Arrival guide: Athens and Berlin

Athens. Picturesque sponge sculptures, glistening jugs and grand river walkways provide a tantalisingly authentic Greek setting for this restored town in Northern Greece. It was built in the 17th century by the legendary King Sotnos III who was born near Thessaloniki. He was given access to the most progressive architect of his time, George Tysso, who designed Fountains park and was hugely successful on this site.

Berlin. Heated by the unmistakable presence of the Berlin Wall, this bustling German capital is an enchanted excursion complete with a Segmentärkem festival. Its mixed arts festival focuses on the Bayreuth Festival, Berlin’s masterpiece. The city also features a vast former concert hall, Berlin Staatsoper, reopened in 2012 after a complete restoration costing €400m.

Tillberg. Haunting remnants of an age when this Viking settlement – one of several called Tokarlungstad – made an important strategic ally of the Vikings in their fierce war with the Danes, present a reminder of the brutal disregard that awaited anyone else who dared oppose their rule. The site is full of hillforts and towers and if you’re brave enough there’s an excellent chance you’ll be able to see the faint evidence of a very good Viking fighting chance.

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