Rome might claim the title of The Eternal City, but in Berlin you have a city that is constantly changing, evolving and reinventing itself to reflect the times – making it a pretty exciting place to spend a weekend. With its unique culture and long, dramatic history, the scars of which are still evident around the city, you’ll need to wake up early and go to bed late if you want to see Berlin at its best over just 36 short hours.
Berlin is known as the start-up capital of Europe – a reputation that has attracted savvy young professionals in their droves; and where savvy young professionals go, fair trade coffee shops and stylish cocktail bars aren’t far behind. Start your Friday night in the trendy Mitte neighbourhood, surrounded by quirky galleries and packed nightclubs. Spend a few hours in Die Weinerei, where you can rent a glass for two euro and enjoy as much wine as you like, paying as little or as much as you feel it was worth.
The next morning, get to know the city a little better with a free walking tour, courtesy of Sandeman’s New Europe. The tours start under the imposing shadow of the Brandenburg Gate, one of Berlin’s most iconic structures, before setting off on a three-hour introduction to the most important central sights. Over the course of the walk you’ll learn all about the city’s fascinating history, visit the Holocaust Memorial and Checkpoint Charlie and even find out where Angela Merkel’s favourite kebab shop is.
If you feel in need of a little retail therapy, you’ll want to head to the city’s famous Kurfürstendamm, a tree-lined boulevard that is the German home of Chanel, Luis Vuitton and Valentino. In the evening, sample the very finest national cuisine at Florian, where a hand-written menu belies the expert care with which the dishes are crafted, using only the freshest organic ingredients. After dinner, treat yourself to one of Berlin’s famous late-night cabaret shows.
Get your Sunday off to a good start with a breakfast of coffee and pastries at Bäckerei Balzer, a family run bakery that’s particularly celebrated for its streuselschnecken. The café dates back to the 1920s and still enjoys a devoted following in Mitte today – you’re likely to understand why when you’ve sampled their homemade creations. Spend the rest of the day exploring the dramatically named Museum Island, where you’ll find the Altes Museum, the National Gallery and the unusual Pergamon Museum, which houses full-size reconstructions of the Ishtar Gate of Babylon and the Pergamon Altar.
If this snapshot of Berlin leaves you wanting more, you might want to consider investing in local property with Engel & Völkers. The strength of the German economy combined with relatively low property prices when compared to capitals like London and New York make this an increasingly attractive option for investors – and in a city that offers everything from historic townhouses to modern penthouses, you’re certain to find a second home you’ll love.