If January blues were a real thing, there’s a chance your minds might be drifting to thoughts of a city break round about now... Whether it’s time to get started on your January resolution to travel more, you just fancy a trip to look forward to or you want to tick a new city off your travel bucket list, we thought we’d throw a little bit of inspiration into the mix! Have you thought about Berlin? Maybe the German capital is on your list of must see destinations, or maybe you’re just looking to be inspired with ideas for a city break. So check out these top 5 reasons to visit Berlin in 2017 for a little nudge in the right direction!
Berlin’s rich history
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Berlin’s diverse and alternative vibes are in part (and we reckon that it’s quite a large part) thanks to it’s rich history. The city has lived through days as the capital of Prussia, both World Wars, was divided into East and West Berlin by the Berlin Wall and lived through the Cold War; so it’s really no wonder it’s got a story or two to tell. If you’re a history geek, this is the one for you, and if you’re not? You will be by the time you leave, promise. Some of the best museums, historical monuments and open air exhibits in Europe can be found here, from Checkpoint Charlie to the Jewish Museum. But if you like to keep things a bit more off the beaten path, you can still find the scars of history everywhere here as you walk the streets and explore, you’ll find historical markers like the East Side Gallery (which is a public space) are just as moving as the museums.
We’re all about city life, but sometimes you just want to escape the crowds and concrete and get outdoors, even if it’s just for an hour or two. Conveniently, Berlin has all the answers whether you want to really get active and into the wilderness (wilderness might be a slight exaggeration) or if you just want to escape the city and see some of the surrounding countryside. Hop on the S-Bahn, Berlin’s railway system, and in no time you can experience some of the beauty and serenity of the city’s surrounding forests and lakes. Our pick would be to take the S1 and head for Stradbad Wannsee during the summer for a beach day that’s not technically on a beach, or to the forests around Lake Wannsee and Peacock Island if you fancy hiking (or strolling) in some typically German scenery. You’ll be ready to hit the city again in no time, but if you really don’t fancy leaving at all, take your pick from the 2500 parks that are in Berlin itself for a little bit of green space.
Diverse and distinctive neighbourhoods
Berlin has got to be one of the most alternative and liberal cities in Europe. Pretty much anything goes here, and you can be as out there as you want! To really experience the diversity of the city, explore each neighbourhood in turn and discover the distinct vibe found in each one. Into street art, al fresco eateries with table spilling out into the streets and a bit of a post-punk vibe? Kreuzberg. For a strong sense of community, more than a trace of political activism, artistic expression everywhere you look and the best Turkish food in town, trendy Neukölln is where you want to be. Each local neighbourhood has it’s own charms and unique atmosphere, so to really get under the skin of Berlin branch out from the central areas and check out where the locals really live, you’ll find a spot, culture or movement that you connect with without a doubt.
You probably don’t need us to tell you that Berlin has more than a little bit of a reputation for partying. We’d go so far as to say it’s probably the best city for clubbing in Europe, and is definitely the techno capital of quite literally everywhere. The clubbing scene is pretty liberal, with many venues opting for a turn up on Friday leave on Sunday policy, and others not really having an official closing time. Underground dens, warehouse parties, high end cocktail bars, pubs, raves in abandoned buildings... you name it and it’s probably here. But even if you’re not a big party goer, Berlin has plenty of options for more low key evenings, from spending an evening sipping wine in a contemporary art gallery to sampling a few German beers in a pub or beer garden.
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It might not be the first thing you think of, but the food in Berlin is certainly a reason to visit! Along with the more obvious choices - and it would be rude to leave the city without trying a traditional currywurst, bockwurst, ketwurst (sensing a pattern?) Berlin is rapidly being hailed as a foodie destination for veggies and vegans. Weren’t expecting that, were you? With more vegan restaurants than you can count (well maybe you could, but that would be boring) you’ll be able to eat at more than one innovative plant based eatery. Berlin also has a large Turkish population, and so you’ll also be spoiled for choice with authentic Turkish eateries. The döner kebab was supposedly invented here by Turkish immigrant Kadir Nurman, so along with this classic late night snack which is perfect after all that partying, be prepared to feast upon some delicious Turkish specialities.
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