13 Affordable Trips to Europe
Berlin has cold-war mystique, ambitious contemporary architecture, and booming gallery and restaurant scenes. With its cosmopolitan, east-meets-west edginess, it’s no wonder the city has become the cultural capital of central Europe; a destination that continues to attract creative types and in-the-know travelers.
Day 1 Stay in the fashionable Mitte (“middle”) district, since it’s convenient to major sites including the Reichstag and Potsdamer Platz. The boutique hotel Lux 11 is an option, with 72 minimalist rooms and an Ulf Haines concept store, or there’s the newly expanded Schoenhouse Apartments, which is set around a secluded courtyard and has a modern café to match its 50 studios and apartments. Have lunch at nearby Leo Bettini, and order the signature Knödel (German dumplings) before browsing Mitte’s many boutiques, including Bioladen, the organic-food store found throughout the city. This is where shoppers stock up on Weleda and Dr. Hauschka body products—about 30 percent cheaper in Germany. At night, check out the lively pub Schwarzwaldstuben, filled with mismatched furniture, and try the Schweinschnitzel or ravioli-like Maultaschen with a Rothaus beer.
Day 2 Begin at the city’s 543-acre park, the Tiergarten, in the city center, walking along the shaded paths to wind up at the Brandenburg Gate; then turn right for New York architect Peter Eisenman’s Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, a haunting field of concrete pillars. Not far away is Kunst-Werke (69 Auguststrasse; 49-30/243-4590;