First we take Berlin
For some reason, Leonard Cohen seems to find it important to take Manhattan first, and only then pay a visit to the German capital. I, on the other hand, see no reason why you shouldn’t take Berlin right away.
Of all the European capitals I have ever visited, Berlin is by far the greenest. It is so full of parks, lawns, trees and even lakes and small forests, it is easy to forget that you are in a city with some 3.4 million residents. I only got to spend four days in Berlin, but I still have some suggestions for you if you want to see this great, but still quite cozy city.
Sleeping and eating
I suggest that you look for a hotel some distance from the city center. That is both cheaper, and, in my opinion, much nicer. Köpenick and Lichtenberg in old East Berlin look and feel like villages within the city, and are perfect for relaxation after a long day of sightseeing. I stayed in Hotel Siegfriedshof in Siegfriedstrasse, and would really recommend this friendly hotel. It is rather cheap, serves a decent breakfast and is situated next to a quite OK Greek restaurant called Aramis, although I suspect it has absolutely no connection to the famous musketeer.
Talking about food, I also recommend the Thai restaurant Sala Thai. It is situated in a mall called Plaza in Frankfurter Allee, and while the prices are a bit stiff, the food is wonderful and the portions generous.
Sights to see
When it comes to sightseeing, there is so much to see, it is hard to know where to begin. Of course, Unter den Linden and Brandenburger Tor are mandatory. I guess you should also pay a visit to the Alexanderplatz just to get an idea of what old East Berlin looked like. If you need refreshment, Potsdamer Platz is a nice place to visit, as there is an ice cream bar serving very good Italian style ice cream. The architecture there is actually quite interesting as well.
A lot of the most well known sights in Berlin can be seen from the river Spree, and especially in summer, a cruise in one of the many sightseeing boats departing from Friedrichstrasse is a nice and relaxing way to see the city. Even though Berlin is a big city, the city center itself is rather compact, and many of the most famous sights are within walking distance of each other. If you get to tired for walking, Berlin has a reliable metro system, and for longer distances the same ticket is also valid for the so-called S-trains.
There are, of course, lots of museums in Berlin if you like a bit of culture and history, but as I did not have time to visit any of them, I cannot recommend any. In stead I will recommend Treptower park for a picnic or just relaxing in the sun when your head is filled with impressions and your feet weary from walking. This is, after all, the way the Berliners enjoy their city, so why shouldn’t you?