Eric and I wanted a week in Europe, but somewhere a little different. Berlin has interesting history to discover, plus we’d never seen the river Spree and had always wanted to try German food.
Where did you stay?
We stayed at the Berlin Hilton, right in the centre of the Mitte district (the historical heart of Berlin). Our window looked out onto the ornate Franzosischer Dom (French Cathedral) and a little square with corner cafés. We could easily walk to many of the famous sites.
What did you get up to?
We went from east to west Berlin under the Brandenburg Gate, toured the Bundestag (Parliament) and drank wine on the famous Unter Den Linden: a wide Avenue aptly named ‘Under the Limes’, as they were all over the place.
We saw Checkpoint Charlie and Alexander Platz, then went up the TV Tower for great views of the city. A thre-hour guided cruise on the Spree was fascinating, with English explanations of all the interesting sites nearby.
How did you get about?
Berlin has the U-bahn (underground train) and the S-bahn (surface train) so we bought a five-day ticket. Handily, there was a station right outside our hotel. We were really impressed with the overhead screens, telling you the next train to your destination and how soon it will arrive.
Did the food live up to your expectations?
There was endless choice, but we particularly liked the Löwenbräu, which served a range of very reasonably priced Bavarian food. We also tried the famous Berlin curry wurst, which was a little too sweet for our taste, but loved the frankfurters with crispy onions, sold on almost every corner.
Make sure you validate your rail tickets – or risk a fine!
- Berlin is in north east Germany, close to the Polish border.
- Visit at the end of May for more reliable weather.
- Joyce and Eric stayed at the Berlin Hilton, costing €129 per night (+49 30 202300, www.hilton.com), and flew from Edinburgh to Berlin with Lufthansa for €141 each (0871 945 9747 www.lufthansa.com), changing at Frankfurt and Dusseldorf.
- Treat yourselves with Kirker. Three nights at the four-star Leonardo Royal costs from £578pp based on two sharing. Includes return London flights, private return transfers, bed and breakfast and a Berlin Museum Card (entrance to the five museums on the city’s Museum Island, valid for your whole trip). Call 0207 593 2283 or visit www.kirkerholidays.com.
- Disabled access is generally good, though in the older parts of the city (Alstadt) it’s worth checking that toilets are not situated downstairs.
- You must book a Bundestag tour in advance, via the website: www.Bundestag.de (switch languages by clicking ‘English’ at the top).