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Marzahn
Marzahn © visitBerlin, Foto: Dagmar Schwelle

Five Villages Tour in the east of Berlin

From Mahlsdorf to Alt-Marzahn

Urban and village – how do they go together? Join us on our Five Village Tour and be surprised by the diversity of the Hellersdorf-Marzahn district. Beyond the prefabricated housing estates things becomes rural, village-like and even quite hilly. Many small oases are hidden between traffic junctions and business parks. In the shadow of the high-rise buildings slumber historical village greens, manor houses, churches and a post mill. Our tour takes you from Mahlsdorf to Alt-Marzahn over cobblestone roads, sandy paths and asphalt.

Tour with Komoot

Mahlsdorf – Gründerzeit museum and ice age panorama

Gründerzeit Museum im Gutshaus Mahlsdorf
Das Gründerzeitmuseum in Marzahn © visitberlin, Foto: Philip Koschel

Grüner Salon im Gutshaus Mahlsdorf


Our Five Village Tour starts in Mahlsdorf, the secret El Dorado of all Gründerzeit fans. From the S-Bahn station, the trail leads down Hönower Straße, past the historic fieldstone church with its secluded cemetery. The former Gutshaus Mahlsdorf (Mahlsdorf manor house) hides behind a waste disposal company on Hultschiner Damm. Idyllically situated in the middle of a park full of rose bushes and cherry trees, it houses the Gründerzeit Museum.

Charlotte von Mahlsdorf, alias Lothar Berfelde, occupied the house in 1958 and saved it from demolition. In the 1970s, the only private museum in the GDR became a subversive meeting place for the gay and lesbian scene. Today, you can marvel at the unique collection every Wednesday and Sunday; the museum rooms are also in great demand as a film backdrop. After a tour of the manor house park, the tour continues westwards through cornfields to the “Berliner Balkon” (Berlin Balcony). This hillside between Mahlsdorf and Kaulsdorf was created during the last ice age and marks the border between the Barnim plateau and the Berlin glacial valley. A lookout point with weathered wooden benches invites you to take a short break. In the valley, the Kaulsdorfer Seen (Kaulsdorf lakes) sparkle between the trees and detached houses.

Tips for Marzahn:

  • Gründerzeitmuseum im Gutshaus Mahlsdorf, Hultschiner Damm 333, 12623 Berlin
  • Berliner Balkon, Elsenstraße 13, 12623 Berlin           
  • Café Mahlsdorf, Hönower Str. 65, 12623 Berlin 
  • Trattoria La Stalla, Hönower Str. 14, 12623 Berlin
  • Daddys Eiscafé, Hönower Str. 53, 12623 Berlin

Kaulsdorf – Beach life and Zarenbrause

Berliner Balkon Marzahn/Hellerdorf
© Bezirksamt Marzahn-Hellersdorf/Foto: apercu

The Kaulsdorfer Seen are a nature reserve at the foot of the “Berliner Balkon”. Despite a bathing ban, the Marzahn-Hellersdorf beach life still rages here. Ice fishing is a common sight in cold winters. Going for walks, relaxing and fishing are greatly encouraged. Along a sandy track on the western side of the Butzersee our tour leads you through a quiet residential area full of dreams of home ownership - the private side of Marzahn-Hellersdorf.

Amid the urban noise the tour continues up Chemnitzer Straße and along the busy B1. At the entrance to the village of Alt-Kaulsdorf you will discover the Schilkin distillery. Here you can fill up bottles with “Berliner Luft”. The popular peppermint liqueur is the cult drink of the Berlin party scene. Whether gin, golden brandy or vodka – you can buy a souvenir made in Berlin at the in-house factory outlet. In days gone by, Schilkin’s vodka was sipped at the Tsar’s Court. Proceeding along the cobblestone pavement up Dorfstraße you will reach the historic village green. The small church with its red brick tower sits quietly and peacefully on a hill. The main road can scarcely be heard here in this urban country idyll just behind the B1.

Tips for Kaulsdorf:

  • Kaulsdorfer Seen, Lassaner Str., 12621 Berlin
  • Historisches Angerdorf Alt-Kaulsdorf, Dorfstraße, 12621 Berlin
  • Schilkin GmbH und Co. KG, Alt-Kaulsdorf 1, 12621 Berlin                                               
  • Kleine Eisinsel, Lassallestraße 29, 12621 Berlin
  • Restaurant Zum Ulrich, Mädewalder Weg 5, 12621
  • BerRestaurant Zur S-Bahn, Heinrich-Grüber-Straße 1, 12621 Berlin

Biesdorf – Breathe in the mountain air and sample art

Schloss Biesdorf
© Fachbereich Kultur Marzahn-Hellersdorf, Foto Karin Scheel

West of the Kaulsdorf cemetery flows the Wuhle stream. The tour crosses the Wasserwegbrücke (waterway bridge) and passes the densely wooded Biesdorfer Höhe. Here you can breathe in the mountain air. The third highest elevation in Marzahn-Hellersdorf stands at a proud 82 metres and is formed of rubble from the former Berlin Palace. You can continue on to Biesdorf via the Biesdorfer Friedhofsweg. In the middle of the B1 lies the busy village green with its church and vicarage.

You can make out the top of the tower from afar. Fancy some coffee and art? Opposite is the Biesdorf Palace park. On the southern edge is the palace, a late-classicist villa with a Mediterranean feel. In the late 19th century, Siemens founder Werner von Siemens was the head of the household here. Today, the palace is home to the municipal gallery of the Marzahn-Hellersdorf district - temporary exhibitions have sophisticated contemporary art on display and admission is free. From the stately terrace of the museum café you can look directly into the park and enjoy coffee and cake specialities. The tour continues north-east through the shady palace park with its old trees to the Wuhletalweg. You are now leaving the private home sector, from here on in the Plattenbau (prefabricated buildings) dominate.

Tips for Biesdorf:

  • Biesdorfer Höhe, Landschaftspark Wuhletal
  • Biesdorf Palace with museum and café, Alt-Biesdorf 55, 12683 Berlin                            
  • Café Schloss Biesdorf, Alt-Biesdorf 55, 12683 Berlin
  • Rossini II, Köpenicker Str. 25
  • Ellika Dönerhaus, am S-Bhf. Biesdorf
  • Taaj India, am S-Bhf. Biesdorf 
  • Süßes Eckchen, Oberfeldstraße 10a, 12683 Berlin

The Wuhle ‘jungle’ and the cult of prefabricated housing

Wolkenhain
© visitBerlin, Foto: Janina Vogel

North-east of the Biesdorf Palace park lies the Wuhlgarten. On the Wuhletalweg our tour takes you a long way to the north. Yellow and red clinker domes and towers shine out between the treetops to the west. For all fans of monuments , a short detour to the grounds of the historical Griesinger Krankenhaus (Griesinger Hospital), which is located behind the Unfallkrankenhaus Berlin (UKB), is well worthwhile. Marzahn-Hellersdorf becomes wild and green at the Wuhle stream – natural meadows, hedges and jungle-like undergrowth provide a habitat for many species of animals. The only lawnmowers are Scottish highland cattle, which are used here for grazing.

Like giant reptiles, graffiti-covered pipes wind their way along the path, supplying the prefabricated buildings with district heating. Suddenly the Kienberg, the district’s second highest hill, appears on the left-hand side. Almost silently, cable car gondolas float towards the summit - the alpine side of Marzahn-Hellersdorf. Climb aboard and enjoy the sensational view from Kienberg to far beyond the district’s borders.

The Wolkenhain viewing platform, a bizarre, cloud-like work of art, sits enthroned on the summit: 120 metres above sea level. Back down again, our tour takes us on the Wuhletalweg around the Kienberg.

Kienberg with cable car & natural bob run
Kienberg with cable car & natural bob run © Foto: Ole Bader/sandwichpicker.com

Back down again, our tour takes us on the Wuhletalweg around the Kienberg. Every Sunday the tour goes to Hellersdorfer Straße 179 for an apartment viewing. Here you will discover a real prefabricated apartment of the WBS 70 type, replete with original GDR furnishings. Whether it be a Magdeburg yoghurt vending machine or a Colormat television - all donations come from the local area. A stone’s throw away things becomes rural once again. In the former Stadtgut Hellersdorf the manor garden is in bloom. It is a project of Kreuzberg’s internationally renowned Prinzessinnengarten (Princess Garden).

Chard, beetroot, herbs and salad grow amid car repair shops, commercial warehouses and historic stables. The urban gardeners will be happy to share information about their project – just ask! By the way, the historical village centre of Hellersdorf is about to undergo a large-scale redesign. 1,500 new apartments including a multi-storey car park are to be built here next to the listed manor buildings - new residential and commercial space for the capital.

Tips for Hellersdorf:

  • Wuhletal with Wuhletalweg                                                                                                              
  • Historical Griesinger Krankenhaus, Brebacher Weg, 12683 Berlin                                           
  • Museumswohnung WBS 70, Hellersdorfer Str. 179, 12627 Berlin                     
  • Kienberg Park with cable car, Wolkenhain viewing platform and natural bobsled run,      Hellersdorfer Str. 159, 12619 Berlin                                                                                                  
  • Gutsgarten (project of Prinzessinnengarten), Alt-Hellersdorf 17, 12629 Berlin               

Alt-Marzahn – illage idyll and miller

Post windmill in Marzahn in Berlin
Post windmill in Marzahn © visitBerlin, Foto: Dagmar Schwelle


Behind the Allee der Kosmonauten (Avenue of the Cosmonauts) in the west is Alt-Marzahn. The well-preserved village with a village green lies literally in the shadow of the prefabs. Here you can still find real village life with a village pub, butcher, newsagent’s and fashion boutiques. Flowers and fruit from residents’ own gardens are for sale at the weekend in front of some houses. In the village museum you can find out about the extraordinary development history of the district. Contemporary witnesses of the large housing estate construction project still live locally. The inhabitants of the animal farm provide the rural soundtrack. All kinds of farm animals are kept there: sheep, goats, chickens and also horses.
The absolute highlight is the still functioning post mill. The post mill’s now twelfth miller is in charge of the windmill. Still new to the trade, the trained boat builder and carpenter with the rasta locks is currently being trained by the miller of Sanssouci. The mill can produce up to 1,000 kilograms of wheat flour per day. On some Sundays you can visit it and learn about one of the oldest technologies in the world. The end point of our tour is not far away, perhaps you will have a drink at the Marzahner Landkrug inn to cap it off? Behind the village of Alt-Marzahn things becomes urban once more, a little further west is the Marzahn S-Bahn station.

Tips füor Alt-Marzahn:

  • Village Alt-Marzahn, Alt-Marzahn, 12685 Berlin
  • Bezirksmuseum Marzahn-Hellersdorf, Alt-Marzahn 51, 12685 Berlin 
  • Tierhof Alt-Marzahn, Alt-Marzahn 63, 12685 Berlin
  • Marzahner Mühle, Alt-Marzahn 63, 12685 Berlin                                                                  
  • Sakura Garten, Alt-Marzahn 70, 12685 Berlin
  • Cafe grips, Alt-Marzahn 69A, 12685 Berlin
  • Klaus Genz Fleisch- und Wurstwaren, Imbiss, Alt-Marzahn 58, 12685 Berlin
  • Landhaus Marzahner Krug, Alt-Marzahn 49, 12685 Berlin

Information for your Tour:

  • Start: S-Bahn station Mahlsdorf  
  • Destination: S-Bahn station Marzahn
  • Tour duration: approx. 5 - 6 hours (by bike), day tour (on foot) - incl. sightseeing, breaks
  • Distance: approx. 19 km, total riding time: approx. 1.5 h, total walking time: approx. 4.5 h
  • Route: see Komoot -> https://www.komoot.de/tour/212558717?ref=wtd