Whether you’re seeking new running routes for your fitness regime or romantic scenery for a first date, we have you covered. Here’s are nine of the city’s best parks.
Rose Garden in Humboldthain
This little oasis sits in the midst of the city rush near Gesundbrunnen. Named after Alexander Humboldt and initially built in 1876, the park was completely developed following the Second World War, with a rubble mountain that now serves as a toboggan run and viewing platform. Straight out of a fairytale, the park’s Rose Garden provides the perfect escape from fast-paced city life. Taking an afternoon to wander amongst the 70 species of roses in the carefully landscaped garden is like wandering into a parallel world. Perfect for a date or some alone time, you’ll be transported away from your urban woe, lost in the scent of 15,000 blossoming roses.
Grünes Band by Schönholz
Lace up your running shoes or get on your bike, because Grünes Band is the green spot for everyone who likes to stay active. Up in the quiet Schönholz in the city’s north east, this spot stretches two kilometers to the neighbourhood of Wilhelmsruh. Bikers and skaters will stay out of the way of joggers thanks to separate gravel and paved paths. Both are surrounded by towering birch trees, which give a forest feel. Other than the paths, the rest of Grünes Band’s nature is untouched, so there’s nothing to distract you from your exercise. This unique park is composed of land that formed the GDR-era “death strip” between Mitte, Reinickdorf and Pankow. What was once a deadly wasteland is now your pleasant parkland avenue.
Berlin’s oldest park, dating back to 1848, lies in the heart of Friedrichshain. Volkspark Friedrichshain, dotted with monuments and lakes, is full of spots to explore and enjoy. Our favourite is the Märchenbrunnen, a grand fountain framed by statues from the Brothers Grimm’s most famous fairy tales. There’s also the lookout at the park’s highest point, where after a short hike a wonderful view over the city is yours. And don’t forget the little herb garden, an idyllic spot to read a book and take in the fresh scent of lavender, rosemary and thyme.
Weichselplatz is a green spot ideal for families with children. Its massive playground is filled with children shrieking and laughing, while parents watch and natter nearby. Located next to the Landwehr Canal, Weichselplatz has a beautiful view across the water and of several bridges. The excellent W Pizza, currently only serving takeaway, is nearby, but there are also a few döner shops and Spätis around the corner for anyone on a budget. And if you love table tennis, check out the three tables, a notable location on the Kreuzkölln’s ping pong circuit.
A waterfall in the middle of Berlin sounds like a fantasy, but you’ll find one in Kreuzberg’s Viktoriapark, which first opened in 1894. The artificial yet convincing waterway mazes down from the top of the hill, where there’s a monument to the Prussians who fell in the victory over Napoleon, all the way down to street level. It’s beautiful, with shallow water and a gentle current, allowing families and children to splash around. But the park’s paths are steep, not ideal for a lazy stroll. For centuries, vineyards grew on these slopes, a tradition halted after the once rural area became amalgamated by Berlin proper. But the practise has been revitalised following a donation of vines from the Rhineland. Around 600 bottles of Kreuz-Neroberger wine are now produced here. If you can clamber up to the top, you’ll be rewarded with a sublime view of south Berlin.
Schustehruspark, a hidden gem, is just minutes away from the famous Schlosspark in Charlottenburg, but more calm and secluded. This is perhaps due to its origins. It was built in 1882 as a private garden for Otto Openheim, a prominent lawyer and philanthropist. It’s not a regular visit for tourists, but it’s a great lunch spot or place to wind down after work. Its large open field, framed by benches and trees, exudes calm, which explains why you might spot a guy practicing Taekwondo next to a meditation group. And don’t forget the Café Villa Oppenheim, in Otto’s former home, where a terrace overlooks the park. The villa and gardens were sold to the Charlottenburg district in 1911 by Otto’s heir.
Less green than the others but just as wonderful, Rüdesheimer Platz in Wilmersdorf is famous for its annual wine festival. It’s a picturesque location and the adjacent street, Rüdesheimerstraße, was dubbed by the New York Times as Berlin’s most beautiful. The Rheingauer Weinbrunnen is usually open six days a week for four months of the year. It’s been shut during the coronavirus lockdown, but the wine fest to-go has opened at the nearby Café Lotte, where different vineyards offer their selections. Drinking a nice glass of wine and getting delicious pizza at Pizza et Pasta next door is an excellent way to spend an afternoon. The beautiful flower arrangements and fountain don’t hurt, either.
The cosiest park on this list sits a few streets south of one of Berlin’s busiest roads, Frankfurter Allee. Tens of thousands of cars cruise up and down this monochrome stretch of concrete every day, but anyone sitting on a bench at Weberwiese would be blissfully unaware. A row of GDR-era apartment blocks, constructed in 1952 as a imposing tribute to Socialist classicism, loom nearby, adding to isolated atmosphere. This park is popular with families with young children, which isn’t surprising given the ultra-relaxed suburban feel. Unfortunately the famous water display is currently out of action, but there still might be some entertainment if you’re there at the right time, like a bearded local practicing handstands by the empty fountain.
The sprawling Schlosspark Schönhausen circles Pankow’s centuries-old Schönhausen Palace. Huge oak trees line meandering dirt paths that never get too busy, except for groups of mums on their morning stroll, and it’s big enough to find a new corner each time you visit. A visit to the well-kept flower garden is a must for first-time visitors, but there are also a fish ponds and hidden corners stacked with hollow-out tree trunks to explore. Look out for the wooden café down one of the paths, but anyone on a budget should know that a beer and ice cream will set you back €7.