Romantic Berlin

Many are less than an hour away, and in summer they draw a mix of inner-city hipsters and suburban and countryside regulars.

By Paul Sullivan, AFAR

Berlin's Green Spaces

For all its reputation as a distinctly urban capital, Berlin is surprisingly and delightfully green, with many of the city's dozens of parks not only seriously impressive as relaxing natural hangouts but also rich in history. Tiergarten | Tiergarten Park, with its meadows and winding paths, was once the Prussian king’s hunting ground, while Treptower Park has a charming harbor area, a beer garden, and the forested Spreewald, as well as monuments from the Soviet era. The beautiful gardens at major sights such as Schloss Charlottenburg | Charlottenburg Palace are also romantic places for a stroll in spring and summer, and the vast Grunewald | Grunewald Forest holds charming pathways, hidden lakes, and unique sites with sweeping vistas like the abandoned spy station at Teufelsberg | Teufelsberg Hill.


Berlin's Lakes and Rivers

Many visitors don't realize this, but Berlin is surrounded by some fabulous lakes that offer a delightful escape from city streets. Many are less than an hour away, and in summer they draw a mix of inner-city hipsters and suburban and countryside regulars. Some of them, like the highly popular, scenic Wannsee | Wannsee Lake, have official bathing areas with changing rooms and food kiosks selling sausages, ice cream, and drinks; and others have no facilities—all are great places to find your spot, open your picnic basket, and enjoy the change of scene. Besides lakes, Berlin's waterways— especially the Spree River and the Landwehrkanal | Landwehr Canal—offer plenty of opportunities for pleasant waterside strolls through the city.

Romantic Dining

Berlin’s restaurant scene is incredibly diverse these days, making it easy to find atmospheric spots for dining. For a meal with a sweeping city view, book a table at Sphere, the revolving restaurant inside the iconic, soaring Berliner Fernsehturm | Berlin TV Tower. If you want impressive high-end cuisine in a relaxed but stylish setting, head to West Berlin's Glass for sophisticated Middle Eastern fare. Vegetarians and vegans, fret not: you can find a cool ambience and an intimate setting (as well as a cocktail bar) at the wonderful Cookies Cream.

Pampering Spas

Berlin’s spas and saunas are popular places, and they're perfect for some quiet time and unwinding during your city explorations. Many of the best are inside hotels, including the ultra-elegant Adlon Spa by Resense in Hotel Adlon Kempinski, designed by Anne Maria Jagdfeld; it has a heated pool and treatments that stretch to underwater massages. The equally luxurious Spa de Rome at Hotel de Rome has a magnificent 213-foot-long swimming pool and a hammam, while for something small but trendy, Soho House Berlin has the top-notch Cowshed Spa.


Berlin's Christmas Markets

With their twinkling lights and stalls piled with tempting gift items and holiday foods, Berlin's more than sixty Christmas markets create magical places each December, ideal for mingling with Berliners and sampling some gl├╝hwein (mulled wine: essential, especially in the cold evenings) and lebkuchen (similar to gingerbread). The buildings and grounds of the handsome Schloss Charlottenburg | Charlottenburg Palace are illuminated, enhancing the traditional market in front of the palace. For a market in a more down-to-earth setting, head to busy Alexanderplatz | Alexander Square, where you can enjoy classic fairground rides and ice skating as well as the numerous food and gift stalls.

Day Trips and Countryside Excursions

Berlin has plenty of great opportunities for excursions that offer natural beauty and a charming change of perspective. You can relax on a boat trip or kayak along the Spree River or the Landwehrkanal | Landwehr Canal, swim or sail in one of the many lakes—Wannsee | Wannsee Lake is one of the most popular—or visit intriguing places on the city's edge, such as the sprawling Grunewald | Grunewald Forest with its hiking options. One of the most interesting ways to see the city's surrounding areas is to explore parts of the Mauerweg | Berlin Wall Trail, a 100-mile walking and cycling route that traces the route of the former wall. Although its best-known sections are in the city center, most of the trail passes through scenic countryside, passing by the Wannsee and Gross Glienicker lakes, the dreamy Pfaueninsel (Peacock Island), and the Spandauer Forest.


City Panoramas

Berlin is fortunate to have plenty of places with views that provide a thrilling perspective on the city. The most obvious is the city's tallest building, the iconic Berliner Fernsehturm | Berlin TV Tower on Alexanderplatz, with its viewing platform and Sphere, a rotating restaurant. The Reichstag | Reichstag Building's glass dome is also perfect for taking in a 360-degree city panorama, especially in late afternoon when the sun is setting. It has a rooftop restaurant and garden so you can enjoy breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Tiergarten | Tiergarten Park's 230-foot Victory Column is another place for lofty views; climbing its 285 steps makes your visual reward even more sweet.


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Travel Magazine: Romantic Berlin
Romantic Berlin
Many are less than an hour away, and in summer they draw a mix of inner-city hipsters and suburban and countryside regulars.
Travel Magazine
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