Berlin is a hub for history, music and art, offering visitors a wealth of opportunity to delve deeper into the city’s background as well as allowing them to witness new trends in the making. Germany’s capital is lively, hip and diverse, but there is more to explore outside of the confines of city life. If you have the urge to escape the crowds of tourists and hipsters, here are some excursions that can offer some respite from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Discover the Ruins of Beelitz HeilstÃ¤tten
Exploring derelict buildings is a popular pursuit in Berlin and its surrounding areas, so why not hop on the train and head to Beelitz HeilstÃ¤tten? Used by Adolf Hitler as a place to convalesce after an injury sustained during the First World War, this abandoned sanatorium is steeped in history. The former hospital is within a stone’s throw of a railway station, but with not much else around you’re advised to pack your lunch. For keen photographers there is plenty of opportunity to test your skills, but do take care to look away from the lens as you crunch over the shattered glass that litters the floors. .
Fruit Picking at Neumanns Erntegarten
If you are after a breath of fresh air, then a fruit picking trip in the Potsdam countryside surrounding Berlin should fit the bill. Whether you make your way to the Neumanns Farm by train, bus or car, the journey is most definitely worth it â€“ strolling around the fields, plucking and sampling seasonal fruits from the trees makes for a relaxing, wholesome day out.
Swimming in Wandlitzsee
Berlin is famed for its lakes and whether you want to sail, swim or hike, there a vast array of inland seas to choose from. Wandlitzsee is about an hour north of Berlin and offers nature enthusiasts hiking trails whilst offering sun worshipers a clean beach where they can relax and swim. Der Wandlitzer See is one of many lakes around the periphery of Berlin, with Wannsee and MÃ¼ggelsee being two other popular choices.
Bird-watching on Pfaueninsel
Together with the surrounding palaces and parks of Potsdam, Pfaueninsel forms part of a UNESCO protected area. On this island in the River Havel visitors can see beautiful architecture and enjoy ambling around the gardens, but it is the peacocks that truly draw in the tourists. The translation of Pfaueninsel is ‘Peacock Island’, and reality certainly matches the name with plenty of peacocks strutting their stuff.
Jennifer Sharratt lives in Berlin and works for GoEuro, a new multi-mode travel search engine. She recently went fruit picking in Potsdam and will most probably be eating apples and plums until Christmas.