24 hours in Berlin Mitte - the beating heart of Germany's capital city
Short breaks in Europe
Our travel expert goes back to travel basics in Berlin Mitte, the beating heart of Germany's capital.
10am: Chocolate O'Clock
Kreuzberg has hit peak-hipster. Prenzlauer Berg's provocateurs have become parents channelling a German version of Portlandia. But the galleries, museums and buildings of Berlin's Mitte (literally, the 'middle') are as iconic as ever.
Start your short break with a tart, truffle or praline at Rausch Chocolate Café on gorgeous Gendarmenmarkt. Don't miss the magnificent chocolate sculptures - they've made the Reichstag, Brandenburg Gate and even the Titanic from chocolate.
How: rausch.de; Charlottenstr. 60
2pm: Travel back in time
Checkpoint Charlie, the Brandenburg Gate, the Reichstag, Museum Island... they're all in Mitte. For an insight into daily life in the former East Germany, however, hit the interactive DDR Museum (€7).
Forget 'Don't Touch' signs. Here, you can sit in a Trabi, step into a living room "with the original GDR smell" and marvel at the craze for nudist holidays.
It's not just 'Ostalgie', either. Exhibits like pressure cookers and twin-deck cassette players make you feel a wee bit dated yourself.
How: ddr-museum.de/en; Karl-Liebknecht-Str. 1
5pm: On Oranienberger Straße
The stroll from Monbijouplatz to Friedrichstraße is like an open-air party in summer - but you don't need sunshine to get the best out of Oranienburger Straße's bars, restaurants and cultural hubs.
The exotic New Synagogue (centrumjudaicum.de) is the largest Jewish place of worship in Germany, and the deliciously gruff Dada Falafal sees the signature dish scooped into balls and fried in front of your face.
If you're in a rush, grab it 'im brot' to go.
How: facebook.com/dadafalafel; Linienstr. 132
8pm: Check in - Monbijou Hotel
A stone's throw from the courtyard bustle of Hackescher Markt, the Monbijou is a classy combo of compact rooms and loungey, atmospheric public spaces.
In winter, cosy up to the crackling fire; in summer, take your cocktail to the roof terrace. Book a corner suite for uber-Instagrammable views of the Berliner Dom framed by train and tram tracks.
How: monbijouhotel.com; rooms from €95.
Aer Lingus (aerlingus.com) and Ryanair (ryanair.com) fly from Dublin to Berlin Tegel and Schönefeld respectively. See also berlin.de.