24 Hours In: Berlin

This city thrives on change. A whizz around its strasses will reveal the best of its past and present
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The Independent Travel

New kid on the platz

08.00: Open the curtains and see the majestic Bebelplatz from the Hotel de Rome (00 49 30 460 60 90; hotelderome.com) at 37 Behrenstrasse. Rocco Forte's latest hotel is in the heart of the old city, surrounded by the Opera House and the university. Doubles from £150.

Sky's the limit at breakfast

09.00: Head for the Television Tower (00 49 30 242 33 33; berliner fernsehturm.de) at 1a Panoramastrasse. The lift swiftly climbs the 207m to the Telecafe, where you can enjoy views with your humble muesli or champagne with scrambled eggs and smoked salmon.

Where to meet a chubby maiden

10.00: You can see the Bodemuseum (00 49 30 20 90 5601; smb.spk-berlin.de) from your breakfast table. Situated on Museum Island and surrounded by large buildings containing Germany's finest collections, the Bode reopened last month after six years of refurbishment (costing £102m). It exhibits 1,700 sculptures, from sensuous Greek Venus's to chubby 18th-century maidens. Expect a lot of golden mosaics as the Bode also houses the Museum of Byzantine Art.

A quick snack for chocoholics

11.00: After all that culture you deserve a treat.Fassbender & Rausch Chocolatiers (fassbender- rausch.de), at Gendarmenmarkt, is a new café in the most beautiful square in Berlin. It is well known for a range of chocs (including replicas of the Titanic and Reichstag), but try a hot chocolate too.

Take the credit card for a walk

11.30: It's time to fill some bags. Footsteps from the café is the sublime shopping of Friedrichstrasse containing the bling-bling ghettos of Quarter 205, 206 and Galeries Lafayette. All of this is platinum-card territory - Moschino, Vivienne Westwood - and customers include Madonna and Nicole Kidman. For less extravagance walk west to the Potsdamer Platz Arcade, where three floors of glass built by Renzo Piano (it won an award this year) contain 120 clothing, accessory and shoe shops.

Eat sushi in style

13.30: After that hot chocolate you probably don't want to overfill, particularly as you're having tasty fare tonight. So take a five-minute taxi to Shiro I Shiro (00 49 30 9700 4790; shiroishiro.com), which is at 11 Rosa-Luxemburg-Strasse. It offers light Japanese cuisine in a startling white and blue interior that is housed in the new, quirky Lux 11 Hotel.

Discover the Berlin blockade

15.30: Make your way to Tempelhof airport and board the "Rosinenbomber" (Candy Bomber), a Douglas DC-3 built in 1944. To the sound of Glenn Miller and stewards in period costume you'll start your 35-minute round trip retracing the path of the 1948-9 Berlin airlift and giving a glimpse of the modern and old Berlin. For more details contact Air Service Berlin (00 49 30 5321 5321; air-service-berlin.de).

East-side stories

17.30: To understand more about the east side of Berlin and the airlift, get the train back to the DDR Museum (00 49 30 847 123 731; ddr-museum.de), at 9 Anna Louisa Karsch Strasse. But it isn't all gloom, you'll laugh at the fashions, get nostalgic about the home life of only 17 years ago and sit in an old Trabant - essentially half a shed on wheels.

Eat strudel with an Asian twist

20.00: Zoe (00 49 30 24 04 56 35; zoe-berlin.de), at 1 Rochstrasse, is the newest haunt of fashionistas who sit gossiping over the Mediterranean-Asian fusion food. Tuck into goat's cheese strudel, tuna tartare with fennel and honey, linguine with langoustine and fruit of the forest pannacotta.

Cocktails with the in-crowd

22.30: Try Newton Bar (00 49 30 20 29 54 21; newton-bar.de) at 56 Charlottenstrasse. Whatever you think of Helmut Newton, this mad bar, always full - and not by any means cheap - is a must-see in Berlin. Nude Amazons in heels stare down on the aspiring actresses.

Anyone fancy a currywurst?

24.00: You're bound to be hungry again so try the Imbisse. Small, temporary stalls cover all the late-night spots in Mitte. They can sell hotdogs, doners and even burritos. But try Berlin's favourite invention: currywurst.