Destination Germany: Berlin's Grünewald forest

Our destination this week is in the state of Berlin. And more specifically, we are going to look at Berlin’s largest wooded area, and before you shout out Tiergarten, our green Berlin destination is much much larger, Grunewald, the Green Forest.

The state of Berlin is broken up into 12 different districts. The district that most people think of when they think of Berlin is Mitte. Pretty much right in the middle of the state. If you travel a little ways south-west of the center you will reach the Berlin district of Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf. One of the six localities in this area is Grunewald. Getting there isn’t hard. From the central train station in Berlin it is only about a 30 minute train ride

There is plenty to see and do here, especially if you like walking and hiking in the forest. There is a good mix of areas to take leisurely and scenic strolls and more intense and strenuous hikes . One of the treks that can get your blood flowing is from Track 17 at the Grunewald train station to the nature preserve of Ökowerk, and from there, a trip up to the Teufelsberg.

Track 17 at the Grunewald station is actually a built in memorial to the 50,000 Jews who were deported to concentration camps between 1941-1945. The track that you walk along is marks times and destinations of different trains. It is kind of liking walking on a large outdoor timeline.

After walking along this memorial, you can start toward the nature preserve center called Ökowerk.

This area is filled with gardens, wildflower patches, orchards, bee hives, and ponds and is right on the Teufelssee.

At the top of the Teufelsberg. Image: Jochen Jansen / Wikimedia

At the top of the Teufelsberg. Image: Jochen Jansen / Wikimedia

If you go on a weekend, there is an outdoor cafe to stop and have a snack. If you feel adventurous, you can climb a steep hill to Teufelsberg. This was a cold war listening post operated by Americans to spy on East German communications

There are quite a few different trails and outdoor destinations you can find in Grunewald. I can’t mention them all but I will point out a couple of exciting places you might like. There is a huge sand pit called the Sandgrube. This was made when sand was being collected to help build the city during the late 60s to early 80s. Kids love rolling and sliding down the sandy slopes.

The Grunwald Tower is on a hill right along the River Havel. Other than getting a great view of the river going through the wooded area, on clear days you can also get a good view of the Potsdam area in Berlin.

It would be hard to say when the best time would be as something is always going on during every season. There are winter markets in December, spring festivals, summer events, and the leaves in the fall are worth seeing as well. As it is pretty easily accessible, my plan is to try and find some time to take a Saturday in each season to see this area.