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After years of division, Berlin has risen once again to become one of Europe's most glamorous capital cities, with superb museums, fine churches, wide boulevards and a thriving cultural life.

Insider Tip

If you are feeling peckish try a currywurst (a hot dog, sprinkled with curry powder and lashings of warm ketchup) they are delicious. Berlin can offer you an outstanding array of shops and boutiques - ideal for Christmas shopping. Take in the chilled, relaxed atmosphere, try some of the local beer and listen to some soft background music - the perfect way to spend a sunny afternoon in this fabulous city.

For traditional German food and drink, beer and sausages may be the most well-known, but Berlin has some specialities of its own. Berliners often keep out the cold with Erbensuppe, a pea soup often supplemented by slices of sausage. For a snack lunch, try some pumpernickel, a dark black rye bread, maybe spread with some Hase im Topf, a delicious hare paté. Bratwurst with chips or potato salad is always good, and if you still have room, the selection of cakes on offer will make your eyes water.

If you are feeling more adventurous take a wander around the east of the city and try some of the newer Asian and Middle Eastern influenced cuisine, delightful delicately-spiced fusion dishes.

As a wine country Germany has a mixed reputation, however some of the world's most elegant and aromatically pure white wines are produced in Germany, and their beer is legendary - try a few to find your favourite.

Kurfürstendamm is the city's main shopping street, with a number of excellent department stores. The streets leading from it are also good for general shopping, with Tauentzienstrasse and the surrounding areas specialize in German fashion. There are a number of shopping malls, including the new Potsdamer Platz arcades while the swankiest boutiques are found along Friedrichstrasse.

The Brandenberg Gate

The symbol of Berlin once stood between East and West, and is still its most famous image.

The Gemaldegalerie

One of Germany's great art museums, containing works by Bosch, Dürer, Raphael, Titian and Botticelli.

Charlottenburg Palace

This Baroque summer palace built by Sophie Charlotte features splendid royal apartments and beautiful gardens.

Checkpoint Charlie

The one-time crossing point over the Berlin Wall houses a small museum showing the escape methods used to get from East to West.

Deutsche Guggenheim Berlin

A state-of-the-art museum for modern art and contemporary exhibitions.

Must Do

Enjoy coffee and cakes at the Operncafé after strolling down the city's vibrant main street, Under den Linden.

Go window-shopping and people-watching along Kurfürstendamm, or Ku'damm, as the locals know it.

Catch a concert by the Berlin Philaharmonic, one of the best orchestras in the world.

Berlin Zoo was founded in 1844 and holds more than 13,000 animals and an impressive aquarium - perfect for sunny afternoons.

Explore the Tiergarten, a vast park that used to be a private hunting ground for the electors of Prussia.