Why does New York have a Central Park? Because the New Yorkers need to flee from their concrete-and-glass desert once in a while. And why does Berlin not have a Central Park? Because Berlin is green, through and through, all year long. And one of the secrets of the city’s very unique laid-backness is that there is a park or garden around every corner. Here are the right parks for chilling, taking a deep breath or strolling around:
It is out of question that the Tiergarten is the green lung of the city. The 210 hectare large garden area with its countless woods, meadows and water points is right in the city center, between Brandenburg Gate, Potsdamer Platz and Zoo Station. For longs walks at any time of the year this is the perfect choice. Just as Rufus Wainwright sang: “Won’t you walk me through the Tiergarten?”
Deep in the south-west of the city, even behind the beaches of Wannsee, right in the Havel river lies a paradise: Pfaueninsel, or “Peacock Island”, is one of Berlin’s most wonderful places. Around a romantic castle an English-style park from the 19th Century lies, full of botanical miracles and hidden animal enclosures. The highlight of course are, as the name says, the free-running peacocks. From Industriepalast Hostel you reach the paradise with train S7 until Wannsee and from there with bus 218. A little ferry takes you to the island then.
Back in the city, at the east end of trendy borough Kreuzberg Berlin’s highest natural hill is found. The Kreuzberg (‘Berg’ is German for ‘mountain’) names the borough and offers with Viktoriapark a garden area that is surprisingly hilly in the flat city. At the peak there is a 200 years old memorial for the liberation wars, from the platform you have an amazing view over the entire city, especially in winter, when the trees have no leaves. An artificial waterfall runs from the top to the bottom of the hill – perfect place to chill, splash around and hang out. Local’s advice: climb all the way up to the memorial an enjoy an unforgettable sundown over Berlin.
While the trendy borrows move eastwards and clubs and bars are shooting up like mushrooms in Lichtenberg and Treptow, the Treptow Park is growing up, too. The nicest place is obviously on the shore of Spree River, especially if you stroll to the east end of the park and cross the small bridge to the cute Insel der Jugend (“Island of the Youth”). When it’s sunny, this is the place to be! Also check out the Soviet War Memorial, a relic from the GDR, in the south of the park. By the way: Next to the park you find Spreepark, an old ramshackle amusement park. It was partly destroyed during a huge fire in August 2014, but through the fence you can still take a glimpse at the ferris wheel or the dinosaur sculptures. Check it out, from Industriepalast Hostel it’s only a 10 minute bike ride.
Doing Sightseeing in Mitte and your feet are tired? Give them a break in Lustgarten. Right on Museum Island, between Old Museum, Berlin Dom and the construction ground of Stadtschloss lies one of the city’s most tradition-rich green area. Built along the lines of a Dutch pleasure garden in 1646, the place has always been one of the most popular meeting point of the Berliners. Even though it had been abused as military parade ground from time to time – especially under the Nazis – it nowadays serves its original purpose again: a green oasis of tranquility in the lively city center. A must-stop at every sightseeing tour!
…and finally let’s leave the inner city once more: The Britzer Garden deep in the south of Berlin might be a little off the beaten track. It is worth it, though: With a nice lake, wonderful meadows and lovingly maintained flower beds Britzer Garden is nature at its best. The park was only created in 1985 to host the Bundesgartenschau (“Federal Gardening Show”), and still today it’s beauty can hardly be excelled: In 2002 Britzer Garden was elected one of the ten most beautiful parks in Germany. In its center lies the lake, with small beaches, bays and meadows, all around are theme gardens. Kids can let of steam on the large playgrounds – one even with water – while the grown-ups wander at leisure over the tiny bridges. Don’t forget to stop by at Britzer Mill; on windy days grain is still being milled in the well-preserved mill from the 19th century.
Obviously, this is only a small choice out of the many public parks and gardens in the capital. Some are back-to-nature, others very well maintained; some places are good for barbeque and picnic, others are made for a sporty afternoon. Take a sunny day off and start from Industriepalast Hostel to explore one of the many green spots of Berlin.
Have a relaxed afternoon in the park,
Blogger at Industriepalast Hostel
is Berliner by choice and a passionate backpacker himself. As a receptionist he knows the real hostel life; as a blogger he's been writing for Industriepalast Hostel's Berlin blog since 2014.