Berlin is a city that tells a complex story that endures and has been able to reinvent itself over the years, a constant flow of movement, a search for experimental art and the desire for creation, a seductive fascination with architecture, attention to detail, nightlife, culture and music that echoes through the streets of a city that vibrates with ingenuity and never disappoints.
This was my home for more than five years and that’s why I have a very special affection for the human warmth it transmits to me. It is a city that combines its historic past with a modern and dynamic cultural scene. Regardless of what we choose to do, I’m sure it will be a good experience, especially because I think it’s very difficult (or practically impossible) to get bored in Berlin.
History and culture lovers will find here true landmarks that have become world famous, for the best and worst reasons. The Berlin Wall is one of these great examples and visiting it is an emotional experience, feeling the historical weight it carries. Places like the East Side Gallery display mural art and preserve the memory of the city’s division. But also the Holocaust Memorial, a very moving place that pays homage to the victims in a maze of cement blocks that convey a feeling of isolation and disorientation; the DDR Museum, which offers a fascinating insight into life in East Germany during the Cold War or the Brandenburg Gate, an iconic symbol of Berlin’s unity and peace.
Neighborhoods like Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain are full of street art with colorful murals and graffiti but Mitte is considered the artistic heart of Berlin, full of art galleries, artists’ studios, fashion stores and relaxed cafes. There’s a whole life to discover at the National Gallery, which houses an impressive collection of 19th and 20th century German art, including works by great masters such as Monet, Picasso, Degas and Andy Warhol. Nightlife is a constant in the city, also famous for the electronic music that echoes at the famous parties at the Berghain club, but my favorite is cabaret shows or the Volksbühne, one of Berlin’s most famous theaters, known for its innovative productions.
Residents love the outdoors and spending an afternoon in one of the city’s many parks is a frequent ritual among friends and family. Feeling the nature, relaxing, exchanging ideas – that’s what happens in Tiergarten or Mauerpark, where we can take the opportunity to try a Currywurst or the famous Döner Kebab (it’s worth remembering that Berlin has some of the best döner kebabs outside of Turkey). The experience would not be complete without visiting one of the many Beer Gardens, which keep traditional German beer culture alive.
The city has an excellent public transport system but many of the main attractions are just a few steps from each other, so the ideal is to walk calmly through the streets, travel aimlessly through the U-Bahn stations or go for a bike ride (with exclusive cycle paths). Berlin is a diverse city that strives for innovation and expression, a city that continues to evolve, that thrives on its diversity and creativity, with new artistic spaces and initiatives that emerge regularly. It is one of the European capitals worth visiting and is part of a history that also concerns us. The best way to experience Berlin is to embrace the local culture, try new experiences, cuisine and explore the historical and modern aspects of this fascinating city.
By Carla Branco