Your ultimate guide to Berlin

Restaurants and bars, museums and galleries, clubs and music, shops and more...

Berlin's best sights and attractions
Attractions

Berlin's best sights and attractions

Get to grips with the Reichstag, Fernsehturm and more of the German capital's most iconic (and camera-friendly) monuments

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The 10 best Berlin club nights
Nightlife

The 10 best Berlin club nights

Party your way around Berlin at the city's destination parties

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Street eats
Restaurants

Street eats

Stretch waistbands at the ready: our guide to Berlin's best street food stalls, markets and pop-ups

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The 30 best bars and pubs in Berlin
Bars and pubs

The 30 best bars and pubs in Berlin

Quench your thirst at one of these fine watering holes

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The best shopping in Berlin
Shopping

The best shopping in Berlin

Or where to shop yourself silly, Berlin style

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Recommended Berlin restaurants

Das Lokal
Restaurants

Das Lokal

Das Lokal comes from fine heritage: formerly Kantine, a cult pop-up of sorts which had occupied a space earmarked for demolition in David Chipperfield’s architectural office. Their relocation to a permanent location on Linienstrasse sees the restaurant decorated with beautiful furniture, handmade from wood salvaged from the forests around Berlin. Das Lokal flies the flag for Portland-style locavore cuisine, using only the most sustainable of ingredients for its changing menu of German staples. The Mitte location makes it a popular lunch spot for local media types who come to talk shop over roast veg with salad or gulasch soup. The dinners are more elaborate affairs, starters of pigeon with chestnuts, mussels in broth or asparagus croquettes all designed to demonstrate the superior flavour of well-sourced produce. The kitchen is an oasis for offal dishes and game, with which Berlin’s surrounding forests abound – a welcome sight in today’s age of cheap industrial farming. Book ahead for dinner.

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars
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Dóttir
Restaurants

Dóttir

With chef Victoria Eliasdóttir - sister of Berlin-based artist Olafur Eliasson - as head chef and the team behind such legendary Berlin eateries as Grill Royal and the Michelin-starred Pauly Saal at the helm, this Icelandic-themed kitchen in Mitte would have had to make an extraordinary effort to be anything less than wonderful. A tiny, charmingly ramshackle dining room, Eliasdóttir's menu shimmers with Icelandically-inspired clean, herby flavours infusing the fresh vegetables, meat and fish with wholesome, organic character. Having grown up on an island where the only thing in abundance is fish, the chef's menu naturally favours our piscine friends, with inspired and imaginative treatments. But it's Eliasdóttir's tendency to experiment and blend new juxtapositions of flavour and texture that lead to frequently surprising (and very delicious) results. Book ahead.

Time Out says
  • 5 out of 5 stars
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Der Goldene Hahn
Restaurants

Der Goldene Hahn

This local’s stalwart combines the prevailing Kreuzberg taste for zany vintage with the more typical cosy trattoria look, and inside you’ll find a solid wine list and Italian favourites. The dining room veers between the twee (an antique apothecary with hundreds of little drawers looms behind the bar), the humorous (an artwork scrawled with ‘Bunga Bunga’ portrays a hirsute man exposing his black briefs) and the familiar (exposed red-brick to match the chequered tablecloths). Expect homely plates of gratineed scallops, caponata (Sicily’s cold sweet-and-sour aubergine stew), caramelised goat’s cheese and excellent fresh pastas with seasonal ingredients. For secondi there’s everything from lamb cutlets to grilled breams, ever changing according to the chalkboard menu. As is typical for the area, the restaurant stays open late on weekends, the record-player is turned up and regulars stay for the excellent cocktails. If the restaurant is full, hop next door to their wine bar.

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Tim Raue
Restaurants

Tim Raue

Local Kreuzberg lad done extremely well, Tim Raue has been extremely busy of late: his flagship picked up a second star from the bods at Michelin, he curated the Thai concept restaurant at the Adlon Kempinski hotel as well as opening La Soupe Populaire, an upmarket spin on rustic German classics. For a real splurge, head to his main restaurant near Checkpoint Charlie where the menu best showcases his fusion style: far east meets west on the former borderland of Berlin. The sleek restaurant, decorated with delicate Chinese pottery and dark wood furniture sits just 30 and while many of Berlin’s fine dining establishments follow the traditional French service dictum, here they pride themselves on informality, the front of house staff sporting jeans and trainers (the kitchen even has a TV mounted in the corner for football fans in the kitchen). None of this detracts from the exacting dishes. The 6-course ‘Unique’ tasting menu (€148) is preceded by amuse-bouche, such asspicy cashews, prawn sashimi and marinated pork-belly, moving on to main courses featuring Wagyu beef, lobster, Australian winter truffle and tofu, all flaunting Japanese technique and served with blobs, smears or foams of contrasting flavours and colour. Booking advised.

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Mogg
Restaurants

Mogg

Mitte’s gallery scene has been swelled by the regeneration of the Ehemalige Jüdische Mädchenschule (former Jewish girl’s school), built in 1930 and whose walls have borne out the turbulent history of the city. The impressive New Objectivity building houses gallery spaces, the Pauly Saal restaurant, a private Kosher dining space and also Mogg (formerly Mogg & Melzer), an artisan deli founded by two DJs with a shared love of cured beef. A hotspot at lunchtime for local galleristas, all the necessaries are pitch-perfect: pickles pack a crunch, fresh coleslaw is just the right side of creamy sour, the toasted rye bread reveals a fluffy interior yet all play second fiddle to the thick wodge of smokey goodness that is their pastrami meat. On the menu are classics such as the Reuben, topped with melted ‘Swiss’ cheese, sauerkraut and a special dressing, Matzo ball soup and cream cheese bagels.

Time Out says
  • 5 out of 5 stars
Users say
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Cultural highlights in Berlin

The best Berlin art galleries
Art

The best Berlin art galleries

You can't fling a currywurst without hitting an art gallery in Berlin – here's our round-up of the city's best places to indulge your inner culture vulture

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HAU
Theatre

HAU

An excellent example of the way Germany deals with bridging the gap between state-subsidized high culture and its underground performance scene. Hebbel am Ufer is actually a fusion of three different theatres in Kreuzberg, providing a space for younger, more experimental work ranging from drama, music, dance, talks and a strong cultural outreach programme. It provides facilities of international standards to travelling artists who in other cities might otherwise have to make do in low budget surroundings, and is testament to Germany’s extremely generous dedication to arts funding at all levels. Popular global projects like the Complaints Choir, which brings together a city’s local residents to vocalize their irks, find their home here, as well as concerts by indie tastemakers like Destroyer and Zola Jesus. Other locations: HAU1, Stresemannstrasse 29; HAU3, Tempelhofer Ufer 10.

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Contemporary Fine Arts
Art

Contemporary Fine Arts

One of Berlin’s best-known spaces, Contemporary Fine Arts has been presenting idiosyncratic art from around the world since 1992. Run by Bruno Brunnet, Nicole Hackert and Philipp Haverkampf, CFA’s programme blends the outré and fresh with eminences, in their light, airy Chipperfield-designed building near Museum Island. The diversity of the roster means that at any one time, you are likely to see works by anyone from Berlin’s infamous Jonathan Meese to Georg Baselitz, Marc Brandenburg, the late Norbert Schwontowski, Gert and Uwe Tobias, Daniel Richter and Katja Strunz to Brit stars such as Sarah Lucas, Peter Doig and Chris Ofili.

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KW Institute for Contemporary Art
Art

KW Institute for Contemporary Art

Housed in a former margarine factory and sporting a social event-friendly courtyard designed by Dan Graham, Kunst Werke has been a major non-profit showcase since the early 1990s. Recently, the institution embarked upon a new phase in its 20-odd year history with a new Chief Curator Ellen Blumenstein, who took over in 2012. Incidentally Blumenstein, along with Klaus Biesenbach, was one of the curators behind KW’s controversial ‘Regarding Terror: RAF Exhibition’ in 1995, which caused such a public stink with its references to the 1970s German terrorist group that government funding was withdrawn. Today, Blumenstein promises more emollient, audience-friendly programmes, insisting that the institution move back from the realms of the (occasionally) utterly esoteric and baffling and return to engaging with the public. Always a lightning rod for the local art scene, the new, open approach sees KW engaging with other galleries and organized projects around town, from the recent ‘Berlin Art Week’ initiative, which saw the space co-host the multi-part ‘About Painting’ exhibition to hosting the annual and cheerfully never-less-than-controversial Berlin Biennale. A lively programme of exhibitions, film screenings, talks and presentations means that twenty years on, KW remains implacably at the heart of Berlin’s cultural agenda. The proximity to the Jüdischen Mädchenschule across the street has of late become another reason for making at least one trip to Auguststrasse absolutely essen

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Admiralspalast
Theatre

Admiralspalast

One of the only original Weimar revue theatres left in Berlin, Admiralspalast was home to the GDR Berlin State Opera during the post-war years. It was also popular with the Nazi government during WWII, it attempted to set the record straight in 2009 by becoming the first venue in Germany to stage Mel Brook’s Nazi-lampooning 'The Producers'. After being threatened with demolition in the late 1990s, it was restored and reopened in 2006 and when it isn’t hosting theatre or cabaret, the Admiralspalst has sell-out gigs by the likes of PJ Harvey and James Blake. You’ll find it right next to Friedrichstrasse station, the classy-but-cool venue of choice for big names who want to keep an atmospheric vibe and good acoustic.

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Berlin bars and nightlife

LGBT Berlin
LGBT

LGBT Berlin

The best gay bars, clubs and saunas in Germany's LGBT-friendly capital

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Berghain/Panorama Bar
Clubs

Berghain/Panorama Bar

Step inside easily the city’s most famous club – and arguably the best club in the world...

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Hops & Barley
Bars and pubs

Hops & Barley

The capital’s most famous tipple, Berliner Weisse, had almost 700 breweries producing it in the 19th century, so much so that a popular story has it that Napoleon’s troops even nicknamed it ‘the Champagne of the North’. Sadly history took its toll on the sour wheat beer and by the end of the 20th century only one industrial brand remained – owned by the German frozen pizza magnate Dr. Oetker. Brewpubs like Hops & Barley have come to the rescue, using interesting hop varietals to produce traditional German beers such as the top-fermenting Weiz (wheat) and Dunkles (dark) as well as Apfelwein (apple wine, or cider to you and me), a drink rarely seen in Berlin pubs. The heavy wooden bar is matched with fine green and white tiling throughout, the large brew kettles in pride of place along one side of the wall. Their self-sufficient approach to brewing serves Friedrichschain’s anti-corporate mentality well but the bar also serves as a hub for the city’s nascent beer aficionado scene.

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Becketts Kopf
Bars and pubs

Becketts Kopf

This long-running cocktail bar is an oasis of fine drink in Prenzlauer Berg. Operating in the classic speakeasy model, it has become something of a local institution: enter via an unmarked door and you’ll find yourself in rooms draped with red velvet. And you can breathe deeply on their chesterfield sofas, as one of the two rooms caters for non-smokers, a relative rarity in Berlin’s bar scene. Their cocktails hark back to another era: try the Aviation, a paean to the classier days of air travel, a florid mix of gin, violet, maraschino and lemon. The windowpane features a grizzled portrait of playwright Samuel Beckett (himself not averse to a drink) to keep watch over proceedings. Occasional DJs play avant-jazz. Barstaff are knowledgeable, friendly and as long as its not too busy, happy to chat at length about the esoteric cocktail list or indeed, knock you up something they think you'll like.

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Tresor
Clubs

Tresor

Housed in what was formerly the main central-heating power station for East Berlin, the colossal location is breathtaking, and since only a tiny portion of its 28,000sq m (300,000sq ft) is in use, there's plenty of room for future development in what is intended to be not just a club, but a huge centre of alternative art and culture. The basement floor is an experience you'll not forget; a black hole occasionally punctuated by flashing strobes with some of the loudest, hardest techno you are likely to hear.

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Sights and attractions in Berlin

Insider’s guide to the Berlin Wall
Attractions

Insider’s guide to the Berlin Wall

Our step-by-step guide to walking the Wall

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Holocaust Memorial
Attractions

Holocaust Memorial

Conceived in 1993, this controversial project was not opened until 2005

Users say
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Fernsehturm
Attractions

Fernsehturm

The 368 metre-high Fernsehturm (‘Television Tower’) marks the centre of a new capital

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Brandenburg Gate
Attractions

Brandenburg Gate

The Brandenburger Tor provides a spectacular gateway to Berlin

Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars
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East Side Gallery
Art

East Side Gallery

Explore the largest remaining section of Wall still standing

Users say
  • 3 out of 5 stars
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Jewish Museum
Museums

Jewish Museum

An immersive experience of Jewish history, culture and belief

Users say
  • 5 out of 5 stars
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