Please refresh the page and retry. B erlin has busied itself since the fall of its infamous Wall with becoming one of the most stimulating creative and cultural centres in Europe. It is a hub for hedonists, hipsters and history buffs alike — one that truly offers something for everyone. Its slew of art spaces, notoriously tolerant nightlife and burgeoning start-up scene grab the headlines most regularly, but the city is also a welcoming destination for families thanks to a wealth of green spaces, sparkling lakes and a generally child-friendly infrastructure.
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Luxury travellers are catered for with a slew of five-star hotels, Michelin-starred dining spots and indulgent spas; and for history fans, there's plenty — after all, the city was at the heart of much of the turbulent 20th century. P aul Sullivan, our resident expert, offers his top tips on the best things to do and the hottest places to eat and drink this season. In contrast to the simple and sparsely decorated interior, the authentic Thai dishes are spectacular, presented with contemporary twists and made with a commitment to regional ingredients.
Try the tasting menu for the full experience.
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Open Tues-Sat from 6pm. From November It's also a particularly resonant time to visit some of Berlin's key monuments from the era.
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It was originally painted with mainly political images and slogans in , right after the Wall fell, and was repainted by artists from 21 countries, including some of the original ones, for the 20th anniversary celebrations in But rather than offering political murals, this one has been restructured by the city as a deeply informative memorial to all those who died trying to cross it. Pull up a blue-seated bar stool at the pink terrazzo bar and choose from the list of classics or try creative concoctions such as the kimchi popsicle Micheladas, or drinks made with fir, sesame and even mushroom reductions.
The dome of the latter is well worth ascending on a clear day, but first explore 2, years of German history in the adjacent museum. As well as a history of the palace and the Hohenzollern family, you can see a scale map of its former glory and how it fit neatly with the broader Museum Island ensemble. Begin at Potsdamer Platz.
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It more than earns each of its five stars for its convenient location and excellent service. Elegant and sophisticated, the interiors seamlessly blend Art Deco and contemporary touches, while the staff are eager and obliging. The first — and only — Guerlain Spa in Germany is located on the fifth floor of the hotel, and is one of the best in town.
I f you're looking for a hotel that seduces from the off, pick Monbijou.
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This intimate boutique hotel enjoys a wonderfully central location, a welcoming even romantic aesthetic, friendly service and an impressive array of on-site amenities that span a bar, lounge, roof terrace and small fitness area. It has a buzzy bar and a courtyard for concerts, both popular in their own right, one of the best restaurants in the neighbourhood, plus a range of funky, idiosyncratic rooms to choose from.
Dorm-style rooms are also available. Open for almost a century, it offers vintage and contemporary scents — some of which are Berlin-themed; all of which are handmade and unique. Littering the streets or crossing at a red light is likely to provoke stern looks or even public admonishment. If you were trying to determine whether a random German voter from would back Hitler by , asking whether they were rich or poor, proletarian or bourgeois, urban or rural, man or woman would scarcely help you. The only question with any predictive value worth asking would have been whether they were Catholic or Lutheran.
Now Germany is reunited and its new capital is the old Prussian capital of Berlin, far beyond the Elbe, rather than Bonn in the west. Once again, west Germans are pumping colossal sums of money to the east, not to fund Prussian militarism and agricultural subsidies for Junkers this time, but to pay for remarkably ineffective welfare programmes. I admire Hawes immensely, not least because he is such a versatile writer.
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He has produced a string of satires of modern Britain. The best, Speak for England , foreshadowed Farage, May and Brexit with such unnerving accuracy it deserves some kind of prescience prize. Yet at the same time as writing comic novels, he has produced a learned study of Kafka and now this bracingly provocative history of Germany. Even in normal times, he would have given us much to talk about. We should worry that reunification has re-established a truncated version of the Prussian empire and that Christian Democrats will one day ally with the eastern far right or social democrats with the eastern far left.
But these are not normal times. No one can deny that it is a part of the west today.
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The western world as virtually everyone alive has known it will certainly perish before our eyes. Topics History books The Observer. Germany Europe reviews.
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