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11 things you wouldn’t expect in Berlin

Discover the unusual highlights of the city ...

an der Wannsee-Babelsberg Route
© Wirtschaftsförderung Steglitz-Zehlendorf, Foto: Steven Ritzer

Experience Berlin from a completely different side: We will show you 11 insider tips for the city, which have some surprises in store even for long-established Berliners. Explore beautiful nature spots in Berlin. You will travel by underground to farms, by cable car across picturesque gardens and by historic bus to a fairytale UNESCO World Heritage island!

Tip 1: Water buffalo on the Tegeler Fliess

Wasserbüffel at Tegeler Fließ Berlin
Wasserbüffel at Tegeler Fließ - Berlin summer © wikimedia, Foto: Membeth - CC0 1.0

There are numerous protected wetlands in water-rich Berlin – such as at the Tegeler Fliess in Waidmannslust. Although numerous animal species find an ideal biotope there, maintaining the swampy terrain is not easy. Until an ingenious solution was found in 2015, which is precisely the reason why you can witness exotic water buffalo grazing at the Tegeler Fliess during the summer months. The good-natured animals, which come from subtropical swamp forests, are perfectly accustomed to this terrain and feel completely at home here – at the same time they keep the vegetation down and thus tend the meadow.

Where: Mühlenfeldstrasse, Reinickendorf

More about Tegeler Fliess

Tip 2: Fischerkietz – Köpenick's idyll

Kietz - Old town Köenick in Berlin
Kietz in in the old town Köpenick © visitBerlin, Foto: Dagmar Schwelle

Köpenick's oldest houses are located directly on the waterfront. Some of them are over 200 years old, and the houses from the Wilhelminian period will delight you. Elaborately restored one-storey buildings adorn the street and take you back to another time. If you take the small side streets that lead to the water, you will have a wonderful view of the castle island. From here it is only a few minutes' walk to Köpenick's old town.

Where: Kietzer Straße 1, Köpenick

More about Fischerkietz

Tip 3: Cable Car in Marzahn

© visitBerlin, Foto: V. Kneiske

You will find many special places in Berlin away from the city centre. One such example is the cable car built in 2017 for the International Garden Exhibition, which runs right across the Gardens of the World in the eastern district of Marzahn. In one of 64 cabins, you can enjoy the view of picturesque gardens and the panorama of Berlin on the horizon. The cable car will take you via an intermediate station on the approximately 100-metre-high Kienberg and across the garden exhibition to the terminus on the opposite side.

Where: Hellersdorfer Strasse 149, Marzahn

More about "Gardens of the World"

Tip 4: Weissensee Jewish Cemetery

Jewish Cemetery Weißensee in Berlin.
Jewish Cemetery Weißensee © visitBerlin, Foto: Doris Poklekowski

A place of silence immersed in devotion and dense greenery, the Jewish Cemetery in Weissensee is also an unusual insider tip for Berlin. The burial ground, which was created in 1880, is Europe's largest preserved Jewish cemetery and documents Jewish life in Berlin over the course of time in countless inscriptions on over 100,000 graves. This also includes a Holocaust memorial. On long walks you can discover artistic tombstones and mausoleums and enjoy the timeless peace and quiet. Male visitors must wear a head covering, if necessary a kippa can be borrowed.

Where: Herbert-Baum-Strasse 45, Weissensee

More about the Jewish cemetery Weissensee

Tip 5: Village of Lübars

LabSaal Lübars und Gasthof Alter Dorfkrug
© Foto: Stephan Moritz

Like many other villages around the historic centre of Berlin, the village of Lübars was incorporated into the neighbouring Berlin-Reinickendorf in the early 19th century. But it is an insider tip for Berlin, because you can still find a traditional village centre there today – with agriculture, lots of nature and a baroque village church. On a walk through the village and along the Lübarser Felder nature reserve you can discover numerous historic houses, some of which are more than 200 years old. Afterwards you can relax in the beautifully landscaped Freizeitpark Lübars recreation park nearby or climb the viewing platform on the Lübarser Höhe.

Where: Alt-Lübars, Reinickendorf

Cycling Tour of Reinickendorf

Tip 6: Pfaueninsel (Peacock Island)

Flowering tulip magnolias at Schloss Pfaueninsel Castle in Berlin
Pfaueninsel Castle on Peacock Island © SPSG, Foto: Michael Lüder

The Pfaueninsel in the Havel river, just before the western Berlin city limits, may be located a little far out – but for this very reason it is an insider tip for Berlin. Way back in the early 19th century it was already a popular destination for those seeking recreation. In an expansive parkland, the bright white palace, a cavalier house and a dairy tower rise enchantingly amid the trees, while peacocks indeed freely roam the winding paths. After only a few minutes in the unique ambience of the UNESCO World Heritage Site you will completely forget that you are in Berlin. Close to the ferry pier on the opposite bank of the Havel to the south, a bathing area invites you to take a dip after your visit to the island.

Where: Pfaueninselchaussee 100, Zehlendorf

More about Pfaueninsel

Tip 7: Historic bus 218 from Charlottenburg to Wannsee and Grunewald Tower

Traditional bus  218 in Berlin
Traditional bus 218 in Grunewald © Traditionsbus GmbH Berlin, Foto: Stefan Freytag

A Berlin attraction that even many Berliners – wrongly – are not aware of is located on the banks of the Havel in Grunewald. The 55-metre-high Grunewald Tower, opened in 1899, rises bright red above the green trees and has a viewing platform that invites visitors to climb it. From here you have a stunning view over wide forests, fields and the quietly flowing Havel river in between. You can combine a visit to the Grunewald Tower with a trip to Pfaueninsel. To do so, you can board one of the historic buses of line 218 at the Messe-Nord S-Bahn station, which will take you to both destinations.

Where: Havelchaussee 61, Zehlendorf

More information about Grunewald Tower

Tip 8: Buddhistisches Haus

Buddhist House in Berlin
The Buddhist House © BA Reinickendorf

You enter another unusual place in Berlin through an impressive stone gate in an otherwise inconspicuous and quiet residential area in the Reinickendorf district of Frohnau. Built in the 1920s, the Buddhistisches Haus is probably the oldest Buddhist temple in the whole of Europe. Under the guidance of a resident monk from Sri Lanka, the house invites you to meditate and discover your spiritual side – or to enjoy the exotic Asian atmosphere of the beautiful garden.

Where: Edelhofdamm 54, Reinickendorf

More information about Buddhistisches Haus

Tip 9: Domäne Dahlem

Domäne Dahlem
Domäne Dahlem © K. Wendlandt

Domäne Dahlem is without doubt a very unusual place in Berlin: a historical manor house with 800 years of agricultural tradition and an idyllic meadow of orchards, only a stone’s throw from the underground! In the open-air museum you can experience the history, present and future of nutrition at first hand, and the farm shop sells fresh organic products, some of which are home-made. So if you want to breathe in some invigorating country air, experience historical charm and discover organic food with all your senses, less than 20 minutes from the prestigious KaDeWe department store, then take a trip to Domäne Dahlem.

Where: Königin-Luise-Strasse 49, Dahlem

More about Domäne Dahlem

Tip 10: Royal Garden Academy Botanical Garden

Café Lenné in the Königlichen Gartenakademie in Berlin
Café Lenné in the Königlichen Gartenakademie © Foto: Wilfried Gerstel

Another oasis of peace in the heart of the big city can be found near the Botanical Garden. At the Royal Garden Academy, enthusiasts can learn all about plants from passionates experts. Above all, you can relax in an idyllic ambience between thousands of plants and flowers in all imaginable colours and enjoy a coffee and a piece of cake in the greenhouse café. If you would like to learn more about the colourful diversity in the Royal Garden Academy, you can also take part in a guided tour.

Where: Altensteinstrasse 15a, Steglitz

More about Royal Garden Academy

Tip 11: Along the Wannsee: Strandbad Wannsee open-air lido, Liebermann Villa and House of the Wannsee Conference

Ausflug zum Wannsee
© visitBerlin, Foto: Thomas Kierok

Perhaps not exactly an insider tip for Berlin, but nevertheless an important highlight in the countryside is the Grosser Wannsee an der Havel in south-west Berlin. Alongside the nature and a beautiful beach, there are places of significant historical interest to discover here. Your tour around Wannsee begins at the extensive memorial and educational site House of the Wannsee Conference on the western shore. From there, it is only a few hundred metres south to the Liebermann Villa, where you can discover paintings of Wannsee by the artist or stroll through the artistically designed garden. On the opposite side of the lake, the Strandbad Wannsee invites you to sunbathe and take a dip on sunny summer days.

Where: Am Großen Wannsee 56–58, Zehlendorf

More information about Wannsee