlton on Potsdamer Platz, the ultimate in Berlin luxury hotels. Tel : 00 49 30 33 77 77 and www.ritzcarlton.com.
  • Info : The German national tourist office at www.germany.travel.
The Ritz-Carlton Berlin suite
With its comfortable suites, award-winning restaurant and voluptuous spa, the Ritz-Carlton Hotel will make your stay memorable. © DR
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