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10 Things Not to Do in Berlin

by Ralph Martin

Don't…
Go in wintertime

Berlin in the winter is one of the more dispiriting tourist destinations in the Western world, with all the charm of a slightly more expensive Minsk. The sun sets around 4 or 5 pm and doesn't rise again until around 8 the next morning, and when you factor in the gloomy weather, that leaves a distinct lack of sunlight each January. Slush and mud fill the streets. But what's worst is the way the city looks when all the leaves have fallen. That East Bloc architecture, which seems retro-charming when veiled by summer foliage, becomes a sad collection of dirty high-rises when the greenery's gone. And the city's effort at painting the buildings' facades in Day-Glo colors just looks tacky.

Instead…
Go in summer

Yes, you'll have a million backpackers competing for hotel space, but Berlin finds its groove in the sunny months. Flying in, you'll see how astonishingly green the city is. In midsummer, the sun doesn't go down until 11 pm and rises shortly after 3 am, giving the town a round-the-clock party feeling. Every café has its sidewalk tables out, letting you slide from café to bar to club without noticing the days go by. But before you're seduced into moving here (many summer visitors are), reread the paragraph above or you might find yourself cursing your choice come rainy November.

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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