Exeter International has been expertly planning custom itineraries to Berlin for well over a decade. Gwen Kozlowski, General Manager of Exeter International has been recognized as the expert in deluxe travel to Germany by Conde Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure and is a Wendy Perrin Wow Trusted Travel Expert for Central Europe.
The largest and most modern of the Central European capitals, Berlin has reinvented itself since reunification into Europe’s powerhouse. A sprawling city, each area has its own very unique character, and it would be a mistake to not explore outside the historical heart in Mitte. Some of the best restaurants can be found in the hipster center of Kreuzberg, the home of the vibrant Street Art scene and the most bohemian of Berlin’s neighborhoods. Gentrification is now inevitable, so go there while you can!
With over 80 museums from contemporary art to WWII history, you have to select your museums carefully. Our top picks for art museums would be the outstanding Berggruen in Charlottenburg, included in the collection are Picasso, Klee, Giacometti and Matisse; The Boros Collection in Mitte, a former Nazi bunker which houses the private contemporary art collection of Polish-born entrepreneur Christian Boros (a pre-booked private tour is essential); The Neues Museum, just to see the bust of Nefertiti, and the Pergamon, which is now under restoration until 2019. Alternatively, take a street art tour – you will be surprised by what you discover, and at the end, you will be able to distinguish between art and graffiti!
Berlin is redolent with the history of the Second World War, and inextricably linked to Jewish history. Read our blog: Six Essential Jewish Sights . After the war came division, and the Berlin Wall Documentation Center is also a must to understand life not just in a divided nation, but city. A visit to the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial church on Kurfürstendamm is the ultimate memorial against war and the destruction it brings.
One of Europe’s main culture hubs, Berlin is a fantastic city to experience the opera, ballet or symphony, as well as several other genres of music and the performing arts. The outstanding Berlin Philharmonic (that has free concerts every Tuesday lunchtime) is now joined by the Gehry designed Pierre Boulez Saal concert hall. We can also recommend the musical concert program at the newly opened Orania boutique hotel in Kreuzberg. The Chamäleon Theater is a perfectly preserved cabaret venue that feels like something from the pre-war Weimar Republic days of Berlin.
Berlin is a walking city and comfortable shoes are a must! Walk down Berlin's magnificent boulevard and the centerpiece of Old Berlin, Unter den Linden leads from the Schlossbrücke Bridge to Pariser Platz at the Brandenburg Gate. Visit the Saturday farmers market in Kollowitzplatz in Prenzlauer Berg, or the Sunday flea market in Mauerpark in the same area to see locals enjoying their leisure time. Both are a few minutes walk from the achingly hip Soho House Berlin outpost. Go shop in the Hackescher Markt – the former Jewish Quarter is now buzzing with cool boutiques, cafes and restaurants. This is the place to look for international chains as well as boutiques and designer shops. In the summer, consider a boat tour on the River Spree to see the city from a different perspective.
For custom luxury travel and tours to Berlin and Germany, please contact one of our travel experts.
Berlin has a continental European climate. May, June and September and October are the best months to visit for culture and festivals. July and August can be hot and the perfect time to enjoy the outside courtyards in restaurants, and the parks and outside cafes. In the winter months, snow can lay thick on the ground. Although cold, this is a romantic period. November and December are particularly charming when the Christmas Markets with their Gingerbread and mulled wine and sparkling lights are in full swing.
Our team of travel experts can customize a unique program for you based on your exact preferences and interests. We suggest you allow a minimum of four nights in Berlin.
Take a day trip to the nearby Potsdam. This enchanting town was the summer residence of the kings of Prussia and offers gorgeous gardens and parks and several palaces, from the Cecelienhof – the site of the Potsdam Agreement, to the intimate Rococo gem of Sanssouci.
If you see one of the museums on Museum Island, it should be the Neues Museum – an absolute must – especially for its exquisite collection of Egyptian artifacts, including the bust of Nefertiti which is stunningly displayed.
A concert at the Frank Gehry designed Pierre Boulez Saal concert hall conceived by the pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim. It is part of the new Barenboim-Said Academy, where young Arab and Israeli musicians train together.
Berlin is truly a melting pot, and the choice of restaurants reflects the diversity of the city, and the different atmosphere and feel of each neighborhood. Mitte and Charlottenburg, have more traditional, upscale restaurants. Kreuzberg and Neukolln are more innovative and conceptual, and are home to the famed food markets. From traditional to ethnic, vegan or Michelin, there is something for everyone. Read our 10 Great Berlin Foodie Experiences blog
Today, the area around Check-point Charlie has become over-run with hordes of visitors that want to buy a fragment of the Berlin Wall, encased in plastic. We think that a far more stylish momento of the city is an item of merchandise from the now iconic Ampelmännchen.
Conceived in the 1960’s in East Berlin, the traffic light men have now become an iconic Berlin brand, and you can buy all kinds of merchandise with the design.