Contemporary capital of cool

Home to artists of all stripes, Berlin is Europe's cultural capital as well as the capital of Germany. Home to the national parliament, the TV tower and many other attractions, as well as a thriving nightlife, this lively city offers plenty to do day and night.

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Best time to travel

Winters in Berlin tend to be bitterly cold, with temperatures often reaching several degrees below zero. Conversely, their summers are several degrees hotter than in the UK, so any time from May to September is ideal for a visit if you want to spend lots of time outside. If you can handle the cold though, December is a wonderful time to visit Berlin, as the Christmas lights are quite spectacular, and there are of course plenty of traditional German Christmas markets selling gluhwein and stollen (traditional German mulled wine and Christmas cake).

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Before travelling

Berlin is a very cycle friendly city - with dedicated cycle lanes, wide roads and plenty of flat terrain, many people choose to get around on bikes, which are available to rent fairly cheaply. The cost of living in Berlin is also much lower in the UK, so you can enjoy eating out to a good standard on a budget. Bars and clubs tend to have lower entrance fees than in a lot of other cities as well, so nights out needn't cost the earth.

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Local info

Berlin has two main airports, Tegel and Schonefeld. From Tegel, buses TXL, X9 and 109 serve the city centre, or you can easily find a taxi outside the arrivals hall. From Shonefeld, hop on the S-Bahn (overground train) and take the S9 line to central Berlin, where you can change for the U-Bahn (underground train). Alternatively, take bus number X7 or 171 to Rudow and change for the underground there - journey time is about 30 minutes. The underground network in Berlin is a quick and convenient way to travel between attractions but be sure to validate your tickets at the machines around the stations before you travel, or you could have to pay a fine. Once your ticket is validated, check how long you can use it for, as tickets do expire after a couple of hours. It's worth investing in a Berlin Welcome Card, which includes a travelcard valid on all public transport as well as offering 50% off the entrance fee for many popular attractions.

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