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Edgy, full of character, multi-faceted and compelling, Berlin is all these things and more.
Germany’s capital is a city apart, and one you won’t forget in a hurry. People talk about how the city has been a hub of political goings on and the epicentre of historical happenings for hundreds of years, and they’re not wrong. It’s been divided by the Iron Curtain, torn apart by the Second World War; it’s been at the forefront of innovations in technology, art, and music – the list goes on.
Come for the history, for the trendy art scene, for some hardcore clubbing, or just to relax and take in the sights: it’s all on offer here.
Relive the 1990s at Potsdamer Platz, where a nondescript staircase in the pavement leads down to an authentic WWII bunker, now converted into a space for laser tag (U Anhalter Bahnhof, 92 Stresemannstrasse, undergroundlasergame.de).
Berlin's enormous Gardens of the World park, in the district of Marzahn, was opened in 1987 to commemorate the 750th anniversary of the city. In addition to rare flowers and plants from all over the world, there's also a large maze that visitors can get lost in for a good hour or so (Gärten der Welt, 99 Eisenacher Strasse, berlin.de/en).
Avoid the tourist shops and bring back a gift from Süper Store, which offers a variety of mostly locally made goods including jewellery, food and drink and small household items (U Schönleinstrasse, 12 Dieffenbachstrasse, sueper-store.de).
If you can't handle the January weather, the world's largest indoor beach is just an hour outside of Berlin. An enormous metal dome in the middle of the German countryside caters to 6,000 visitors a day and is open round the clock. A truly surreal experience, featuring a rainforest, a variety of tropical plants, and even wooden cabins for overnight stays (1 Tropical-Islands-Allee, tropical-islands.de).