Destination of the month: Berlin, Germany

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Germany is one of the oldest regions in Europe with a long and sometimes turbulent history. Not an official entity until 1871, Germans had already long considered themselves a people before this, and produced some of the greatest minds, artists, and scientists the world has ever known. They also boast some of the best beers in the world.

For a taste of what Germany has to offer, we suggest a trip to Berlin. With a population of 3.4 million people it is Germany’s largest city. Berlin has a temperate seasonal climate. With a large amount of the city being surrounded by forests, parks, gardens, rivers and lakes.

For the historically minded, Berlin has a wealth of pre 20th century and post 20th century attractions. Berlin still holds onto many of the scars from World War II and the Cold War. Check Point Charlie which marked the only official gateway between East and West Germany in Berlin had seen some of the most dramatic events in the last 60 years. Soviet tanks and American tanks once lined up in a standoff in 1961, which ended peacefully. Check Point Charlie was also famous for late night spy exchanges between Western and Soviet powers. Reinactors stand at both sides of the checkpoint today, letting the interested traveller get a glimpse to only a few years back.

The Berlin Wall – The wall that famously divided the city between East and West. A large section of the wall still stands, as a reminder of the past. Though approaching the wall is strictly forbidden, it is still possible to touch it.

Walking around the city you will see many of the relics of the war as well as some of the great sites of the city.

Brandenburg Gate – It is the only remaining gate of a series through which Berlin was once entered. Considered one of the most recognisable structures in Europe.

The International Berlin Beer Festival (Berliner Bierfestival) - Every year in the first week of August, Berlin goes beer crazy. With over 750,000 people participating who can sample 1,800 beers, produced by 240 brewers from over 80 different countries.

The beer avenue begins in Frankfurter Tor, continues through Strausberger Platz and ends in Karl-Marx-Allee. The entire festival runs a length of 2.2 km of food, fun and beer.

There are 18 stages for music and performances. Entry to the festival and the hangover the next day are free.