Photo by Sigrid Malmgren
A stone’s throw from the bustle of Hauptbahnhof, but a world apart, the island of Moabit is perfect for a waterside stroll... or even for camping.
The inland crown of Moabit is the perhaps confusingly named Fritz-Schloß-Park. Built on top of one of Berlin’s many Trümmerberge (rubble hills) after WWII, the closest thing you’ll find to a castle is the weird copper building next to what must be the saddest miniature golf course in the history of everything, half-heartedly tended by a pudgy, weed-smoking janitor.
But the park is ideal for a bit of urban hiking: thanks to the many Allied bombs that fell here, the hill in the middle is not insubstantial. The paths that traverse it are studded with inscrutable exercise equipment that would undoubtedly render you quite fit if you were able to deduce their function.
A football pitch, a pleasantly under-crowded indoor swimming pool and several tennis courts round out the sporting options. For those feeling less physically ambitious, the varied terrain and lush foliage conceal private hollows perfect for romantic picnics or lazing about in the sun.
Fritz-Schloß-Park is also home to Tentstation (Seydlitzstr. 6), the only camping site inside the Ring and one of the former sites of the Berlin Festival. At €11 per night, it’s one of the cheapest digs in Berlin during high tourist season and certainly the only one with a basketball court located inside a dried-out, graffitied swimming pool. A real Geheimtipp.
But why spend all your time on a mountain? You came to the island for the water, right? Then head over to the Bellevue-Waterfront . Across from the presidential Schloss Bellevue (a real one this time), between two bridges, is a sloping grass hill shaded by willow trees. Here, readers laze on benches clutching tattered novels, and students in their underwear sweat out the summer heat as boatloads of tourists motor past. The Bellevue Waterfront perpetually seems to be three Sternis (or perhaps, in this part of town, Beck’s) away from becoming its own slower, quieter version of the Spree bars of Friedrichshain and Kreuzberg.