Where To Stay
Located in the city’s edgy Kreuzberg area (which is full of quirky thrift shops and small cafés) this boutique hotel is housed in an art deco building that was once the iconic Oranienpalast Café. Today, there are 41 rooms spread over five floors, all of which have great city views. Couples should book Orania.25, complete with a king-sized bed, separate living area and walk-in rain shower. The hotel also has a fine dining restaurant where you can listen to live jazz from local musicians or indulge in their newly-launched eight-course breakfast club menu.
Rooms from £208 per night.
This hotel feels like something you’d find in New York’s Meatpacking District. Inspired by the glamour of 1920s Berlin, the interiors are dark and opulent, with stylish touches throughout like leather furniture and plush decorative accessories. Hotel Zoo is on one of Berlin’s most famous avenues, Kurfürstendamm, making it a great location to explore the city’s historic sites and monuments – Kaethe Kollwitz Museum is just a short walk away. There are 141 rooms and suites to choose from, plus a winter garden for al fresco drinks, a fine dining restaurant, a swanky cocktail bar and a rooftop bar with great city views.
Rooms from £120 per night.
If you’d rather stay in central Berlin, Gorki Apartments is situated in Berlin-Mitte, within walking distance of some of the city’s coolest shops, bars and restaurants – ask the concierge team to direct you towards the best. With modern interiors throughout, rooms and suites have an industrial-chic edge, with Tom Dixon lighting, dark furniture and opulent ensuite bathrooms. Book Room 2B for its free-standing bath and floor-to-ceiling French windows. A great option if you’re travelling with kids, little guests will be treated to mini robes and slippers, while adults will appreciate the hotel’s fridge-filling service – think Deliveroo and German treats delivered to your door.
Rooms from £150 per night.
KPM Hotel & Residences
Just a short walk from Tiergarten, the city’s most popular park, KPM is a modern hotel with a series of apartment residences. There are 117 rooms to choose from, all of which have fully-equipped kitchens, smart technology (like tablets and high-tech TVs) and simple, pared-back design. Guests can book a table at the on-site fine dining restaurant, DONG A, for dishes like spring rolls, bao buns and teriyaki sashimi, and make use of the community kitchen or conference room which has a spacious work area. Guests can also enjoy jazz diners on select nights and visit exhibitions which the hotel hosts regularly.
Rooms from £120 per night.
Located in Charlottenburg, the stylish literary quarter of the city, boutique hotel Sir Savigny has some of the chicest interiors on this list. With a distinctive eclectic style, the 44 rooms are decorated with artistic wallpaper, vintage rugs and luxury soft furnishings. Choose a Sir Deluxe room with a courtyard view for a comfortable stay and make use of the rain shower and ultra-plush bathrobe. The hotel also has a guest lounge, library and The Butcher, an in-house kitchen which serves delicious meaty options, including a great Aberdeen Angus beef burger. At weekends, there’s a buzzy atmosphere thanks to the resident DJ who sets the vibe with house music.
Rooms from £94 per night.
If you’d rather have the whole place to yourself, Plum Guide has a great selection of chic apartments to choose from. Wood Stock, located in the Prenzlauer Berg district, has Danish-inspired interiors with bright and airy rooms thanks to floor-to-ceiling windows. Couples can make use of a spacious living area, kitchen, marble ensuite bathroom and two balconies which have lovely neighbourhood views. The beautiful Gethsemane Church is a short walk away, as is tasty Middle Easter restaurant Kanaan Berlin.
From £64 per night.
Kater has several apartments to choose from on Warschauer Strasse, located in the central Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg district. With modern self-catering facilities, you’ll have access to Kater’s ‘experience team’ who you can WhatsApp with any queries during your stay. Created for those looking to experience Berlin’s nightlife, some of the city’s best underground clubs and bars are within walking distance – ideal for a fun weekend away or girls’ trip. Couple should book the Intimate Studio, while solo travellers will love the cosy and compact Living apartment. There’s a handy self-check-in service, too.
Where To Eat & Drink
A Berlin institution, this historic restaurant dates back to the late 19th century. Today, diners can choose from traditional German dishes with a modern twist and hearty puddings. Menu highlights include wasabi salmon with orange fennel and mash, steak tartare and their signature plat de fruits de mer.
This family-run restaurant is loved for its delicious Vietnamese food. Located on Alte Schönhauserstrasse, the menu takes inspiration from the tropical gardens and rivers of the Mekong Delta in Vietnam. The restaurant has a lively atmosphere and the food is packed full of flavour – think Hanoi pho, green curry with chicken, spicy prawn salad and a fruity mango dessert with mint cream and ginger.
Loved by insiders and those in the know, Katz Orange is a beautiful restaurant in the Mitte district. Try and get a reservation outside to dine in the atmospheric courtyard where you can enjoy modern German dishes like bison bratwurst with lemon mash, flank steak tagliatelle, slow-roasted pork with pickles and buttermilk lettuce. Order the pavlova for desert and the aperitif of the day.
CODA Desert Dining
Those with a sweet tooth should head to CODA Desert Dining, located on the same street as Nobelhart & Schmutzig. Here, it’s all about dessert. The Michelin-starred restaurant specialises in seven- and ten-course tasting menus that showcase the best of German produce, featuring dishes like raclette waffles, coffee cheesecake with sherry amontillado, and chickpea and hazelnut mousse.
When in Berlin, visiting Markethalle Neun is a must. The 19th-century market hall in the trendy Kreuzberg neighbourhood has something for everyone, from artisan cheese to Asian street food. Try fresh pasta from Mani in Pasta, pizza from Sironi bakery and fresh oysters from Fish Club. Stop for coffee at one of the artisan cafés and stock up on souvenirs from the deli counters.
Nobelhart & Schmutzig
For Michelin-star dining, head to Nobelhart & Schmutzig on Friedrichstrasse. One of the city’s best restaurants, advanced booking is a must. Diners can enjoy a frequently changing supper menu of elegant, traditional German dishes made with local ingredients, like homemade rye sourdough, buttermilk fennel, Marjoram chicken breast, and plums with sour cherry and kernel oil. Nobelhart & Schmutzig also hosts special dinner experiences (known locally as Überall) at places in the city where you wouldn’t normally eat – think artist studios, flower shops, clubs, churches and factories.
For an authentic German experience, head to Berlin’s largest beer garden Parter Garten, which has an extensive selection of Bavarian craft beers, local brews and cocktails. They also serve tasty snacks like rotbratwurst (grilled sausage) in a bread roll or with potato salad, Bavarian Leberkäse (a type of meatloaf) and traditional pretzels.
Arguably the best restaurant in Berlin, Rutz boasts three Michelin stars. Ideal for a special occasion meal or treat if you want to go all out, you’ll walk up the illuminated onyx staircase to reach the main dining room. The restaurant is open from 6pm for dinner, where you can choose from interesting dishes like lobster with saltmarsh herbs, yellowtail mackerel with ‘brewed’ potatoes, veal with caramelised onions and wild quince served with pinecones – as intriguing as it sounds.
Gallery Rooftop Bar
This rooftop bar is a cool hangout for evening drinks with a view. Located in the Minden-Lübbecke district, guests can relax at the bar or lounge on one of the comfy sofas, or head outdoors for al fresco drinks. There’s an extensive beer, wine and cocktail menu to choose from.
Where To Shop
Kurfürstendamm is one of the city’s most famous avenues where you’ll find over 70 shops and boutiques, as well as the impressive Waldorf Astoria hotel. Browse the designer stores, like Chanel, Prada and Saint Laurent, then make your way around the high-street stores like Levi’s, Arket and H&M.
The Corner Berlin
You’ll find some of Berlin’s best womenswear brands, as well as international designers, at The Corner Berlin – think Totême, Celine, Dries Van Noten, Nanushka and Zimmermann. There are two women’s branches in the east and west of the city, plus Ladurée on Schlüterstrasse, the brand’s patisserie and sweet shop.
Voo Store is a concept space in Oranienstrasse where you’ll find a range of womenswear pieces, sneakers and lifestyle pieces, like blown glass vases, natural beauty products and healing crystals. Whether you're after a cool find or just want to look around, it’s well worth a visit.
Schwarzhogerzeil is a slick womenswear designer store that houses brands like Common Projects, Isabel Marant, Joseph, Lemaire and Sara Lanzi, to name a few. Expect to find clothes, shoes and a good selection of new-season designer bags.
STUDIO183 started as an experimental pop-up back in 2015 and now has a permanent store in Bikini Berlin shopping centre. They stock a great selection of up-and-coming, as well as established, European designers like Ingrato, Killing Weekend, Zefryas and PBG. Take a look at the other stores in Bikini Berlin, then stop for lunch at Chaparro for some delicious tacos.
Chocolate lovers, this one’s for you. Rausch Schokoladenhaus is the largest chocolate shop in the world. As well as housing an extensive selection of German chocolate, the shop has an impressive display of buildings and statues made out of kilos of chocolate and confectionery. Be sure to stock up on their own-brand pralines and dark chocolate truffles.
What To Do
Free Walking Tour
One of the best ways to see the most famous sites and landmark buildings is to head on a walking tour of Berlin. Free Walking Tour operate excellent trips around the city, led by a local or historian. The main tour, which lasts around four hours, passes the TV tower, Brandenburg Gate, Hitler’s Bunker Site and the Jewish Holocaust Memorial. History buffs will find the information about Nazi Germany and WW2 particularly interesting. At the end of the tour, you can pay a small contribution if you wish.
Berlin’s grandest and most regal palace was originally built in 1695 for Sophie Charlotte, the first Queen consort in Prussia. Take a tour around the palace and estate, before exploring the landscaped gardens and the Belvedere Tea House which houses a beautiful collection of porcelain.
Berlin has hundreds of excellent galleries and museums, but if you only have time to visit one, head to Neues, a listed building that forms part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Originally built towards the end of the 19th century by King Frederick William IV of Prussia, today, visitors can see an impressive collection of ancient artefacts and historic exhibits spanning several cultures, from ancient Egypt to the Stone Age. There’s a nice café and a great bookshop inside, too.
The Berlin Wall
Berlin’s most significant symbol of the Cold War is a must-see. The 160km-long wall, which divided the city for nearly three decades, is now filled with cool street art and signposted information along the way which details the area’s rich history. Take a bike tour along the perimeter and don’t forget to stop off at Checkpoint Charlie, the famous crossing point.
Reflecting Berlin’s turbulent history, the Reichstag Building should not be missed. Take a guided tour around Germany’s parliament, which includes a cool winding staircase with panoramic city views.
Possibly one of the hardest and most exclusive clubs to get into in Europe, if you go to one nightclub during your trip, head to Berghain, famed for its legendary parties and techno raves. World-class DJs set the vibe, while Panorama Bar, one floor up, is the place to go for mid-week gigs. Just be sure to ditch your heels so as to not let on you're actually from London.
*DISCLAIMER: Travel restrictions are changing daily, so please check the latest government advice and entry requirements to Germany before you book anything. Visit Gov.uk for more information