by Chloe Hay
The most youthful metropolis in the world, Berlin is certainly in the running for the title of world’s coolest capital. Since the reunification in 1990, the world has watched in awe as Berlin built itself up, proving to us all that nothing can stop it from being great.
This city’s history is somehow constantly present: captivating its audience instantly from the moment you catch your first glimpse of the Holocaust Memorial, or from the sight of the East Side Gallery – the last remaining stretch of the Berlin Wall.
To gain a thorough understanding of the journey Berlin has come on in the years since Hitler and the Cold War, take a Brewer’s Free Walking Tour. You will be guided on a three-hour walk around the historic sites by a native English-speaking history buff working on a tip-basis. For those with little knowledge of Berlin’s struggle to be allowed to leave its past behind, this tour should be at the top of your itinerary, and the perfect start to your stay.
Berlin is well known for boasting an exuberant underground culture – a city forever attracting the alternative crowd. For this reason, set aside some time during your stay to experience something only possible in this spectacular city. Take the S-Bahn to Heerstrasse and follow the spray-painted white arrows along the thirty-minute walk up Devil’s Hill to Teufelsberg. Teufelsberg is a Cold War Spy Station Relic used by the Americans and Brits to interfere with radio signals in order to spy on the Soviets in East Berlin and, since the fall of the Wall, it has been left abandoned.
Technically the site is not open to the public, however, there is a human sized hole in the fence along the southern perimeter of the site enabling the adventurers among you to sneak in and explore. Like nowhere else imaginable, Teufelsberg is living history at its best. Wear sturdy shoes, be aware of the broken glass and holes in the floor and carry a torch – then, just explore. All of the old offices and interrogation rooms are open for you to discover and ladders have been positioned below old sky-lights so you can climb out onto the roof for the most mesmerising view over the Grunewald and Berlin beyond.
After a full day of discovery you have two options for how to spend your night. For drum ‘n’ bass enthusiasts try your chances at gaining entrance to one of Europe’s most exclusive clubs: Berghain which – despite its hefty entrance fee – is most definitely the place to be. However, if you’re looking for something a bit more relaxing after a long day’s exploration, head to Deck 5 in the Prenzlauer Berg district. This top-floor car park has been turned into a fabulous beach bar – lounge on leather beds with a cocktail or infamous Berliner Weisse, whilst gazing out across Berlin’s iconic skyline picking out the next day’s taunts.