Boasting more than 2,500 public parks and recreational areas, Berlin is one of Europe’s greenest cities. The Tiergarten, a large park with a romantic lake in the middle, can be found right in the heart of the city. Locals and visitors alike take full advantage of the many green spaces in other parts of the city, too: these include the Tempelhofer Freiheit, Britzer Garten, Volkspark Friedrichshain and the Gardens of the World in Marzahn. Berlin also offers plenty of opportunities for waterside rest and relaxation: the Havel and Spree rivers and the Teltow and Landwehr canals meander through the city, their banks being the perfect place to unwind. Berlin with all its greenery is a particular delight in the summer: take a stroll through Grunewald forest on a warm summer’s evening, drop in at a beer garden or wander through the gardens of Charlottenburg Palace. Recreational areas such as Müggelsee lake, Pfaueninsel island and the bays along the Havelchaussee can easily be explored on foot, by bike or by boat. Lakes such as Schlachtensee and Krumme Lanke are a good place to go ice skating in the winter, and when it snows it is even possible to go sledging on the local slopes.
Located in the heart of Berlin, the Tiergarten is somewhat reminiscent of New York’s Central Park – a huge green oasis of calm in the centre of the city. Covering around two square kilometres, it extends from the Brandenburg Gate to Berlin Zoo, which makes it one of Germany’s biggest parks. Visitors can rent a boat at the Neuer See to the south of the park, go for a run along the narrow paths or main avenues, or simply relax in the sunshine. On Sunday afternoons in the summer, the delightful sound of the bells of Carillon tower can be heard close to the former Kongresshalle, which today is home to the House of World Cultures.
Grunewald is just the right place for a good long walk. An area of woodland covering around 30 square kilometres in the southwest of Berlin, Grunewald is a forest of beech, oak and pine trees that provides a vital habitat for plants and animals and offers visitors a delightful setting in which to relax. For a wonderful view across the Havel river and Lake Wannsee, climb to the viewing platform at the top of Grunewald Tower, which is around 36 metres high.
Still in use as a runway until 2008, this has become a popular recreation area for Berliners ever since Tempelhof Airport shut down. The expansive Tempelhofer Feld is used above all by walkers, cyclists, inline skaters and joggers. In the summer, friends and families get together for barbecues on the grassy areas. The stunt kites that people fly when the weather is fine are spectacular, and reflect the colourful mix of people that is so characteristic of Berlin.
From April 2017, the Gardens of the World in the Marzahn district will form a central part of the International Garden Exhibition (IGA). In the Japanese, Chinese and oriental gardens, visitors can immerse themselves in the garden cultures of different regions of the world. Imported plants and materials alongside specially designed buildings such as the oriental arcades and Chinese teahouse make visitors almost forget they are in the big city of Berlin.
Beautiful Lake Tegel is situated in the north of Berlin. Covering around 4.6 square kilometres and boasting no fewer than seven islands, it is one of the city’s largest lakes. Greenwich Promenade along its eastern banks is a pleasant place for a stroll to the steel bridge, which is one of Berlin’s most tranquil spots. Rowing boats can be rented here – or if that sounds a bit too much like hard work, the promenade also features a number of mooring points where boat tours can be taken across Lake Tegel, down the Havel river or to the government district.