by Paul Sullivan, The Telegraph, January 15, 2018
Beat the winter chill by going tropical on a visit to the German capital, says Paul Sullivan.
Berlin’s winters have a fierce reputation. But the mercury only dips into serious minus figures for a couple of weeks and the city’s calendar is peppered with great events. The Staatsoper house on Unter den Linden has just reopened with a major programme of productions (staatsoper-berlin.de/en); there’s Berlin Fashion Week (Jan 16-19, fashion-week-berlin.com), the British Short Film Festival (Jan 11-17, britishshorts.de) and the Berlin Film Festival (Feb 15-25, berlinale.de).
Orania.Berlin (1) is a classy boutique set in buzzy Kreuzberg with a top-notch restaurant and bar and plush rooms; doubles from £255 including breakfast. For something more affordable try the fun Michelberger Hotel (2) across the river in Friedrichshain, which has small but creatively decorated rooms and a great breakfast. Doubles from £63 per night.
Start at Alexanderplatz (3) and admire its landmark GDR TV tower and surrounding communist-era architecture. Head down bustling Karl-Liebknecht-Strasse, passing the Marienkirche (4), one of the city’s oldest, on the left, and on to the Humboldt Box (5) from where you can admire the Berliner Dom (6) and Museum Island (7) directly opposite. Continue along the city’s most famous boulevard, Unter den Linden, to arrive at the Brandenburg Gate (8).
The finest example of baroque architecture in the city, the Deutsches Historisches Museum (German History Museum) (9), is the oldest building on Unter den Linden. It hosts a fascinating permanent collection spanning 2,000 years of national history, as well as supplementary exhibitions (dhm.de).
Ascend Alexanderplatz’s TV Tower (10) for peerless city views and a rotating restaurant. Beat the queues by booking online from €14 (£12.40, tv-turm.de).
The Kurfürstendamm (Ku’damm) (11) in City West is lined with fashion stores like Chanel and Hermes and high-street giants like H&M and Zara. The area around Breitscheidplatz is home to the boutiques of Bikini Mall (bikiniberlin.de) (12).
On Dorotheenstrasse (No. 65) (13) you’ll find the charming Windhorst, with an excellent drinks list, stacks of vinyl (mostly jazz) and views on to the street. Cocktails from €12.
Cookies Cream (14) on Behrenstrasse (cookiescream.com) boasts an urban, loft-like interior, cool, friendly staff and vegetarian food that’s bagged the restaurant a Michelin star. Expect to pay around €45 for three courses, excluding wine.
Off the map
Take a one-hour train ride to Tropical Islands, a sprawling indoor resort with sandy beaches, palm trees, a spa and Germany’s biggest collection of water slides (tropical-islands.de). Tickets from €42.