Teufelsberg in Grunewald was once an army base, built by the US after WWII. They piled together a mountain of rubble to create a vantage point and then built a radar/listening station on top. Long since abandoned, it’s now a tourist attraction full of graffiti. But at a height of 120 metres it’s actually one of the best views of Berlin during the day and is the perfect location for stargazing at night. Just a stone’s throw away, the Grunewald Tower on Karlsberg is open until 10pm. From the viewing platform at a height of 36 metres you can see the starry sky over the Havel river.
- Teufelsberg Teufelsseechaussee 10, Grunewald, Directions: Bus M49 to Flatowallee/Olympiastadion
The Archenhold Observatory
In the middle of Treptower Park you can hardly miss the oldest and largest public observatory in Germany – the Archenhold Observatory. Since 1896, the longest movable lens telescope in the world has made it possible to gaze deep into the infinite blackness. During daylight hours and on weekends until nightfall, you can look at the stars here with the help of observation instruments such as the astrograph dome and the Cassegrain reflecting telescope.
- Archenhold Observatory Alt-Treptow 1, Treptow, Tel. 030/42 18 45 10, website
The Wuhletal hiking trail: Stargazing on a night walk
In the east of the city, the Wuhletal hiking trail with the Kienberg (102 metres), the Ahrensfeld mountains (114.5 and 101 metres respectively) and the Biesdorfer Höhe (82 metres) offer great vantage points for stargazing. On the 15.4-kilometre route, you follow the Wuhle, which was more of a sewer than a stream until the1980s. These days it’s full of fish!
- Wuhletal hiking trail Starting point: Eichepark, Marzahn, Directions: Bus 390 to Schorfheidestraße
The Wilhelm Foerster Observatory
When the weather is clear, you can hardly believe your own eyes at the Wilhelm Foerster Observatory, or the “Bamberg Refractor” as it is sometimes referred to. During the day, you can get a closer look at the sun, the waxing moon, the planet Venus and other bright ‘fixed stars’. Depending on visibility, bright planets such as Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn can be spotted through the telescope during a guided tour at dusk, and if conditions are right, even dual stars and star clusters and the brightest galaxies can be observed.
- Wilhelm Foerster Observatory Munsterdamm 90, Schöneberg, guided tours: Fri 21:30, only in September: Sat 15:15, 17:15, 19:30 & 21:30, Sun 13:15 ,15:15 and 17:15, Tel. 030/790 09 30, website
A two-hour drive from Berlin: the village of Gülpe is Germany’s darkest place
A good 100 kilometres from our brightly lit city lies the darkest place in Germany – a little village called Gülpe. Nowhere else is the night sky darker and the stars brighter than in the 150-strong village in Havelland. Astronomers from every part of Germany regularly make a pilgrimage to Gülpe, dragging their heavy telescopes with them. They needn’t though; the Milky Way can be seen there with the naked eye. Local governments in the area are underfunded, so the street lights are usually switched off at night. Lucky us!
- Gülpe Havelaue, Directions: Rathenow station
Astronomically beautiful shows at the Zeiss Planetarium
If you’ve ever wanted to learn more about the universe, the Zeiss Planetarium is for you. During the shows, you are walked through the big questions of astronomy, explore distant earths, exoplanets and far-flung galaxies. Since its renovation in 2016, the planetarium in Prenzlauer Berg has been considered the most modern science theatre in Europe.
- Zeiss Planetarium Prenzlauer Allee 80, Prenzlauer Berg, website
In a pinch, the park
Anyone who has hung up their hiking boots and doesn’t want to struggle up one of Berlin’s mountains should make themselves comfortable in one of the largest and most beautiful parks in the city. The open spaces offered by Hasenheide, the artificial elevation of the Rixdorferhöhe, the large Bunkerberg in the Volkspark Friedrichshain, Tiergarten with a total area of 210 hectares or even Tempelhofer Feld invite you to stargaze in Berlin.
- Berlin parks for example Hasenheide, Neukölln, Volkspark Friedrichshain, Friedrichshain, Tempelhofer Feld
The telescope at Hahneberg Spandau
The summit of the Hahneberg in Spandau is 87 metres high and can be climbed in several ways. In any case, the effort will be rewarded with a breathtaking view – the view opens up over the old town of Spandau to the Fernsehturm. And if that impressive vista isn’t enough, you could always enjoy a visit to the Bruno H. Bürgel observatory, just below the summit. The 61cm Cassegrain telescope is the most powerful reflecting telescope in Berlin today and allows visitors to observe the moon, planets and even distant galaxies.
- Hahneberg Spandau Heerstrasse 549, Spandau, Observatory Bruno H. Bürgel Heerstrasse 531, Spandau, Fri 6-7 p.m., Tel. 030/363 62 42, website
Thousands of stars twinkle over Westhavelland Star Park., stars that they can still be seen in all their abundance today. In 2014, the Westhavelland Nature Park was not only chosen as the first ‘star park’ in Germany, thanks to a lack of light pollution. Fewer than 30 regions worldwide are allowed to call themselves that. It is about a two-hour drive from Berlin to reach this natural spectacle in Brandenburg, on the Saxony-Anhalt border.
- Star Park Westhavelland Pareyer Dorfstraße, Havelaue, open around the clock, Tel. 033872/74 30, website