BER­LIN

Steeped in his­tory with a world-class art scene, ex­cel­lent street food and top-qual­ity craft beers, Ger­many’s cap­i­tal is a feast for all the senses, finds Christina Aus­ley

Food and Travel (UK) - - City Breaks -

Why go? Known for its piv­otal role in the Sec­ond World War and still haunted by the shadow of the Ber­lin Wall which was dis­man­tled just un­der 30 years ago, you don’t have to visit the Ger­man cap­i­tal’s world-class mu­se­ums to see his­tory. You’ll find it on ev­ery street cor­ner. To­day the city is a bas­tion of cre­ativ­ity and tol­er­ance, where lo­cal bak­ers hand-twist pret­zels and bar­tenders pull craft beer by the litre in the many drink­ing dens that line the flag­stone streets. Stay warm dur­ing the crisp au­tumn months in one of the ri­otous beer tents, which come to town dur­ing Ok­to­ber­fest, held be­tween 22 Septem­ber and15 Oc­to­ber.

What to do Grab a warm apfel­streusel (ap­ple strudel) from ar­ti­san bak­ery Zeit für Brot zeit­fuer­brot.com and set off through Alexan­der­platz and along Holz­mark­t­strasse. From here, head to­wards the East Side Gallery east­side­gallery-ber­lin.com then cross the Ober­baum Bridge and marvel at the ar­chi­tec­ture of this dou­ble-decked land­mark and its rust-coloured spires. It uni­fies the bor­oughs of Friedrichshain and Kreuzberg, which were once sep­a­rated by the Ber­lin Wall. Next, make your way to­wards the west side of the city and fol­low the foot­steps of Napoleon through the iconic Bran­den­burg Gate. One block south is the sober­ing Holo­caust Memo­rial stiftung-denkmal.de – wan­der amid the labyrinth be­fore brows­ing colour­ful con­tem­po­rary art in the quaint König Ga­lerie koenig­ga­lerie.com a 1960s church-turned-art hub. Nearby, you can spot new photography tal­ent at the C/O Ber­lin co-ber­lin.org on Har­den­bergstrasse. Once the royal hunt­ing grounds of Friedrich Wil­helm I, the Tier­gartens’ 210 hectares are ideal for a brac­ing walk through the pretty au­tumn leaves. End your day by climb­ing to the Re­ich­stag’s bun­destag.de roof ter­race, where you can en­joy 360-de­gree views of the city’s sky­line. Where to stay Ber­lin’s ho­tel scene ranges from quirky boltholes in re­worked ware­houses to more tra­di­tional five-star op­tions. Ho­tel de Rome 00 49 3 04 60 60 90, roc­co­forte­ho­tels.com is housed in the for­mer Dres­d­ner Bank head­quar­ters in the very cen­tre of

Clock­wise from top left: take in Ber­lin’s iconic sky­line and views over the Spree river at dusk; bed down in the Bebel Suite at Ho­tel de Rome; rid­ing past the Ober­baum bridge; the

dra­matic Re­ich­stag dome; ex­plore the Siegessäule vic­tory

col­umn; eat lo­cal; ser­vice at top restau­rant Pauly Saal; Das Stue’s cool in­te­ri­ors; en­joy a

cold glass of Ger­man beer Ber­lin, on Behren­strasse. There’s a swim­ming pool in the old jewel vault and hand­some suites in the oak-lined di­rec­tor’s of­fices. For el­e­gant re­lax­ation, try a room at Sof­i­tel Ber­lin Kur­fürs­ten­damm 00 49 3 08 00 99 90, sof­i­tel.com — a star­tling art-deco build­ing de­signed by the award-win­ning Ger­man ar­chi­tect Jan Klei­hues. Das Stue Ho­tel 00 49 3 03 11 72 20, das-stue.com may look like a neo­clas­si­cal man­sion, but in­side it’s a vis­ual feast, with con­trast­ing tex­tures and an­i­mals made from leather, giv­ing a nod to its prox­im­ity to the ex­cel­lent Ber­lin Zoo.

Where to eat and drink The city is fa­mous for its street food, so dive into a ten­der bro­chette of meat and veg­eta­bles at Kreuzberg’s leg­endary Im­ren Grill. The au­then­tic­ity of the sea­son­ing will quickly re­veal why it’s a lo­cal in­sti­tu­tion, and it’s a steal at just £2.70. For great-value qual­ity street food head to the buzzy cov­ered mar­ket Mark­thalle Neun 00 49 30 61 07 34 73, mark­thal­leneun.de where stalls such as Big Stuff Smoked BBQ do a roar­ing trade. For a more up­scale take on Ger­man cui­sine, book a ta­ble at Lokal 00 49 30 28 44 95 00, lokal-ber­lin.blogspot.co.uk which is famed for its goose and game sausage ragu. Ber­lin’s veg­e­tar­ian restau­rant scene is flour­ish­ing, so me­an­der down the Behren­strasse to the neigh­bour­hood gem Cook­ies Cream cook­i­escream.com where the parme­san dumplings with Périg­ord truf­fle, pine and sherry taste as beau­ti­ful as they look. Min­i­mal­ist restau­rant Ein­sun­ter­null 00 49 30 27 57 78 10, ein­sun­ter­null.com was awarded a Miche­lin star just a year af­ter open­ing in the Mitte area in 2016, and serves very clean, con­tem­po­rary plates ac­com­pa­nied with a min­i­mal num­ber of in­gre­di­ents. For strong cof­fee and vel­vety Ger­man cheese­cake, try Five Ele­phant 00 49 30 96 08 15 27, fiveele­phant.com

Time run­ning out Mu­seum Is­land in the mid­dle of the fast-flow­ing Spree river is home to no fewer than five ex­cel­lent mu­se­ums packed with arte­facts from an­cient Egypt, Byzan­tium and Ber­lin. Trip tip Meet­ing at Bran­den­burg Gate, San­de­man’s free walk­ing tours show you the Ber­lin most tourists miss. neweu­rope­tours.eu

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