Secret sights near the Brandenburg Gate
When you're jostling with the crowds in front of Berlin's Brandenburg Gate, it's hard to believe there's anything hidden in the vicinity of the city's most visited monument.
But, there are, indeed, a couple of lesser-known attractions that many simply miss.
The Room of Silence is located in the gate's northern wing, and offers - apart from the blissful opportunity to momentarily escape the hubbub outside - a chance to step right inside Berlin's most iconic monument.
Admittedly, there's little to see (or distract) you while there, but for many visitors, the facility serves as a welcome place to relax, meditate or simply sit for a while.
The next tip involves a sight that's within yards of the gate itself, but certainly fails to advertise its presence.
The DZ Bank was completed in 2000 to designs by starchitect Frank Gehry, and although the block's facade is fairly underwhelming, the real drama occurs inside the building itself.
The extraordinary atrium - which Gehry has cited as one of his favourite works - unfortunately can only be viewed from the bank's lobby; and that's if you're lucky enough to get past the stern-looking security.
Failing that, a peek through the entrance doors gives some idea of the wonders within, and the whale-like glass atrium roof can clearly be seen from the nearby Reichstag dome.
Right next to the DZ building you'll find a branch of the Academy of Arts (Akademie der Künste), an impressive, glass-fronted complex hosting a variety of exhibitions and events, some of them free.
For weary sight-seers, it's worth knowing that the Academy is also home to a pleasant cafe - a good alternative to the branches of Starbucks and Dunkin' Donuts that have unsurprisingly installed themselves in Berlin's prime tourist hotspot.
DZ Bank: Pariser Platz 3, 10117 Berlin
The Room of Silence (Raum der Stille): Pariser Platz, 10117 Berlin. Opening hours: March to October 11am-6pm; November 11am-5pm; December/January 11am-4pm; February 11am-6pm
Cafe in the Akademie der Künste, Pariser Platz 4, 10117 Berlin. Opening times: Mon 10am–5pm, Tues-Sun 10am-7pm