As the milder and longer days are coming, it is only befitting that my first list post be of the outdoors. The rising temperatures and the surplus of daylight also heralds the coming of the tourist crowds and the awakening of Berlin’s frantic pace.
At one point, it can all be too much.
The good thing is, in Berlin it is very possible to escape the city while staying in the city. Here are my three picks for when I need a breather:
Yes, that’s right: Berlin has a number of forests, the largest of which is the Grunewald. Although the ‘Green Forest’ is really most impressive in autumn, it stays beautiful all year round.
Also situated in the Grunewald are the famous Teufelsberg (Devil’s Mountain), a rubble pile from WWII, and the Drachenberg, another hill just beside the Teufelsberg, which is usually packed with Berliners having picnics or flying kites on fine days. The views of Berlin from the Drachenberg is definitely worth the walk.
How to get there: S Bahnhof Grunewald is served by the lines S5 & S7.
At the terminus of the U6 is Alt-Tegel, a rather quiet neighbourhood that gets sleepier the closer you get to the lake. This is a retirement neighbourhood so expect to see a lot of old people hanging around, soaking up the sunshine. The promenade is lovely. There are boat tours here and you can rent paddle boats as well.
What better way to spend an afternoon than walking along the lake and having Guinness at the Irish Pub right outside the U-Bahnhof on your way back to the city? Oh yes, ice cream before all that.
How to get there: U6 to Alt-Tegel
This is about the closest an island girl can get to a sea in landlocked Berlin. Sticking out of the map with its strange form (or formlessness), the Wannsee is popular with families when the sun is shining.
Locals flock to Kladow, another sleepy neighbourhood across the lake, but mostly just stay by the pier. There is plenty of room for solace if you walk along the lakeshore all the way up north. There are small beaches dotting the shores too.
How to get there: There are many ways to get to Kladow but I prefer to go there Berliner style. Take the S-Bahn to S Bahnhof Wannsee and the ferry across the lake. A typical Berlin AB ticket covers the ferry. Don’t let the line deter you. It can seem reallyyyyy long but you’ll get onboard.