Berlin is a vibrant city steeped in history. It's home to world-famous cultural landmarks, historical monuments and museums. These days, this multicultural metropolis is known for its creative and grungy atmosphere. There is a thriving underground artistic subculture, responsible for street art covering nearly every façade in Berlin, and wild nightlife scene. After dark, the city is a whirlwind of hedonism, dance, and techno music. Get ready to have the time of your life!
Currently, there are no direct flights to Berlin from Australia. However, Qatar Airways, Scoot Air, Singapore Airlines and Qantas offer flights with only one stopover. Scoot Air, the new and improved version of Tigerair, provides the most competitive airfares to Berlin. Most other airlines require two layovers. Although a second layover may add 10 to 20 hours to your travel time, it can sometimes save you a few hundred dollars.-
Berlin has two international airports, but if you're flying from Australia, then you'll most likely arrive at Tegel Airport, 8km northwest of central Berlin. Unfortunately, there is no access into the city by train, but there is a convenient bus service.
Jet Express Bus: The Jet Express bus is the most economical way to reach downtown Berlin. There are two routes, heading to City West and City East. The buses operate every five to 10 minutes, from 4am to midnight. The trip will take 20 to 40 minutes, depending on your destination. Tickets are about $4.50AUD.
Taxi: Catching a taxi from the Airport is a good option if your flight arrives late at night. The ride into Berlin takes about 25 minutes, and you can expect to pay about $50AUD.
The best way to get around Berlin is via its comprehensive public transport system. The underground train network, known as the U-Bahn, is the primary means of transport for most Berliners. With 173 stations, you'll be able to get everywhere you need. U-Bahn tickets are about $4AUD, or if you think you'll be using it a lot, consider getting a 'Berlin Welcome Card'. This card gives you unlimited use on public transport, as well as discounts for major attractions. A five-day pass will set you back about $60AUD.
Cycling is also an excellent option; Berlin has hundreds of bike paths and bike lanes, with designated bike traffic lights at most intersections. You can even take your bike on the U-Bahn if you need, just make sure you buy a special ticket for it.
Brandenburg Gate: This majestic arch is one of Berlin's most famous landmarks. The gate was a symbol of division during the Cold War but now represents German reunification. Learn more about its history at the Brandenburg Gate Museum.
Berlin Television Tower: Towering above the city at 368 metres high, you can see this iconic obelisk from just about everywhere Berlin. Visit the observation deck at the top for a phenomenal panoramic view.
Museum Island: Museum Island is a treasure trove of history and art, spanning 6,000 years, and five separate museums, all occupying a small island in downtown Berlin. See Greek and Roman antiquities at the Altes Museum, Egyptian artefacts at the Neues Museum, 19th Century Romanticism at the Alte Nationalgalerie, ancient architecture at the Pergamonmuseum, and finally, medieval sculptures at the Bode-Museum.
Berlin Wall: Start at the Berlin Wall Memorial site to learn about the history of the wall, and how it impacted the life of Berliners, before walking along the 1.3 kilometre East Side Gallery. Once an object of division, it has now become the word's longest open-air gallery, there are over 100 murals to see, including the infamous 'Fraternal Kiss'.
Memorial To The Murdered Jews Of Europe: This football-field-sized memorial consists of 2,711 concrete columns of different heights. The vast memorial is an austere place of reflection and contemplation that shouldn't be missed.
It comes as no surprise that Berlin is one of the best beer hubs in the world. It is the capital of Germany after all – a country that has been mastering the art of beer making for over 1,000 years. Unsurprisingly, Germany's other famous food exports – pretzels, potato salad, bratwurst, and pickles – all go hand in hand with a refreshing stein of beer. Don't miss these exceptional institutions of Berlin:
Zollpackhof: Berlin's best beer garden is known for its cheerful atmosphere and fresh Augustiner beer. The beer garden is clustered around the city's oldest chestnut tree, providing lovely shade on a summer day. Try the roasted pork shanks with a side of potato salad.
Muted Horn: This bar is a must for lovers of craft beer. There are 21 taps and if that wasn't enough to choose from, there's also the bottled beers, totalling more than 100 from around the world. Oh, and there's free pretzels at the bar.
Schnitzelei: It would be amiss to visit Germany without trying a delicious Wienerschnitzel (veal schnitzel). Schnitzelei serves up scrumptious schnitzels and craft beer, in a hip, sleek setting.