More than three decades after the fall of the Wall, the formerly divided Berlin has emerged as one of Europe’s most dynamic, captivating capitals. With shiny new architecture constantly popping up around the city, and abandoned World War II- and Soviet-era buildings reimagined as edgy contemporary art spaces and trendy clubs, Berlin is on a steady course of reinventing itself. Even so, the German capital holds on to its wonderfully authentic, scruffy side — in its smoky, hole-in-the-wall bars, graffiti-covered streets, and anything-goes attitude.
This progressive spirit is what drew me to move from Amsterdam to Berlin in 2016 and stay for two years. Although I’ve since relocated to Barcelona, I come back frequently to take advantage of Berlin’s vibrant culture, great bars, and diverse global dining scene.
I’m an avid museum-goer, and love exploring the city’s vast array of museums — around 170 at last count — with new ones opening all the time. And when the weather is good, I enjoy strolling and picnicking in the many parks, or stopping for a Berliner Weisse (a traditional local wheat beer) at a neighborhood beer garden.
It’s also a relatively inexpensive city — especially compared to other European capitals like Paris and Amsterdam. While there are plenty of pricey five-star hotels and spendy Michelin-starred restaurants, you can just as easily find a decent, centrally located hotel room for less than 100 euros, or around $98, a night, grab a tasty traditional currywurst with fries for around 5 euros, and wash it down with a beer for under 4 euros.
Navigating Berlin can be a bit of a challenge, whether you’re a newbie or a veteran visitor like me, because of its huge size. The city is made up of 12 different kiez (neighborhoods), each with its own distinctive vibe and attractions. Fortunately, there’s an excellent public transportation system to get you where you need to go.
With Insider’s guide, you’ll have everything you need to plan the perfect Berlin vacation.