Get up early: See the sights in the morning when it’s less busy ‒ and you’ll free up the rest of your day. Begin with the city’s central district, Mitte, where you’ll get a good feel for your surroundings and enjoy a taster of the city’s history. The Brandenburg Gate, the Reichstag building, parts of the Berlin Wall and the famous Fernsehturm television tower that rises up from Alexanderplatz are all in this district.
Nearest U-Bahn station: Stadtmitte (lines U2 and U6)
Browse: While you are in Mitte, enjoy some of the city’s best boutiques. In this district you’ll find Scandinavian brands such as Acne Studios, Marimekko and Filippa K. Be sure to look out for Lala Berlin, offering elegant womenswear designs that are the epitome of German fashion, and concept store Andreas Murkudis, whose white interior features brands such as Dries Van Noten and Maison Margiela.
Lala Berlin, Alte Schönhauser Strasse 3, 10119 Berlin, +49 (0)30 2009 5363
Refuel: Head to House of Small Wonder in Mitte. Styled as an urban greenhouse and serving American dishes with a Japanese twist, it offers comfort food made with organic, local ingredients and injected with Japanese flavours wherever possible. This place is great place for pastries or a spot of brunch.
House of Small Wonder, Johannisstrasse 20, 10117 Berlin
Head back out: Once ready and refuelled, walk (or cycle) towards Charlottenburg in search of the city’s best shops. The long and famous boulevard Kurfürstendamm is Berlin’s equivalent to London’s Bond Street. Here you’ll find major brands such as Burberry, Prada, Dolce & Gabbana and many more as well as continental Europe’s largest department store, KaDeWe, which houses an enormous food hall and more brands for you to browse.
Nearest U-Bahn station: Kurfürstendamm (lines U1 and U9)
Drink: If you’re in Berlin during the summer months, head to one of the city’s beach bars along the River Spree. When it opened in 2002, Strandbar Mitte was a pioneer of this style of venue. Complete with palm trees, festoon lighting and salsa music, it is a great place to enjoy the evening sun and a bit of atmosphere. If you want something a little more elegant, the Lang Bar at the Waldorf Astoria Berlin is a quieter, more sophisticated spot to sip cocktails.
Waldorf Astoria Berlin, Hardenbergstrasse 28, 10623 Berlin, +49 (0)30 814 0000
Dine: Treat yourself to dinner at Facil restaurant, which has two Michelin stars. Chef Michael Kempf has a passion for seasonal produce from which he creates magical dishes that are a blend of German and Asian traditions.
Facil, The Mandala Hotel, Potsdamer Strasse 3, 10785 Berlin, +49 (0)30 5900 51234
Sleep: 25Hours Hotel Bikini Berlin is like a playground for adults. It is set in the Bikini-Haus building, a striking 1950s high-rise, and with its funky interior it is the perfect place to stay if you’re looking for accommodation with a contemporary vibe. Designer Werner Aisslinger played with the contrasts of nature and culture in the setting; many of the bedrooms look on to the picturesque and historic Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, others offer views of the ape and elephant enclosures at Berlin zoo.
25Hours Hotel Bikini Berlin, Budapester Strasse 40, 10787 Berlin, +49 (0)30 120 2210
Breakfast like a king: Eat breakfast at the hotel’s rooftop restaurant, Neni. With views over the tree tops of Berlin zoo, the hugely light filled room is colourfully decorated and will give you a cheerful start to the morning.
Neni, 25Hours Hotel Bikini Berlin, Budapester Strasse 40, 10787 Berlin, +49 (0)30 120 2210
Ponder art and history: Choose between the many galleries and museums the city has to offer and spend your final day hopping between them. If you want history then head to eastern Berlin’s Museum Island, a World Heritage site that comprises five of the most important museums in Europe, renowned for their architecture as well as their collections of artefacts. If Jewish history is what you’re after, the Jewish Museum, in a controversial building designed by architect Daniel Libeskind, offers a detailed insight and has a large archive of film, art and music. If you’re keen on art, Berlin is the place for you, with countless galleries, exhibitions, fringe fairs and events going on all year. For contemporary art, check out KW Institute for Contemporary Art, or make tracks to C/O Berlin whose absorbing exhibitions include retrospectives of the likes of Annie Leibovitz, Peter Lindbergh and Robert Mapplethorpe.
C/O Berlin, Hardenbergstrasse 22-24, 10623 Berlin, +49 (0)30 2844 41662
Eat: Before you leave for home, set yourself up for your flight with a good steak. Grill Royal is an arty local spot that offers a wide range of steak, meat and fish. It is set on the River Spree and its dark red and black interiors are flooded with light during the day thanks to large windows overlooking the water; in the evenings the restaurant is lit with candles and has a cosy yet cool vibe.