Melissa McDonald, City Breaks Specialist

"Whilst many cities offer an experience based on events from many hundreds, if not thousands of year ago, the history of Berlin is rooted firmly in the 20th Century meaning the architecture, historical sites and unique culture all reflect relatively recent happenings. World War II left Berlin in ruins and as recently as 1989, the Berlin Wall still stood. But this is a city reborn; a place to reflect on the past but also an exciting and vibrant, forward looking city which I personally highly recommend."

Berlin at a glance

Berlin is Germany’s largest city, brimming with a unique, creative and youthful vibe that makes it an ideal destination for a fun-packed short break. Though Berlin’s past is consciously ever present, the city continues to prove its vibrancy. Eight times the size of Paris, there is a never ceasing mix of things to do and see. Home to recognized landmarks, creative industries and a wealth of museums, galleries and performing art – Berlin is truly larger than life.

Early evidence of the city dates back to the 12th century, but more recent history has placed Berlin on the world’s stage more than once as it has suffered devastating wars and celebrated dynamic revolutions. Internationally touted to be a centre for cultural transformation in the 1920’s, Berlin went on to suffer the impact of the Second World War, losing its large Jewish community and enduring a number of bombings that visibly wounded the city.

The notorious Cold War era found the East and West sections of Berlin divided. Though the wall came down in 1989, much of the city today bears testimony to the history of East and West Berlin, with pieces of the Berlin wall still visible, along with landmarks turned tourist destinations, such as Checkpoint Charlie and the Brandenburg Gate.

Berlin is a sumptuous cultural feast full of nostalgia and free spirited zeal. An engaging city, it’s hard to resist Berlin’s buzz and eclectic appeal. With a profusion of sights and sounds to suit every taste, Berlin continues to prove itself to be a fantastic short break destination.

Perfect if you’re looking for:

  • Iconic sights
  • Historic attractions
  • Vibrant nightlife
  • Art and culture

Getting around

Berlin is extensive with sites spread throughout different quarters of the city. Luckily Berlin’s transportation system is easy to use and efficient with buses, trams, the U-Bahn (underground) and the S-Bahn (local trains) available to take you wherever you need to go.

Berlin is divided into three zones – A, B and C. Visitors will find most sites are located within zones A and B. Transportation tickets are valid for all public transport systems, making it easy to jump from one transport link to another.

Nightlife

Berlin’s nightlife is one of the most diverse and progressive in Europe, but if dancing till dawn isn’t for you, there are still plenty of cultural hot spots to visit as the city comes alive at night with a vast array of concerts, chic dining experiences and a plethora of cafés and bars to enjoy.

Dining in Berlin

Berlin’s cultural vibrancy makes for an exciting and varied dining experience easily suited to please every budget and taste.

While traditional German cuisine such as bratwurst and pork knuckles can easily be found, a variety of dishes from around the world, including Thailand, France and Japan, are also becoming popular in the city.

Must-try local dishes:

  • Currywurst – a smoked and boiled sausage with a thick curry flavoured ketchup
  • Doner kebab – the fast food version of this middle eastern flatbread and grilled meat staple was invented in Berlin
  • Leber Berliner Art – Berlin style calf liver served with fried apple slices and onion

Osprey Holidays top tips

Find time for the Jewish memorial and the Reichstag and we’d highly recommend the tourist bus for a little taste of everything.

Get your tailor-made city break itinerary

Osprey Holidays can create a fabulous short break to Berlin designed completely around your needs. We can arrange whatever you need, including:

  • All travel and transfers on days of your choice 
  • Accommodation from our handpicked range of Berlin hotels, to suit your budget and requirements

Our award-winning team can provide expert advice and recommendations, from general questions to tiny details. Contact us now for your tailor-made itinerary.

Important information
Population 3,500,000
Languages German
Currency Euro
Visa Information No visa required for EU citizens
Average temperatures

(monthly highs °C)

Interesting facts

Explore the streets leading off the bustling Kurfurstendamm, for a huge variety of shops and good bargains.

Distance from airports
Tegel 8km
Schönefeld 18km
Railway stations
Hauptbahnhof

Things to do in Berlin

  • Botanischer Garten and Museum: One of the largest botanic gardens in Europe.
  • Brandenburg Gate: This once stood between East and West Germany, but now symbolises unification.
  • Checkpoint Charlie Museum: An interesting museum which displays the unusual escape methods used to get from East to West.
  • Gemäldegalerie: This famous art gallery houses European art from the 13th to 18th centuries, including works by Raphael, Vermeer and Botticelli.
  • The Reichstag: Home to the German Parliament, it was destroyed by arson in 1933 but transformed in the 1990s by British architect Sir Norman Foster.
  • Tiergarten: The oldest and largest park in Berlin and home to the fantastic Berlin Zoo.
  • Potsdamer Platz: Soaring walls of glass and steelspun towers mark the soldering of the East-West divide with shiny atriums and cinema complexes
  • Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche: One of Berlin's most famous landmarks. The damaged tower was left as a reminder of the destruction of war and symbol of Berlin’s resolve to rebuild.
  • Museum Island: Berlin’s Museum Island, comprising of five museums and designed to be "a sanctuary of art and science", was granted UNESCO National Heritage Site status in 1999.

Tours and Excursions

Insider Walking Tour

Delve into the fascinating history of Berlin - under the Prussian kings, during Hitler's Third Reich and the long years of the Cold War. Highlights include the Reichstag with its magnificent Norman Foster dome, the iconic Brandenburg Gate, remains of the Berlin Wall, Checkpoint Charlie, Berliner Dom, Gendarmenplatz and the elegant, tree lined avenue, Unter den Linden.

Potsdam & Sanssouci Palace

This half-day tour with local guide will allow you the opportunity to explore the former Prussian residence of Potsdam, a picturesque town just 30 minutes from Berlin. The tour includes King Frederick II's legendary Sanssouci Palace - one of the most beautiful rococo palaces in Germany - where you will skip the line on arrival.

Berlin by Bus & Boat

Combine a hop on, hop off bus tour with a boat trip on the river Spree and experience many of Berlin's most famous sights from the water. Your ticket is valid on the City Circle Purple Tour which takes in the popular areas of Prenzlauer Berg, Mitte, Friedrichshain and Kreuzberg, as well as the Berlin Wall Memorial, Mauerpark and the East Side Gallery.

We would be happy to arrange an excursion for you. To discuss options with a member of our knowledgeable team or to book, please contact us on 0131 243 8098.