With a complicated history that manifests itself on every street corner, quirky Berlin has grown into a creative hub that champions progressive ideas, artful expressive and culinary creativity.
What you should know about Berlin
Founded in the 13th century as a modest collection of trading settlements, Berlin has witnessed some of Europe’s most defining moments. Between its involvement in the bloody Thirty Years’ War to its ascension to the as the capital of the Kingdom of Prussia, this is a city was once under constant turmoil. Following the chaotic 20th century history, rather than burying its personal scars, Berlin has emerged as a proud symbol of tolerance, equality and prosperity on the global stage.
It’s no secret that Berlin is one of the leading cultural trendsetters on the European landscape. This carries over into everything from its thriving contemporary arts scene to the experimental and fusion chefs who are leading a cuisine revolution on the world stage. While you’ll have no problem locating traditional German comfort staples such as sausage and bread, Berlin has gracefully fallen in line into organic, slow-food and healthy food trends. The great thing about the permissive Berlin is that it can be morphed into anything you want to be, as the quirky enclave tends to attract artists, entrepreneurs and misfits from all over who can’t help but feel at home.
Berlin in the autumn is an experience like no other as plenty of open-air parties and street festivals take over the entire city. This continues well on into the holiday season, when the city is taken over by bright lights, festive stalls and delicious aromas for the annual Christmas markets. The German virtues of efficiency and punctuality carry over to the efficient and extensive public transit system. The underground subway known as U-Bahn is the easiest way to get to most places while locals are also big on bikes. Don't forget to dabble into Kaffee und Kuchen, an afternoon ritual in Germany in which friends, family members, co-workers or spouses will meet up for an hours or so to enjoy coffee, cake and socializing. On any given afternoon, you’ll find most cafés packed to the brim with Germans of all ages and social statuses mingling, laughing and conversing–especially on Sunday!