Take a vacation and do something for the environment: In Berlin there are many places and projects where you can get inspired and also take action yourself. We have put together the best tips and places for your sustainable visit to Berlin. Here you can shop, eat, enjoy and make the world a better place. 11 innovative and sustainable places: visit, learn and take home exciting ideas from the capital.
Please show responsibility, wear your masks and follow the hygiene rules of the organizers. Don't be shy, but show your love for Berlin with d i s t a n c e - in support of everyones safety.
Tip 1: Innovation & Climate Protection
Innovation and environmental protection go hand in hand in Berlin. From small repair stores and recycling centers to technology-driven startups, Berlin has a lot of projects and ideas to offer when it comes to sustainability. One example is the EIT Climate-KIC programs, which work together with TU Berlin, startups and established companies to advance sustainable solutions for climate protection across all sectors. By the way, the Climace-KIC Accelerator is located at the EUREF Campus, Berlin's reallaboratory for the energy transition and a nice destination with various cafés and restaurants. The counter attached to the Gasometer is a countdown and shows how much CO2 we are still allowed to emit in order to still be able to reach the climate target of a maximum of 1.5 degrees of warming.
An exciting occasion for a visit to Berlin is also the annual Berlin Questions from 11 -14 August. This year's edition of the conference, Metropolis: The New Now, is dedicated to local solutions to global challenges, with a special focus on the future of the city after the Covid-19 pandemic. Hosted by Governing Mayor of Berlin Michael Müller, the conference will take place in a hybrid format for the first time: both in person at various locations in Berlin and online, via livestream or in a 3D virtual environment.
Marathon for the New Now
What is your idea for the future of the city after the Covid-19 pandemic? The stage is yours! Join the grand finale of the Berlin conference #berlinquestions21: the Marathon for the New Now on 14 August and share your ideas around the theme of this year’s conference edition, Metropolis: The New Now, which explores the future of the city after the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Marathon is a dense programme of continuous five-minute presentations by international experts, students, artists and entrepreneurs. Anyone is invited to participate! All you need is relentless enthusiasm and a live or video contribution on a topic relating to life in the city, in the immediate present and in the future. Within a five-minute time-limit anything goes: short talks, pitches, poems, short films, dance performances and any other format you can think of.
You want to join? Visit the website for more details.
Deadline for the submission of proposals is 4th August.
Tip 2: Save food!
There are also some exciting concepts in Berlin when it comes to food rescue. The sixth SIRPLUS rescue market opens in mid-August. From baked goods from the day before, to fruit and vegetables and high-quality organic products, you will find food that would otherwise end up on the rubbish heap. And all this at really low prices.
If you don't like to cook for yourself, you should download the Too Good To Go app for your Berlin holiday on your smartphone. Over 5000 restaurants, hotels and markets are already participating and offering leftover meals at reduced prices. So have a look and get your portion or wonder bag for the picnic in the park.
Tip 3: Healthy & good for the planet
“Full taste, zero waste” is the motto of the FREA restaurant on Torstrasse in Mitte. Exciting dishes made from sustainable products sourced from regional organic farmers will be conjured up for you here. It’s all vegan and delicious!
The special thing about FREA: in addition to not using plastic, all food leftovers are composted within 24 hours and returned to the supplier farms. The process thus comes full-circle.
Tip 4: ECF Farm Berlin
The Malzfabrik is not only a nice place to visit (although swimming is now only allowed for employees). In the glass greenhouse behind the pond at the end of the meadow, fresh fish is bred, and not only that: the so-called capital perches fertilize thousands of basil plants simultaneously through a clever combination of aquaculture and hydroponics. This saves water, fertilizer and CO2. Of course, both capital city perch and capital city basil are sold exclusively locally. On Thursdays between 13 and 18 o'clock you can also shop directly on the farm.
Infarm is a Berlin-based startup that is revolutionizing the food industry with an innovative indoor farming concept. You can now find the vertical farming greenhouses in almost every Edeka in Berlin, from whose shelves fresh herbs and salads are harvested every day. The startup, which received 144 million euros in capital during the Corona 2020 pandemic, had its beginnings in the Prinzessinengärten.
Tip 5: Shop consciously - Naturkaufhaus Steglitz
The largest nature department store in Germany is located in Schloss Strasse in Steglitz. Here, over an area of some 4,000 square metres, you can buy sustainable fashion items, sustainable and environmentally friendly products for your everyday needs, such as home textiles, natural cosmetics, bags, children’s toys of educational value and natural delicacies. So if you’re in the mood to go on an alternative and sustainable shopping trip, then head for the southwest of the capital.
Another Berlin insider tip is the boutique NOW&THEN. Here six Berlin designers offer their collections and show how beautiful handmade, sustainable fashion can be.
On the tours of GREEN FASHION TOURS BERLIN you will look behind the scenes, learn more about sustainable fashion and get to know designers and shop owners personally.
Tip 6: One man's trash is another man's treasure - NochMall
Everything but new is the motto of the used department store of Berliner Stadtreinigung (BSR), which opened in August. On the 2500 square meter area you will find furniture, clothes, books, toys and many other great things that deserve a second chance. In workshops you will learn how to turn used things into something new. Events about recycling management and waste avoidance round off the offer for a clean city. Join in!
When: Monday through Saturday 10am - 6pm
Where: NochMall, Auguste-Viktoria-Allee 99, Reinickendorf
Of course you can also go on a treasure hunt in Berlin at one of the numerous flea markets in Berlin. Here books, household goods, antiques, jewellery and second-hand fashion change hands. Flea markets are therefore an ideal place to buy those special souvenirs to remember your visit to Berlin with.
Tip 7: Berlin's green Utopia - Tempelhofer Feld
Tempelhofer Feld, one of the world’s largest inner-city open spaces, is THE big-city playground for young and old in Berlin: the area offers a six-kilometre cycle, skating and jogging track, various barbecue areas, a four-hectare dog meadow as well as a huge picnic area. Sheep or cows graze here from time to time. And the extensive meadows are a paradise for skylarks and other native animal and bird species.
After the closure of the famous Tempelhof Airport, the huge area is now being used sustainably. Here you can walk, run, cycle, fly kites, have a picnic – simply enjoy a great time outdoors with your loved ones. At various places around the park you can also learn about the moving history of Tempelhofer Feld.
The Gemeinschaftsgarten Allmende-Kontor e.V. non-profit association has established an urban gardening project here, where you can admire the garden design of the community gardeners. With a bit of luck, you can also watch one of the many spectacular sunsets there.
We kindly ask you to help us keep this huge park clean and take your rubbish back home with you.
Tip 8: Urban Gardening - Gleisbeet & Klunkerkranich
The Prinzessinnengärten, which moved from Kreuzberg to the Neuer St. Jacobi cemetery in Neukölln in 2020, and the Klunkerkranich in Neukölln are among the most famous urban gardening projects in Berlin.
The team at Gleisbeet, a community permaculture project on the site of the former Wriezen train station in Berlin-Friedrichshain, regularly offers workshops on balcony planting, permaculture and environmental protection.
The Klunkerkranich on the roof of the Neukölln-Arkaden is also worth a visit. What is most likely Berlin’s highest roof garden entices you to experience the unbeatable view, delicious herbs and rare dye plants. Access to the roof garden is free, and you can also enjoy cool drinks and tasty snacks in the alternative outdoor roof-top bar. You pay a small entrance fee for the bar, but it's worth it every time!
Tip 9: Berlin has more than one green side
Berlin’s oldest tree stands in the northwest of the capital in Tegel Forest, a wonderful recreation area. The gnarled common oak is said to be more than 900 years old. The old tree got its name "Dicke Marie" from the brothers Wilhelm and Alexander von Humboldt, because it reminded them of their cook. The writer and natural scientist are buried at Schlosspark Tegel, not far from the giant tree.
In addition, Tegel Forest is a wonderful place for walking and cycling in the tranquillity of nature, and in hot temperatures you can also enjoy a swim in the cool Lake Tegel.
Please be considerate of the natural surroundings and take your rubbish back home with you here too.
Tip 10: Environmental education at the Ökowerk
Ökowerk, Berlin’s oldest heritage-listed waterworks, is located by Teufelssee in Grunewald. More than 30 years ago, the Naturschutzzentrum Ökowerk e.V. conservation centre started its work to preserve the biodiversity of the Grunewald forest with its numerous biotopes. You can explore the walls of the old waterworks and learn about water life, familiarise yourself with historical fruits and vegetables in pristine themed gardens and even undertake survival training outdoors. Especially for children, the Ökowerk is a unique place to learn and experience new things, a space for them to try all sorts of things out, to build and grow.
The Ökowerk is a fascinating place that combines industrial history and a natural paradise and is therefore a place you should make sure to visit.
Tip 11: Berlin is buzzing - honey for a healthy ecosystem
Fans of Maya the Bee and Willi pay attention: the capital is really buzzing too. That’s because like everywhere in the world, our ecosystem in Berlin is also dependent on bees. Bee colonies are kept at various locations in Berlin and delicious honey from the capital city is produced at the same time. The beehives can be found on the roof of Berlin Cathedral, on the roof of the House of Representatives of the Federal Government and the Berliner Sparkasse bank, at Tempelhofer Feld or at the Planetarium am Insulaner, among other places. Some hives are freely accessible, others are not. You can also buy the delicious honey from the Berlin bees in various shops and establishments and take it home with you.
One more tip:
Bring a reusable drink bottle: you can fill it up yourself at 100 public drinking fountains in the city centre, or have it filled with free tap water at Refill Berlin cafés and restaurants.
And if you want to enjoy a coffee to-go, we recommend the BETTER WORLD CUP – the initiative has declared war on the rubbish mountain of disposable coffee cups with its reusable cups.