Berlin, Germany’s capital, dates to the 13th century. Reminders of the city's turbulent 20th-century history include its Holocaust memorial and the Berlin Wall's graffitied remains. Divided during the Cold War, its 18th-century Brandenburg Gate has become a symbol of reunification. The city's also known for its art scene and modern landmarks like the gold-colored, swoop-roofed Berliner Philharmonie, built in 1963.
The Tiergarten district, near the Brandenburg Gate, houses a massive park and the 19th-century Reichstag, Germany’s parliament. Museum Island, in the Spree River, features the Neues Museum, with its comprehensive Egyptian collection. Its Pergamon Museum’s archaeological masterpieces include Greek, Roman and Islamic works. Nightlife ranges from Mitte quarter’s hip restaurants and bars to the cavernous techno clubs in the city’s industrial neighborhoods. Shopping includes high-end boutiques along Kurfürstendamm, department stores on bustling Friedrichstraße and vintage shops in bohemian Kreuzberg.
When to visit: Berlin is a year-round destination, getting busiest May-Oct and Dec. Key events include Carnival of Cultures (May) with a parade and music, Berlin Pride Celebration (Jun) and the Bierfestival. In Nov and Dec, Berlin has Christmas Markets and a New Year’s Eve street party by the Brandenburg Gate. Fall and winter (Oct-Mar) in Berlin can be gray with rain, sleet and snow.