The epicentre of the second world war, the dividing line between democracy and communism during the Cold War, the self-imposed exile of David Bowie and Iggy Pop and the site of a peaceful revolution that brought down the Iron Curtain – Germany’s capital city plays a mythic role for Teutons, history buffs and music aficionados, and at times can feel like a living museum. The once divided city of 3.5 million has yet to recover from its past, which is both its promise and curse for the future. The cost of living is lower than any other major western city, but that’s because Berlin isn’t home to any of Germany’s biggest corporations and a significant portion of its residents are out of work. International artists and students are thriving in the low-rent regions of the former East Berlin, while parts of former West Berlin maintain their regal pre-war charm.

Berlin’s bureaucrats, and residents, are famous for their grump, but they also pride themselves on their Prussian efficiency. Interacting with government offices may prove painful, but it’ll get done – eventually.

Newsletter Subscription