Pick up your hire car at Berlin airport and experience the hip hotbed of history and hedonism that is the German capital.
"We are one of the most liberal and forward-thinking capitals in Europe, with exciting new architecture, an unrivalled nightlife and a refreshing 'live and let live' philosophy."
While Berlin is as hip and modern a city as you're ever likely to visit, the German capital also has a fascinating history. Be sure to visit significant sites such as Checkpoint Charlie, Brandenburg Gate and Bernauer Strasse.
The German capital is a partygoer's paradise. But if techno clubs and rowdy bars aren't really your thing, you can still enjoy one of the city's countless top-class restaurants or take a stroll around the many art galleries.
It is estimated that around one in every eight Berlin residents is an immigrant, which makes the city something of a cultural melting pot. It's also a factor that contributes to the German capital's liberal attitude.
Like most places in mainland northern Europe, Berlin can be bitterly cold in winter so don't forget to pack your thermals. In summer, temperatures can break the 30-degree threshold.
While Berlin's eateries rank among the finest restaurants in Europe, make sure you stop at one of the many stands across the city and sample currywurst (spicy pork sausage). The popular fast-food snack is served in a soft bread roll with lashings of ketchup and mustard.
David Hasselhoff sealed his place in the hearts of Germans everywhere when he performed his hit Looking For Freedom on New Year's Eve 1989, just weeks after the Berlin Wall was brought down.
Michael Jackson's famous baby-dangling incident took place on the fifth-floor balcony of Berlin's Hotel Adlon in front of a hysterical crowd.
"The greatest cultural extravaganza that one could imagine" - David Bowie on Berlin. The legendary showman shared a flat with Iggy Pop in the city in 1976
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Despite being commissioned by Friedrich Wilhelm II to represent peace, the famous gate was incorporated into the Berlin Wall during the division of East and West Berlin. Since the wall's demolition in 1989, Brandenburg Gate stands as a potent symbol of the city's reunification.
The gate is the monumental entrance to Unter den Linden and there are two car parks nearby - one on the boulevard itself and one nearby on Bebelplatz.
More than 100,000 East Germans tried to escape across the Berlin Wall during the Cold War era and several hundred of them were killed during their escape attempts. This is one of several sites honouring the victims.
Situated on the corner of Bernauer Strasse and Ackerstrasse, there are metered parking spaces on the surrounding roads.
The grand old Reichstag building has housed the German parliament on and off since the late 1800s. Head up inside the vast glass dome and you'll get a superb panoramic view of Berlin.
There are a number of car parks on nearby Friedrichstrasse. It cost between €1-3/hour.
Some of Berlin's most iconic sights can be accessed from the city's famous linden tree-lined boulevard, which is flanked by statues of Frederick the Great and several Prussian generals.
There is a car park on Bebelplatz, which is open from 7am-11pm. It costs €20 to park for the day.
One of the symbols of the Cold War divide, the Berlin Wall was built in August 1961 and torn down in 1989. Some sections of the concrete barrier still remain and its original course is marked by a double row of cobblestones.
Metered on-street parking is available across the city and close to the remains of the wall. Charges apply between 9am-6pm (although sometimes until midnight), it costs approximately €1/hour.
Head out to Potsdam and take a walk around the large expanse of parkland that surrounds Sanssouci Palace, which contains terraced gardens, greenhouses growing exotic fruits and several ornate buildings.
Situated near Potsdam, follow the E51 southwest toward Potsdam/Leipzig. Take exit six and merge onto the L40; the journey should take around 40 minutes.
The marshlands of the Spreewald are unique. Negotiate the many channels of the River Spree by punt and you'll notice the area's traditional irrigation system and some of the 18,000 plant and animal species that thrive here.
An hour's drive from Berlin, follow the B101 south.
The concentration camp at Neuengamme was the final destination for more than 50,000 prisoners during World War II. Today the camp serves as a chilling reminder of the brutality of the Nazi regime.
Roughly 20 miles north of the city, follow the A10 towards Hamburg and turn right at Birkenwerderweg/K6504.
Berlin's winters might be a little bracing, but head out to the mountain resort of Braunlage and make the most of the superb skiing facilities.
Just over three hours from Berlin, take the A2 west following signs for Magdeburg/A2/Hannover. Take exit 58 for the A39 and continue onto the B4 (signs for Bad Harzburg/Braunlage).