A night on the tiles in Berlin is as thrilling and Bohemian as it is cruel and unforgiving.
So after stumbling out of a nightclub at the crack of dawn, squinting in the early morning sunlight, wondering what happened to my shirt and whose number is scrawled across my bare beer sodden chest in permanent marker, I knew no amount of Alka-Seltzer was going to dissolve the inevitable hangover from hell.
But while a Berlin hangover may be nefarious, you’ll find yourself in good company any day of the week in the city which parties hard but knows a thing or two about morning after remedies.
From brunches and boat trips to beaches and Turkish baths, Germany’s cosmopolitan capital is heaven for party animals looking for R&R before being tempted back into the bar for a little of the dog.
Here are GSN’s top six hangover cures for surviving the European city that is too busy marrying the night to have time to sleep.
Visiting Berlin for the first time, you’d be forgiven for thinking brunch was the city’s second most popular past-time after cutting a rug.
With a bumper spread of traditional German breads, cheeses, meats and pastries this mouth-wateringly good, served best with a bowl of milky coffee or a glass of sparkling sekt, you’d be mad not to join in.
Once a neighborhood popular with students and artists, Prenzlauer Berg is now the haunt of hip young professionals and the odd gay trendsetter.
You’ll have to fight for a table at Anna Blume restaurant on Kollwitzstrasse 83 at the weekend, but it’s a battle worth winning.
2 Detox at a salt grotto
Slip on a pair of clean white socks, lie back in a deck chair and take long, cleansing deep breaths in a man-made salt grotto.
The practice of salt inhalation therapy dates back to Medieval times, when Christian monks used to take the sick to salt-rich caves to be cured. It regained popularity in the 19th century with sanatoriums popping up all over Europe to treat various lung related diseases, including pneumonia and asthma
Today you don’t have to hike into the mountains for a breath of fresh salty air either. The Saltero salt spa in central Berlin’s Oranienburgerstrasse has rooms stacked with up to five tons of the white stuff on the floor, walls and ceiling.
You might feel like a invalid as they tuck you under a blanket, but after 30 minutes and 40 winks, you’ll feel like a new person.
3 Be a beach bum
It sounds unlikely in a landlocked city, but Berlin is teeming with sandy shorelines. It’s a city surrounded by water and in the sweltering summer months you’ll find savvy locals fleeing the heat of the center for a cool dip, a cold beer and a sunbathe on the banks of one of the many freshwater lakes and rivers.
The Wannsee is one of Berlin’s biggest lakes, popular for swimming and boating. While the smaller, but by no means less attractive, Tegelsee has fewer crowds but ample opportunities to have a splash.
4 Boat trip
If don’t fancy jumping in the water, why not jump on a boat and travel on it. From short city tours to longer trips out of the city, you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to cruises.
A one-hour tour along the river Spree will take you past the enigmatic Berliner Dom cathedral, world class museums, including the Pergamon, the Reichstag parliament building and the Schloss Charlottenburg palace.
However, if you’re feeling adventurous you could sit back with a beer or a coffee and cruise the waterways up to the picture perfect Potsdam, where boutique shops, cafes and historic palaces and gardens will make you regret buying a return ticket.
5 Refresh at a traditional Turkish Hamam
Thanks to the city’s vibrant Turkish diaspora, traditional bath houses are as popular as the humble post-clubbing kebab.
You’ll find most of the best ones in the district of Kreuzberg and it’s easy to see why this centuries old spa tradition, which generally involves a spell in the sauna and steam room followed by a sensuous massage, is still a popular way to cleanse the body and relax the mind.
6 Hop on the 100 bus
Why bother spending a small fortune on an official tour, crammed full of camera clicking tourists and screaming children when you can blow away the cobwebs on a public bus, taking in most of Berlin’s biggest sights for just a â‚¬3 single ticket.
Starting at Zoologischer Garten, the number 100 bus travels through the expansive Tiergarten, before taking in the iconic Brandenburg Gate, Unter Den Linden and Alexander Platz. It’s a cheap, chilled and cheerful way to see the city without the irritation of a waffling guide enjoying the sound of his own voice and cracking jokes which haven’t been heard since the golden days of the Weimar Republic.
Getting there and away
Uber-efficient Lufthansa is now flying to Berlin (and about to relocate to brand, spanking new Berlin Brandenburg Airport when it finally opens next year) so travelling here has never been easier. Both the current airport and the new one are a journey from the center, making this one of the world’s most accessible cities by plane.