From Andrew Harper

Berlin is a dynamic place, still in the process of self-reinvention two decades after the collapse of its infamous Wall. Most traces of World War II have been obscured, and although vestiges of Eastern Bloc prefabricated construction (plattenbau) remain, modern economic forces are rapidly remodeling the city. The transition is most evident at Potsdamer Platz, the historic public square laid waste by Allied bombing and neglected during the Cold War, which now boasts buildings designed by some of the world’s leading architects. A total of five museums is planned on Museumsinsel (Museum Island) in the Spree River, a project intended to rival the Louvre in Paris. The Pergamon Museum there already contains an astonishing collection of classical antiquities.



All recommended hotels in Berlin

Berlin, Germany
Hotel Adlon Kempinski
Hotel Adlon Kempinski

Grand landmark hotel facing the Brandenburg Gate on the famous Unter den Linden promenade near many cultural and historic sights.

Hotel de Rome
Rocco Forte Hotel de Rome

Architecturally stunning luxury hotel in a converted 19th-century former bank headquarters on the historic Bebelplatz off Unter den Linden.


All recommended restaurants in Berlin


This attractive restaurant serves both French and German dishes in a dining room adorned with art nouveau mosaics. Start with oysters from the North Sea island of Sylt, and then try the excellent wiener schnitzel with hot German potato salad, a steak or salmon. Open late, this is a particularly useful address for supper after a concert or ballet.

Französische Strasse 47, Mitte
Berlin 10117

This stylish steakhouse is where Berliners go for first-rate beef. Start with some oysters, lobster soup, marinated green asparagus or red tuna carpaccio with lemon-coriander vinaigrette, and then opt for the beef, which is offered in different weights and with a choice of sauces, vegetables and potatoes.

Friedrichstrasse 105B, Mitte
Berlin 10117

Chef Thomas Kammeier has created a stir with his contemporary German cooking at this glamorous restaurant with views over Berlin from the top floor of the Hotel InterContinental. His tasting menus change regularly, but run to dishes such as king prawns with apple chutney in a tandoori emulsion, veal sweetbreads with Japanese pumpkin and lemongrass, and pickled plum and hazelnut panna cotta.

Budapester Strasse 2
Berlin 10787

The opulent food hall on the sixth floor of this venerable department store is a terrific place for a quick lunch. Counters serve different foods, so you can opt for oysters, sushi or smoked salmon — or experiment with some 1,200 varieties of sausage and cold cuts.

Tauentzienstrasse 21-24, Schonenberg
Berlin 10789
Prices vary

Chef Daniel Achilles won a Michelin star for his Continental cooking served in a chic dining room within the renovated former workshops of the AEG electrical company. Expect unusual and dramatic dishes such as venison ham with meadow grasses, berries and shallots; roast beef with anchovy aioli and ox-bone marrow vinaigrette; and damson cheesecake with pine ice cream.

Edison Höfe, Schlegelstrasse 26c
Berlin 10115

Chef Kolja Kleeberg presents a creative Continental menu in a gleaming setting of steel, glass and slate. Representative dishes include halibut with tomatoes and tarragon, and suckling pig in aspic with sauerkraut. The wine list is exceptional. Closed Sundays.

Jägerstrasse 54-55
Berlin 10117