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Things to do in Berlin

Base flying

For those that haven't heard of it, base flying (www.base-flying.com) lets brave participants fall from a 125m-high (410ft) building without meeting a gruesome death. The controlled fall (using a winch rappel) is a safe, stomach-in-your-throat experience that is not for the fainthearted.

Catch a film in a squat

Berlin is home to a roving squatter population, and some of them regularly open their doors for movie screenings. How you fare at them will depend largely on your attitude, but this is a great way to see some underground cinema at backstreet prices. For information and listings, try Stressfaktor (www.stressfaktor.squat.net).

Dance in the world's smallest disco

The world's smallest coin-operated disco is a converted phone booth complete with a disco ball, smoke machine and strobe lights. It is located on the RAW site (Revalerstr 99) opposite the climbing gym.

Go to the world's greatest nightclub

Berghain (tel: +49 30 29 36 02 10; berghain.de) sits on a dusty industrial lot between Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain and has the uncontested position as the world’s greatest purveyor of techno music. It's opening hours aren't for the weak - the Saturday night parties often wrap up Monday morning - and it has a legendarily selective door policy, with hundreds of people are turned away every weekend. Our tip for the queue: don't act drunk, and speak English as quietly as possible.

See what’s going on underground

One of the most fascinating tours available in Berlin is run by Berliner Unterwelten E.V. (tel: +49 30 499 105 17; berliner-unterwelten.de/) and seeks to show the architecture of the city from below. The company’s headquarters are located in an air raid shelter in the Gesundbrunnen station, and from here you can get an insight into the psychologically-testing life underground for Berliners during WW2.

Swimming

Berliners love to get into the water as often as possible. In the city itself, don’t miss the Badeschiff (tel: +49 30 533 203, www.arena.berlin/veranstaltungsort/badeschiff): a boat moored to the Spree bank with a swimming pool and hipster-packed beach and bar. More adventurous swimming is found at any one of the hundreds of lakes that surround Berlin – Wannsee, Weissensee, Müggelsee and Havelsee are easily reachable by public transport or bike.

Featured Hotels

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Das Stue

Billed as Berlin's first luxury boutique hotel, the none-more-cool Das Stue sits on the southwestern fringe of the Tiergarten park. It's full of grand design touches, while the rooms themselves are modern with hardwood floors. The hotel also plays home to a spa and, in Cinco by Paco Pérez, a Michelin-starred restaurant.

Hotel Adlon Kempinski Berlin

Hotel Adlon Kempinski is one of Berlin's great historical hotels, and a magnet over the decades for the rich and famous (including Michael Jackson, who notoriously dangled his baby over one of the balconies in 2002). It's located close to the Brandenburg Gate, and retains the luxurious feel of Europe's golden age.

Soho House Berlin

Part of the Soho House empire, this private club and boutique hotel is based in Mitte, east Berlin's achingly hip heart. The 40 bedrooms vary enormously in price and layout, but all include vintage furniture and quirky features such as record players. Bring your swimmers for the glamorous rooftop pool.

Honigmond Berlin-Mitte

This gem of a hotel is a real find - the building's exterior doesn't suggest its gorgeous combination of period features and swish modernity. The rooms have antiques scattered throughout, and the breakfast is excellent. There's a second property too on a nearby street, in much the same style.

Ritz-Carlton Berlin

Expect the full whistles and bells of an international five-star chain hotel at this sumptuous 300-room property on Potsdamer Platz. Notable features include four restaurants and bars, among them the Tea Lounge, known for its ceremonial afternoon teas. Underground parking is another perk.

Ostel

The prices vary enormously here at this retro showcase for the garish/fabulous interior design of the former East Germany. Part hotel and part museum, this is definitely one of Berlin's more idiosyncratic places to stay; prepare for lots of brown and orange. It's also a stone's throw from techno temple Berghain and the adjacent attractions of hipster Friedrichshain.