The toppling of the Berlin Wall in 1989 was a historic moment for Germany, Europe and of course, Berlin. The wall, which for 38 long years separated West Berlin from East Germany was torn down, paving the way for the reunification of a country and leading to the resurgence of a city now widely known as the creative capital of Europe.
Cosmopolitan springs to mind, but that doesn’t do it enough justice. Forget creative capital of Europe, Berlin could just as easily be the cultural capital of the continent too. Where so many places simply tolerate an expression of personality or difference, Berlin seems to actively encourage it. It’s refreshing and contagious.
The city is a hotbed for all types of freelancers. Designers, writers and photographers are everywhere, tapping away on laptops in what seems like an infinite number of quirky coffee shops, bars and work hubs. And somehow you just know that these guys don’t work for anyone but themselves. Freelancers are synonymous with Berlin, the driving force behind the 43% rise in independent pros across Germany since 2004.
Discover and explore
In the words of a true travel journalist, “no visit to Berlin would be complete without…” exploring its past. Because it's Berlin’s troubled history that has sculpted it into the city which stands today. Take a trip to the East Side Gallery – a remaining 1.3km section of the Berlin Wall – where over 100 paintings document the city’s chilling, memorable journey.
And if you can resist a daytime Stein, hop on the Trabi Safari, and whizz around the city in a traditional Trabant car – the best way to explore the bars, restaurants and galleries of the Prenzlauer Berg district, the shopping sights of Friedrichstrasse, and the Holocaust Memorial.
For food, head to Tausend Cantina. Nestled underneath Berlin’s S-Bahn, the entrance is barely recognisable – actually, scrap that, it's completely unrecognisable. Bang on a large unmarked steel door, before being led down into the dining area, where the food is an Asian and South American fusion. It’s the kind of place you expect to find in the heart of London’s edgy East. And that’s just it – Berlin is a lot like East London, but a whole lot bigger and more colourful.
And in the Tiergarten, green is the colour. The city’s largest park, and the home of Berlin Zoo, the it's ideal for a stroll, a picnic or to hang-out, should the sun creep out.
Charlottenburg is reckoned to be Berlin’s most desirable district, but it is East Berlin, scruffy and rich with history, which will give you more worthwhile, longer-lasting memories.
Berlin is a city of innovation, brimming with ideas, creativity and jam-packed with freelancers. The capital of the country with Europe’s strongest economy, it's so much more than a weekend getaway or pitstop visit. It's a city you picture yourself living in. And that's no understatement.
They say that Berlin is addictive, and ‘the city that keeps you coming back for more’. And it’s clear to see just why...