Berlin travel guide: It is the perfect time to visit the German capital

In November the real partying starts as the city marks the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall which cut the German city in two for 28 years

The legroom was tight and the top speed of 40kph was never going to thrill. But my luminous Trabant was the coolest motor ever.

Once you’re in a car with a cerise pink roof and bright stripes, the stench is the last thing on your mind – just avoiding the giggling tourists taking pictures of you is enough.

The Trabant, or Trabi, was made from reinforced plastic with a lawnmower-like engine and became a stark, fume-belching symbol of the Eastern Block.

They were later banned because of pollution but tourists can still have a go on a hilarious 70-minute Trabi Safari ( trabi-world.com , from £27pp, U15s free).

My sons Harvey, 13, and Max, 11, picked out the cerise-and-stripes number and our guide, Axel, gave me a quick lesson on the gearstick, a lever which you move up, down, back and forth, then led our convoy on an entertaining tour via a one-way radio.

The Trabi Safari is a novel way to experience Berlin’s uniqueness and the city’s sense of fun.

In November the real partying starts as the city marks the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Wall which cut the German city in two for 28 years.

As the Wall came down, I’d dashed over to join Berlin for the celebrations myself – and to chisel out my own bit of Communist concrete.

So my latest visit – with my husband and our two boys – was particularly poignant. We visited the remains of Checkpoint Charlie, once a main East-West crossing point.

Westerners used to be searched by East German guards before passing through – now mock guards demand tips for posing for pictures.

The boys enjoyed reading about East Berliners’ escape attempts, from hidden compartments in cars to underground tunnels, at Haus Am Checkpoint Charlie (adults £10, children £5.50). mauermuseum.de

Better still was the free Topography of Terror ( topographie.de ), an open-air exhibition in what looks like a long bus shelter. It’s a simple crash course on the evils of Nazism.

But there’s more to Berlin than a mournful history……(read more here)