If you're seeking an escape from the dreary British winter weather, then Berlin is the ideal place for a short city break after the New Year. Despite an average temperature of 0° in January and February, clear sunny days are fairly common, allowing you to wrap up and explore the city without the rain interrupting your day.
This year, I visited Berlin for the third time, and unlike some places, this city never fails to amaze me. From grand architecture to vast, open spaces, high-end shopping to cultural hotspots, and fantastic restaurants and cafes to a buzzing nightlife scene, Berlin has something to suit everyone tastes.
Having stayed in the same hotel twice now, I cannot recommend the H4 Hotel Alexannderplatz highly enough. At a price far lower than a similar hotel in London or Paris, the H4 is in a fantastic central locations, with a great restaurant and bar, comfy rooms, and friendly, helpful. A personal highlight was the heated bathroom floor!
In terms of places to visit, the top of anyone's list should be the Reichstag building and its dome. Requiring advance booking, guests are taken through security into the building's reception and into an elevator, and greeted with a 360° panorama of Berlin at the top. The huge structure on top of the Reichstag provides views across the city, with audio guides available in German, French, Spanish and English. Located nearby is the 'Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe', a striking piece of architectural design commemorating a dark part of the nation's past. The East Side Gallery is also definitely worth a visit, with its ever-changing murals painting a more positive story of change and a better future.
A city break cannot be done right without shopping, and this is something Berlin excels at. Whilst there is no centralized shopping area, the Mall of Berlin offers a wide range of choices to meet anyones needs, as well as a large food court. For more high end shopping, a short and inexpensive train ride across the city to Charlottenburg, where brands such as Chanel, Valentino, and Gucci all have stores.
Restaurants cafes and bars, whilst not always on the cheap side, are everywhere in Berlin. Fine dining, traditional Currywurst and fast food restaurants can be found always within walking distance, with many Brauhaus' offering their own craft beers. Around Alexanderplatz, Coffee Fellows is a great place for your morning wake up call, Suno Sushi and Noodles offers a quick lunch/dinner, or if you prefer local street food, a Currywurst stand across the road offers cheap combo meals and drinks that you can walk away with.
So if you're travelling to Europe from further away, or looking for a quick weekender, Berlin is 110% a destination to consider. Easy and cheap to fly to, with great transport from the airport to the city centre and so much to see and do, I don't know why you haven't already visited.