Unlike other cities, Berlin has no single city centre. This is partly due to its forty-year division into East and West, but it was always somewhat like that, as the city grew. There are, therefore, at least two major city centers: In the East around Alexanderplatz and in the West around Zoo Station, divided by the Tiergarten, a vast city park. Instead of one centre, where everything mixes together, Berlin is highly dispersed and made up of distinctive boroughs or neighborhoods, each with a special feel. In all areas, housing is mixed with shops, which means all areas are busy day and night, rather than having specific shopping areas which are busy with people only during the day.

In the following, you can read about Berlin's most interesting neighbourhoods and central areas:

Mitte

Mitte (could be translated "Midtown",the area between Brandenburg Gate and Alexanderplatz. It is the borough which includes the oldest sections of town. Mitte is Berlin's cultural and administrative centre.


If you want to experience the new feel of Berlin, have bars, restaurants and some nightlife nearby and at the same time all major sights within walking distance you should choose to stay in this area. Well-located places to stay in this neighbourhood include The Circus Hotel,  Motel One Berlin Alexanderplatz, Hotel Am Scheunenviertel, Hotel Märkischer Hof, Hotel Augustinenhof, Dietrich Bonhoeffer Haus,  Arcotel VelvetLux 11, Hotel Taunus, Hotel Amelie, Hotel Allegra, Hotel Mitte Berlin, Heart of Gold Hostel, and Helter Skelter Hostel.


Berlin Old Town, once located between Spittelmarkt and Alexanderplatz had been taken down almost completely after WW II and was replaced by large roads, vast squares and huge office and apartment blocks. Berlin Television Tower nowadays points quite exactly to the location where Berlin's historical heart once was. There are only very few historical streets and buildings left. In the 1980's, GDR built Nikolaiviertel, a neigbourhood of new buildings imitating the former old town of Berlin. Nikolaiviertel is located between Rathausstrasse, Spandauer Strasse, river Spree and Mühlendamm. Some old-Berlin athmosphere with a number of original buildings you still find in Klosterstrasse. Living examples of Berlin bears (Berlin's flag emblem) can be seen Am Köllnischen Park and Rungestrasse.

If you want to discover East Berlin, have some remainings of the oldest parts of town on your doorstep and many important sights within walking distance, you should choose to stay in this area. 


Museumsinsel (Museum Island) and the Eastern part of Unter den Linden form Berlin's cultural heart. Representative buildings of the Prussian era include Berlin's most famous sight Museumsinsel ("Museum Island" including Old Museum, New Museum, Old National Gallery, Bode Museum and Pergamon Museum,

If you need to be close to most governmental institutions and at the same time have all major sights on your doorstep, you should choose to stay in this most central area of Berlin Mitte. You find numerous hotels, most of them large and upscale. Particularly well-located are Winter's Gendarmenmarkt Hotel,   Melia Berlin, Hotel de Rome, Hotel Adlon Kempinski, Apartments am Brandenburger TorArte Luise Kunsthotel, The Regent Berlin, Dorint Sofitel Berlin Gendarmenmarkt, Hilton Hotel Berlin, and Hotel Gendarm.


In its southern part (south of Leipziger Strasse) the Mitte district borders with formerly West Berlin neighbourhood Kreuzberg. One can still recognise the huge gaps and holes Berlin Wall has torn into the city structure. This part of the city is still quite empty and somewhat run-down. Historically, however, it is quite interesting.

If you cannot decide whether you prefer to stay in West Berlin or in East Berlin, you should choose to stay in the area between Potsdamer Platz and lower Friedrichstrasse with most sights in walking distance.

 City West - Charlottenburg tre (in West Berlin people used to call this area simply "the City"). City West reaches from Wittenbergplatz, along Breitscheidplatz (with Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church) and Zoo Station, down Kurfürstendamm to Adenauerplatz. Parts of City West lie in Schöneberg, some in Wilmersdorf, the largest part in Charlottenburg. There used to be many (movie) theatres and nightlife venues in this area. In recent years, though, it has developed increasingly into an upscale shopping area on lower Kurfürstendamm, mainstream shopping on upper Kurfürstendamm and Tauntzienstrasse, and a lot of fast food around Zoo Station. Nicer cafe's and restaurants around Savignyplatz.

In the City West the scale of different kinds of places to stay is still enormous. Well-located are Best Western Boulevard, Swissotel Berlin, Lindner Hotel am Ku'damm, Hotel Concorde BerlinHotel Hardenberg, Kempinski Hotel BristolGolden Tulip Residenz Berlin,   Askanischer Hof, Brandenburger Hof, Berlin Plaza Hotel, Savoy Hotel Berlin, and A & O Hostel Am Zoo.