Forests, parks and lots of water: Berlin is one of the greenest capitals in Europe. The metropolis on the Spree is not only always on the move - it also keeps you on the move 

When you listen to the birds on the waterfront while cycling somewhere on Wannsee early in the morning. When you spend a slow Sunday afternoon at the Friedrichshagen lido on Müggelsee lake or leisurely paddle through Spandau in a canoe. Then you are in Berlin and yet a good distance away from the vibrant, inspiring German capital. One fifth of Berlin is forest, 60 percent of the city's surface is green, and seven percent is water. 

So you don't have to go far to be surrounded by nature. The city is perfect for locals and travelers who love the beat of the big city - but don't want to miss out on exercise in the fresh air. Gaits abound through green-blue Berlin: jogging, stand-up paddling, sailing, swimming, cruising around, splashing, rowing, canoeing, biking, walking ...

Combine culture & nature

Of course, Berlin is wild and water-loving, especially at its edges. Grunewald and Wannsee in the southwest, Müggelsee and watery Köpenick in the southeast, Tegeler Forst and Bucher Forst in the north - these are all natural areas that the capital's residents have always used for recreation in their free time. But there are also plenty of opportunities to be green in the city itself: some 430,000 street trees provide fresh air. And an incredible 2500 parks and green spaces in Berlin invite you to relax, do sports and have fun. Tiergarten, Britzer Garten, Treptower Park and Tempelhofer Feld are just four names of famous parks that are definitely worth a stroll when the weather is nice. Especially the Tempelhofer Feld is unique - there Berliners and guests can walk, bike and kiteboard on the grounds of the former Tempelhof Airport. Extra tip: Often, excursions into nature can even be combined with culture: The unique Brücke Museum, for example, is located on the edge of Grunewald. And at the eastern end of the Tiergarten, you're practically standing in front of the Brandenburg Gate - and can visit the nearby Holocaust Memorial.

Experience Berlin from the water on an excursion - here at the famous Museum Island ©
Experience Berlin from the water on an excursion - here at the famous Museum Island ©

Change of perspective on the Spree

Let's stay in the city for a moment - the Spree flows through the city of Berlin from southeast to northwest. On its banks there are beautiful, green edges as well as bike and walking paths. Or you can simply discover the city from the water perspective and book a boat trip on the Spree - there are several providers and different sized boats. The trips on the water generally last between an hour and half a day, depending on your mood and time.

Spandau and the Havel from above © Hagen
Spandau and the Havel from above © Hagen

On the SUP board through Spandau

If you want to experience an idyllic water landscape away from the city center and use your own muscle power, you can explore the Tiefwerder Wiesen nature reserve in Spandau by canoe or SUP board, for example. You can get there just as easily by public transport as by bike. There are several rental stations around Heerstraße, from which you can paddle to discover the oxbow lakes of the Havel. One possible route leads from Pichelssee toward Spandauer Südhafen and on toward Großer Jürgengraben. You can also discover the Klein-Venedig settlement from the water on this tour through rural Berlin, where the pace is much slower than in Kreuzberg or Mitte, for example. And while we're on the subject of Venice: Berlin has 960 bridges, more than twice as many as the lagoon city.

Water sports in Berlin 

While the small arms of the Havel are nice for paddling, Berlin also has two lakes, Wannsee and Müggelsee, where you can (learn to) sail and surf. When the wind blows, the lakes are spotted white by sailboats. On the shores of both lakes, in addition to water sports clubs, there are sailing and surfing schools or rental stations.

Cycling in and around Berlin

At Wannsee and Müggelsee you can also simply stay on land and take a bike tour. Especially the outskirts and the surrounding area of Berlin you can discover by bike very leisurely and at eye level. This is much more pleasant than by car, where you first have to find a parking space everywhere. It's easy to get around by bike, and it's also easy to get here: Take the S-Bahn and your bike with you - or rent one at the starting point of your tour. There are often rental stations in or near the S-Bahn stops, for example at Griebnitzsee in Potsdam. 

However, around 1300 kilometers of cycle paths also run directly through Berlin. So you can discover practically everything by bike if you have a little big-city experience on two wheels. For example, it's fun to discover Berlin street art by bike. Or you can cycle along the Wall Trail, which follows the former course of the border in and around the city for 159 kilometers, partly on the old column routes. Along the way, you will encounter fragments of the Wall, border paths and other sights. Memorial plaques commemorate the dramatic escape attempts and events at the Wall.

Tegeler Fließ and Wuhletalweg

You can also explore green Berlin on foot. We recommend two more, somewhat more unusual excursions: The first hike goes through the Tegeler Fließ with its floodplain landscape - one of the most impressive natural landscapes in Berlin, located between the Reinickendorf district of Lübars and Lake Tegel. Several paths and a nature trail lead you past rare plants and breeding places of birds. The river was formed from terminal and basal moraines of the Vistula Ice Age. 

Alternatively, you can explore the city's longest green strip in northeast Berlin. It runs along the Wuhle, a small, idyllic river. A 15-kilometer hiking trail winds through the middle of the river from Ahrensfelde to where it flows into the Spree, largely in the district of Marzahn-Hellersdorf. 260 species of partly rare ferns and flowering plants thrive along the Wuhle and 23 protected animal species have also found a refuge there. Not far from the river are also the Gardens of the World, which were inaugurated in 1987 for Berlin's 750th anniversary and later expanded. Today, guests can experience a trip around the world with lots of international garden art in the recreational park, which charges an entrance fee. Just as it should be for Berlin's multicultural flair.

And what does the city offer you after such an eventful day in nature? In addition to art, culture and culinary delights, we recommend simply ending the day in one of the many hotel spas or wellness oases in the city.

In collaboration with Berlin Tourism & Congress GmbH

Berlin is exciting at every meter: there is a former airport converted into a leisure area, there is a glass dome of the parliament, there are the memorials of the Berlin Wall and the Holocaust Memorial. Lots of culture and lively neighborhoods. And for refreshments? Currywurst, of course. Or maybe a star restaurant. Anything goes in the capital. Our tips for your Vacation in Berlin.

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