Putting the art in party and the brat in wurst. The Wall? You’re about twenty-five years too late, mein Liebling. Nowadays Berlin is the epitome of cool, laidback charm from east to west, with underground vibe, perpetual nightlife, inimitable style and creativity. So, Volfie, vat are you vaiting for?
The river Spree penetrates the city, but Berliners still orient themselves using the former Wall. On the east is happening Mitte, northeast is trendy family ’hood Prenzlauer Berg, southeast is grungy Friedrichshain, and cool Kreuzberg and Neukölln down south. West are gleaming Potsdamer Platz, central park Tiergarten and posh Charlottenburg.
Need to Know
Weather: Berlin really comes into her own in summer, autumn’s changing leaves are gorgey, spring sees the first lush greens, winter is grey and slushy with scant 8 hr days
Language: Almost everyone speaks English, but a little German is appreciated
Transport: The U-Bahn is the subway, the S-Bahn are trains, and there are trams too. All are safe, clean and exemplify good German efficiency. Taxis are a yawny beige and are easily found along the main drags
Getting Around: Street numbers run consecutively down one side of the street, do a u-turn at the end and continue up the other side, so #3 on a street might be opposite #145… Confusing
Tipping: Not mandatory, but if you want to be nice add 10%
Cycling: On footpaths, keep a peeper out for cyclists and stay out of their way or you could get a verbal bashing
Talk of the Town: Neukölln, long known for its uber cool sippers, is now getting some trig shops and sups to match – the neighbourhood of the moment
Events: Colder months see plenty of cultural events. The Berlinale Film Festival takes place in Feb, Art Week in September, Oct the Festival of Lights colours the city’s major landmarks, Nov and Dec mean Christmas Markets and New Year’s pyrotechnics
Etiquette: Psst… baps und wurst alert: in summer, park and beach sunbathers aren’t afraid to bare all; shy Sally be warned
Don’t: Nothing screams Tina Tourist like… only sticking to the west of the Wall. From fine dining to art and after dark action, the east is where it’s all at
Don’t: Go to a club before 3am. Midnight is considered nana hour in this town. The best time to be anywhere is usually after 5am