The Grunewald forest is just 15 minutes by train from the centre of Berlin. Teufelsberg (Devil’s Mountain) is an artificial hill made from rubble collected in the city after the end of the Second World War. Atop sits the abandoned Teufelsberg listening station, which acted as a US National Security Agency outpost during the Cold War. Follow up the history tour with a dip in Teufelssee (Devil’s Lake), although be aware that freikörperkultur (nude bathing) is alive and well here.

61 Havelchaussee, 14193

Tempelhofer Feld, Tempelhof

A former airport, Tempelhofer Feld is now a multi-use park in the south of the city. Roughly the same size as New York’s Central Park, it became the site of the Allied forces’ airlifts, which sustained much of West Berlin during some of the more volatile periods of the 20th century. “Tempelhof”, as the locals call it, survived a 2014 referendum that proposed to subdivide it into apartments and modern living spaces. It remains the best place in the city for rollerblading, kite-flying, picnics and impromptu games of football.

Tempelhofer Feld, 12099

Park am Gleisdreieck, Kreuzberg

One of Berlin’s most popular outdoor spaces came into being almost by accident. Formed within the triangle of three railway lines, Gleisdreieck was formerly a wasteland at best and a rubbish dump at worst. But while the rest of the city was being rebuilt around it, the area was quietly regenerating its own ecosystem and in 2006 the State of Berlin began work to turn it into lush parkland. Gleisdreieck features wide-open spaces in which to relax, plus cycling and jogging trails, basketball courts, a small forest and one of the city’s largest skating parks. There are even beach-volleyball courts, an outdoor dancefloor and a nature experience, where kids can interact with the diverse varieties of flora and fauna that sprang up here during its neglected years.

26 Möckernstrasse, 10963

Images: Silvia Conde

Go back: Berlin


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Monocle 24

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  • Monocle on Design