How to get there
There are daily flights to Germany from every big international airport. Most flights from the United States are to Frankfurt or Hamburg, with easy connections to other German cities. There are non stops to Munich and, from Kennedy International Airport only, to Berlin.
BERLIN Getting around
Subways and trams are on the ``honor system." Don't mistake that for free. You must buy a ticket for about $2.70 from a machine or station ticket seller (most stations have only machines), then be certain to get the ticket time-date stamped at another machine (just watch Berliners and follow suit). There are no turnstiles and it's easy to just walk onto the subways. Go ahead, if you are feeling lucky -- but you risk encountering one of the zealous undercover inspectors who flash ID and demand to see your ticket. If you don't have one (or yours is not time-date stamped) you face a fine of about $75.
The subway system is a bit confusing, consisting of the ``U-bahn" and ``S-bahn" systems. You can transfer trains and systems on the same ticket as long as you keep going in roughly the same direction within two hours. You cannot come back on the same ticket. There are daily and weekly fares offering unlimited travel.
Where to stay Hotel Adlon Kempinski
77 Unter den Linden
Luxurious and legendary and just a stone's toss from the Brandenburg Gate. Summer rates start at about $480 per night.
Hotel Bleibtreu 31 Bleibtreu Strasse
In the no longer hip but still lovely, leafy Charlottenburg district, the Bleibtreu is a friendly place just off fashionable Ku'damm street and close to lots of restaurants and night life. Rooms are tiny but nicely appointed, starting at about $160 .
Art'otel Berlin Mitte
70-73 Wall Strasse
A minimalist hotel stuffed with original s by Andy Warhol and others and located on the River Spree near most of the important sights of central Berlin. Rates start from about $150 per night, but you can often snag a cheaper rate by calling .
Where to eat
Some Germans like to joke that the best place to eat out in Berlin is Munich. The capital is infamous for mediocre food, and good Italian and Indian eateries far outnumber places offering edible national dishes.
Gugelhof 37 Knaack Strasse
In a trendy area, with excellent German food, including rib-sticking backoefe , the classic supper of meat, potatoes, and root vegetables. President Clinton ate here.
58 Kurfuersten Strasse
Boasts solid Central European fare, including schnitzel and goulash.
For better or worse, Berlin's signature dish is ``currywurst" -- which, if nothing else, is cheap. You snarf it off paper plates with plastic forks and it is sold at ubiquitous ``imbiss" or snack stands. Witty's on Wittenberg Platz, across from KaDeWe department store, uses only organic sausages and frankfurters and has a cult following. Konnopke's Imbiss , under the train tracks at Danziger Strasse and Schoenhauser Allee , offers a grittier experience and is a favorite of German politicians hoping to turn currywurst into a photo op proving they are ordinary folk.
Berlin Tourismus Marketing
Operates tourist centers at the Europa Center , Brandenburg Gate , the TV Tower , in the Neues Kranzler Eck on Ku'damm, and, in time for the FIFA World Cup, at Central Station and the Reichstag .
MUNICH Where to stay
Hotel Bayerischer Hof
2-6 Promenade Platz
One of Germany's grand hotels. Lots of oil paintings and antiques and a fantastic location in the center of the city. Doubles start at about $310.
Has a fine central location and gets good reviews in the mid-priced range with prices starting at about $150 for a double.
1 Uhland Strasse
Run by the Reims family for half a century. Friendly quarters at a good price, from about $90 for a double.
Where to eat
The Weinhaus Neuner 8 Herzogspital Strasse
Good German fare in a charming 15th-century wine tavern.
Ratskeller 8 Marien Platz (under old City Hall)
Good Bavarian cuisine and lots of atmosphere.
The Hundskugel 18 Hotter Strasse
Has a reputation for German cooking the way your Bavarian grandmother would have made it -- famous for spanferkel (roast suckling pig with potato noodles) and other hearty fare that it has been serving for some 560 years.
Where to drink
Lowenbraukeller 2 Nymphenburger Strasse
Drink your fresh-brewed beer in the traditional cellar or the chestnut tree-shaded garden.
9 Am Platz
The most famous beer hall in Bavaria, but it can be raucous and jammed with inebriated celebrants, few of them German.
27 Neuhauser Strasse
Gets high marks for authentic Bavarian beer hall atmosphere and even better food.
There are tourist information centers at the central train station and the Neues Rathaus on Marien Platz.